How does your family handle non-sexual nudity? #I've got a parenting question!#bodies#grown ups December 2 | Offbeat Editors offbeatbride Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. Towels: do you need one? Photo by Kevin Steinhardt, used under Creative Commons license. I've been wondering how other families feel about nudity at home. My husband and I are in the practice of walking around the house in various states of undress, and it's never been a big deal. However, our child is now a year old and we've been wondering when we're "supposed" to cover up… or if we even need to. I'd love to hear how other folks have handled this: what did you say to your kids about nudity? — Doxie How have you explained non-sexual nudity to your child? Does your kid ever see you naked? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS Use your wedding decorations for double-duty Christmas decor NEXT Let's hold hands and dream of finding these sparkly things in our stockings Show/Hide comments [ 90 ] My first reaction is to say that you don't need to change anything. It sounds comfortable, and a great way to teach not being ashamed of your body. Another option though is to have "clothing optional" zones, like bedrooms. 1 agrees Reply My parents used to wander from bathroom to bedroom au naturel. It was normal for me, so I was never bashful about it. The only downside was that when I was very little and asked to 'draw a picture of mummy & daddy', I always… Ahem… Added pubic hair! It's not like they were naturists- literally it was a 'getting dressed after the bath' scenario! Now we have our own 11 month old Chap, I see no reason why we need to cover up. As you say, the nakedness is non-sexual, and I'm happy to let it all hang out. I just hope he doesn't take after me when it comes to the art! 1 agrees Reply My parent did the same thing and I do the same, but like with Bet there was a small downside. When I started perschool I did not understand why everyone had such a problem when I would take off all my cloths in order to change in to the dress-up clothing. To me it was just body parts no big deal. 1 agrees Reply Yep, that was me, too, I didn't get why the other kids were so shy in change rooms after swimming or whatnot, I'd just get my kit off! Nudity was never even a "thing" in our house, it was just that we weren't the kind of family that shut doors, pretty much ever. 1 agrees Reply I drew naked family portraits too! Other possible risk: as parents, you might not notice when your kids are naked if nudity is such a regular thing. My mom once took a roll of pics of my brother and me climbing trees, and didn't realize until she picked them up from the camera store that we were naked! My father also once drove my brother all the way to a local fair before he noticed my brother wasn't wearing pants… he had bucked my brother in and everything. Certainly didn't scar us in any way, but I think my husband and I will generally cover up around our baby! 2 agree Reply Yup, I drew an anatomically correct version of my Dad when I was little… that's when they started covering up! Haha. 2 agree Reply Same here, my parents were nude a lot. And while it was never an issue to us, we totally drew them nude as well. And when friends came over my mom didn't always put clothes on so ALL of my friends saw my mom in some state of nudity and that was super embarrassing! Now, my own teenage boys see me nude all the damn time (in/after the shower, getting ready, breastfeeding the baby) but keep their own privacy in their rooms or the bathroom. It's a non-issue and they know what a real woman's body looks like. 3 agree Reply I was just thinking about this last night! Our daughter is 3. We answered all of her questions, and explained her body and the difference between her and a boy. We still wander around in our underwear and sometimes nude before a shower, or while getting dressed. I have a friend's kid who told her(about a random classmate) "So&so's Mom makes breakfast with no clothes on." So I would say around school age we'll have a few more conversations about privacy. hahah.. 2 agree Reply Cooking bacon while naked sounds potentially painful haha. 2 agree Reply when it comes to being nude around the house (and garden) the simple rule is wear something to protect yourself as needed. when cooking bacon, for example, hasn't anyone ever heard of an "apron?" Reply It hasn't been an issue for my 3yo. I think children will take your cues on what is appropriate. For example, I shower with my daughter almost daily, but we are never naked when guests come over. I've told her that she needs to wear clothes when we leave the house or guests come over and she's never questioned it. She also sometimes showers with my husband. There was a phase that was awkward when she noticed his penis, but once we told her what it was she got over it and doesn't say anything about it any more. From my perspective, no reason to cover up at home unless you or your partner are uncomfortable with it. The kiddos will accept the norm that you provide. 2 agree Reply This was how my family operated when I was little. As I got older we transitioned into slightly more privacy, but part of that was due to my preference for it also. My mom and I have never really worried about being naked in front of one another (we can still walk in on each other getting dressed or in the bathroom now that I'm 30), but my dad and I transitioned to covering up a bit more. But it wasn't strange for us to be around the house in our underwear or just a towel while getting ready when it was just the family. I agree, if you treat it as normal and set up boundaries and explain things appropriately as kids get old enough to question, there is no reason this has to be a problem. 1 agrees Reply My upbringing was similar. Although there *was* the awkward moment when Mom thought I had forgotten something after leaving for the bus stop, but it was actually the furnace repairman… >_> 1 agrees Reply We are all naked, a lot of the time when the weather is ok. Keeping my kid in clothes is a challenge year round, but we do have a rule about wearing at least underwear in order to play out side. We still bathe with our kid and I sleep nude with my kid when we sleep in the same bed. Thats how it is in most of the world, Western Culture seems to be uptight about it, but I guess we are weirdos. 4 agree Reply Well, since we're a blended family we're a little more careful of what is "appropriate" to the outside world. My husband is modest concerning nudity around his almost 9 year old, but she's still not concerned with nakedness of herself anywhere in the house. If we were a "traditional" family then I'd be less worried about nakedness, but when you have two parties that would like full custody, you have to think of everything. *sigh* 1 agrees Reply Yes, I'm in the same boat with my blended family. Stepson has never seen me undressed even when he was a toddler, and will never (assuming my door locks don't break haha). My husband is also just generally on the modest side, but I think stepson has probably seen him goin to/from the shower in states of partial undress. We would like to add to the family one day also, so I'm curious about how we can balance teaching our children that nudity is natural and ok in the right setting without risking issues with my stepson/court/etc. I also wonder about explaining to our (hypothetical) children why it is ok for THEM to see me undressed in an appropriate setting as opposed to stepson. But perhaps the age difference will make that a non-issue. I expect, like most everything else about blended family life, that it will be a bit of compromise and balance. 