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Monday, April 16, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: Are you comfortable being naked in front of your kids? Were your parents?

Toby's almost two, and I haven't thought twice about walking around naked in front of him. While taking a shower, getting dressed, applying makeup in a bra, I'm often half-dressed in the morning while he plays with his toys. But recently Toby has been excitedly pointing out all our body parts (with both Alex and me). Learning about the human body is a healthy part of childhood; and I want Toby to be comfortable with naked bodies and proud of his own body, and I feel fine in front of him. But I'm curious...

Are you naked in front of your children, or do you cover up? How many years can you be naked before it becomes inappropriate? Forever, who cares? How long did your own parents walk around starkers? When I was in middle school, my friend's dad came downstairs in his tighty whiteys to get something out of the laundry; I was mortified! But I'm still happy to change clothes in front of my mom, like if we're in a store dressing room or at home.

P.S. Breastfeeding love, and do you kiss your babies on the mouth?

(Sweet photo by Eric Prince)

215 comments:

1 – 200 of 215   Newer›   Newest»
Sunny Rising Leather said...

I distinctly remember my sister and I being so in our mother's business that she laughingly said you never get to pee by yourself until your children are at least 4 or 5...

My babe is 6 weeks and I love taking baths with him: I don't know when I'll be less naked around him, but I certainly don't want it to be out of fear of judgment, etc.
xoxo
A

C. said...

I hadn't really thought about it to be honest... I guess I'll keep doing it as long as my little one isn't uncomfortable. I think walking around in a bra probably isn't the same as walking around starkers though. And if we have guests it's just common courtesy to wear clothes. :D

Rose said...

If I had kids I would do it as long as they're comfortable with it.

I really don't understand that American fear of naked bodies. That's how you were born! Teach your children to love themselves, naked and all! It'll give them a better and more real image of bodies than those nipped/tucked photoshopped bodies in the media.

Ashley@MarriedLane said...

This is such an interesting topic! I'm completely comfortable being naked in front of my 2 year old daughter, and I think I will be for years to come, but I am more modest around my son, as I think I should be. I want her to see what a woman's body looks like, and learn to appreciate things like stretch marks and real breasts. As far as my son goes, I want to teach him what a modest woman looks like, so I've been more and more modest around him as he's gotten older. That's my take!

Tara said...

Ashley, your his mother. If you show him that nakedness isn't necessarily involved with sex, it shouldn't be a problem..?

Jen said...

Probably about when my son develops a better memory (around age 3 or 4?). I didn't grow up in a "naked house" and neither did my husband. So, we'll continue the tradition of covering up because that's what we're comfortable with.

AVY said...

That bit about the father sounds like a real traumatic memory, but then again, men were not made to go without clothes the way women are.


/Avy

http://mymotherfuckedmickjagger.blogspot.com

SaraC said...

I have two boys and my oldest is 4, so I've thought about this a lot. Still doing it for now (it's just so easy!). I have a friend with older kids and she said you'll KNOW. Eventually you'll catch your boys really checking you out, and it will be obvious. Yikes!

Megan M said...

I live in Finland.. sauna culture... it is very common for families to be naked together all the way trough adulthood. Fathers, daughters, etc. n public spaces men and women are separate... but young girls and old women (strangers) are naked together ... we even have some naked swimming halls! It is natural... no need to feel shy or threatened!

Anonymous said...

Such a good topic! I was just visiting my sisters over the weekend. We stayed at a hotel and I kept going into the bathroom to change clothes because I didn't think it was appropriate to be changing in front of my 7 yr old nephew. My older sister said it wouldn't be a big deal to change in front of him because she still showers with him. I think that's completely weird and a little unhealthy. I can't imagine I'll let my son (now 17 months) see me naked past the age of 4 but who knows for sure.

Anonymous said...

In Japan, the bond between a mother and child often focuses on skinship or naked association. In bathhouses, people will often bathe with complete strangers. I think by trying to cover up, it subtly shows children that our bodies are to be ashamed of, which is an idea I grew up with and an idea that I think is more harmful than helpful. I think it is good to learn about the correct time and place but besides that, skinship just shows we are all human, beautiful and wondrous and strange. I may be mistaken but I do feel like it is a primarily American idea to be so covered up, possibly stemming from our puritanical roots. If I were to adopt someday, I hope that I could overcome my own upbringing and show my children there is nothing wrong with nudity.

allie said...

As a kid, my dad wanted to reclaim his privacy much earlier than my mum did. I think that might have had something to do with the fact that I, the oldest child, was a girl, and my dad didn't want me to feel uncomfortable. By default my younger brothers stopped seeing our dad naked earlier, but maybe if the oldest was a boy it'd be reversed and the female parent would want cover up more.

Up until moving out of my parents house I would still sometimes sit in the bathroom with my mum while she showered (always knocking first), and I think my brothers felt comfortable doing that too. My mum'd also pee with the door open if she was having a conversation with us- we wouldn't be right there in front of her but sometimes we could see and we could always hear, but it never bothered any of us.

joke said...

Hmm, I'm European, and I guess many europeans are less shy about it. I also don't really understand why as a mother you shouldn't let your son see you. A daughter needs to understand what a real woman looks like but a boy shouldn't? As a child I stopped walking naked around the house when I wanted to, but it didn't stop me from seeing my mom in the bathroom for example. And obviously, when friends stayed over the door of the bathroom stayed closed.

Sarah said...

We only have one child—a 7-year-old daughter—and I've never been self-concious about being naked around her. My husband (her dad) is more modest about it though. He'll walk around in boxers, but when she reached about age 4, he no longer felt it was appropriate for him to be naked around her, so he typically avoids that. Makes me think that if we had a boy instead of a girl that I may be the one covering up sooner? Not sure...

My daughter has become more observant with age, asking questions about why I have a bigger chest than her or dad, or why I wear a bra. (Even why grown-ups have "hair down there.") I've found these innocent questions to be great early conversation starters about how our bodies change as we grow. (And she's already looking forward to picking out pretty bras someday. I love that we are starting these conversations before we really need to have them.)

Moonlight said...

my mother still walks naked in front of me. my father never did i think. at least i never remember that happening.
but yeah, im 25 and my mother does that, and even shows us when she gets something on her skin, even if it's on an inappropriate part!!!!!

Sarah Carlson said...

Great topic for discussion, Joanna! I remember my mom saying we were so nosy, wanting to know where she was and what she was doing that even when she was in the bathroom, my twin sister and I would be peeking through the key hole! I think as long as both of you feel comfortable, keep being a starker.

Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

This morning as I showered, my daughter Ingrid (17 mos) was hanging out in the exersaucer looking at books. As I pulled the shower curtain aside and stepped out, she looked up at me and said "whoah!". The timing and intonation were hilarious!

I'm not sure how long I'll keep letting her see me naked. As long as we both feel comfortable with it, I suppose.

Nancy said...

My husband and I still walk around semi-dressed in front of our 3.5 and 2 yr old, partly because privacy is impossible in a 700 sq ft studio. However, we made the decision that the girls are no longer allowed to bathe or shower with daddy because it was making him, and me, uncomfortable. They get handsy...!

Abbey S said...

I think this goes a lot with the peeing in front of your significant other question you posted a while back. For me, I don't like bathroom things. I like a lot of privacy. My mother always was very open--changed in front of us, peed with the door open, etc, but I'm one of three girls, so she may have felt freer than if she'd had sons. It always made me uncomfortable, though. And I don't think nudity is a bad thing and I'm not ashamed of my body or anything like that like some of the commenters have suggested. I just think it's ok to have boundaries, to maintain privacy. It's all about your personal comfort level, I think. As some have mentioned, other cultures are very open, so I don't think little Toby will be damaged by whatever choice you make. I think it's just a personal choice.

Ashley Cassandra Ford said...

My mother is still naked in front of me sometimes. I think it helped me be more comfortable with my body. I was never the girl mortified by her nudity in the locker room or distracted by the bodies of others. It was easy to just go on about my business and not be so hung up on my body.

Brittany said...

I can remember my last naked shower with my dad--not super specifics if you know what I mean, but I remember after my mom saying something like "I think she's getting too old for this!" It was about the same time my mom stopped letting me run around the house naked. I think I was 3-4, my other confirmed-not-from-home-video first memory (riding in the hospital elevator up to meet my baby brother) is right before I turned 4. So growing up with my mom and dad, we stopped seeing our opposite sex parent naked around 3-4.

Strangely enough (the strangely part being how my dad's house rules seem completely dependent upon the woman he is married to at the time) my half-brother is 7 and still sees his mom naked. Some of it is in a certain context--they live in Japan for my dad's work and visit onsens/sentos (naked public bathing, almost always separated by sex except for children), but even there where family nudity is part of the culture (I've yet to hear of naked public bathing for families here in the US!) they have height and age requirements for children of the opposite sex going with their parent. I think the age must be somewhere between 6-8. However, my brother is very, very small for his age and can still be taken in since the staff assume he is younger--I think he is too old for this and it is disrespectful to the other women. Also, I think I would stop letting my small daughter go into the men's side MUCH earlier than I would stop letting my son go into the women's...Personally I would not be comfortable with my 7-year-old half-brother seeing me fully naked and was relieved he didn't go with us to the onsen while I was visiting. I don't know what I'll do with my own kids--I assume I might be more lax, but I think most anything beyond the parents/children relationship is past my comfort zone once the child is old enough to possibly have memories.

mommaruthsays said...

My oldest daughter is four, my youngest daughter only 10 months. We all go naked in front of each other all the time (it makes my husband blush daily!) - it might be different for me if I had a boy, but I feel totally at ease in front of my girls.

Their daddy? Not so much. He's never walked around naked in front of them.

Jessica said...

It's important to teach children about privacy and safe boundaries. Usually, the anwer to this question, at least in in child advocacy circles, is "when the child begins to notice gender differences." Instilling a sense of personal privacy helps kids learns what is ok and what is not ok in terms of safety. Sexual abuse statistics are staggering in our country. We want to keep our kids safe. Teaching privacy boundaries in the home helps kids distinguish unsafe situations, which unfortunately happen. A wonderful resource in teaching kids boundaries is the book, "It's My Body" by Lory Freeman
I think as a society we need to have more conversations about how we can keep our children safe. Thanks for the post!

Amy P said...

I'm with Ashley (post #4). I'd be comfortable being naked around both my boys and girls until around 3 years old. Then I'd be okay with semi-nudity around the girls and very little around the boys. I don't know - I agree that North Americans can be a bit prudish and that maybe that can be unhealthy, but on the other hand, I've never been personally comfortable with nudity except around my husband. Plus I live in Canada, so it's kinda cold to be stark naked!

Jenni Bailey said...

My oldest is five and a half and I'm just now starting to be more cautious about being naked in front of her. Not that I don't do it all, mind you. I'm just doing it slightly less. I can't pinpoint exactly why, it just seems like the right time for both of us. But not necessarily for everyone. I don't think there is a universal cutoff age.

Rachel said...

