December 11, 2009,
P.R. asks from Akron, OH on December 10, 2009
At What Age Do You Stop Allowing Children to See You Naked?
I'm sure there are parents who will let their children always see them naked as it's natural etc. But my husband and I were brought up by rather prudish parents so not sure we can make that leap. So now with our daughters 5 and about to turn 4, I'm starting to get annoyed if my husband isn't dressed from the waist down around them. But I'm not really sure at what age it's "conventional wisdom" that kids will remember and he should stop. He's better around the 5 year old but more careless with the almost 4 year old. Any votes on what the appropriate age is?
D.S. answers from San Francisco on December 11, 2009
Greetings P., I know this is a controverdal topic but as the mother of 5 and having been a foster parent I have strong feelings about modesty.
My husband and I took the stand that if we wanted to teach modesty to our children then it started right away. I made a point of not being undressed at all in front of the children. Recently when we were celbrating the passing of my husband one of the things that came up was that they learned how special thier bodies were becasue they never saw their father undressed. That doesn't mean that they never did but it was accidental. I made sure that after age 2 we stressed modesty at all times.
I had several foster children that had major problems and often it was centered around nudity and thier parent. I have always told the children thier bodies were a Templ of GOd and not a Visiting Center this was in prepreation for becoming pre-teens and the clothes they would wear. I have seen much confusion and double standards from parents that do not have set boundries from this. I believe you are on the right path and for sure 2 is a great age becaue they are so interested in the differance between male and female. I do know that my son was taking a shower recently and his daughter age 2 1/2 brought her chair in the bathroom to talk to daddy. He just said it's time to lock the door! Take Care of your precious family. Nana Glenda
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A.S. answers from San Francisco on December 11, 2009
Well the issue is probably more about teaching them the concept that our naked bodies are private. I have always been an advocate of allowing children to get glimpses or sneak peeks of naked adults in appropriate situations (e.g. modest quick clothes changes such as at the gym - so that they learn appropriate anatomy and to not be ashamed), but with the understanding that it is not flaunted. This way they learn the natural state of the human body while also learning that it is private and not something that is displayed carelessly. As far as age, I have heard that age 2-3 (coinciding with potty training) is the time we start to teach our children the private nature of parts of our bodies.
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A.L. answers from San Francisco on December 10, 2009
a tough call here, but all I can say is............ by age 7 they start repeating what they see.... and it ain't pretty LOL.. w/o getting too explicit, they call em like they see em... so if your hubby is going around "nakey" as my son says.... well.. beware.. what might seem like a few innocent naked steps from the shower to the bedroom to your child will be like... oh there's my daddy all nakey and hairy.. (sorry.....but kids just tell it like it is) in a funny way of course.. or why do girls pee out of their butt....... ah yes, kids.... :) gotta love em..
I say zip it up now.... without making too much of a stir about it. as it is, they will begin to discover their own bodies and then more questions come your way..hahahahahah
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S.H. answers from San Francisco on December 11, 2009
When I read this post, I thought it was going to be regarding you, not your husband. Honestly since they are of the opposite sex, I say he needs to stop now. My daughter is also almost 4 and she is aware of everything and yes repeats it all. I have memories from when I was 3. Better safe than sorry.
R.B. answers from San Francisco on December 11, 2009
I too was brought up by prudish parents - to the point of not being able to change in the locker room or later, my college roommates. Or to be blunt, be comfortable with my own body.
Our stance has been different that the previous commenters. We were comfortable with it, so long as nothing vulgar was made of it (no "I saw Mommy's boobies!" shrieks some of my friends had from age 4 or 5). It was changing only, getting out of the shower, etc, not walking about naked for nakedness sake.
My son stopped being comfortable with it around age 6 or 7, my daughter at age 11 is still comfortable with me seeing her (and her seeing me), but stopped around my husband (and he around her) around age 7 or 8. Both regularly went on playdates and sleepovers and saw other parent/child takes of this - some kids always went into the bathroom to change into PJs, some stripped in the bedroom. My daughter dances, and has the common locker room aspect to deal with already.
My kids (now 15 and 11) are VERY modest in what they wear. They both find most fashion and lack of coverage by some girls inappropriate. My son does remember - about as much as he remembers anything else before first grade, but doesn't seem scarred or talk about 'seeing Mommy naked'.
T.V. answers from San Francisco on December 10, 2009
I agree with AL. Nothing wrong with a little modesty in a age where, in my opinion, teens and younger adults really let TOO MUCH HANG OUT!