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naked kids

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
This is really "friend of mine". Once again, I can't seem to log dh out. Oh well.

Last night we had friends over and our kids (5 and 2) were playing in the wading pool naked as usual (private fenced back yard). When our friends left, we walked them out to the sidewalk to say good-bye. As they left dh and I started pulling weeds in the sidewalk strip. The kids were with us and still naked.

Five, maybe ten, minutes later a police officer drove by and we all waved to him. We like seeing cops drive by in our quiet and friendly neighborhood. Well, he must have gone around the block because he came right back and stopped. He put his window down and said "What's with the naked kids?". I said "oh, its summer". Dh asked him if there was a legal age that they couldn't be naked. The cop responded "What if there is a pervert in your neighborhood."

Later, this led to many questions from 5-year-old dd. She wanted to know what was wrong with kids being naked, why a police office would be worried about it,... I think we did a pretty good job answering her questions and we had a good discussion. As a family we agreed to have a rule that everyone needs clothing if not in the house or back yard. For the most part, we require this anyway.

I'm sharing this with you all mostly because I just need to vent. It is so frustrating to me that we live in such a paranoid society. Why are people so afraid of nudity? Yes I am aware that there may be a pervert around. But is the way my children are dressed, or not dressed, really going to change the actions of someone with a sick mind?

I want healthy children who are secure with their bodies. I want to live in a community with people who are not so afraid.

Thanks for listening. I suspect you’ll all have a variety of opinions.

friend of mine
post #2 of 43
Dear Friend o' papa's,

I'm sorry, that really stinks for you, although it seems far too common in this society. My friend's mom had the cops called on her for letting her 3-year-old son play naked in the kiddie pool in the backyard. It's unfortunate that our society tries to push this prudish shame about bodies and nakedness onto little children. And that the officer brought up "perverts" in front of your children... terribly inappropriate. Children the age of yours do not even need to know what the word "pervert" means. Besides, you were with your children!

It's something societal, and I don't know how it can change. When I lived in Germany, children frequently stripped down naked on hot days and jumped into public fountains and nobody blinked, not to mention that if you are at the beach or have been swimming in a city park and need to change, you just do it, regardless of age. People don't even react. It's just normal. We were talking with friends of ours about this very same subject last night and couldn't figure out exactly where it begins or what it was about American society that causes or supports this sexualization of human bodies so that even young ones get the message that their perfectly normal, beautiful bodies are dirty.

It's hard when you are expected to adjust your own actions to ease others' discomfort. I think the decision to be nude in the backyard and the house is a good compromise. Keep on splashin'!

post #3 of 43
This happened to my family when I was a child. In the 70's!

My mom had my brother and me in a small pool in the yard, we were nude and only about 1 and 3 years old. Somebody in the neighborhood called the police, he told my mom we couldn't be nude outside.

We always thought that was a bummer! Especially in the 70's!!

post #4 of 43
Maybe I've already anticipated this one... my 3 yo ds really likes to be naked. I have basically told him that in deciding to live together as a society, we have decided upon some rules. Not all of the rules are great, but the main point is to make everyone feel better. One of the rules that society has come up with is that if we're not at home, we need to wear clothes. So it's okay to be naked at home or in the back yard, but not elsewhere.

I don't necessarily agree with how society came to be this way, but I wanted to explain it to him in a way that he'd be willing to comply with and which didn't make him feel bad about being naked.
post #5 of 43
Yeah, my kids like to be nakies... as we call it! Only in the backyard or in the house... we used to let them run nekkid in the front yard, but... we got some looks....
post #6 of 43
Oh man! The policeman said : "whats with the naked kids?"

"oh uh, we're just trying to set a bait for the weirdo guy across the street. We figure we'll hide behind the bushes and when he comes to snatch our kids we'll jump out and grab him."

It's really so sad when even the neighborhood patrol has to put this kind of fear and concern into kids.

--excuse me while i continue my snarkiness: "hey, mr. police-man, could you help us? How 'bout you stay nearby and come out with those hand-cuffs when we get him!?"

sometimes I absolutely abhor this society we live in

post #7 of 43
On a related note, my sister suggested this week that my 2.5 yo dd wears dresses that are too short as she tends to enjoy "flashing" her panties. She assured me that she doesn't see anything wrong with it, put was worried about perverts seeing her.

As creepy as it is, can I help it if some sicko has thoughts about her Barney panties? Am I less than vigilant as a parent if I don't keep her "discreet" in public? Isn't this just an extension of the idea that the girl with "suggestive" clothing on deserved to be raped by her date?