My dad stopped showering with me around age 6 (after I made embarrassing comments to the neighbors, ha!). For me, I'll probably stop when my son is about 3 (although he will probably shower with dad a little longer). For girls, I think it's a little different. I'm (obviously) a mom myself now, and I still see my mom naked occasionally. You know, just if we're visiting and one of us hops in the shower/gets dressed while the other does makeup. Her mother was very awkward about such things (my mom never even saw her underwear in the laundry!). My mom wanted to be more open and comfortable. It was never awkward for us. It helped me develop a positive body image. However, my younger sister (age 12) is much more conservative, and we both respect that. I think whatever you are comfortable with is fine!

Little Lovables said...

When my son was 3, he gave a full anatomy lesson to the cable guy and the dishwasher repairman. That is when I decided to be a little more modest around him!

I don't freak out if they see my changing, but my husband is way more strict about nakedness than me.

.aubrey c. said...

I wasn't raised that way so I dont really see myself being comfortable doing it either... we will see!

http://gandacummings.blogspot.com

Julie [FerociousOstrich] said...

I distinctly remember asking my dad when I was about three why he stuffed socks into his underwear...I'm pretty sure that's when he stopped wandering around in his tighty-whities :P

zoe said...

I had to make a comment on this one.... My mom and I have some of our most deep and emotional conversation when she takes a bath. She is a religious bath taker and we must ask at any hotel we go to if there is a bathtub in the bathroom! I was thinking of writing a book about all the advice she has given me from the bathtub. I left home when I was 19 but moved back last year for a temporary bit of time. At first I thought staying with my parents would be dreadful. But at the age of 36 I found that although not easy at times the talks I have with my mom when she's in the bath are some of my most beloved and cherished memories! I always wondered if anyone else in the world had this kind of experience! I'm thinking of writing a book about it... I have one very wise and spiritually tuned in mother! :)

Kate said...

Growing up we just had the one shower on the 2nd floor, so there was a lot of running around undressed. In addition, we put a sauna in the basement in the early 90's and my parents are religous about using it, but there's only been a shower down there for a few years so while I still lived at home they were constantly running up and down the stairs to rinse off! So I never really wondered or cared about body parts.

I remember running up the stairs at my friend's house in junior high and surprising her mom who was coming out of the bathroom in just her underwear. Her initial reaction was to cover herself up, but after a split second she just threw her hands up and said, 'eh, it's nothing you haven't seen before.' It was hilarious.

Colleen said...

My mom still walks around her room topless with us kids around. My dad has rarely ever been seen in anything less than his underwear.

Coté Writes said...

My mom walked around naked/got dressed in front of my sisters and me when we were growing up, and so did my dad occasionally. We lived in a very liberal, artsy community, so I can even recall spotting some of my neighborhood friends' parents in the nude. Now that I think about it, perhaps I was raised in a nudist colony and was just never aware of it. ;)

Anonymous said...

@zoe: Love your comment and would totally read your book. So get to writing!

shon't

Anonymous said...

My son is six and is just beginning to surreptitiously check me out when I'm getting out of the shower, or giggling when he sees me in my bra. But then again, we now get up, get dressed, get out the door to head to school, so it doesn't come up the way it does when you have a three-year old following you to the bathroom. I've always been pretty matter-of-fact about bodies, and have just continued to do so.

MY big question is, how does everyone handle the nitty-gritty of having your period with a little girl around? I half feel she should see what's in her future, and half feel it's too much information. How do you explain a tampon to a four year old? I'd LOVE to hear some theories on this one!

Anonymous said...

Another vote for zoe's book. I love seeing such sweet relationships between parents and children, maybe because I never had that myself, I live vicariously through it.

DENISE. said...

What a great topic! I love reading everyone's opinions and think the international comments are really interesting. I worked for a Finnish company (therefore Megan's comment really rang true). I would fret about being naked in front of co-workers at the retreats! There's something about Americans that is really unique to this situation. My husband is German so I think it will be interesting to see how it goes for us when we have children. It sounds like everyone makes a decision that's best for their own family and that seems like like a healthy way to go.

Arielle said...

I was just having a conversation about this with my boyfriend a few day ago! He did not grow up in a family that was ever naked in front of one another, and I was raised in family that was very comfortable with it. I took showers with both my parents until I was maybe 5. My mom and I are still very comfortable being nude in front of each other, but clearly my dad and I are not that way, that would be inappropriate. Although growing up, everyone in my family was comfortable walking around in their underwear around the house.

elisa said...

I'm totally open about my body, but my 19 month old is VERY curious about me when I'm not dressed. He points to my chest and says "boobahs!" and smiles. I try not to be totally naked in front of him (unless I absolutely need to take a shower), but I don't try to hide myself either.

On a related note, my parents had no problem being naked in front of my siblings and I. We used to take baths together, etc. Until, in preschool, I started drawing anatomically correct pictures of my parents. That was the end of that, and the beginning of my life as an artist.

thedirtyknitter said...

I think when your child starts feeling uncomfortable with you being naked, then it's time to cover up. My son just turned 3, around age 2 he started noticing parts, but then after he learned them, he just went back to not noticing.

Sarah Crosby said...

I am totally in the boat that everyone has to make whatever decision that is best for their family. I don't think there is any right or wrong, but for our family I think it would be fine until around 3 years. Like a commenter above I would be fine with bra and panties around my girls for longer but not the boys. I also wouldnt want my girls seeing my husband naked. I think it would scar a little girl.

Such fascinating topics! I just wrote a post about wet nurses and nuring other peoples babies. http://www.thecrosbyshowblog.com/2012/04/is-breast-really-always-best.html I love hearing everyone's different responses to subjects like these. So intriguing!

Aya said...

I completely agree with the second Anonymous at 3:27.

My parents went naked to and from showers and such all of my childhood and even now. I think it's important to model for children real bodies, comfort in our own skin, and that nudity can be completely separate from sexuality. There is nothing shameful about our bodies and to always cover up sends this message. I remember being fascinated with my mom's body when I was quite little. I was so curious if I would one day look like that as a woman. I think her showing me such natural ease with her body and never berating her body helped me to be at peace with my own body.

I think there is nothing wrong with the human body. The naked body can be many things and is inherently sexual. And if you can't be relaxed at home with your family, where can you be?!

Maike said...

For me it has never been a big deal. I grew up with my mum or dad having showers when I was in the bathroom as well. Same with my brother. And even now when I visit them (I'm 24) it happens that we are using the bathroom at the same time (brushing teeth and the other one has a shower).
So it's normal. Not a big thing at all.
I think I will do the same with my children. But I do think it is important to teach children to care about ther bodies and also not to be naked around just everybody.

Amanda Blair said...

I've wondered about this myself for so long. I don't have kids but I think about it for when the times comes. I still see my Mom naked and wouldn't care to change in font of her but I don't remember seeing my Dad naked, only underwear so he must have covered up around me early. I think naked bodies are a beautiful thing and shouldn't be shunned. Like many commentors mentioned it's a great way to start conversations about bodies and the difference between men and women. I never looked at it on how to portray a healthy body image but that is VERY Important to me, especially if I have daughters. My mom would always complain about being "too fat" and how she hated her body, and that got passed down to me. I've learned how to love my body on my own but I want to be sure to teach my daughter and son for that matter, how beautiful our bodies are not for the physical attributed but because of what they allow us to do. this was a wonderful and enlightening conversation...thanks Joanna!

Nicole said...

I come from an all-woman household and my mom was always naked in front of me and my sister. For pretty much my entire childhood and teens (which seriously became embarrassing in my teens but I think that's only because everything is embarrassing to a teenager. :) I never found it weird, though.

I'm really glad she was so open with us though, because I definitely felt comfortable with my body for much longer than a lot of my friends did (college ruined that with the freshman 15!) Plus, it makes for great stories, like the time when Mom fixed the kitchen sink butt naked (and we were 14)!

Joanna Goddard said...

brittany, my mom told my dad that too, once! she was like, you must keep the bathroom door shut now, they're too old :) i think we were in fourth or fifth grade.

marketa anna medas said...

hm, well, u know, if u will be naked with your a=kids together forever/:) hm, u will give them really your position to yourself and to themselves. you will show them that they are great as they are, don't need to be covered by masks. hm hope you will understand me. but its not about naked body, its not about dressed body, but about opinion and position how to talk about that! for me this is most important. fell free to take of your clothes:) big hugs darling!thank you for your great blog

Kari said...

I think it's wonderful to spend that 'skin' time with my kids. I still shower with all three of my children (5,3,1) But my husband does not shower with our girls (5,3) because it makes them all uncomfortable. I think that is fine. I probably won't shower with our son once he is old enough to be uncomfortable. I think though, familial nakedness is fine as long as people are comfortable- I showered with my mother even as a teenager. It saved fighting about hot water, and we had some of our most intimate discussions while showering (don't you feel that way in marriage, if you can be naked with someone, your feelings can be 'naked' as well?)

I also agree with comments about body image- my mother had the body of a woman who had born 4 children. I feel very comfortable with my body now, because I knew was a grown up real woman's body should look like. I am careful now to always speak positively of my body, because I want to make sure that my children not only see a healthy body but also hear that I love my body and all the amazing things it can do (like grow them) ;)

Anonymous said...

First of all, let me just start by thanking you so much for this blog. I send all of my friends links to it, and it has become one of the favorite things about my day: having my first cup of "jo" for the day accompanied by a fresh new post from.. acupofjo. So hello from Norway!

Even though we northern europeans are stereotypically a bit more.. modest, we are still quite relaxed I think. And growing up with former hippie-parents, nudity has never been an issue in our family. And I am so grateful, because having seen both my parents naked all my life... Its just no big deal! :) And I know that that has had a huge impact on me when I look at some of my girlfriends.

When we were kids, I remember running around naked in the back yard in the pouring rain, or if we stopped at a beautiful waterfall on a long family drive. But just.. never a big deal. Obviously when we were were starting to reach puberty we would cover up and lock the doors in the bathroom and our parents never commented on that either. But my mom always said if we were embarrassed by her french topless sunbathing that.. If they want to peek into my property, too bad for them if they are shocked. Its my house, its my body.

Also! Here it is also.. not frowned upon, but ... just not normal! For parents to put their little girls in bikini tops. Small kids always run around naked at the beach, and girls will often just wear a bikini shorts or bottom until.. 6-9 if they feel comfortable.

Let kids be kids! :) And for adults: Long live being comfortable and not making a big fuzz about our bodies.

Anonymous said...

I think the deciding factor should always be the comfort levels of the parents and children (and anyone else living in the house). I do agree that that small children need the message that their bodies are not something to be ashamed of, but I believe that an equally important message is that we are all entitled to whatever privacy and boundaries we need in order to feel comfortable. This is probably because I was raised in a house without as much privacy or personal boundaries as I would have been comfortable with. As a parent, I've said something alone the lines of "People feel different ways about being naked in front of big kids and grown-ups. I feel uncomfortable being naked because I like privacy" which is exactly how I feel. Granted, I've had to have this conversation about 100 times in a row per child, but their response has always been "Why?" and "Oh, I don't feel that way. You're weird Mommy!" I've also found this conversation usually occurs around the same time as "Putting your hands down your pants is ok in your room or the bathrooms but not at the grocery store/shopping mall/seder/library"...the list goes on. So "privacy" is a much discussed topic all around. And it gets WAY more intimate than nudity - wait until your 3-year-old asks loudly in the DMV why you won't sleep in his bed with him the way you do with Daddy. I'm sad to say I did not even get close to handling that one well!

