Explaining Circumcision to Kids

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Explaining circumcision to uncircumcised sibling

July 2001

Does anyone have words of advice on what to tell both circumcised and uncircumcised siblings when they start comparing anatomy? (Their father is circumcised.) The plan was not to circumcise either child, but the oldest child (now two) had a circumcision to correct a hypospadias. How detailed an explanation should they be given when they are little? How does one help the older son feel comfortable with his body given the scars on the bottom of his penis? Is there any reason to believe he will feel self-conscious about himself at all? I have checked the archives but don't find any specific reference to this issue. Thanks for any and all advice.

We have a very similar situation. I just tell both boys very matter of factly that the older one had to have surgery when he was a baby because his foreskin was too tight, so that's why his penis looks more like his dad's. I think the key is to talk about it in a low-key way, and to point out that every penis looks different (e.g., many circumcised ones look different from each other based on how much skin was removed), and each one is beautiful in its own way!