I should start by saying that I know plenty of parents are comfortable with being naked in front of their kids. That's cool...but not necessarily when the kids are clearly uncomfortable about it. My children are 7 and 9, and they have reached the age where they enjoy their own privacy, and have showers on their own, and insist on a locked door when they use the toilet or get changed. That's just how they are, and I respect that.
Recently, they started visiting their father again. He disappeared to another country for 6 months, returned, saw them once, and then stopped calling for another 3 months. Because of this, the kids are totally freaked out about losing their father again, and when they DO see him, they are petrified of doing anything to upset him because they're worried he won't want to see them again. Over the past month or so, he has started taking them a little more regularly (weekends here and there). Normally when he takes them, he doesn't have them brush their teeth or shower or clean themselves. This has been an area that I've fought him on in the past, and have pretty much given up on in the hopes that the kids will just take responsibility, themselves, as clearly he can't. This past weekend, due to the drought, our well came very close to going dry. He had the kids, so I called him up and asked him if he could ensure that they each took a shower, as they wouldn't be able to on Sunday night when they got home. He said ok.
So on Sunday, after they had been home for a few hours, I asked the kids if they had showered at their dad's house. They both said yes. My son piped up with "Yes, but Daddy made me take a shower with him. I didn't want to, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings or make him mad, so I didn't know how to say no." =( My nine year old daughter was made to feel guilty, as well, for refusing to take a bath with her 6 year old step-sister. Note that they are not dealing with water issues, there, so this was not the reason for the shared showers/baths.
This isn't even the first this has happened, unfortunately. We had words about him taking my daughter in the shower with him when SHE was seven, because it made her uncomfortable. On top of that, we had an incident last year just before he took off to another country, when my son came in and proclaimed that he had seen his stepmother's "vagina beard" because the two of them had gone SKINNY DIPPING with my children. With them. A big naked party. This is not normal for my kids, and maybe i'm a prude, but when my son is calling it a freaking vagina beard, clearly it's outside of his comfort zone. The only reason I didn't bring that incident up with him was because it was the last time he saw the kids before he left for the dominican republic, and honestly I didn't think he'd be back.
And maybe it's just me. I was a victim myself as a child, with my step-father. And I remember clearly how it all started and i'm seeing signs here that make me very very uncomfortable.
So how do I deal with this? Do I? Should I? I know that if I confront my ex about it, he will become completely defensive and claim that I'm the one with body issues. This is how it panned out in the past when i've brought it up. Ugh, the whole situation just freaks me out. Any advice is appreciated. =/