As an aside, I took on the issue of using the bathroom in front of the kids much later because trying to deal with with the ever-shifting phases of separation anxiety was much, much worse than being embarrassed. Later I just said "Sorry, I really need to concentrate and it's hard to talk to you at the same time." They understood that one with no problem.

stephanie said...

I have a 13 year old daughter and a 16 year old son. It's not like my husband and I walk all around the house in the nude, but we have never been the type that hide our bodies. Our kids have grown up seeing us hop in or out of the shower... running to the grab a towel. Its so not a big deal at our house.

Ashley said...

My parents always covered up around me and I'm the opposite with my son. He won't leave me alone in the morning when I'm getting ready so I just go about my business. I probably won't do that once he's 3...I think by then he might remember things.

Old Housecoat said...

I walk around in the buff in front of my children, god and anyone else who cares to look almost every day. As a child the only person in my life that I saw nude was my grandmother (and much like another comment) and usually while she was bathing in her beautiful claw foot tube. I enjoyed those times with her immensely; the conversations about life and the differences and similarities of growing up in my time compared to hers, the garden that could be viewed from her huge bathroom window. I remember those scenes from my life, as if watching a beautifully filmed movie.
There is no reason why I walk around in front of the family nude. It isn’t so the kids feel better about their bodies or so they aren’t embarrassed by the human form. I think it’s more a matter of necessity. I’d never get out of the house in the morning if I spent time trying to cover myself between the shower and getting dressed and make-up and hair, laundry and cooking. Yes, I live in a circus - and yes, my creepy neighbor has seen me in my skivies. From the time I wake up to the time I leave the kids see me in various states of undress. I think they like it. My daughter asks me about my body which gives me a chance to let her know what she’s in for – good or bad! My son just likes the idea that we all have belly buttons.
My kids thoroughly enjoy being naked and bathing together although I don’t know how much longer that will go on they are now 3 (daughter) and 4 (son) years old.

And YES! I kiss my children on the mouth; they wouldn’t have it any other way – smooches!

Samantha said...

My parents were very open about nudity initially. We (my sister and I) showered with both of my parents until one day I embarrassed my father so bad that he completely cut off all family showers.

We were at the grocery store when I was about 3 and our usual grocery checker lady exclaimed "Samantha your hair looks so pretty!" because my mother had braided it. I smiled and said "my daddy washed it." my dad patted me on the head as the lady said "that's nice of your daddy." To which I responded "Yeah. He has fur." Pointing down to his nether region. My choice of fur instead of hair still cracks my father up to this day. He said I was so nonchalant while he stood there mortified. My sister who is a little less than two years younger than me got cut off from the nude fest before she could even begin to ask questions.

As for me and my daughter now, I don't even think about it. I bathed with her until she was a year old and now we take the occasional shower together. I also nursed her until she was 18 months, so really I don't think twice about "exposing" myself. She calls my boobs "bobs" and laughs so hard if I say it.

As for my husband, he's a little uncomfortable with it. I try to explain that it's not a big deal and that it's just body parts, but he just can't get over how little Maisie studies him as she catches a glance of his privates. I think it's funny.

Anonymous said...

Well, if the child is still nursing, it doesn't seem to make any sense to cover up your breasts at other times. Lots of people nurse 2-year olds. And, if the child is young enough (usually pre-verbal) that it is unlikely they are forming permanent memories, then I don't think there's a big deal.

My mother routinely went to the bathroom with the door wide open, and walked around in her bra and underwear... I don't know when/if she stopped, but I have vivid memories. My father would walk around in a t-shirt and tighty-whities but I don't recall him wandering around naked.

I think kids should grow up to be comfortable with nudity and not necessarily equate it with sex. But, nudity within a family - naked fathers around daughters, brothers around sisters, just strikes me as weird. Some people seem to go out of their way to be naked as a family just to prove the point that they're comfortable and enlightened. (One family I knew went so far as to get nude family portraits done when the kids were quite old.) I disagree with that. And, as bad as this may be, you have to be careful these days. Activist teachers and others may very well report a family if a kid says something which makes them suspect the kid if being molested, even when it's all totally innocent.

Anonymous said...

My son is two too and I don't think I will ever care myself about being naked...it's not a big deal at all.
And for my son I don't want any bodyparts to be covered in some kind of "mystery".

Maybe when he stops being a child and gets bothered by it himself? My son is very interested in all the parts-like I guess most 2 year olds are!- and want to know what they are- so I tell him. I'd much rather he finds out from me then anybody else. "Yes daddy and you look like that, mommy doesn't"

My parents were very open and liberal when we grew up, they got dressed in front of us, we had saunas together etc (I'm swedish)...I really don't see why it would be an issue if you have a healthy relationship.

Noor said...

This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately bc yes being naked as a mother is normal in front of our kids while young but so is teaching modesty in them.

My husband never was naked around our son and of course I think it would be impossible to a mom and not have to ever be naked. I can not close the door while I shower still and hes 4 bc I have to make sure hes okay and he follows me everywhere still. BUT soon I know its going to get weird no one wants to see their mom naked not a boy anyway.

I am starting to close the door while I change etc and not change around him after the summer anymore he will be going to school. My mom was naked around my brothers and I but we never saw our dad.

Kiley Kate said...

The rule in our house seems to be that if it's just me and my mom, being naked is fine. Otherwise with my dad and brother around the house the whole family wears underwear, whether it's to run and get laundry or going from our room to the shower. The most modest person in the family seems to be my brother who does not like nudity around the house. My mom's theory is "I wiped that butt for two years! Who cares if I see it?" I wouldn't have a problem being naked in front of my kids until they went to school, but underwear should suffice.

Anonymous said...

My parents and I have always changed in front of each other and wonder to and from the bathroom. I never felt uncomfortable. Like your friend me and mum often chat while one of us is in the bath - my mum was the same with my gran when she lived at home. When I was a teen my dad became more weary however we only have one bathroom with no and I take very long baths so it is not uncommon to have a bath in my house without someone coming in for a wee. A lot of my friend find this very odd and won't dream of it. I think it depends on how comfortable everyone is, I am an only child and I am very close to my parents so I think this is also a factor.

I live in the UK

Ashley Feader said...

I just blogged about this same topic because of an article published in the NYT by Aviva Rubin (a Canadian blogger I might add!). I grew up with nudity as a normal part of life and never really thought about it. I think I am comfortable with my body because of it, and I intend to be the same way with my children.

www.tenandthree.com

Amber said...

I have never walked around naked in front of my children who are now teenagers but I do remember when my mom and also my friend's mom would always walk around nude in front of us, I can't believe it looking back now but I just think they were comfortable and didn't think anything of it. I don't think there is anything wrong with it if that's what you are comfortable with, but I do believe there is an age you child would be where it would not be appropriate, that's just my opinion.

thalassamov said...

I remember bathing with my mom at the age of 3 and aksing her about pubic hair and breasts.Although a conservative greek orthodox christian herself,she took the time to explain how our bodies change while we grow up.
Still,we never had the bathroom door open,we never walked around naked,and I think it was good so.
When with my bf or by myself,I like beeing naked at home. It feels so natural but if we have children it will be "clothes on" again.

In saunas or spas we are naked around strangers,I don't mind. But being naked with friends or seeing families there,parents and adult children all naked together in a whirlpool or the steam room does make me uncomfortable. The bf doesn't mind though...
I guess we all carry our upbringing with us,no matter how much we change on the way.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add that I think there's a big difference between being naked around strangers (in bath houses, in gym locker rooms, etc.) and being naked around your family. Oddly, I (and I think many other people) are much more comfortable being naked around strangers. I can walk around a gym locker room totally naked (although out of respect for the other people, I limit the nudity to what is necessary.)

I don't think that Americans actually have the problem with nudity that people in other countries think we do. I think most adults, other than maybe really religious ones, are ultimately quite comfortable being naked around strangers. Once you've had sex, had gynecological and other medical exams (and maybe even given birth) and all that, you become more comfortable with nudity. You might not go out of your way to be naked (like at a nude beach) but it's not a huge deal. It's weirder to be naked around your family. Yes, you were born naked, but you were a tiny child without secondary sex characteristics.

janzi said...

WEll, this has certainly opened a lot of interesting takes on this matter!!!. I was not shy- neither was my husband- of being naked in front of the children, we had five together.. However when they got to being around 4, they wanted to be more discreet and changed in their rooms, and would ask us to cover up! However they did used to come and chat with me whilst I was taking a bath, and lock the door and sit and chat whilst the others waited their turn if they had something to say.. Being in a family of five, they needed me to be still and not doing other things!! All of them grew up not ashamed of their lovely bodies, so it all worked out well.. nudity is fine if it is treated in a natural normal way.. always !!

Chessa! said...

Of course every family is different and ours was very open...at least with my mom and sister. I don't ever remember seeing my father undressed but I'm sure that when we were babies he didn't cover up. To this day my sister, mother and I get undressed in front of each other and it's not even a question. We have full on conversations in the bathroom, dressing room, where ever.

Neither my husband nor I even think twice about being naked in front of our 21 month old but I'm sure that he's not going to do it much longer. She is very, very curious about our parts and I think that soon he's not going to feel comfortable in front of her. She's into pointing out all of our body parts and "boobies" comes after nose and chin but before belly button. It's really sweet and I think completely healthy. My house was not a "naked" house whatever that means but even today with all the women in my family, including my 80+ year old grandmothers, if we have to take off our clothes for whatever reason, we do it. And my baby LOVES being naked! Plus she's growing up with her two girl cousins and the three of them are always bathing together and changing diapers, using the bathroom, etc.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to me that no one who commented seems to come from a home where their parents didn't walk around naked in front of them. I saw my dad in his underwear and don't feel uncomfortable changing in front of my mom, but I have no recollection of ever seeing either of my parents entirely nude. Probably when I was really young, not old enough to remember. I have a hard time even being nude in front of my husband, except of course, during *bed time*. It's not that I'm ashamed of my body or anything, I'm not even 110 lbs. I guess I didn't grow up around it so it's not something I do. I wonder what I will be like when I have kids. Interesting thing to think about.

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

You always have the most interesting topics up for discussion, I love it!

I used to think that I would make sure to be fully clothed around my son once he was 2 or so, but he's three now and I'm not terribly worried about it. And I still shower with him occasionally - he just sits down and plays with toys anyways. I don't really remember my parents ever not being clothed, but my sister and I weren't shy around each other as kids. I think that there is no reason to hide bodies from our kids as long as no one is uncomfortable. I don't walk around butt naked or anything, but if my son is around when I am momentarily, that's ok.

Unrealistic bodies are plastered everywhere these days, so I think that if a boy sees his mother's body, a real body, then he will understand that there is a divide between reality and the media. I do think it would be a little strange having nudity between father and daughter, simply because we don't have a daughter, but I felt the same way about my son and I when he was an infant. But as a female, I think that it would be good for a girl to see her mother's body as a child. That way she understand what a woman's body is like and hopefully that would help contribute to a realistic body image for herself. In general, I think the reality and diversity of bodies shouldn't be so hidden.

Amanda said...

I was just talking to my husband about this yesterday. I'm pregnant and he was in the bathroom with the door open and commented that he wouldn't be doing that when the baby is born. He's French and grew up in a much more open household than I did. I don't think I've ever seen either of my parents totally naked and I think my mom's modesty issues were definitely passed along to me. I've always been shy and uncomfortable with a lot of nudity which is not something I want to pass along to my own daughter.