1 agrees Reply I was in a 2.5yr relationship with a man that already had children, where nudity was concerned, I was a little uncomfortable, but luckily I had a great friendship with their mother so was able to approach her and she had no problem with it – in a shower/changing setting – because she did the same. With my own child who is now 2, I'm naked around her often, we usually shower together because she loves it. When she asks me to start covering up more, that's when I'll change how naked I am haha 1 agrees Reply That's what I wanted to point out. As long as it's your own kid, I don't see any problem if both parties feel comfortable about nudity. But I grew up with a stepfather who started living in with my mom when I was 7, and I was extremely unconfortable having this man's nudity forced on me, so to speak. 3 agree Reply When I was growing up, my parents were very private about their nudity. Not in a Puritanical "your body is a vessel of SIN!" way, but in a shy, "we prefer personal privacy" way. Consequently, as an adult it took me a while to become comfortable with non-sexual nudity around the house. Eventually, I got over it and now spend more time nekkid – usually while getting dressed or post-shower, but sometimes just for no good reason while chilling out. I see no reason to stop when our kids are born and start getting older. I think raising them with a little more of an open approach to being in the buff would be beneficial. When I started to enjoy walking around without clothes it made me feel more confident in my own body, which I feel is a good thing for everyone. 1 agrees Reply I prefer underwear myself but more out of comfort, I want to keep the girls up and they have started drooping the undies are also for furniture protection But that's where it ends. We take our clothes off the second we walk in the house and I don't expect that will change when the little monster arrives… We'll see you have to do what makes you comfortable your little one will follow suit. 1 agrees Reply This is something I struggled with myself a little. I grew up in a very conservative household. I do not ever remember seeing my parents naked or even in their underwear. But I don't think that kind of "QUICK! COVER YOUR BODY BEFORE SOMEONE SEES IT! DRESS UNDER THE COVERS!" attitude is healthy… but it still made me uncomfortable to think about walking around naked in front of my child when she was anything but a little baby, simply because it was unfamiliar to me. As embarrassing as it is to admit it, I got over it by looking at the family in My Neighbour Totoro. There's a scene where the girls bathe with their father. They aren't covered by bubbles or swimsuits, they're just having a bath and it's a very sweet, platonic and not at all uncomfortable little scene. I felt like that was a much healthier way of being than like the household I grew up in. My daughter is now 2 and a half, and all three of us still bathe together. 🙂 1 agrees Reply Yup, I liked that scene too! 1 agrees Reply My daughter is 8yo and we have never felt the need to cover up and niether does she. In fact it is her preferred way of being – as soon as she comes into the house, off come the clothes. Even as the natural tendency to be modest turned up, she is modest around others, guests, her step brother (who is here part time) and other family members. But among me and her father, not a problem. We also have been very open about body parts and make sure we don't call them silly names. Recently, I bought her a couple books on puberty and reproduction. I told her to read them and come to me if she had any questions. She did and with no embarrassment or shame. If you don't want to cover up, don't. Your child gets a sense of normal from you. If you think it is weird or feel uncomfortable, you child with pick up on that – even if you cover up. 2 agree Reply I'm curious as to which books you used. 1 agrees Reply It's basically whatever you're comfortable with. My husband has never been more than shirtless in front of our daughter. I regularly get dressed, use the bathroom, and have plumbers crack in front of her. She's 2, and potty training, so she's allowed to be naked or bare bottomed at home, except if we have company who we know would be made uncomfortable. If she asks questions about my body I nonchalantly answer. I gently correct her if she tries to touch me somewhere she shouldn't. If she touches herself, we tell her that it's ok to do that in her room, but not in front of friends. I knew a girl who's whole family walked around the house naked. It wasn't a big deal, but when she went through puberty, her dad started just averting his eyes to avoid potentially making her uncomfortable. 1 agrees Reply We have three kids, an eleven year-old, a two year-old and a one year-old. We have no issues being naked in front of the babies. We walked around naked in front ofbour eldest until she was old enough and aware enough to feel uncomfortable. She's more aware of her body and our bodies- specifically my husband's. So he no longer is naked around her. That started when she was about seven. 1 agrees Reply This idea of standards changing as kids get older kind of interests me. What I remember was that my parents were pretty comfortable being naked around me, and then suddenly that started to change when I was maybe nine or ten. This change in behaviour was never explained to me, and to be honest it was a little confusing! Did you just let this develop organically without talking about it, or did you ever bring it up with your oldest? 1 agrees Reply What a great topic, and one that is on my mind regularly. My girls are 7 and 11 and when it was just us in the house, I had no bashfulness about being naked. My boyfriend has been with us for 3 years now, and he sleeps naked, and just makes sure that he has PJ bottoms near the bed for when they come in our room in the morning. They know he sleeps naked, and they haven't seen him naked, and it feels like a pretty comfortable situation, since we tend to have a pretty comfortable feeling about being naked in general–it's natural! But… I tend to sleep with panties on, because I've felt a little weird about ME being naked in bed with my man when they come in. I don't have any fully cognitive reasoning for this…. I guess I'm just wanting to make our nakedness in bed appear non-sexual, even though of course…. it is and it isn't. I've been thinking lately that I should just be naked as well, since that's what I do when my girls are with their Dad 2 nights/week… but I guess with my 11-year old, I'm feeling a bit shy about being too obvious that "Mommy and Chad are naked in bed