D.L. asks from McKinney, TX on April 14, 2007
Toddlers and Nudity
Ok, when I was a kid most folks didn't have big open bathrooms like we do now. I grew up in a ranch style home where the toilet and shower were in the same room and the dressing areas were seperate. So here's my question. At what age did you ban your kids from the parent's bath area?
My daughter will be 3 in early September and she's now noticing that dad has a "wee wee" and she and I don't. We don't make a big deal of it. She simply comments that he has one and we have a "nu nu" then she goes on to play.
We really enjoy our mornings together because we (sometimes) all eat, then (almost always) go upstairs to get ready for the day together. So far, it's been a part of the day I've really enjoyed and everyone is always happy.
However, we have one of those big open type bathrooms where there is a glass shower, garden tub and dressing areas all together. At what age would ya'll consider it weird if I said our daughter was in there when DH was showering/dressing etc.? And when do you think it becomes inappropriate?
I know it depends on the kid and all that. Just wondering what you all do.
K. answers from Dallas on April 15, 2007
I grew up in Europe where the houses are much smaller and usually only have one bathroom. We were 5 people and we had
1 1/2 baths. I saw my parents naked on more than one occasion and it didn't scar me for life. In my opinion it is better not to make such a big deal about nudity, because it is a natural thing. Especially not when your child is three. Your child will get dressed on her own at a certain age, so the problem you have, will take care of itself.
Believe me, your child will not want to look at her naked parents long before puberty.
I think however it is important to teach your child to knock before she enters your bedroom, once she gets older just in case ... (-:
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W. answers from Dallas on April 15, 2007
this is my advice, I have a 10 yrs old son and 7 yrs old daughter -- from personal experience and from what I hear from the pros...you are doing the right thing by not making it a big deal..the body is nothing to be ashamed of and she is still very young..I would start immediately calling the "privates" their proper names. no more 'wee wee' and other names. second, you will know when the time is right for her to let you all have privacy. That's the bigger issue I think. I never just walked into my parent's bathroom without knocking. and my kids would do it all the time - somehow always when I was on the toilet! teaching privacy manners is imp. for the future, when knocking and asking permission is appropriate and polite! for now, don't stop your routine b/c the time will come...enjoy it now!
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J.A. answers from Dallas on April 15, 2007
Well, My husband and I have had these conversations before as well and we have come to the conclusion that you have to decide if you will be a naked family or not. What I mean by that is, will you always be modest and cover yourselves or will you be open and naked? My college roommate's father used to make coffee each morning stark naked throughout her life and she never thought anything of it because it was not a big deal in her family. She was never abused and was a virgin well into her 20's so there were no adverse affects to their parenting choice. On the flip side, my family was ALWAYS covered and my Mom and Dad won't even go into the bathroom if the other is showering or changing. Very non-naked family. I am kinda leaning to the naked choice because I think it will empower our daughter to know that she is beautiful and accepted just the way she is but in choosing this, I will have to have very open lines of communication on who we are naked in front of and how important self respect is!
C.P. answers from Dallas on April 15, 2007
It all depends on your own comfort level, that of your husband's, and monitoring your child's reactions/behavior. I don't think practicing some level of modesty and privacy is considered "making a big deal out of it." It's all in the approach you take that makes it a big deal. Learning the correct names for body parts is important, too. If you aren't ready to take that leap, then calling everything "privates" usually does nicely. It also lets your child know that those areas are indeed private and not to be looked at or touched by anyone but her & her immediate family. Can't start too young teaching that, unfortunately.
M.F. answers from Dallas on April 15, 2007
We started talking about giving people privacy when my daughter turned 3. We told her she could have privacy too and she liked the idea. At 4, she goes potty by herself and does most of her shower by herself (we help with hair).
J.S. answers from Houston on April 16, 2007
Thanks for asking this question! I have been wondering the same, too.
Everyone has great advice here. I think I'm just going to wait until it becomes embarrassing for my son. I'm from a non-naked family, but I want my son to realize that we're not all the same. I would like him to accept different body styles.
Good luck, and thanks again for asking this!!!
L. answers from Dallas on April 16, 2007
I grew up in a non-naked 1 bathroom house. My parents usually took showers at night and wore bathrobes between the bathroom and bedroom. Us kids usually wrapped a towel and ran the two steps to our rooms. If someone needed the potty while someone was showering (very rare) they peed quickly and got out. We had a shower curtain and liner so nobody could see anybody. We didn't linger in the bathroom since there was only one.
That being said, we are a little more free in our home but.. at about age 3 the kids were taught privacy. I figure they don't remember much before 3 so they won't be scarred but after they will start remembering. Also, they say very embarassing things after that point. My 3.5 son has realized that he and Daddy both have 'peanuts' but Daddy's is bigger. He announced that at dinner with friends. My daughter is 8 and she sees her brother naked and that's fine. I don't think she needs to see her dad that way so at 3 he stopped showering with her. She doesn't see me either and son hardly does anymore. He likes to be doing other things than hanging out in the bathroom.
It's whatever you and your kids are comfortable with. Just pay attention to your daughter and follow her lead. Maybe you can still do your morning routine together but wear a robe or get dressed quicker so she sees less.