Kelly Jeanne said...

I don't have kids yet, but this is a really interesting question!

I'm not sure what my answer will be once I have little ones, but for now, I don't like the idea of waiting for an uncomfortable moment to decide that it's time to stop being naked.

Learning the importance of privacy is not the same as internalizing bodily shame.

It also seems that those who are more open with parent/child nudity are quick to label those who aren't as uptight and puritanical. Would they still do so if they were discussing anyone other than Americans? Why push so hard for more modest Americans to change their "flawed" views when it's important to respect the power that cultural norms has on all of us?

teamcowan said...

I'm a mom of three boys (5,3, and 6 months). I stopped showering with my oldest when he was about 3 years old, and stopped showering with the three year old a little sooner than that. I figured once they started pointing things out and gawking at things it was time to cover up a little more. I still use the bathroom in front of them (as if a mom even has the option not to!), and now that I'm nursing it's pretty normal for them to see my boobs. I laugh knowing that these boys will grow up knowing exactly what boobs are for. ;)
What really sealed the deal for me to cover up was when I was about 8 months pregnant and my three year old had seen me get out of the shower. He hadn't seen me naked for a while and I guess he was curious so he followed me into my room. I tried staying modest but he was insistent, so I just stood there (embarrassed). He looked at my boobs (that had grown significantly) and then pointed at them when both hands and doubled over laughing, slapping his knees and everything. Thanks. As if I wasn't already paranoid about the way I looked....

Elodie said...

I remember still taking baths with my mom until I was 6 or 7 and even after that, as a teenager, my mom would come home from work and change out of her work clothes while I hung out on her bed and we would chat about our day. It was just never an issue with us.

Elizabeth Benfield said...

what a great topic. so, my mom has always been overly modest. to the point of my sister and i would have been ashamed of our bodies had my aunt not been such a free spirit. to this day, my mother says she wants to be buried in what she dies in because the thought of someone undressing her is terrifying. anywho, my aunt is the opposite so i think my sis and i are a happy medium. when i have kids ... not quite sure. i guess until either them or me starts to feel uncomfortable.

Courtney said...

I never remember my parents being naked in front me (underwear though, yes), and I would never feel comfortable changing in front of my mom! even when I was learning to breastfeed, I made my mom leave the room.
I don't want that kind of relationship with my daughter (she's 4), and so I will walk around naked in front of her as long as she's comfortable with it. My husband feels a little weird about it, so he tries to avoid her seeing him naked, but he never makes a big deal out of it if she happens to see him. I think that's the most important thing-- no shame! I don't know if I'll feel differently around a boy (if i have one), but I imagine feeling the same, since I would want him to have the same view of normal, healthy bodies-- male or female.

redfrizzz said...

I can't remember when my father stopped joining in the naked house (we're a house of ladies), but I'm 25 and my mom STILL walks around naked at home.
It's healthy, it's home. I never felt uncomfortable, threatened, or weird about it. And I like to think I have a pretty confident self body image today.

leah said...

i take showers with my little one who is only 11 months old and i don't have a problem with it. my husband and i both walk around the house in our underwears and don't have a problem with that either. my husband doesn't feel comfortable naked in front of our daughter, even though i have told him that she isn't going to care about his penis. it's just his level of comfort.

we try to use the correct names for body parts. as a nurse i think it is important to know what parts of your body are called and how they work. i am fine with my daughter walking around in diaper/underwear/whatever in the confines of our home until she is no longer comfortable doing so. i want her to be comfortable in her home.

however, when guests are here, you need to cover-up.

TanyaMac said...

My little boy is 19 months old and i'm wondering the same thing! At the moment he's more fascinated with my make up routine so I'm happy if he is! ;)

Sarah said...

My son is nearly 2.5 and I have no probs being naked in front of him. My hubby on the other hand already feels a little shy being naked in front of him. I'm not sure when it will be but I'm sure there will come a time when it will feel inappropriate to be naked in front of him, especially since he's a boy. As for me and my mom, I'm Korean and Korean day spas (very much like American spas except people aren't as covered up) are very much a part of the culture, so we go to spas and get naked together pretty often! ;)

Flora A. said...

I think about this a lot! Growing up my whole family was very very private! so I grew up thinking that was normal. But me and my husband very rarely wear clothes around the house... So I've been wondering how things will change once our baby girl comes into our lives. Great topic! I had fun reading everyone's comments.
I think it's interesting to see what others consider normal.

Kelly R said...

HA! My dad was totally the dad that walked around in his underwear in front of my friends! I never even batted an eye! I usually put it this way to people that think it's weird that I'm so ok with being naked in front of pretty much anyone - we only had one bathroom growing up. There were four of us who had to get ready in the morning so there was no locking the bathroom door. We were always in and out, naked or not. Plus, I think we (my family) are just a bunch of exhibitionists at heart!

Danielle Hardy said...

My first born is 5 now and I stopped being naked around him when he was 4.5 and started pointing and looking really in depth at me :) lol now that my second is 3 I don't walk around because he follows suit after his brother and it makes for quite the embarrassing moment having them stand and point at me while laughing.. haha

Mary said...

I recently became a little more modest around my 6 year old son. His stares were lingering a little too long, in the wrong places!
So I'll still let him see me in my underwear, but not so much stark naked.
Unfortunately this has had the adverse effect of making him more modest around me, and now he refuses to be stark naked in my presence. It actually makes me really sad and wonder if I've done the right thing?

Danielle said...

also, my friends daughter once pointed at her dad and asked "Mommy, why does daddy have a tail on his gina?" pretty sure that was the last day he was naked in front of her ;)

Bananarama said...

Why not??? There's nothing malicious with my two little guys...but, down the road maybe when they are like 7 or 8...I might pass.

sip-n-wear said...

haha ew.. i'm sorry, but i would never and have never walked around naked in front of my baby. he's only 13 months now, but i don't want him to remember anything about his mother being naked!? my parents have never walked around naked in front of me either... it's just weird.. ok my mom not so weird, but i don't even want to think about my dad naked... gross... i think moms should cover up asap in front of their sons and dads asap in front of their daughters... i just feel like it might be traumatizing to remember the visual... yuck!

urbnfemme said...

I don't know what I would do with my own child, but I remember telling my mother that I was "too old" for shared baths around age five, so maybe it's something that happens naturally?
Either way, I agree -- that photo is so sweet!

Lisa said...

Once again a very interesting topic! Being Swedish (or actually Swedish-Finnish) I am completely relaxed about being naked and having my parents naked around me. My mum AND my dad still walks around naked at home after showers or before going to bed or just while changing. Me and my sister have always been running around naked at home (again, when changing or after a bath etc.) and we are both very comfortable with our own and other peoples nudity.

I have a niece who is 13 (who is covering herself up as she is in puberty and not completely confident and happy about all the changes in her body) and a nephew who is 6 and doesnt care at all. I do shower and change in front of them and it has never bothered either me or their parents. I do change and shower in front of almost anyone, but not male relatives or friends. It just doesnt feel right. Female friends, relatives and children (both girls and boys)? No problem

Thank you, Sauna culture!

Emma said...

Jo,

Maybe it is a free-spirited upbringing, and maybe it is a childhood in Europe (though we are American), but I am 27 and my mother is still totally comfortable changing in front of me, sitting in the sauna together, etc. I think this is a distinctly gender-shaded discussion though - I would find it quite odd if my dad was running around in his birthday suit!

On the whole though, I appreciate that my mother is as comfortable as she is in her own skin. I guess if nothing else, I am acutely aware of what I will look like in 30 years time!


Emma

emmaswift.tumblr.com

Ellegra said...

Until the day my aunt died she walked around naked. When I go visit she would walk around the house butt naked even sometimes in front of my cousins friends. she didnt care, her house. she always said a body is a body is a body. she was VEERRY comfortable in her skin and I think it taught us all to embrace our bodies. We didnt grow up thinking it was weird at all because it was normal to us.

Beatrix said...

My parents emigrated here from Hungary before I was born and walked around naked freely while I was growing up. I have a very healthy relationship with nudity and I think a lot of it stems from my parents' relationship with nudity.

In jr. high school I was the only student who showered after gym class and the other girls in class were horrible to me. Looking back on it, it was evident that they were extremely uncomfortable with my lack of discomfort. I wasn't flaunting my nudity, I would walk to the most remote shower head in the locker room, turn my back to the room and do a quick rinse, lather rinse. You wouldn't believe how mean kids were over me taking a shower. I went through 2 years of jr. high with taunts of "lesbian!" screamed at me for the simple act of showering after class. I wish schools still required kids to shower, I think it instills a sense of paranoia and shame about bodies to coddle kids the way we do about nudity.

I visit Korean spas occasionally and rarely do I see other white women participating. Most areas of the spa are nude-only and for the first few minutes it's odd, but then you get over it. I think it's a shame to equate nudity with sexual desire and treating the body like it's something that needs to be covered up and hidden is unhealthy and promotes a sense of insecurity and shame.

Kids are curious about bodies and it's natural, I think you're doing the most natural thing! Go with your gut on this, if you start to feel like you want to cover up, do it because you feel like it, not because of a societal norm.

Nina Leung said...

Great comments so far. It's so interesting how differently everyone feels!

As for me, I want to be naked in front of my two sons for as long as possible. I don't want to be ashamed and I don't want them to be either. I like what Anonymous said about Japan and "skinship". What a great term for just hanging out and being comfortable with your body and not caring. That's how it should be!

Great topic, Joanna!

vegiebug said...

It's a running joke in my family that my mum is forever naked! It's always been that way and it doesn't bother me at all. There's never been a point when it made me feel uncomfortable, because it's just a body, and it's normal and everyone has one!

Jaime Lee said...

Haha, moms never get alone time, whether in the bathroom or shower. They always seem to need your attention right away. Who cares, not a big deal, being naked in front of your children.

Nicole said...

I have always been fairly modest, but with my own kids I am totally not. A few years ago I began to wonder if I should start enforcing a little more privacy, and decided that I would take my cues from the kids. They are still happy to wander around starkers, but only with family. I am glad they are comfortable with their bodies, and glad they know what a woman's body looks like in real life, after growing and breastfeeding three babies. (I do seek a little more privacy now than I used to, but if someone walks in on me when I'm naked, I don't hide or act ashamed.) They are all boys, and I hope to raise men who treasure and respect women in all shapes and forms.

Anonymous said...

As a kid who grew up with parents who made me and my siblings feel weird about our bodies, I don't think the big issue is whether you are nude or not but how you handle it, no matter what. If you decide to walk around nude, I think it can be great as long as everyone is comfortable. My sister, at almost 30 years old, can't even go to a nude spa with her best friends. But if you decide to cover up, just make sure your kids know that there isn't anything wrong with being nude, just that everyone feels differently about it.

Tragic Sandwich said...

I'm comfortable with Baguette seeing me nude, I'm just not comfortable with her poking at me when I am. But I don't tend to walk around the house naked anyhow; when it's just us I may lounge around in underthings, but I'm usually wearing something.

Marie-Eve said...