together." Silly? I'm not sure! 1 agrees Reply There is no need to explain non-sexual nudity to children. The idea that something is sexual (or even the concept of sexuality) doesn't even occur to them until they are approaching the teen years. What you do need to explain as they get older is the idea of appropriate and inappropriate situations for nudity. You will have to coach them through things as they come up and expect mistakes and embarrassment (mostly yours). My family skinny dipped together (in appropriate situations) until I was approaching puberty. However, my mother was mortified when we when to a friends house for a pool party and, when the mother announced it was time to get in the pool, I started to take off my swim suit. 2 agree Reply I agree about explaining societal nudity taboos, but strongly disagree that sexuality doesn't occur to children until puberty. As a culture we equate "sexualizing children" with either pedophilia or tweens in miniskirts, but the biological fact is that children are innately sexual beings. I can't remember a time I didn't feel arousal, although I wouldn't have a name for it for years. Parents often observe children playing with their genitals more than other parts of their body from the minute they gain motor control. In addition many non-hetero, non-monogamous, transgendered, etc. people recall knowing from an early age that they felt "different" from what they were taught to be, long before their bodies developed sexually. Developing personal sexuality as a child is as valid and important as learning to share it with others as a teen and adult. 3 agree Reply My kids see me naked all the time, their Dad is more modest. I get asked where my penis is or why is there hair down there, but I explain things about our bodies to them and that's it. I bathe with my kids, I stopped sleeping naked with my youngest because he liked to dig his feet into my buttcrack. Nudity is nothing to be ashamed of, we all have bodies and they are all beautiful. 1 agrees Reply Ha ha, cold toddler feet in my buttcrack would make me put on panties too. 1 agrees Reply Our daughter slept with us a lot as a toddler, and it was her feet in uncomfortable places that made me start sleeping with underwear on for the first time since I was a teenager. It was good to get back to nude sleeping when she started sleeping in her own bed more regularly and grew tall enough that her toes weren't in my junk when she hopped in our bed. 1 agrees Reply In the same vein of practically all of the above: My parents and I used to walk around naked in bed- and bathrooms, and I don't remember my dad ever NOT doing that, no matter what age I was (or stage of puberty I hit), and I've never felt uncomfortable with that, nor have I ever felt inclined to cover up myself. My six years younger brother though at one point DID start to wrap a towel around him and stuff (when he was, like, 18 already I think?!) and the three of us never quite wrapped our heads around that, with him having the same upbringing as I… Finally, my first boyfriend, who came from a Muslim family but he himself practiced nor believed, was intrigued by how we did things at my home, and used to say that he wished he had been brought up a bit more relaxed on the nudity front, as it would have made him feel less preoccupied with, well, basically every clothed female in the world, wondering what they would look like underneath… 3 agree Reply My favorite thing about not living with a roommate was always being able to live in my undies or full on naked whenever I wanted. Now that we have a three-year-old, I am often topless. I prefer to wear undies because I'm not a big fan of sitting on the sofa with a naked butt. She sees me naked all the time and she gets the choice between a shower with me or a bath by herself on bathing days. As for my husband, he's never been comfortable naked and is always full clothed unless in bed or in the shower. Like everyone else has said, when the questions come up about differences in your bodies, just explain them – honestly and simply. I don't feel the need to cover up and I think so long as your kid doesn't voice any concern about it, it's no big deal. Now if my daughter looks at me and says, "Seriously Mom, I'm sick of seeing your saggy tits hangin out all the time," I'll promptly put a shirt on while in common areas – and admonish her use of the phrase saggy tits. 1 agrees Reply My husband and I have raised my daughter (his step-daughter) with the idea that the human body is beautiful. We've been together since she was 2years old, and nudity was always a normal part of our home. As she matured, she is now 14, she felt the need to cover up and not run around naked all the time anymore, but that was her choice. We are less likely to be stark naked around her anymore, and it was never "all the time". But she does see us in various states of undress and it's normal and she's fine with it. 2 agree Reply I am of the opinion that you do what you are comfortable with while trying to instill a sense of "appropriate outside of our house" essence. My son is 3 and I am sometimes half clothed around him when I have to rush to him in the night, or to his baby sister since they currently share a room, but I put an end to sharing baths with him and being nude during waking hours the first time he poked my lady bits unexpectedly. I just wasn't comfortable with that kind of attention. He still sees my breasts fairly regularly since I breastfeed openly at home, but boobs are boobs. They are for feeding my child. We are currently tackling that hopefully the same for everyone problem of him whipping out his penis to show or play with by giving him places it is okay to explore his body (ie the bathroom or his bedroom, and NEVER outside of the house). Man I hope he never does THAT at preschool! 1 agrees Reply I am following this post with interest because it is something I've been thinking about as well as I am expecting my first. I grew up in a naked family, as we have always jokingly called ourselves. I have seen parents and grandparents naked and it's never been a huge deal, just bodies. My mom says the first time they even thought about it was when I was about 4 years old and walked up to my dad while he was shaving after a shower, naked, and grabbed his penis. He gently pulled my hand away and said that I couldn't grab people's private parts without asking. I apparently replied "When I'm a big girl I can play with them whenever I want!" My husband's family is more modest than mine, but still comfortable walking around in a tee shirt and underwear in front of family. I think it will be interesting to see how it plays out for us as our kids grow up. 2 agree Reply hahaha, you tell him! that cracked me up. 2 agree Reply This topic makes me think of the time our family visited my parents and my husband asked me to ask my dad to put on pants over the underwear he had on. Hahaha! "Covering up" was never an issue in my house growing up, but my husband never saw his parents naked that he remembers. He has worried on and off over the years about how old is too old for our daughter to see him naked. I honestly don't know what to tell him since I remember distinctly seeing my dad naked up until the time I left the house after high school. I think my husband's request for my dad to put on pants would sound totally legitimate to most people, but honestly I think he was being modest by even wearing underwear while walking from the hot tub to the bath. I don't know the answer but I do agree that we really don't have to explain anything about our state of nakedness to kids. I figure at some point, our 10 year old daughter will say something herself, or if it doesn't bother her she will ignore it. We aren't all that modest around the house-none of us feel any need to cover up if we need to get something from the laundry room before we get dressed after the shower, and honestly I think that allowing a child to see adult bodies in a non sexual manner is healthy. 