Growing up, I remember being shocked the first time I went to the community pool and all around me women were stripping down without fear or abandon. That didn’t happen in my house.
Not that my parents were stuffy, but in our house, nudity was something that mostly happened in the bathroom or behind closed doors.
But because many of us don’t talk about this, one mom decided to pose the question onReddit to see what position others took.
“Basically, we’re a very open family,” she starts by saying. “We are often in nothing but our undies hanging out at home. I wasn’t comfortable doing that growing up, looong uncomfortable story, so it was important to me for my children to feel comfortable enough to be nudie if they wanted to.”
Her 7 year old definitely embraced this — and she describes how he prefers to air dry after showering and often wanders around the house naked.
She also allows him to see her naked, not hiding when she changes in the hopes that he’ll understand what “real” women look like.
“I still change in front of him is because I want him to know what a real woman looks like,” she explains. “I don’t want him to grow up thinking the women he sees on tv and in movies is how every woman looks. I have stretch marks, a bit of cellulite, and I could stand to lose a little weight. Plus I’m nursing his younger sister so he sees my boobs all the time.”
Most commenters on the thread agreed that as long as the kids didn’t show discomfort, there shouldn’t be an issue with nudity.
“I think whatever makes both parties involved comfortable. Nudity is only as awkward as you make it. Always look your kid in the eye only when you’re both naked and they’ll unconsciously learn to only look at your face and never let their curious eyes wander,” said one commenter.
“My kid (5) doesn’t like it when I’m naked and loudly tells me to go put on clothes. The shower is too small to get dressed in, I do that in my bedroom, so I’ve taken to warning him when I’m going to be (half)naked. That way he can choose to avoid seeing me that way,” said another.
According to Gayle Peterson, a doctor, author and international relationship expert, naturally occurring nudity can be a good thing for kids.
“A healthy relationship to our bodies begins with liking ourselves and acquiring knowledge about how our bodies work,” she says. “A natural acceptance, conveyed to our children, can promote their own positive self-image and contributes to self-esteem and the development of healthy adult sexuality.”
She does, however, warn that the need for privacy usually comes up around the time of puberty.
“Sometimes, parents begin to feel uncomfortable with nudity as their opposite sex child grows older. Individuals within families must be accommodated with respect to each others privacy needs as these feelings emerge. But certainly discussions about these issues are wonderful opportunities to develop your own beliefs and philosophy about nudity and how you decide to address it in your family.”
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