I have to boys 4 and 1 1/2. Most morning I'm half naked while getting ready, and so is my husband. We all feel pretty comfortable that way. I might also take my bath with the boys. I think once they are older that might get unappropritate, but I'm thinking I will know when the times comes from their reactions

But I definitely wouldn't feel comfy with other kids than mine.

Anonymous said...

I've commented twice, expressing the general idea that it's no big deal to be naked, but that at the same time, "that butt I wiped for two years," is NOT the same butt when the kid is 25.

I just want to add ... while they're "just bodies and everyone's got one," the most visible characteristics of adult bodies ARE sexual. People develop secondary sex characteristics for sexual attraction and reproduction. Breasts are for feeding babies AND attracting men (or women.) Genitals are for intercourse. So while I am comfortable being nude around strangers on beaches and at the gym, I still have this lingering thought that nudity past puberty is NOT the same as nudity as a young child. I think there are reasons to cover up around opposite sex family members and I'm not uptight or puritanical.

megan said...

My mom was very open with nudity. I grew up with my step-dad who would be in his tight whites but never full nudity. My husband and I are fine with being naked in front of our 3 year old. I plan on keeping it that way, although I`m sure at some point he will be the one that does not want to see it

goodnightstars said...

my mom has always walked around naked after her shower, while she does post-shower stuff...except she would make sure she wasn't naked around my brother when he started saying things like, "GROSS, MOM!" haha. but she never cared when it was just my dad or me around.

Sydney said...

When I was growing up I had two very different experiences, as my mom and my dad split when I was two, so two houses=two sets of rules. At my dads house I distinctly remember a conversation that he and my step mom had with my step brother and I about how we were all going to stop showing together (because up until then thats what we did because I hated the shower) and never again were we all nude in front of each other, to be honest though I'm not so much a fan of "that family" so no biggie. On the other hand, at my moms place it was totally fine to be naked as much as I wanted and as much as she wanted. The thing that she tells me about that is that she answered all of my questions no matter how uncomfortable it made her and with no connotations in her tone of voice and no other explanations. Still to this day its no big deal to be naked around each other and I think thats good. I also have a very good self image and I love my body, I think that is a result of the way my mom dealt with nudity and the body in general.

Anonymous said...

Sure, comfort in one's own skin is an important lesson to teach a child. However, I don't think walking around nude is a good way to convey it.

LV said...

I don't anymore because now my son is old enough to know what he's looking at. When children are babies and toddlers it is fine, and if they are the same sex as you (such as mothers and daughters) it is ok for years to come, but when you are a woman raising a boy, I think you need to be a bit more careful about covering up. Especially when they are old enough to know what they are looking at.

Marion. said...

Hi Joanna ! That's an interesting topic indeed...
I think I've never seen my parents completely naked, but I can remember sharing the bathroom with my mom and my older sister until I was around 9-10ish. We only had one bathroom and it was sometimes hard to get all ready on time when we had to leave at the same time. My mom usually kept an underwear but I think getting used to some kind of nudity made me feel less self-conscious whenever I have to undress privately or at a doctor's. Then again, I am from France and I don't know how the Americans usually deal with this issue, but for me, nothing shocking ! :-)
Have a nice week ! xx

Meredith said...

My parents were never naked or even semi-naked around me, in any of my memories. I don't think I even saw my dad shirtless until I was 12 years old!
I agree with Jessica about teaching privacy and safe body boundaries. My parents always taught this, and I knew from a very early age what was ok and what was not ok. Now, I am a stepmom to two girls (9 & 11) who spent most of their childhood living with their often naked mother, but now live with their clothed father & me. We were recently on the subway and I noticed an older man looking at the 9 yr. old a bit too closely, and when I glanced at her I saw that she was sitting cross-legged in a skirt and her underwear was on full display. This freaked me out, but I also didn't feel like it was time to explain to her what pedophiles are. I just told her to sit with her legs down, and the man got off at the next stop. I explained to her later that the world doesn't need to see that, even though it's ok at home. It's much harder to teach these things to older kids who haven't grown up with any body boundaries.

On the flip-side, I don't have any sort of negative body image from growing up with my clothed parents. In addition to teaching me about privacy and body safety, they also taught me to love and respect myself as I am. This is the approach I would take with my own children.

Jessica said...

I will take a different perspective on the matter...

For a very long time, my mother would come into the dressing room with me while I tried on clothes. She had no problem with nudity and in fact thought it was her "right" to see my body. I was a more private person and felt very uncomfortable. She often made comments about my changing size and body, which to a sensitive kid were very damaging.

So, respect your child's sense of privacy if they want to cover up in front of you! And always be nice to them about their bodies.

Mollie D said...

I think it's hilarious that you have to have the water one when you pee, but walk around naked in front of your kid! I walk around naked in front of my 2 year old, but like you, am realizing that window is closing quickly.

Olya said...

I grew up with a very natural approach to it, and so we took it with our son. He's 8, and does not think twice about a naked body- its just what is natural like for him. When we went to art galleries, the met and other places around the world, he never ever had a giggle when seeing nude art - but he talks about how amazing pieces are. He also raised his eyebrows when his toddler sister giggled at her bum ( that she's apparently discovering) an then said " what is funny? It your body..." Now she doesn't giggle either. I like European approach and hope my kids take it from me and give it to their kids in future.

Olya
www.livingnotesfromnyc.com

Sara said...

Design Mom had an interesting post on nudity and children after visiting a topless beach in France:
http://www.designmom.com/2011/08/design-mom-asks-topless-beaches/

My parents were hippies so I grew up with nudity being normal. I think when we hit puberty they scaled it back, but as an adult I still see them in their underwear occasionally and they see me.

It actually made it easier for me recently because I'm a new mom and still getting the hang of breastfeeding. I didn't feel uncomfortable trying to get my baby to latch in front of my parents or feel like I had to cover up.

Adélie said...

Hi,

I've often wondered about this myself... I'm only 22, I am certainly not considering having any children before a good few years ; but my parents' behaviour on this particular issue has pointed out many question from an early stage.
To set the scene : we're French and we've spent a lot of our vacation in Finland, where being naked is not only ok, it's normal. Although I never thought it weird as a kid, it became problematic when growing up, as there was absolutely no privacy around the house. My dad would not understand why walking around the house naked could become a problem in front of his two teenage daughters, nor would he understand that we didn't want to take baths with him or my mom anymore, nor walk naked in the house ourselves... It also was embarassing as my father is so careless on that issue that he would not pay attention when we had friends over...
Weird, let me tell you !

I still think that being brought up that way I feel more at ease with my own body, and I have no problem being naked now. However I wonder when the parent from the other gender should stop. In my case I should think towards 7/8 years old when a child becomes conscious of the gender divide ?

Of course, I'm only speaking from a personal experience, and I don't have any children myself... Who knows what I will think in 10 years time when/if I become a mom ?!

Thanks for bringing this up !

Mumma Dearest said...

Being naked in front of my little girl has never even crossed my mind as something to think about, we shower and bathe together daily and she is always with me as I am getting changed...or going to the loo (privacy please!!).

I do remember my Mum would still sit on the lounge in only a short nighty when I was a teenager and that made me very uncomfortable. Not that I ever sit on the lounge like that but I guess that gives me a timeline of until she is a teenager... I wouldn't want her to feel how my Mum made me feel.

One said...

We have a 3.5 yr old girl, and a 2 yr old boy, and they love taking baths with us. Frankly, I prefer to bathe alone, just because I relish the peace and solitude. But it makes me happy that we're all comfortable in our own skins. My grandparents are Hungarian, and I spent a lot of time there growing up. They have a very different, far less prudish, perspective on the human body, which I appreciate. I hope my kids can develop a real sense of propriety and modesty, but also be at ease with themselves.

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

My parents were never even remotely undressed around us kids (there were seven of us) and were very careful to display modesty.

I respect that method but don't mind being naked around my 1 1/2 year old yet. I think the sign for me will be when he starts to notice. I'm pregnant right now with my second son and I doubt he'll see nearly as much of my skin since my first will be older. Maybe with daughters it'd be different but I don't want to be inappropriate with my boys at all.

Jam Oblina said...

I think that it's ok to be naked when your kids are just toddlers. I mean sometimes I take a bath with my kid because I couldn't find any other time to do a solo bath. So, we are both naked in the shower. But of course when he grows up, there should be privacy. Say, when he is already going to school.

http://jamwordscrolls.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

for a parent of the opposite sex, i would say probably around the age when the child vividly remembers things. some sights just can't be unseen, ya know? and who really wants a mental image of their dad/mom's naked parts anyway?

Jillian Scott said...

I am a very modest person but am oddly comfortable walking around naked in front of Wy. However, I agree that as he gets older the window closes as well. I think that walking around in your bra and underwear or thin robe, may be a possibility for me. I remember my mom doing that and it was never weird.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 8 and still sees both my husband and I naked. I'm more open with her - she sees me in the shower, getting dressed, etc. My husband is more conscious of covering up but if she sees him naked, whatever. No big deal. She still runs around in front of both of us in private but is already becoming modest in public, and that has nothing to do with me. I think your personal comfort with nudity develops naturally, and you can teach your children to be respectful of their and other people's bodies without covering up!

Anonymous said...

I have never seen my parents or brother naked. I can count on one hand the times I've seen my father or brother in their underwear. With my mom, it's different, I'm a girl so we're comfortable being around each other in our underwear. But I cannot even fathom seeing my parents naked! And I'm not sure I want to! I am not ashamed of naked bodies, but the thought in my head is "Those are my parents!"....which I guess is to say that I can't see my parents in that light? Who knows...I've been in therapy for a few years already so maybe this is a topic I should add =).

But I have a 2 yo & I am naked in front of him (I bring him into the bathroom with me when I shower). Who knows when this will end. But my absolute favorite is when my son runs around our house "buh naked" (as he calls it) when he's done with his bath. I find it so beautiful, spontaneous & free & I love observing this time in him that is free of inhibitions.

Keri said...

This is very interesting to me also. I grew up in two households (divorced parents), although neither parent tried to hide nakedness in any way. But my mother was perpetually on a diet, and was/is pretty food disordered, so I unfortunately internalized her poor body issues. I have two daughters (3 and 6), and my husband and I are naked around them whenever we would be naked in front of each other -- showering, using the toilet, changing etc. There's no hiding bodies in our 800 square foot apartment! I hope like crazy that my girls, who are now so comfortable with their bodies and their nakedness that they change into dress ups and swim suits and whatnot in front of their friends, continue to be comfortable with those bodies.
I started early to talk about how important privacy is and how their own special bodies have private parts that they have control over. (That others should not be touching them, etc). Also, that different people want different levels of privacy.

Anonymous said...

I have a 14 month old son that I still breastfeed and also am naked around....I often let him play in my bathroom cabinet while I get dressed, apply makeup, etc. in the mornings. I also something have to use the bathroom with him in the bathroom with me which I dislike more than being naked in front of him.....My mom was naked in front of me all the time up until I was 8 or 9....

Brit said...

Ha. Oh yes, my little man is almost 2 years old. The last few months I have caught myself running into the closet to change as he walks in. Just because he has been pointing out my belly button (which is fine), but when he points and laughs and my breasts thats when I started running for the closet. HA! Although, sometimes it is impossible to get changed before he comes in the room.

Brit said...