2 agree Reply My son is almost two and we let him see us walk to the shower naked, mostly because he is at the age where knowing what is happening next ("Mommy's taking a shower now!") is important to him. I haven't yet given much thought to when we should stop doing that but it doesn't seem necessary yet… he pays very little attention to our body parts at this age. Reply We have always been an au natural family. My son is now 9 and we still are. Some people ask when I will start covering up But I feel it is my house I can do as I wish. Granted I am not lounging nude….but walking from the shower to the dressing area, sleeping etc are nude times. I guess if my son ever asked me to cover up I probably would but he can care less at the current time. I think however that we have always been an open door kinda house has played into that….shower and potty times seem to be come talk to mom or dad time. On top of that we live in a loft so we really don't have "privacy" I think it just is a case by case situation. I have friends that have kids who are horrified at the thought of their parents naked and others who can care less. Feel it out and go with your instincts. Reply We are pretty relaxed as far as nudity goes. The only real rules are that you can't go outside without all your clothes on or be naked in front of a window (our apartment faces the parking lot lol). But as far as nudity inside, we don't even really think about it. The concept of privacy doesn't really exist with our son lol. He's seen us both naked, partially dressed, on the toilet, etc and he's never said anything about it. We would let him run around naked if he was potty-trained, but as it is he spends most of his time in a tshirt and pullup. Reply This is really interesting reading all the different stories! My family have never been bashful about nakedness. My mum still finds it hilarious that my naked dad would walk into my room (which my younger sister shared) and wake us up in the morning. No problem apart from our beds were at penis level! Haha! It still hasn't bothered me. Having moved away from home I can still quite happily be naked or see my parents naked. Having an open relationship is important with body image. Having just spoken to my husband he would want to cover up as it's too sexual to be naked. His family has a bit of a different approach. We'll see how it goes when we finally do have children… Reply If he's uncomfortable with the idea, you probably won't sway him. But it's not nessecarily a bad thing to have one parent who is lax about nudity and one who's not. Thats how it is at our house. We just avoid undermining each other (I don't say "Daddy's such a prude for getting dressed in the bathroom" and he doesn't say "Mummy's such a perv for inserting tampons in front of you.") 1 agrees Reply My partner and I are generally relaxed about nudity around our son so far, but we have roommates, so we keep it to the bedroom and bathroom. My father has always slept naked, and one night when I was about seven, he had to run from his room to mine when my parents urgently remembered they were supposed to be playing Tooth Fairy. The next morning, I asked my mom, "Mom, why is the Tooth Fairy naked?" 3 agree Reply I grew up thinking that my parents were naked more often than other people's parents, but I guess I wouldn't have any way of knowing how other people's parents were without any neighbors or friends around! My dad covered up before I really started remembering, but my mom went topless or bottomless around the house after showers or while getting dressed. That was normal and fine — although I think we were both startled the time I brought a friend home from school and Mom was ironing the pants she was going to wear! I've always been more modest about nudity and bathroom privacy. A certain frankness about dressing/undressing was necessary backstage or in locker rooms, but I adopted a general behavior of just not looking. And I always close the bathroom door when I'm using the toilet (or using the shower, 'cause I have Hitchcockian paranoia about people sneaking up on me). I do think that I would have had a better appreciation for my own body if I had seen more examples of how everyday people look without their clothes — not just what's represented in media/entertainment. 1 agrees Reply i don't remember ever seeing my family naked (except for one barging-into-the bathroom incident), but seeing my mom in her underwear at the ironing board (or digging through the dryer) was a daily occurrence! otherwise, though, my "parenting" experience is all with other folks' kids, so i am pretty vigilant about clothing – my clothing, at least. i figure they can wear (or not) whatever they're comfortable with around the house. although, i don't see that changing if they were my own – i'm fairly private about my body. also, i feel like giving birth and breastfeeding (which i will not be doing) provide a sort of obvious amount of non-sexual nudity to a parent/child relationship out of necessity…i feel like without that it would be more of a conscious choice (a legit one, but probably not what i'd do). Reply My mom and her family were always pretty open with nudity. Her family even spent time at a nudist family resort periodically when she was a child. I don't feel like nudity is a big deal. 1 agrees Reply Our son is 2, and we haven't put any restrictions in place yet. We have been practicing elimination communication since we was 6 weeks old, so he sees us in the bathroom all the time. He knows "penis" and "gina" and will point to mine. He cries if I close the bathroom door, so he's seen me insert my menstrual cup and take it out. He sees me put on pantyliners and we say they are like little diapers for mommy. We encourage him to watch daddy pee because we hope he'll transition to standing while peeing soon. He takes a bath while one of us takes a shower because we are usually never home at the same time (I work days, daddy works nights) and it's the only way we can keep clean. We let him be naked when he wants to, especially since he gets eczema in his diaper area if he has an accident. He sleeps with us, but I've always worn pajamas even before having a kid. Reply The "little diapers for mommy" thing reminded me of the first time my two year old saw me on the toilet while I had a pad in my underwear. She pointed to it and said in a very uncertain voice, "Mama poopoo?" 