Nudity and appropriateness - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have slept nude since I was in high school- I just prefer it.  So does my dh.  We don't walk around our house nude, but I will be nude in my room when I first get up, take a shower, use the bathroom, etc.  So we have a 4.5 year old dd now and a 1.5 yo ds.  I bedshared with dd until she was 2.5 and now I bedshare with ds.  The bedsharing, extended breastfeeding, and then potty training (demonstrating how to use the toilet) just sort of created an environment where our kids see our body parts on a regular basis. Our kids are often around us and in our bedroom in the morning and they often walk in on us in the bathroom so they see us nude.   We also sometimes shower with the kids instead of a bath.  Dd is not ready to shower on her own.  At 4.5 dd is of course interested in body parts so she is always pointing out the differences between mommy and daddy and sometimes asking questions.  She also started pointing out things like it's okay for boys not to wear shirts, but not girls and showing us advertisements in magazines that she labels "inappropriate" b/c the man or women is not wearing a lot of clothing (like an underwear ad or something).  Clearly she is very focused right now on bodies and what is appropriate. We've always truthfully answered her questions, keeping it simple, but explaining and always using the correct terminology.  Recently she asked if she could sleep naked, too. 

 

So here's the thing, dh and I both felt like it wasn't appropriate for her to sleep nude, but we couldn't put a finger on exactly why.  I think maybe sleeping nude feels like an adult thing to do, but it is an odd double standard.  This triggered a lot of thinking on my part about when it's no longer appropriate to be nude around your kids.  Part of me would feel more comfortable shutting down the whole nudity thing- all of us sleep in clothes, close the bathroom door, no more showers together, etc..  Or create boundaries- dd can't come into our room if the door is closed or something.  But another part of me doesn't want to create a huge taboo around nudity.  I grew up being embarrassed by my naked body.  I hated changing in the locker room for gym class or at sleep overs. I was embarrassed of even wearing a swimsuit- it felt too naked.  It was crippling in a few ways.  I later got over my fears with the help of some less inhibited friends whose attitudes about changing clothes and taking showers after practice showed me that it was okay.  I felt so freed by this knowledge and I wish that I hadn't had all those years of feeling so embarrassed.

 

I know that nudity is an issue that varies from household to household and ultimately we'll have to do what feels right to us, but I would love to hear experiences from other parents and how you have decided to handle the nudity situation... what age, what's okay, what's not okay, how you balance appropriateness with a healthy body image, etc.  Thanks!!


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#2 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 02:39 PM
 
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i think mama more than just differences in family, nudity i feel is a cultural issue and the the levels of that is a combination of both culture and personal issues. 

 

and this is a deeply personal issue as u rightly pointed out. nakedness and nudity are two different things.

 

we are a kinda nudist family. dd still sees me naked and has never slept with anything on once she could take off her own clothes. even in winter when temps are down to 3 - 4 degrees C. i dont ever plan to hide behind clothes from her till the day i die. and if i had a son i would not change anything. even if he or dd felt uncomfortable i'd first make sure its 'them' that's uncomf. rather than society telling them its not ok. 

 

ex is a little more shy and dd rarely sees him naked anymore (i think he started covering up when dd was 5, before that when we parted at 18 months old i requested him to please allow dd to see him naked for as long as he could manage it - the longer the better). if she does its an accident. she respects his views but really nudity is not a big deal to her. she is not shocked to see her dad naked and is absolutely fine to see him naked. being a single dad with a dd i think his opinions on this subject is defined by society. so he may be underdressed, but neither is allowed to be naked at his house.

 

however if we were still together i know we would still be a nudist family behind closed doors.

 

i think if you search this site - both on parenting and this forum, you'll find a lot of threads on this very subject.  

 

however i am an extreme here. i'd have no problems with dd seeing any adults naked and if people went skinny dipping i'd have no problems with dd joining them whether they were friends or strangers. 