Ha. Oh yes, my little man is almost 2 years old. The last few months I have caught myself running into the closet to change as he walks in. Just because he has been pointing out my belly button (which is fine), but when he points and laughs and my breasts thats when I started running for the closet. HA! Although, sometimes it is impossible to get changed before he comes in the room.

Chelsey N said...

This initiated a fascinating convo with my husband (we're still sans kiddos). I took baths with my mom until 6 or 7 and I remember fondly scrubbing her back. I have no memory of ever seeing my dad naked. I do think sex (male v. female) makes a difference.

Emily said...

I'm almost twenty, and my mom has been naked in front of my younger sister and me my whole life. People occasionally have strong reactions to this when I talk about it, but it doesn't bother me at all. I really appreciated growing up in a home that was open about bodies and nudity.

Since it's an all-female household other than my dad, though, it's different with my dad. My mom says he was naked around us as children, but I have no memory of it. That being said, he's frequently in boxers only, and I consider that clothed.

Em said...

I remember many happy childhood chats with my mother while she soaked in the bath and I sat on the floor or on the toilet seat. She distinctly remembers me telling her, "Mummy, your tummy really is jellyish" when I was three years old! I still can't live this down.

Dhila B said...

I was always comfortable doing it when Treyton was little but I do it less and less now that he is 6 years old and he started bringing his friends home unannounced or as I catch him get blushed when he sees me naked or he'll say "Mom, put some clothes on!" or "Mom, I can see your boobies" and started gigling.

I think it really depends on your comfort level and your child's comfort level and I think you should watch their reactions as they grow older.


http://hydropackulicity.blogspot.com/

Liz Wilson said...

Both my parents still walk around naked in front of me! (I'm 26.) Although funnily enough, I don't remember ever feeling comfortable walking around naked in front of them.

Tess said...

My mom, sister, and I have always shared a small bathroom, so we have always been naked in front of each other! I'm 20, and still when I go home, one of us will jump in the shower or go to the bathroom while the others are dressing or doing their hair, makeup, etc. My 16 year old sister has always been more self-conscious, and used to tell us not to look when she was undressing ;) We both showered with our dad until about age 3, and I made a comment at a party about "daddy's hanging down butt" haha! And that was the end of that. He still walks around the house in boxers, but everyone in my family would be uncomfortable if he wore less! I think it would probably be the other way around if my parent's had boys instead of girls.

I'm assuming it will probably be the same when I have children: I would love to be comfortable being naked with girls, but I don't think I will be comfortable being completely naked in front of boys, past 3 or 4 years old. We'll just have to see!

Alyssa said...

Great topic. I have two sons, the oldest being almost 5. We still go naked with the kids and don't think much of it.

I remember reading once that you should watch your child's behavior, that when they start to act embarrassed and cover themselves, that's when you should consider doing the same. I thought that was some pretty great advice.

MJ said...

Ha! This post reminds me of an awesome story that my uncle (who is 6'7") tells about my cousin. When my cousin was 6 or 7, my uncle (his father) was dropping him off at Sunday school (super evangelical church, as it were), and the teacher exclaimed, "Wow! You have gotten so tall!" To which my cousin answered, "I know, I'm as tall as my dad's penis now!"

I am not concerned that my 15 month old son sees me naked. I have a feeling that he will let me know if/when he feels uncomfortable with it. I grew up in a home that was comfortable with nudity, but my husband is the opposite...

Sarah said...

My husband and I don't have any qualms about being naked in front of my kids, a 6 year old boy and 3 year old girl. They take baths together nightly and see mom and dad getting in/out of the shower and getting dressed daily. Its just not a big deal. They've both showered with Daddy/Mommy too. I think often kids start getting more concerned with privacy around age 8 I'll just follow their lead. My mother will still dress in front of me and vice versa. I remember distinctly seeing my father naked as a young child. He started closing doors and putting on boxers before opening up when my older sister got into upper elementary school.

Jeanette said...

My son is ten months...and I've thought some about this topic since having him. I don't know when things will have to change but part of me is sad thinking of it. Since he was born I've been so struck by the beautiful, innocent nature of those naked mama/babe` moments! Nursing. Bathing. Etc.

Annie said...

My parents were both very modest when I was growing up, and I never got the sense that it was because bodies were something to be ashamed of. Instead, I got the idea that your body is something that is yours alone, and it's okay to keep it private. And they were always very up front about body terminology--no cutesy terms for anything, which I appreciated.

Coco Jam said...

I have a 4-year old son and we used to take a bath together and I dress and undress with him inside the room. It is just recently that I began limiting him seeing me without clothes because he will be schooling. I guess when a child starts to go to school, it is the time that parents should gradually start being not naked in front of the kids.

Marty J. Christopher said...

This is such a great topic and one I've often thought about, too! Growing up, my dad wore a robe or his boxers and an undershirt. But he's always worn a robe (in fact, the crazy, old man *still* wears the one he had when I was a kid). I guess, that makes sense to me, since I was a girl and my older sister was in the house, too. My mom, though, always stalked around the place in her undershirt and girdle or bra and pantyhose. Not so much in front of my brothers, but more so in front of my sister and me. Later, when it was just my mom and me in the house, she seemed to roam more freely! : ) She also never minded if I came into the bathroom while she was taking a bath. Somewhere up there a girl, Zoe, talked about talking to her mom while she was in the bath and I did that, too, growing up!

If I had children, I would probably stop parading naked or in my underwear with a boy, but if I had a girl, I'd probably be like my mom. Honestly, it made bodies and sex less weird for me. And I never really thought it was weird until years ago, when I remember talking about this with a friend. He was an only child and he thought it was totally insane that my mom walked around in her underwear/naked in front of me. I thought it was weird his parents stayed clothed all the time! I don't know if it's because I'm from a big family that grew up in a condo in the city or what, but walking around in your underwear was kind of not that weird in my house. My brothers still walk around me in their underwear if we're on a trip or at my mom's place. We just have no shame, I guess. : )

bamagirl3525 said...

My dad has always kept his bottom half covered up since I asked about his "elephant trunk" around age 4, but my mom, my younger sister and I are comfortable in most any stage of dress around each other even as adults. The three of us bathed together until I was 10 or so, which was great for bonding and logistically easy on my mom. My sister continued to bathe in the tub with mom til a little later (a little too old, in my opinion [14ish]) but they continued to have bath time together b/c my parents had a separate tub and shower. Mom would bathe in the tub and Sis would shower and they would just talk and talk. I stopped bathing in front of them at all sometime in late middle school or early high school, because that was when I stopped feeling completely comfortable doing so. I think it would have been very different if my parents had only boys or a son and daughter -- probably the semi-dressed roles would be flipped. But my dad is also incredibly modest (he gets uncomfortable when couples on a network TV show kiss!) so he might not have been so relaxed with boys.

Anonymous said...

For my entire life my mom jokingly referred to the bathroom as her office. We still have our most serious conversations there and I'm 27. It never occurred to me that others might find that weird or that she needed more privacy. I assume that if I'm ever a mother it will be the same way for me. I'm curious now as to what my fiancé thinks...I'll have to ask him!

Carol said...

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Anonymous said...

Such a good topic. I grew up in a pretty conservative catholic family, so the most I saw of my parents naked was the occasional bra and panty. However, my husband grew up in a totally nude friendly family (Germans) and he still comfortable being naked around them. When we go to their house he still swims in the pool naked:-) And really early in our relationship he brought me to a nude beach like it was not big thing. Ha! Now I have adjusted and think it is great that he is so comfortable in his skin. And I think it makes him appreciate a NORMAL female body and not just the images of perfect model bodies in the magazines.

ali said...

we're naked around our 1.5yr old son a lot and i don't see anything wrong with it. hopefully it will teach him comfort, awareness, understanding and non-judgement through example. when he starts questioning what he sees, we will answer. he notices the similarities between him and his dad and he thinks my boobs are funny (he forgets that he only stopped nursing a couple months ago). and soon he will have a little sister. the only caveat is that my son is obsessed with belly buttons and when i don't have my shirt he loves poking mine, which is my only tickle spot. he gets such a kick out of that.

RobynC said...

I stopped around 2.5, but he still see's me nurse his little brother at 4. I'm not sure if I need to stop that or if it's OK though!
http://knownitwasyou.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a "naked house" (ie. no real attempt at coverage between family, even between opposite sex family). It never struck me as odd. But, my husband, not so much. His mom put on a bath robe upon exiting the pool.
While we were watching my 2 nephews for the weekend, I ended our day at the beach with a hearty, "OK Everybody in the shower!" my nephews, then 4 and 6, stripped down, as did I and we washed off the sand and salt together.

Afterward, my husband said, "aren't they a little old for that?" It had never occurred to me. "We're family!" I responded. I know that my sister (their mom) and their dad would agree (they laughed, kindly, latter when I told them of my hubby's concern), so I felt no weirdness and my nephews certainly didn't mind. So there you go, every family has its norms. I think, baring abuse, children only are disturbed when you deviate from the family norm.

Anonymous said...

I still sit cross legged on my parent's bathroom counter while my mum takes a bath. I'm much more private than she is though. The only time I've ever seen my father naked is when he forgets that the blinds are open and changes in front of his window. Our house is shaped like a U and I can see if I glance out my bedroom window!

Sarah K said...

Thank you!! I am so glad you asked... and to hear all points of view.

I have a very firm answer, though. YES! Be naked in front of your children! Please, please, please!

I am a 16 year old girl and I walk around naked in front of my immediate family often. My parents have been very open about bodies and nakedness my entire life. I even took showers with both of my parents up until I was about 12 (?... that's a guess). It has been SO important in how I view my body and the bodies of others. In addition, I go to a girls summer camp without running water, so we all bathe naked together in the lake. This has also helped me feel comfortable with my body and think less about people judging it.

For boys, I think that seeing their family naked can help them not view womens bodies in an objectified light. For girls, I think that you can never start too early showing us how comfortable and proud you are of your body and our bodies. It is never too early to start preventing eating disorders; show them how you embrace your strong, healthy body, with or without "flaws".

Also, your children will not feel comfortable naked around you if you don't feel comfortable naked around them (even if they're still 5). You show them what's "normal", "acceptable", and "comfortable".

Leo said...

My parents weren't flaunting themselves naked but it was the same as you describe. Getting dressed and showering was not a problem, casual stuff you know? We always respected each others privacy and doors were some times closed but never ever locked. And one must always knock before coming in! When I tell friends that my parents were some times naked around me when I was little, they are often a bit shocked. I have a friend for example that has never EVER seen her dad naked, not even once, not even by accident. I could not relate :-)

Anonymous said...

I once heard a young girl say to her mum in public something about seeing her mum's breasts and pubic hair. It was extremely audible to all who were around, and inside I was just thinking "Oh my God, that poor mum, having to explain in public this stuff to her kid" but to my amazement she didn't get even the slightest bit embarrassed - just made it educational - "That's right, we're mammals, mammals have hair and we feed our young with milk, and one day your body will do the same". It was awesome.

glimmersnaps said...

This makes me laugh!

My son is 14 months and I hide from him when I'm changing my clothes.

Why?

Because when he sees the boobies, he wants MILK right then and there!

But of course he sees me when we are nursing, like, ten times a day ;) I think after he weans (I'm hoping around 2) then I will be less likely to change in front of him. I mean, if it's not a matter of necessity (like you live in a one-room home) why do it?