1 agrees Reply Apparently I once asked my mom what it was and she told me it was to protect her panties. Later she found me in the sandbox packing sand into the crotch of my underwear in order to emulate her. Silly children. Reply My 7y/o twin stepsons grew up w/o a mom til they were 5 (enter: me) So they had no idea what a woman's body looked like. I'm very comfortable being naked, but they're very…interested. They peep through the shower curtain and the crack in the door to see my undress. Then they run back to their room and giggle about it. THAT makes me uncomfortable. So i try to stay modest with them around. on the other hand, I breastfeed very openly. So much so that they made their friends at school breastfeed their babies when they were playing "house". We had to have a talk about that one. lol My brothers (who are 17) have PODOs all the time (Pants Off Dance Off) So now my twins think its a blast and strip down as soon as theyre home. I think its fine. Reply My mom constantly walked around me naked, even after I was "aware" of her being naked. It got a little awkward for me once I was a teenager, but it wasn't as though she was parading around (she was going through menopause, hotflashes). If I saw her naked, I'd give her a hard time, "Put clothes on mom!" But it never really upset me. Reply Oh, some of these stories are hilarious! I have my first baby on the way, so I found this quite interesting. My partner and I are in the nude a lot. (we live in Australia, and sometimes it's the only way to avoid using the air con non stop. My mum and my grandad are always naked, sometimes its a little shocking when I go to visit gramps and find him weeding naked! Haha, but I have never had a problem with being around nude people. On the otherhand, I NEVER saw my dad naked, he is much more reserved, and very shy about even having his shirt off around people. (except Mum I hope!) We used to play in the back yard naked as kids, and I had no problems with keeping my clothes on elsewhere. I personally think its good and natural to be able to feel comfortable in your bodies. It gives you a chance to see what "real" bodies look like, and not just what the media forces apon us! And if your kids feel uncomfortable about seeing their parents private parts, just try to tone it down a little from that point on. 🙂 Reply As an extended breastfeeding mama (I'm still nursing my 18 month old), I feel like it would be impossible to be covered up. Especially at night, I often sleep with her topless or even naked and have never felt strange about it. My husband always feels more comfortable wearing pants around her, and while I doubt she cares one way or the other, I think your child will become comfortable with whatever you and your partner are comfortable with. She's looked at my vagina before or touched my pubic hair curiously. I just explained it's a vagina and all girls have one…it was no big deal. I think bathtime, bedtime, and getting ready time naturally lend themselves to nudity Reply Our household was more or less relaxed about nudity which is great when you're a kid. But one of the unexpected results is that when I hit puberty all of a sudden the rules changed – doors shut, no more running around the house in underwear I was told. And I think that sudden, unexplained change was really awful. So I wonder if I wouldn't have been better off (and if our kid would be better off) with a slowly evolving idea of appropriate nudity. Teaching healthy body image is also an evolving thing. Has anyone tried the gradual approach? 1 agrees Reply I am VERY surprised at this post. I had no idea that people felt uncomfortable being naked around their young children. For sure I think everyone should do whatever they're comfortable with, so i'm not condemning anyone. My mom was naked or just wearing light nightgown with no underwear pretty much all the time. Also I grew up on the beach, so seeing people in bathing suits and tiny bikinis was no unusual. I showered with my dad after the beach when I was little. After a while my dad wasn't naked around me very much, but I never really thought about it, just figured he was more modest than my mom. But he always walked around in his whitey-tightys (briefs), and I never thought anything of it. In elementary school and middle, I remember making sure my mom was aware my friends were coming over because I wanted to make sure she was dressed. My mom had to explain to me when I was about 5 that I had to start wearing a shirt to go outside and play. most of my friends were boys and never wore shirts, so i remember being disappointed by this. I don't have any kids yet, but I feel like I have no problem being naked around family. The concern that I have run into is in nannying. I nannied a 7 year old boy and 3 year old girl last summer. We were on the beach so the ended up having to get naked a lot, changing in and out of bathing suits. They both had no problem being completely naked in front of me. I didn't feel comfortable being naked in front of the 7 year old boy, so I always asked him to leave the room if I needed to change, but I had no problem changing in front of the little girl, I mean I change in front of my female friends. But at some point I realized maybe I should ask the parents how they felt about this, I mean afterall they were not my kids. 1 agrees Reply My daughter is four years old and she, my husband, and I spend a lot of time around the house naked. She still bathes and sleeps with us in this state on occasion. The question eventually came up about why people wear clothes and why we have to wear clothes in public. I told her that clothes protect our bodies when the weather is bad and some people don't like to see naked bodies so we cover up out of respect for them, to make them feel more comfortable. She also knows that it is her choice whether to be naked or not and whether to be around us naked or not. Once or twice, she has asked us to put clothes on just to see if it really was optional and of course we respected her wishes by containing our nudity to our bedroom on those occasions. As she gets older, it's possible that we will transition into more privacy, but we'll most likely take our cues from her on that. 1 agrees Reply After reading all the comments, I have to offer a different opinion here. My parents were always very relaxed about nudity, (they still are to some extent) and it made me very uncomfortable and has been the subject of some conflict in our family. My parents raised me to believe that bodies were natural, nothing to be ashamed of, everyone has them etc and that nudity is not always sexual. I am fine with this and agree with all of it. However, I always found it impossible to explain that although I respected their beliefs, I wasn't comfortable with the expectation that I would also be happy to walk around naked. I had no desire to remove my clothes, and I still don't! I'm a happily balanced, clothed being. I think with children it's important to consider their opinions. As they get older they may like to have a bit more of their privacy, not because