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Naked in front of the kids: Yay or nay?

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 30-08-2011

So, you're all grown up and now you're wondering if your old nudist days of flower-child beatitude have any place in the age of "whoa, I'm a dad." Or maybe your 2-year-old walked in on you while you were getting changed, and now you're biting your nails wondering whether Susan is permanently scarred for life.

On any scientific basis, early exposure to nudity is at worst moot and at best, complementary to a child's self-esteem and healthy attitude toward sex. In a 1995 study of Alfred Kinsey's original findings regarding the frequency of nudity in the American household, Paul Okami concluded that there were no major differentiating factors between those who grew up around nudity and those who were guarded from it. A lengthier longitudinal study in 1998 found that in many cases, parental nudity had a positive effect on body image in the long run.

Does this necessarily mean you should implement an open-door policy and hang up clothes-less family portraits in your foyer just to enforce this point? Probably not, but the answer has to do with your comfort level as a group. Kids do develop a need for privacy and modesty after a certain point, too. And to think in broader terms, most people have childhood memories of being grossed out by something they saw beyond their parents' bedroom doors.

It's ultimately up to you how you handle this dilemma, but know that if your little one catches a quick glimpse of your derriere, it shouldn't cost you years of therapy sessions in the long run. Cultivating a healthy nonchalance for nudity is key, as is a regard for personal boundaries.