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#3 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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My oldest DD is 8. Both DH and I sleep in the nude, often so does DD1. It hasn't been an issue for us yet. DD1 doesn't care if we are nude and she often strips while walking around the house so obviously she isn't modest right now. We have no rules about nudity or nor closed door policies. The children just wander in and freely, no one has been uncomfortable yet. And yet is the key word, when DD1 expresses a desire not to see DH nude or starts to want privacy herself then we will start closing doors, asking kids to knock, and start putting on clothes sooner instead of wandering to the coffeepot first!


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#4 of 13 Old 11-06-2011, 07:08 PM
 
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We all define what is "normal" by what our daily interactions are with those around us at any given time.  If that means that we're nude at home, then that's our "normal", and the children will accept that.  They will ask questions when they realize that not everyone (or anyone) else's family is nude at home.  That is an opportunity to teach to me.  That there are differences in how people behave, dress, act, love, and we accept the difference and respect their choices as we hope they respect ours. 

 

Some will accept our choices, and others won't.  If they don't, then we'll adjust when and if they come over.  That's not to say that it'll be a huge adjustment.  We're not a nudist family, but clothing is certainly optional.  As frequently as we're dressed, we're not or only partially.

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#5 of 13 Old 11-07-2011, 04:54 AM
 
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We are very open about nudity in our household. I don't really mind the kids seeing nudity (not in a sexual way) because the human body is a beautiful work of art and should be revered as such. My step-daughter doesn't really play into this scene as her mother is the complete opposite and does the whole shaming thing... so while we are trying to break that belief, it's a different story with her. My kids, however, aren't really offended by seeing someone in the house naked but they are beginning to find their own modesty. DS is starting to get curious about his own body and has since become a bit more modest and doesn't like us to see him naked. In turn, he has also started to make sure he knocks before coming in the bedroom, bathroom, etc because he doesn't want to see us naked either. Although, he's still known to walk in on me while showering. I don't make it a big deal but for his own comfort, I'll turn away so he's not staring right at me in all my naked glory but he knows if you don't knock, you might see something you don't want to.

My daughter, however, is INCREDIBLY interested in naked bodies right now and has no issue busting in on me, DH, DS or DSD at any given time. DH, DS and DSD are way more uncomfortable with this than I am as she REALLY likes to point out differences in our bodies and ask questions. I simply answer them, DH gets flustered. She is starting to get a bit more modest with her own body... but not much. She has no problem falling asleep in DH's spot butt naked, lol. She LOVES sleeping naked. I don't have a problem with it. However, she no longer walks through the house completely naked. If she has to change or something in site of someone (for whatever reason she deems necessary), she covers up.

I think they start to form their own modesty and we take our cues from them... I don't walk through the house naked and I don't sleep naked but I don't lock the doors in my room when I'm changing or when I'm showering, I don't HIDE from them but I also tell them if they don't want to see me naked, they need to knock and use common courtesy. If they don't, they may see me (or whoever else) naked. I'm not going to be embarrassed by that and DH, generally, isn't really either. Of course, it's a bit different for him with a teenage girl in the house. He tends to be more modest than me for her sake so the little ones don't usually see him either.

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#6 of 13 Old 11-08-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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Sounds similar to mine, but I think that my girls never inherited a Modesty gene.  They're often running around as born or close to it.  They are certainly nude in the pool.  DH remains clothed for lifestyle reasons, and since he's the only male in the household there seems to be no real issues surrounding it.  We do discuss all kinds of things, though, and I feel as though our relationship is much more open about all manner of subjects.

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#7 of 13 Old 11-08-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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Honestly, if my kids slept nude.. that's be fine by me. But they are big enough now that we don't bedshare. We do cover up when heading to common areas of the house. But we strip down by the door if we are wearing muddy garden clothes and need to make a dash... as long as there are no non-family members in the house. We also strip down at the local hot springs.