they are 'prudish' or 'ashamed', but because they don't feel the necessity to remove their clothes. Parents often encourage their children to take on their values, but remember that how many clothes to wear is a personal choice, and your child might disagree with you on that one. Let your child make their own decisions about who gets to see them naked and when – having the opportunity to choose clothes can be liberating as well. 1 agrees Reply We walk around naked before and after showers, but we generally wear clothes because it's cold! Also, not wanting to get vaginal fluids or poo residue all over the furniture. I was surprised that my partner felt a bit awkward when our toddler wanted to talk about all of our genitals, but after we explained and she was satisfied, everything went back to normal. I was surprised how early it came up, though. I think she was 15 months old. We did have to explain several times that you don't poke genitals when you name them like you might with other body parts, and that daddy really doesn't have a vulva, no matter how hard you look 😀 1 agrees Reply My boys are 8 & 10 right now (and the 10 month old). Somewhere along the way, I became less and less naked in front of them, as they grew and started taking care of their own bath stuff. Now, we all just usually sleep naked, or in various states of undress. The only rule is that your roommate has to not mind, which in this case, is all three boys and no one minds. They all agree that sleeping naked is the best way. Then, we will put on pjs to hang around the house in. I don't keep the house too warm. On the other hand, I am nursing the 10 mo old, so the older boys had to learn the, "it's ok to look, but not to stare" rule. Reply Hi, I'm the OP. Just wanted to say we are definitely NOT uncomfortable being nude around our child… but neither of us grew up in naked-friendly households, so we've kind of been scratching our heads about this. I'm THRILLED to hear all the responses saying that we don't need to change a thing, and it makes so much sense that her seeing the natural human body will help her feel more confident in her own. 2 agree Reply I actually come from another specter of the whole nude-thing. My mother was always quite open, both with nudity and information about puberty etc and I always remembering being embarrassed by it. I actually remember that I was around 3 years old and my mother wore a see through night gown and I was mortified. It only got worse when I hit puberty and she almost insisted that we should have these intens conversation about how my body would change. I am (and have always been) very comfortable with my own body and have been told I used to shower with my parents when I was really young, but since I was around 4 years old I always wanted them to just cover up. From my experience I think it is great to teach your children to be comfortable with his/her body, but not parading naked in front of your child when the child is obviously embarrassed. 1 agrees Reply My family has always been fairly modest. Nobody was ever ashamed of their bodies and I remember being in the bath with my brother and sister. As we got a little older though the unspoken rule seemed to be no private parts showing in public places. My sister and I shared a bathroom and had to leave for school at the same time so it was sort of unavoidable that we saw each other in various states of undress almost everyday. But other than that I never saw anyone in my family totally naked unless it was an accident. Now that it's just my hubby-to-be and me, we walk around naked all the time. But when we decide to have little ones I think I'll revert back to my old way of doing things… Not that there's anything wrong with being naked in front of your kids that's just the way I was brought up. Reply When I was little (baby to 3 or 4) I used to spend every early morning with my dad while we got ready for work so mom could sleep a bit longer. This included sitting in the bathroom watching him bathe and dress. In about preschool or so, my dad started thinking it was a little too little privacy for him, so then we stopped having that time together. Ever since I was a baby, I've hated being naked — screamed bloody murder during every diaper change and asked to take baths with clothes on — so I don't think I'll be doing much of anything nude in front of my daughter, but just because it's my personal preference to have clothes on pretty much all of the time. My husband is already pretty shy around her and got upset with me this morning when I plunked her on the bed so he could watch her while he got dressed and I made breakfast — she's 6 months old! Silly daddy. Really interesting to read everyone's responses here. It makes me wonder what the neighbors are doing behind their curtains — there must be a lot more nude TV watching and cooking going on than I ever thought before! 1 agrees Reply See, this is something I've been dealing with as of late. I have a 2 year old stepson, who my fiance and I have full and complete custody over, and my fiance and I severely disagree on the nudity front. I am perfectly fine with him seeing me walk around in my underwear in the common areas, or seeing me naked between bedroom and bathroom. But husband-to-be is really against it, not even wanting his son to see him naked. I don't get it. It's not like our son runs around taking his clothes off, in the house or out, and I feel like it's beneficial to a child to be familiar with the human body. Honestly, I would love to be able to teach him the words 'penis' and 'vagina,' but the social stigmas on those words are so great that I really would not like my child getting sent home from school all the time for using proper scientific names. I must agree with what Cherish said about the scene in Totoro. That's actually one of my favourite scenes because it shows how Eastern cultures tend to be much more lax about nudity, especially within the family unit, and how it's just one more way for parents to bond with their kids. My fiance watched that movie with me and seemed really freaked out by that scene. It just confuses me because he has no shame when it comes to anything else. 1 agrees Reply I think it's *really* important to teach your child the proper names for body parts. Here's a good list of reasons: http://www.parentsask.com/articles/should-i-use-proper-names-when-talking-about-private-parts 2 agree Reply While we're at it, perhaps the Off Beat Mama community can start a movement by using the word "vulva" instead of "vagina" with each other and our children. 'Vulva' refers to the greater-genital-area on a woman's body while 'vagina' is simply the vaginal canal. 8 agree Reply I think your situation is fine. If you are comfortable, your kids will be too. 1 agrees Reply I dont remember seeing my parents nude when i was young. Though my mom did say i drew a good representation of he male anatomy in church once. But i was VERY modest growing up. I wouldnt even shower after gym. Once i moved out and eventually met my husband I have become more and more free feeling i guess you could say. Walking around my house in my undies, when it just me and my husband, is the norm now. I would like to raise my kids to feel the freedom i have now, than how i was as a kid (when we have some). I dont see a problem with it in your own home and property. 