I think this fear mentality that is marketed sincerely as safety is one subtle but POWERFUL way that women are descriminated against in our culture. I don't think many men can understand how often fear guides women's thoughts and actions and as a result controls our behavior.

P.S. Sorry about all the "quotes." I am one of those annoying people IRL who occassionally "air quotes" in conversation.
post #8 of 43
This is something that I've just come to realise about Americans. Back home, little children would go naked on the beach and nobody would think for a moment about it. I remember stripping off as a child at friend's houses to play in sprinklers etc, and all the other kids did the same.

Now, I'm so shocked by the prudish way that so many American adults behave with their children. I found it particularly when in the South recently - I didnt realise it at the time, but apparently I shocked everyoen by letting my girls (one and three years old) strip off ready to get into their swimsuits at a park. They were both running around and I was chasing them with their swimsuits, but it didnt bother me in the slightest. If there had been other naked kids there, I"d have given up on the swimsuits altogether. But dh told me afterwards that what I did was shocking, letting them go naked as I sorted out the bags and sunscreen etc.

Here at home, they go naked all the time in the backgarden, and in the house. Dh has heart failure when they run out on the front porch or to the car naked, and ushers them in as if they are committing some act of indecency. It drives me nuts, and he has toned it down a little so at least they don't realise that it's an issue. But I wouldnt care a jot if they came out the front naked, I just don't get this puritanism about children. Ugh.

As for perverts, they are no more likely to eye up your child if he/she is naked than if he/she is in a swimsuit, imo. And some of the swimwear and clothing that parents put on their kids is far more provocative than going nude! That was what astounded me about my experience in the South when I let dds go naked - that there were other little girls in skimpy bikinis that I would not allow near my child. So, dressing your young daughter up sexily is fine, but letting her go naked is indecent. I just don't get it!!

So, in our family, there are no two piece swimsuits and no short skirts, skimpy shirts, backless tops, or adult style clothes, but nudity is fine and dandy.
post #9 of 43
My kids love to be nakie too. I hate that this (US) society is so freaking backwards. I'm sure my neighbors think we are whacked because we have let our 3yr.old swim in the kiddie pool/or be sprayed with the hose naked. Our dd only wears a bathing suit bottom to go in the kiddie pool and I'm sure people think that's wrong also, she's 7. I think us "normal" folk need to keep allowing our children to be children and not put off our sick society on to them. Maybe we'll wear off on to the rest of society.
You aren't protecting your children by making their natural bodies shameful. A pediphile is going to look at children no matter what they are wearing.
post #10 of 43
Where we live in Hawaii it is not uncommon for toddlers to go naked at the beach. Dd ran around naked at the beach as a toddler, even at some of the resort beaches. And she ran around the house naked all the time until she was around 5....now she runs around in her panties. I would be appalled if someone called the police or even made a comment. I don't even expect anyone to give us weird looks.

Our natural bodies are beautiful.

You should all move to my neighborhood.
post #11 of 43
How bizarre!! If I had to keep my almost 3 yo in clothes all the time, I'd go bonkers - we went to friends' for dinner last week, and she was out of her pretty dress and in her undies within about 5 minutes of getting there, and stayed that way through supper.

I remember my stepdaughter's 4th birthday - we had a backyard party with sprinklers, and she stripped down out of her swimsuit so quick - now that's she's older she just rolls her eyes whenever we're going through the photo album and cracking jokes about how "you can tell who the birthday girl was, cause she's in her birthday suit!" A couple of the other kids did the same, and none of the grownups had a problem with it. What a waste of energy.
post #12 of 43

That policeman never tried to dress a kid before!!!

Same thing I told my DH when he would frown on the BABY toddling around in his precious little Kushies...little did he know we wrestled into those before he got home so he didn't think I let the kids run naked allt he time!!! However, the kids grew up..past 2 years anyway in Turkey and yes, naked kids at the sea is totally the norm up until about puberty, then boys wear underwear or something of that shape and girls swim in shorts and tshirts...white, see through, but hey, they have clothes on....my sensitive 7 y/o son hates to wear a shirt...so he goes topless most of the time..in my prudishness he must wear a shirt to the table...even though his brother 3y/o sit s there in just his Bob the builder undies....he too will have to adjust....but not for 4 years!!!! I almost hink it is a male thing....none of hte Moms around seemed to bat an eye and even let their girls run around the same way....so my theory is...if more men had to wrestle kids into clothes, they'd adopt the same attitude....we do have a warped sense of propriety though....if Brittnay spears wore nothing but lingere on stage (barney or otherwise) it would be a lingere show....but heaven forbid a child, prepubescent child run naked....my kids don't even know what it means to be naked...just clothes on, clothes off....usually its clothes off...even in the middle of winter which is just beyond me!!! (no they don't go outside like that..I'd get reported for trying to freeze my kids)

