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When Should Dads Stop Being Naked in Front on Their Kids?

Author Victor Rodrigues
Submitted 16-07-2007

The Naked Child Growing Up Without Shame/Social Nudity/Its Effect on Children

Click to Buy

Though anthropological studies suggest that nudity is not
inherently harmful, our society tends to make us feel ashamed of both showing our bodies and seeing
others naked. In whatever way you decide to handle this issue with your children, keep in mind that
they will have to function in a society that’s moderately prudish. Parental nudity and going naked
at home in front of other family members is acceptable in some European cultures. Semi-nude
sunbathing is completely accepted in many countries outside the United States.  Nudity in
public is acceptable in some aboriginal societies and in nudist colonies. However, being naked in
front of anybody other than your spouse is not acceptable in most of the developed world.

It
is natural for parents, especially the mother, to expose body parts to children when they are
babies. Though nudity is not the same as sexuality, we are raised in a culture that does not
separate the two. Since society will eventually make kids associate nudity with sexuality, parents
need to stop being naked in front of their kids sooner or later. The question arises,
when.

There is a school of thought that says it is good for kids to be comfortable with
seeing their parents in the nude and vice versa. They believe that the more you hide the more
fascinated your kids get with nudity and sexuality. They may not endorse a father going naked in
front of his daughter or mother in front of her son once they are past the age of 2 or 3. However,
they don’t see anything wrong with kids seeing the same sex naked even at higher ages. In fact,
they think it may be healthy for pre-adolescents to learn about what will be happening to their
bodies—that this encourages a healthy attitude towards nudity and prevents children from associating
nudity with sexuality.

However, even the proponents of this idea propose the following
safeguards:

  • Be genuine. Don’t force yourself
    into being comfortable with parental nudity. If you are starting to feel awkward about exposure to
    your nudity, it is likely time to be more discreet.
  • Be consistent. Don’t juggle between
    being bashful about your nudity at times and unmindful at other times.
  • Explain the difference in attitudes. If your child brings up the
    fact that his friends parents are never seen naked, be ready with a well thought out
    explanation.
  • Be attentive to cues. There will come
    a time (age 2 or even much older, like 7 or 8) when your kids will no longer feel comfortable with
    your nudity or their own in front of you. (Hint: watch for giggles or silly smiles). Respond to this
    and act accordingly.
  • Consider your own privacy. You may not wish your private parts to be part of a discussion between your son and his
    peers.

Coming soon: A discussion on nudity in children. When should you start giving them complete
privacy?