🙂 Reply Im the eldest of 4 girls, my parents were always natural in the house and we followed suite, obviously not if we had guests or anything. But it made a difference I think. It helped me to be more body confident than most of the people I know, and even now I'm on the heavy side, I'm still more comfortable with my body that some of my perfect-figure friends. So I say keep doing what your doing, I don't think you'll create a streaker, just a young man whose modest and comfortable with his body and respects the 'real' image of the female body too 😀 1 agrees Reply My folks were almost always naked in the mornings, and our kids (4 months and 3.5 years) see us without clothes on before and after bathing. And I think we'll keep that up really, so it's normalised. Mind you, when they're teenages, I might be more sure to cover up if they have friends staying over 😮 Reply We have the same policy. And all our friends and family know that when they come to our house we may be clothed, or in any stage of undress…it's kind of our house policy ha! A lot of my friends have seen me naked at some point. Even our 3 year old loves to be naked. (He also stays very hot,so he's more comfortable that way.) So for us, it's normal. It's also a great opportunity to teach about the body! (How muscles, tendons, blood, etc. work.) My partner grew up in a similar household as well. BUT we handle it simply–we teach our kids that society (and some people) have different views about everything. SO sometimes it is not appropriate (or legal) to be naked. Not that there's anything wrong with it, it just makes society uneasy sometimes. Reply My family was nude a lot, but the nudity always had a purpose- everyone undressed in their bedrooms, then walked to the bathroom (single bathroom, 4 kids, 2 parents) nude, and frequently got dressed with the door open, and it was okay to sit on my parents' bed and talk to them as they got dressed, etc. It was never a big deal. We also had a fairly open bathroom policy because we had 6 people and 1 bathroom. Door open- c'mon in. Door closed- knock. Someone would frequently come in to pee while someone else was brushing teeth, etc. When my older siblings got to upper high school, or coming home from college, they would sometimes wear a towel or bathrobe to the bathroom, as they wanted to. Two siblings more than the others. Easy-peasy… and no nude family portraits, that I can recall. Reply My husband is very modest: wears a t-shirt while swimming, wears t-shirt and underwear to bed, wants lights off when having intercourse, etc. I grew up in a much more lax household: we all walked around in varying degrees of undress unless company was around. So I see no reason to change the way we are in front of my son. My husband used to wear trunks in the bath when my son was very little, because he felt strange having him sit on his naked lap, but now they shower and potty together full on, and no one cares. I shower with my son, as well, and he's fine. He realizes that mom has different equipment from dad (although, try as I might to tell him about my vagina or vulva, he still insists on calling my pubis "armpit" because I don't shave). Although, funny story. The other day we were getting ready for a shower, so we were both naked in the bathroom. I had to change my tampon, so I did that in front of him. He's seen it lots and lots of times, but this time the fact that the little "band aid" disappeared into mom freaked him out, and he insisted on inspecting when we were in the shower. I had to gently explain to him what was happening without letting him get invasive. Reply being naked is awesome, it's something that you shouldn't shy away from as your child gets older. Yet, show them it's okay to be WHO YOU ARE. My parents never hid themselves and even though it was embarrassing when friends came over, i'm thankful for their openness and acceptance. not like they where naked ALL THE TIME, but often, and showed no shame. I carry that on as an adult and i too love to be naked. 🙂 Reply I am so glad this question was asked! I think I read through all the comments so far. I thought I was pretty offbeat when I decided to teach my son the proper names for body parts! Ha! When I was growing up I was taught to ONLY be naked in the bathroom, alone right before and during a shower and never, ever EVER at any other time. This has made for some very akward situations such as being intimate with my husband, going to the doctor etc. I would never even wear a bathing suit in public! Not for money, not for sushi, not on your life! Oh the shame I would feel! Anyway, after giving birth to my son I have a slightly more respectful relationship with my body. Also, I attempted to breastfeed for a few weeks but he had some major health issues so I just pumped for a few months and we missed that time and bonding that I wanted:( Even though he is only 5 months old, I have a hard time undressing for a shower in front of him. I want to teach him that nakedness is natural and even appropriate sometimes. I'm so glad all you offbeat Mama's are willing to share and normalize this for me 🙂 I'm sure I'll never be a nudist but hopefully my son won't grow up to have the same body issues that I still suffer from, Thanks! 1 agrees Reply I don't know if this has already been said yet, but I read something somewhere that made a lot of sense to me. It said that there's no need to "worry" about covering up until your child exhibits the desire to be covered up himself or herself and to have privacy. Sounds pretty good to me. Our 2.5 year old still showers with both of us and sees us naked quite a bit. Until she's worried about it, I'm not going to worry about it. Reply I hated my parents being naked when I was a kid. It made me so uncomfortable. They were like 'oh it's just our bodies, it's natural', but I still didn't want to see it. It was weird and embarrassing. I'm often naked in my own home with my partner, but if we had children, I'd stop being nude around them once they were school age ish. Reply My mother and father seperated when I was younger. My mother has never really been one to cover up. She doesn't run around the house naked but if myself or my brothers need to talk to her while she's getting ready in the bathroom, or in her room then we go in… she has no clothes on… there was a time when my youngest brother was about 10 where my mom started locking her door so he didn't walk in and see her naked but it was such a weird thing she just gave up. I have gotten the same attitude with my son, my husband will walk around nakid from dawn til dusk and my son does the same I don't care for being naked because I'm always cold but if my son wants to come in and talk to me when I'm getting changed I don't care… we shower as a family and everything haha I'm sure it will change as he gets older but I don't think it matters that much at all! Reply we walk around naked in our house with our 2.5 year old son and our 5 month old.. He always