enough ranting....just had to add my 2 cents worth!!!
post #13 of 43
I remember going to beach in Italy as a child and children there didn't start wearing swim clothes til puberty. They had semi-nude advertising and the Playboy channel on regular TV. People weren't hung up on issues like here. Sexual crimes at a VERY low. I don't know if things are still like that there. It was a totally different mind set.
post #14 of 43
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for responding. So good to know you are out there. Too bad we don't all live in the same neighborhood.

friend of mine

(still can't seem to logoff my dh)
post #15 of 43
Ugh...At work a few weeks ago a Dad brought his 6 or 7yo DD to buy a shirt cause she was wet (tourist attraction with fountains outside-I worked in teh gift shop, we sell alot of overpriced shirts due to this!!) Anyway, the Dad took the lil goirls wet shirt off mid store and put the new one on-in innocence. I thought that was wonderful, just innocent (coworkers rolled eyes). Oddly, they were otherwise in religious clothing to a degree and she was dressed normal yet well covered. Albeit unrelated the Dad was odd...lol

People are prudish here. A 15yo with a pasty and thong on the beach is ok, but dare my 2 yo DS run naked! NOOOOO! Now I have let him at my Moms and the yget sooo mad-she has a yard but my Dad is very uptight. They (we asa kid) did have a pervert/sexual deviant neighbor but YEAY! he died 2 years ago and the street is happier now. (He did some gross stuff, none to children was proven, but to adults-yes) but his children were not around with their kids until he dropped, then they cleaned it out...anyway...

7yo DD saw some of the Simple Life when they were at the nudist resort and was intrigued-she wants to go! She is so much more innocent than these kids around here where everything is Dirty or sexual when it comes to nudity!
post #16 of 43
I can't help but wonder if the police officer knows something about your neighborhood that you don't. While I agree that it is too bad, the norm for US culture is to be covered (well, sort of, anyway), even for small children. As with many things, if you chose to disregard that, then you get to deal with the resulting questions/looks/comments/whatever. In this case, the police officer was doing his job by asking questions because the situation could have been very different than it was and he was right to stop and ask some questions.
post #17 of 43
A 15yo with a pasty and thong on the beach is ok, but dare my 2 yo DS run naked! NOOOOO!

you speak my mind!

britishmum, i hear ya! this seems to be yet another thing about america that i don't understand! in germany kids run around naked (well, not all the time kwim...). we have perverts too, yes. but like somebody else said in this thread, one could get excited about barney underwear.
post #18 of 43
I would have reported him for talking that way in front of my kid. No child should have to hear those words that young. It's so sad. I like your compromise and I'm sorry you had to deal with that.
post #19 of 43
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom
I can't help but wonder if the police officer knows something about your neighborhood that you don't. While I agree that it is too bad, the norm for US culture is to be covered (well, sort of, anyway), even for small children. As with many things, if you chose to disregard that, then you get to deal with the resulting questions/looks/comments/whatever. In this case, the police officer was doing his job by asking questions because the situation could have been very different than it was and he was right to stop and ask some questions.

so out of curiosity, what "could have" the situation been? Do you really think the policeman may have thought she was parading her child out naked in the front yard with some ulterior motive? I don't see any call for questioning why a young child is naked in front of thier own house. Lighten up!
post #20 of 43
Did the police officer know this was their house? Did he know that this was parents and children and not something else? Did he know that this wasn't some abuse discipline sort of thing (like you hear about kids being paraded around in diapers for wetting the bed)? Does he maybe know that there is a sexual predator living 4 doors down but can't tell anyone that? Do you remember how outraged the nation was when the facts of Jeffry Daulmer (the canibal guy, can't remember his exact name and too lazy to go look it up) were reported a few years ago -- how a cop had found a young man running naked from his apartment and returned him without asking questions?

Its the police's job to ask questions when things look unusual. This wasn't the community norm, it was "in public" in that he could see it from the street, he is supposed to ask questions. How outraged would we be if we read in the paper that two children were kidnapped from their homes, abused, kept naked so they couldn't run away, and a cop saw them and didn't ask questions?
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