Anonymous said...

I remember as a nice thing being a kid, during summer holidays mostly, to shower at the same time as my mum, because it made me feel safe and closer, as a baby, and also it made me happy to day dream how I would be when I grew up, so I guess I was learning and it was good for me, plus I really admired -and still today- my mum so wanted to be all like her. Even now I feel curiosity seeing my mum, in a learning way, I think it is embedded in us as human beings, that before we had books we learned from each other and teached each other.

Anonymous said...

my son is 8, i still change in front of him. if he feels uncomfortable, he leaves the room. he doesnt point or make comments so i am ok with it. he, on the other hand doesn't want to change in front of us. he is the more discreet one in our home. we have never made a big deal about anything that has to do with body parts except for explaining the usual. no one can touch him in a way that makes him uncomfortable, etc. only mom and dad and the dr.

mischy said...

web design quote


Hello. This picture is so nice. Mother and son bonding. Walking around naked in front of your children is not an issue but don't overdo it.

Nora said...

intersting topic that i discussed lately with some girlfriends... I never had a problem being naked in front of my mum. My dad, um no. But My parents don't care at all, naked from the shower to the upstairs bathroom - no problem at all :)

A. (Ana Carolina) said...

Hi!

This is interesting...
I have no recollection how it was with my parents until my brother was born... (I guess it was so natural for me that I didn't really think about it... they were my parents... they saw me naked, so if it happened that I saw them naked it was just natural, family thing...)

When my brother was born, I was 8, and I was concerned because I had friends with brothers and they all seemed a bit fixated in seeing us naked, even their sisters...
So, my parents were like "we are a family, so we shouldn't be ashamed of our bodies..." and so on... and so it was.
Is not like me and my brother walked naked in the house, but if it happened to need to use the bathroom while one is under shower, we had no problem... and in fact, I didn't even lock up.. (unless it was number 2)

Now... that I am a mother is the same. I have no problem is changing in front of my kid (of course he is still only 10 months... but I will keep this line...)
He is my son, we are a family and I think we shouldn't be hiding...
I even take shower and bath sometimes with him...
(which was really funny other day since he started pointing at my nipples... wondering around - I had to stop breastfeeding when he was 3 months... this is for another story)

So, that's it... for me is just natural inside family!

xx,
A.

Charli said...

my dad - no, my brother may possibly have seen him naked in some changing room or perhaps seen his bits in communal urinals, but with our mum it's different, whenever we had problems and needed to talk to her, the perfect time always seemed to be when she was sat in the bath! Not sure she was too pleased we invaded her time, I am 25 and we still get ready around each other. I dont think we'd walk around starkers, but topless yea of course, who cares!

Polly said...

My parents still walk around naked in front of me, and I'm 21! Even my dad. I find it a bit embarrassing with him, but I appreciate that they were open with me as I grew up. Of course I stopped walking around naked before puberty! But I am English and maybe it's more normal here.

Alicia Stucky said...

We have an older daughter whose almost 12, so we tend not to let it all hang out anyway, lol… But I started covering up around my son at about the same time that I started teaching him that his body is special and private. I never made a huge deal out of it or told him that he “couldn’t” see me naked, I just started naturally being more aware of the fact that he was there. That was around 2 and a half, I think, and I imagine we’ll do the same with our daughter. (I will say that my husband was later to start consciously covering up right away, and now that our son is four, they still even shower together on occasion.)

Gigantic Beauty said...

I live in Korea now and often visit the jimjillbangs (Korean nude spas). As an American woman, I feel they are a great way to see how bodies age and the tenderness between families is really touching. I'm not sure how I'll incorporate similar ideas in my house, but I know I'll try.

J. said...

I remember that when I was a kid my mom was taking a shower with me from time to time. My grandma was disgusted but the point was that I should be ashamed of my body:-)

Anonymous said...

I think it depends. My sister and I are grown up and I think we still see my mother and father naked. Perhaps less, but if it happens it's not embarrassing or anything. And of course my mother can see us... we don't see each other though. With my brother it's different. He definitely got out of the naked loop earlier. So I think it's different with girls and moms, and possibly dads.

Camille Lierre said...

I am twenty years old and I still see my parents naked and they still see me naked! A lot of my friends find this extremely strange but that's what I grew up with. It's not like we prefer to be naked and eat, talk, cook with no clothes on, but if I'm on my way to the shower or I'm getting changed and my dad or mum come in to ask me a question, there's no discomfort there. In my mind, out of all people, our parents should be the first ones we're comfortable with naked! Why do people even wonder about being naked in front of their children? Is it out of fear that children will sexualise the naked body? It's because the parents fear this and become uncomfortable about being naked in front of their children, like it's something to be ashamed of almost, that children won't see it as a normal, innocent thing anymore. It suggests that the body is and can only be sexual. Interestingly, I had a discussion with an american man in his thirties a couple of years ago and we were with a bunch of friends travelling and for some reason this topic came along... while most people were surprised my parents and I still saw each other naked, he was truly and utterly shocked, almost disgusted! He was telling me that there must be something wrong with my parents, that they obviously have some sort of sick twisted fantasy about me! That really disturbed me and it made me sad that he thought of the body as only sexual, that is so damaging for someone to believe! My parents made me! Out of all people, you need to begin feeling comfortable with them.

That's my opinion anyway... what do you guys think?

Anonymous said...

I'm 16 and have become a lot more confident in my body and so while I haven't bared it all in front of my mum, she has seen me in just a bra and undies. It doesn't faze her and like she has said before, 'She's seen it all before!'... but at the same time if the situation were with my dad, that would be inappropriate (both ways actually). I think after you hit the age of around 8, you should stop walking around in front of him.
It would be ok for Alex to do so though because he is of the same gender. Same goes for if you had a girl, it would be ok for her to see your naked, but not for Alex to walk around naked.

Of course, that's just my opinion...

Ana Simões said...

My dad still wears boxer shorts after he takes a shower and my mum still runs gladly around the house naked - this part much to my and my younger sisters' dismay - when we visit. I remember seeing my mom naked my whole life and it had absolutely no influence on my body image. We both went topless at the beach - but my younger sister never felt comfortable with it.
I have a stepson and started getting dressed (I was always wearing women boxers and tank tops when he was around) when he began to stalk the bathroom door after my showers - he was around 6. He still takes showers with his father - at the pool, after swimming, etc.
I believe each person has a degree of comfort and both you and your kids adapt to each others' personality. I'm from Portugal, and common sense makes the rules here - if the kids stare, it's ok; if the kids hide or try to peak - it is time to get your clothes on.

Ana Simões said...

My dad still wears boxer shorts after he takes a shower and my mum still runs gladly around the house naked - this part much to my and my younger sisters' dismay - when we visit. I remember seeing my mom naked my whole life and it had absolutely no influence on my body image. We both went topless at the beach - but my younger sister never felt comfortable with it.
I have a stepson and started getting dressed (I was always wearing women boxers and tank tops when he was around) when he began to stalk the bathroom door after my showers - he was around 6. He still takes showers with his father - at the pool, after swimming, etc.
I believe each person has a degree of comfort and both you and your kids adapt to each others' personality. I'm from Portugal, and common sense makes the rules here - if the kids stare, it's ok; if the kids hide or try to peak - it is time to get your clothes on.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember ever seeing my parents in the buff, nor sharing a bathroom or anything. I think I always bathed alone, with my mum beside me but outside the bath. I think me and my siblings were always fully clothed. At a young age I already started to feel self-conscious about changing clothes in front of anyone, even my mum. Don't know if that's an Irish thing, or partly to do with being adopted, or just the way my parents were. Surprised by how many people posting here are into being naked!

Rose said...

I am okay with being nude around my 2 year old daughter, although she tries to tickle my butt, and for a long time, everytime she saw my breasts she wanted to nurse. My husband is much more modest around her and is always wearing at least boxers.

I remember my mom slept in the nude and would be naked around me when I was little.

Julie said...

With my two boys I stopped being naked in front of them early on. By the time they were 5 or 6 I was closing the door to pee and everything! I didn't want them to be able to remember what their mom's naked body looked like. I guess it has to do with the fact that they are boys because I have no problem changing in front of my daughter.

Faith Evans-Sills said...

My son is 7 and my daughter is 5 and I still feel comfortable being naked in front on them, just briefly like if I am stepping out of the shower/getting dressed, its just casual like that's what I'm doing while we are having a conversation. I am also pregnant with my third baby now and the two older kids are really fascinated with my changing body as baby grows, so for us it is just a natural part of family life. I don't try to hide my body from them, and they don't try to hide themselves from me.

*** KITSCH *** said...

My son is almost 3, i feel very confortable if i am naked in front of him and if he asks...
I do not know when we, he and me, will consider it inadecuated... i will tell you! ; )

http://mykitschworld.blogspot.com.es

Stephanie said...

I am born and raised in northern Minnesota. We barely talk to each other let alone be naked. I am almost surprised there are children up here! :)

jessica q said...

i grew up with a very catholic nicaraguan grandmother (my parents too but they both worked full time) and she used to tell my sister and i that "judas" would come out of the mirror if we looked at ourselves naked! needless to say, i grew up in the opposite of a naked house. my husband on the hand jokes that he didn't wear clothes until he was 7. i think it'll be interesting to see how we are with kids. i definitely want my kids to be proud of their bodies and not ashamed of anything.

Jam-packed Life said...

My little brother was 4 when we moved to the U.S. from Russia. I distinctly remember that when my dad was helping him change from wet swimming trunks into dry underwear and shorts (covered by a towel) at the pool, someone came up to them and said it was inappropriate in a public space. We were all very surprised -- it's a little boy who needs to get out of wet clothes! My parents both walked around in their underwear at our house all the way through high school, though it did get a bit embarrassing by then.

Sadie said...

I can remember my mom, grandma, and I all changing out of our bathing suits together in my grandma's bathroom. I think it was a good thing. I'm actually very modest (bordering on prudish) about my clothes, but when it comes to things like changing rooms, I strip without fear and don't care at all if others do so.

On the other hand, my dad walked around in his tighty-whities every Saturday morning of my 18 years at home, and it was mortifying every time!

Allysha said...

My mom always said that once modesty became an issue for them, it needed to be an issue for you. I've found that's good advice. My 6 year old son is hyper into being alone to get dressed! So I keep covered up, too!

Jenny said...

swimming pools are a great place for inspiration in this matter. I once saw a mother and grown daughter showering side by side and it was such a beautiful insight into the same body but how one ages. On a different note, my 4 year old son saw me changing into my suit and pointed to my breasts and said, "Why are those getting smaller and smaller?" little bug...

Anonymous said...

I want to make sure that my approach to body is rational. American culture is far from rational when it comes to human body. We have inherited too many Victorian views and we propagate them with too little discussion.

To the posters in this thread, one of the dangerous words is "modesty." What does it really mean? It's even more dangerous when applied to women than to man, and it is used to justify some pretty weird and awful things around the world. So, my advice is to stop and think why do we feel the way we feel about nakedness. What would we do if we thought about it rationally? What would we do when we would hear how other people around the world are doing it? Also, remember that culture differs even between different states of USA. If one goes to a local YMCA, one will see a spectrum of behaviors, especially in the women's changing room. It really depends on where one is.