looks at me when I'm naked and points to me and says "is that your pee pee mommy" I say, "girls don't have a pee pee but that's where I go pee pee" he looks at my husband and says the same thing. We make it as natural as possible and try not to make it a big deal. I remember showering with my parents when I was little. I like to create a safe atmosphere where nudity is normal, we even let him walk around the backyard naked, be free little ones while you can!! Reply This is a great topic! Nudity was never really an issue in my house growing up either, like alot of the commenters. My mom was more modest than my dad, but I think that's just her personality. My dad never got awkward about his nudity when I got older though. Most of the time it was me going, "God Dad! I have friends coming over! Put some pants on!" At least he compromised with boxers… Reply We are not shy about being naked in our household, I have 3 boys 9, 5, and 2 years old. They see me and their dad naked alot, and I let them go naked as well no big deal. Even we go naked out in our backyard and we live nearby this beach where we go naked at too. Reply My daughter is 18mths old and my husband handles her bathing and bedtime routine because he works from 11am-10pm every night and this is the only time he has to spend with her. Often time he'll run a little water in the tub and let her play for a bit and then he'll get into the shower with her. It's comfortable for us and he loves being able to play with her and utilize his small amount of time for himself as well (also I get a 30 minute break to myself every night). Some of our friends have asked us when we're going to stop this family bathing. I really don't know now but I'm sure we'll know when it's time. Reply My parents were never wandering around the house naked, but in underwear or a towel (especially to grab clothes out of the dryer or something), sure. Mom never just sat around in underwear, but if she was on her period there was no question because she didn't cover up the bottom then either. Dad wandered/sat around in his underwear and shirtless all the time. My older brother was usually a little more modest that I remember, but I earned the nickname "Lady Godiva" with no shame. I would put panties on to sit around, but running from one place in the house to another while naked–or streaking because I felt like it and then getting slightly dressed again–was a normal occurrence. No one ever indicated that there was an issue, though I'm sure as a small child I was probably informed in no uncertain terms that clothes stay on outside the house because I don't even remember any issues at daycare or anything. I may have even just learned through observation that like inside voices and outside voices, there were some things you could wear at home, and other things you should wear in public. Actually come to think of it I remember being told on the way out the door once that I needed to put a shirt on because I was running around in just shorts. I thought it wasn't fair that my brother didn't have to wear a shirt, and I remember vividly being told that no, it's not fair, but society expects certain things that you just kind of have to deal with. My partner and I shower together and have discussed the "someday" situation of having to either take turns to give us non-baby time, or bring the kid(s) with us into the shower. I suspect that with any given situation, we will do a combination of both. More from the "I'll get the baby ready while you shower, then you pack the car while I get cleaned up" sort of situations than the "kid shouldn't see the other gender's nudity" thing. I sleep naked as often as I don't, we plan to co-sleep and bedshare, and sometimes my fibromyalgia means I'm sitting around in as little as I can. OTOH, I wear a robe or put on a tanktop and shorts when the roomies are home, so if we're living with other folks when the babies happen then they might learn something entirely different. Not sure. Reply I am so happy I came across this post. My husband and I like to walk around nude and we've been talking about what we're going to do when our daughter is born in a few months. I'm all for continuing my nudist state (since my family did the same when I was a kid and it was never weird), and I just sent this post to my husband to see where he stands. Thanks for bringing this topic to light! Reply My dad started covering up when I was 7 or so, my mom still doesn't. I like it that way, I am very comfortable with my body and frequently will be naked just because I feel like it. My boyfriend gets a huge kick out of it after being used to girlfriends who were very body conscious. I grew up knowing what a real woman's body looked like. I'm sure there are many kids that thing that the norm is what they see on the covers of magazines. Reply My 15-yo son is extremely prudish and does not even go shirtless around family. My 10-yo daughter is more laissez-faire, occasionally changing in front of me or her brother when it's expedient. We have a housemate, so we generally don't walk around in the nude anyway. I am not terribly bashful around my kids; I try to send them a message that the nude body is not a shameful thing. I don't flaunt, but I don't cower from changing clothes in front of them if needed. Reply My husband and I have three daughters, ages 7, 12 and 15. My husband is very conservative around our daughters, he's never nude in front of them, and even goes way out of his way to not be in his underwear around them. I'm extremely casual about nudity around my daughters. If I'm in the shower at home it's perfectly fine with me if they need to come into the bathroom to pee or brush their teeth or ask me a question. The same goes for if I'm just out of the shower and I'm standing there nude while drying off. I've been taking my daughters swimming at a Y since my oldest daughter was 6 years old. We always shower after we swim. The showers are all out in the open of the women's locker room, so my daughters are all used to showering in the nude around me and other females who are also showering in the nude. I think that a women's locker room is a great place for little girls and teen girls to get to see non-sexual female nudity and be exposed to a wide variety of different body-types. My 15 year old is on the girls swim team and volleyball team. Group showering is an almost daily experience for my daughter and her teammates, as well as changing in and out of their swimsuits. Showering in the buff around the other girls was a little awkward for some of the girls on her teams at first. But my daughter was comfortable with it from day one because of her experience with group showering at the Y. My daughters best friend is also on the girls swim team at school, and she has already told my daughter that she became comfortable with the showering and changing with the other girls on the team because she saw how comfortable and casual my daughter is with it. Ideally all mothers would be a good example for their daughters by not being ashamed to be nude in front of them or any other females in locker room settings! Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.