I've tried hard to make skin "no big deal". We don't have to show off but there's no shame in it, either.
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#8 of 13 Old 11-10-2011, 08:09 AM
 
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I have a question....what about any concern of CPS? CPS have been an issue in our family in the smalltown we live in, sadly. So much ignornce on home schooling, non vaxing, etc.....Because f their invlvemnet in our life in the past (though all cases eventualy were closed due to insubstantial proof of any NEED for involvment in the FIRST place), I am so very cautious of thngslike nudity. I live in a state of fear of losing my kids. (God, i hate CPS) I am far more comfrtable nude and used to be nude alot more at home but am super careful of it now. My almost 3 yr old despises clothes and I spend a vast mjority of the day wresling him into "at least" undies.....for fear ther will be aknock a my door and it will be a case worker.....(Those who have had to deal with the BS of CPS I'm sure can relate) Nudity was such a hush-hush topic in my childhod that I grew up very uncomfortable in my own skin and I dont want my kids feeling the same. But I know society sees nudity in such a sexual way......in fact, we got a false report once that my fiance was walking around naked in front of my boys. Which was funny because he NEVER did. But it led me to qustion HY it was an isue for lttle boys to see a nude man who was living in their home and had been for 2 years.....it was only allegated that he was walking around nude, no report of innapropriate behavior, etc... they questioned my boys and my boys said it was false so it was dropped....but WHY would CPS investigate that????

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#9 of 13 Old 11-10-2011, 08:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hippiemum21580 View Post

..but WHY would CPS investigate that????

Because he wasn't a family member and there could have been sexual abuse going on.


And I love CPS, they can save some kids... not all the time... but sometimes and that's good enough for me. I call them whenever I think kids are in trouble, unsafe or in danger.
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#10 of 13 Old 11-10-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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the caseworker actually gave me a good ol lecture on not EVER letting my boys see nudity....which really struck me as odd but i bit my tongue because I wasnt about to open a can of worms and make it seem something sexual WAS happening, KWIM? I guess I have quite a bias with CPS bcause I have had to deal with alot of bullsimply because my ex likes to stir up trouble. And nce CPS is in your life, its hard to get them back out. I have had case workers infrm me I was putting my kids health at risk by not vaccinating, hich she worded in a report as neglect. I have had a case worker threaten to remove my kids from the home because I homeschool until I spouted out the law for my state. (and she gave me a really dirty look for defending my rights) In MY experience, i have called them to report serious abuse and neglect and seen ZERO result. Meanwhle, moms like me are harassed because they dont agree with my methods of parenting. My question thugh is, does no one worry about CPS involvment? Ive become super paranoid about being covered u and keeping my kids "properly"dressed at all times for fear our comfort w/ our bodies will be construed as sexual in some way....

 

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#11 of 13 Old 11-11-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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I follow my children's lead on this subject. Dd is 2 and couldn't care less. I'm not sure she even notices she's different from ds or dh. The other day she tried to pee facing the toilet, like she saw ds doing.

We also practice CLW, bedshare, are not uncomfortable about nudity etc.

 

Personally, I don't think it's a nudity issue, it's more an "appropriatedness" issue... You (general you) don't want to know how your opposite sex parent or grandparent looks naked, and you don't want to know your parents are having sex. It has a taboo factor, maybe it's nature's way of telling us we shouldn't consider our parents as sexual beings.


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#12 of 13 Old 11-12-2011, 06:10 AM
 
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My kids are 4 and 7 and they see us naked every once in a while.  We don't try to hide our nakedness from them, but we don't wander around naked because it's too cold in our house for that!  Ds has no qualms about being seen naked.  Dd has reached a funny stage where sometimes she wants to run around naked, and other times she's super modest and wants privacy.

 

FWIW we have a policy in our house that unless you're in your bedroom or the bathroom you need to wear at least undies.  Mostly that's to avoid dirty bum germs gettin' all over the place....


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#13 of 13 Old 11-12-2011, 07:10 PM
 
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CPS shouldn't be involved at all.  There's nothing illegal about being nude in your home.  In the case of your CPS caseworker lecturing you about your son seeing you nude, that's her "morality" showing not any legal reasons.  IDK.  It's too bad they were called in.  Now they have your address.  I'd be leary.

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