Sammi said...

i can't remember ever seeing my Dad naked, but even to this day I've seen him in his boxers wandering around the house (usually late at night, to be fair). My mum and I tend to run in and out of each other's bedrooms when getting ready to go out in just our bra and undies, and I'm 24! In fact if we go out on a Friday afternoon when she gets home from work I tend to sit on her bed whilst she's getting changed and think nothing of it.

Last summer I went to stay with my best friend and her family. Her Dad came into her room to talk to her, completely unaware that I'd arrived in just his underwear. Lucy was mortified, I just thought it was funny.

Sammi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olga said...

I'm so surprised by a lot of these comments! I honestly never knew that so many people were that comfortable being naked around their children. I grew up in Ukraine, and I don't think my parents were ever naked around me. I do recall taking a bath with my grandma once but that's the extent of it. I don't think I would have been comfortable with the nudity, and even now, I don't change in front of my mom.

Kate said...

My friend, a mom of 3, had a rule about nudity and kids that I've adopted: As long as no one {parents included} is uncomfortable, it's no big deal. As soon as even one person feels odd or uneasy about family nudity, it's time to cover up.

Tamara said...

Funny this topic came up this week... My almost-two-year-old son sees me naked all of the time, which I had not thought twice about until yesterday when i picked him up from daycare and he ran to me, ripped open the top of my buttoned blouse, and exclaimed, "Boobies!" (a term neither my husband nor I had taught him). Wow.

Anonymous said...

I believe in modesty and boundaries but think it is incredibly important for children to see that nudity does not always equal sex. I also think it's important for kids to see real human bodies and not just ones in the media. Boys especially need to see real women so that they don't develop skewed perceptions of women's bodies by only being exposed to unrealistic airbrushed "perfection". I don't think that families should necessarily make a point of being naked, but of you treat it casually in going about your everyday life it will go a long way to helping children of both genders develop healthier attitudes toward both their own bodies and those of the opposite sex.

Tournesol said...

I have 3 boys and they let you know when they need their privacy. It happened naturally for them around 6 years old. I think personal space is important, we all use the bathroom with the door shut in our home. I don't remember ever seeing my mom completely naked or sitting on the toilet and we are still pretty close : )

Erin@lovesomeblog.com said...

I have been pretty liberal with the nudity, though there comes a day when you just KNOW it is time to cover up. I've got three boys, and one of them has crossed over! You just get a feeling that they're changing, that they're aware of your nudity in a new way, perhaps uncomfortable with it, or being silly about it. And once I sensed that from him, I also felt like I wanted privacy (from him). It's a boundary, in my experience, that evolved very naturally. But to me, the early years of motherhood are all about being nude! Everyone!

KatelynMade said...

I don't have children yet (baby on the way) but I imagine I'll be pretty naked with him as a babe...not sure I've thought about it much further. Most likely when they're younger and not at any stage where they're aware or uncomfortable with their bodies. I do recall my parents being freely naked around us but I believe that was at a rather young age since it's pretty much a distant memory and was mostly my mother. I don't ever remember them being prudish about it however. Although, they were kinda hippies.

Katherine Carroll said...

I think it really matters if its a boy or a girl. I don't have any kids yet, but I can relate with my own experience.
My brothers were never naked around my mom or dad, but my mom and I have no problem changing in front of each other or talking to each other while taking a shower. But I, personally, think that is just because a mother-daughter relationship is way different than a mother-son relationship. I'm not sure about the father one though. I remember when I was 4 or 5 putting lotion on with my mom in her bathroom, but I can't remember if my dad was there. A few years ago, I thought no one was home and I forgot to get a towel from the laundry so I ran out of the shower to get one and my dad was there and we both screamed! I was mortified!
But my girl friend walked around her house when we were in high school topless and in only underwear in front of her entire family...different families have different comfort levels I guess. Do whatever feels natural.

abby said...

There was always openness around nakedness in our family. Sure, people wanted privacy and we didn't prance around in the nude all the time, but it wasn't hidden and hushed. In fact, there were many remote backpacking trips where my family had the lake to ourselves and we always went skinny dipping as a family. Loved that freedom! I think it's healthy to be comfortable in one's skin, and that kids should feel comfortable about bodies. Of course there is also the need to teach them that nakedness and strangers don't mix, etc!

Olivia said...

I think it really comes down to if YOU personally are comfortable with it. I know my mom never (and still doesn't) have a problem being naked in front of me, but she would always kick the boys out if she was getting dressed. My dad on the other hand was completely embarrassed. I don't remember ever seeing him naked and even just thinking about it kinda weirds me out, but it just depends on how you're raised! I think if you make a big deal out of it, then your kids are going to as well. If you act natural the kids aren't going to think twice about it. When I was little I used to run around the house screaming "naked girl!!!" Once I got a little older, I got a little more shy (but not much) so I then became "towel in the mouth girl" and ran around naked with a towel in my mouth (not like it really covered anything up but it made me feel better) LOL.

I do think my dad's embarrassment of being naked did have an effect on me and made me more shy about my body when I got older. It was always about being covered up. I'm still not as comfortable as I should/could be being naked. I definitely believe it's up to the parent(s) to make known that your body is something you should be proud of, not necessarily show it off to everyone, but to feel comfortable in your own skin.

xx Olivia
IWANTTHESESHOES

Anonymous said...

Here in Finland we all go to sauna together, the whole family, naked. When kids turn to be teenagers they sometimes, not nearly always, choose to go to sauna alone, or prefer to go there with the parent of the same gender. It is totally up to them. I have always been quite naturally naked with my parents, and I hope my kids will too.
I haven't noticed my son, 11, checking me out at all. Kids have times when they pay more attention to body parts, but if everything is out there to be seen, it becomes just natural.

Stephanie said...

I think it all boils down to your comfort level. I have two girls (2 years and 2 months) and I have no problem being naked in front of them. I love bath times with my oldest and it cracks me up when she points out my body parts to me. I know eventually they'll get self-conscious around me but I hope by then they feel comfortable in their own skin.

Laura said...

I think this is such an interesting topic and I think it is different for every family.

I do think there is a cut off age eventually and little kids really don't filter so you might end up embarrassed if they are old enough to start sharing with others. I babysat a six year old once and she was pretending to be a dog and told me her dad had a tail in the front- ha! You just knew that her parents would have been mortified if they knew what she was sharing. I had to hold back laughter.

Sweaters and Cider said...

This is one area where I'm a hippie. I think it's fine until the teen years. And I also think, even then, it's okay for the boys to see Dad and the girls to see Mom.

We bathe with our toddler every night and he's always pointing and grabbing. So far it's normal but maybe in a few years I'll change my tune, we'll see.

Sweaters and Cider said...

This is one area where I'm a hippie. I think it's fine until the teen years. And I also think, even then, it's okay for the boys to see Dad and the girls to see Mom.

We bathe with our toddler every night and he's always pointing and grabbing. So far it's normal but maybe in a few years I'll change my tune, we'll see.

Anonymous said...

Another European commenting... Americans tend to find nakedness either really funny or disgusting. Why? Is it not quite a natural thing, the body? In the end we all look the same and I don't understand why should anyone be ashamed of nakedness.

I totally agree with anonymous that boys and girls should see real naked people in all ages, and not just some blurry internet pictures or airbrushed models, to develop a healthy relation towards their body.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this too - I became a mother 9 months ago and am struck daily by how my baby girl delights in her naked body. When she sees herself naked in the mirror on the way to her bath she goes crazy with happiness. It's made me think a lot about when we lose that good feeling about our naked bodies and what as parents we can do to mitigate against that. I admire my own mum so much for the job she did but one thing I feel sad about is how negatively she felt about her body and how vocal she was in passing that on. I'm 33 and only now, with all the changes my body has undergone through having my girl and breasfeeding her I feel I'm finally starting to love and respect my body for what it is.
Living in Scotland my husband and I rarely find ourselves walking about naked - it wouldn't feel 'natural' for us because it's just not warm enough! But to the extent that we do, I hope we'll never feel the need to cover up in front of our children through any sense of self-consciousness or shame. I'm guessing that when my child/children enter their teens and become more sensitive about their bodies, it might feel right to be more discreet in turn, but more to do with being sensitive to their sensitivity than anything else. Similarly, I don't find most swear words shocking but I wouldn't use them in front of my grandmother as I know they'd feel that way to her.

Erin said...

No problem being naked around my kids age 4 and 1 1/2. I'll keep doing it til one of us feels uncomfortable and then I'll respect their feelings. I'm all for being comfortable with bodies!

Alexa said...

You always have the best topics of conversation :)

I occasionally saw my dad in his boxers, but my mother was never shy about walking around the house topless or nude. I also remember taking baths with her as a child. Funnily, I am more modest; I guess I got that from my dad!

I'm not sure what I will do when I have children. I suppose whatever feels right for our family!

Anonymous said...

I have a 5 and 1/2 year old son and a 3 and 1/2 year old daughter and we are often naked infront of each other. We don't make a big deal about it and freely talk about the differences in our bodies. I feel like if you are comfortable with nudity, then it wont be a big deal with your children. We also use antomical words for body parts and the kids aren't embarassed by the name or the body part it identifies.

Anonymous said...

Only now at 22, coming from a conservative religious home with a mother that was ashamed of her weight, am I even comfortable with my own naked self in a room alone. I have not examined my body except for its flaws for as long as I can remember. Because nakedness was shameful, I never even knew I could appreciate its function, let alone see its beauty. I couldn't have been more than 25 lbs more weighty than peers in my whole years growing up, but I felt as though I did not deserve to be naked or feel valued in the nude. I think mothers play extremely important roles in this.

thewalkup said...

I like to babysit my 2 1/2 yr old nephew. Last time I babysat, I took a long bath with him. He had SO much fun, we played with sailboats and bathtoys and stayed in the tub for hours. He was so tuckered out afterward, he went straight to bed. When I told my sister about it later, she was REALLY weirded out. It was strange, I am so close to my family that it felt natural to me and not "naughty" or "inappropriate" at all...just a beautiful way to be close. I guess to each his own!

http://thewalkup.wordpress.com/

JoanieO said...

It's something we've had to start thinking about with our two year old daughter who pointed to her daddy getting out of the shower last week and said "You've got a front tail daddy"!!

Anonymous said...

My mother passed away when I was young so it was just my dad raising my siblings and I.
As kids we used to run around naked when we were little and it was fine (except when it was cold and then we'd get told off!) We weren't a super naked household, but nudity wasn't something to be ashamed of either. When I was little I used to have baths with my brother, and when I needed my hair washed I would hop in the shower with dad so that he could do it. I think that happened until I was about 6 and old enough to take care of washing my own hair without getting all the shampoo in my eyes!
As an adult now my family and I wouldn't get naked in front of each other, although my sister and I do change in front of each other.

Janette said...

I don't even think twice about being naked in front of Magnus and Freya (3 years and 11 months old)..but I am sure there may come a time when THEY may get embarrassed by it!
I have vivid memories of my Mom (she is Danish so pretty relaxed about these things) cruising around in the garden in her bra and skirt weeding or doing some other random activity that usually requires clothing. I did think this a bit odd but man was it super embarrassing when you bring friends home from high school!

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