Summer means sports and baseball gloves are being oiled up in homes round the country. Thoughts are turning to runs, hits, errors, uniforms, caps and spikes.
And cups. It’s standard practice for leagues to require boys to wear a hard protective cup over their genitals during practice and games. One family I know had a golden teachable moment when their 5 year old wanted know why he had to wear a cup over his penis. “I’m not going to pee during a ballgame!”
Some parents might have answered the “why” question with a simple “Because it’s the rules”, a close cousin to “Because I said so”. These answers have a place when disciplining a child, but in this instance would only stifle curiosity and an opportunity for a teachable family moment.
It’s fairly typical for pre-school aged boys to think of their entire genitalia as their penis. This boys parents explained to their son and his now-curious brother that the penis is the name for the skinny part in front that boys use to pee, but behind it the sac that holds the special parts that men have that makes their Daddy seeds. And those parts, (called ballies in some families, testes in others) would hurt A LOT if they accidently got hit with a baseball! They grabbed their copy of The Sex-Wise Parent, turned to the line drawing of male anatomy on page 59 and gave both of their sons an age appropriate lesson in sexual health and safety. Because of T-ball!
These little boys learned the anatomy of their genitals and that Daddies make seeds in their testicles and mommies make seeds in their ovaries. They learned that we take care of our genitals and keep them healthy – a precursor to a condom discussion due in about 10 years!
Before long, sex-wise parents will see how spontaneous, frank discussions with children as issues come up render THE TALK unnecessary!