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Kids and Nudity: When is it Appropriate for Parents to be Naked with their Kids?

Yesterday I explained why I climbed into a bathtub fully clothed with Vivi. What I didn’t explain was why I didn’t strip down to my birthday suit before climbing into the tub. In a comment left by NudeDude (the name says it all), he wondered why I even bothered with a swimsuit and didn’t just climb into the tub fully naked. He raises an interesting question that my wife and I have struggled with (and I use the word “struggled” liberally here) while raising both of our daughters. My wife and I have not always seen eye to eye on that question, but we have both taken our stances and we have supported each other in our respective decisions. And really what I mean by being supportive is that my wife puts up with my decision that my kids don’t get to see me naked. EVER. Every family seems to have a different approach to this little subject. As NudeDude put it:

Clothed? Bathing suit? What’s the point? Is there a problem with being nude with young kids? My wife and I take turns showering our daughter. It’s all nudity.  I know that at some point we’ll have to stop it, and probably my wife can continue for longer than I should, but surely there’s an age where it’s OK to be nude with your child?

First off, it is all nudity and everybody approaches nudity differently. The nudity factor probably doesn’t even need to be taken into consideration while taking a shower with a baby who is only 6 months old or younger, but at what point do you cross that line? Is it when the baby begins to be a little too curious? Does it even matter if the baby does get curious? All I know is that Vivi is pretty fascinated with bellybuttons right now and I can only imagine the fascination if she discovered that boys had an extra “finger” (that’s what Addie called the first trouser mouse she saw). I’d rather avoid that curiosity altogether. I decided as soon as Addie was born that she would never see me naked. It didn’t matter if Addie was only a week old, 6 months old, 6 weeks old, or 6 years old, it wasn’t going to happen and it has never happened. That decision wasn’t always the most convenient decision, a la Vivi’s last bath, but we have made it work. When Addie became afraid of taking baths, Casey would have me grab a swimsuit and hop into the tub with her. When she needed a quick shower and Casey didn’t want to hop in the shower with Addie, I would grab a swimsuit and give Addie a shower. There was obviously a point there when Addie got too old for me to be involved with the bathing or showering process other than simply telling her to take a shower or a bath. And since Vivi was born, I have followed the same routine with her as I did with Addie—hence the fully clothed bath.

There isn’t one particular reason that really sticks out as to why I decided that my kids would never see me naked. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to be the one explaining the male anatomy to my daughters. Maybe it’s because I’m not comfortable with anyone seeing me in the buff. I’ve certainly never been mistaken as being one of the old dudes at the gym who gleefully watch TV in the buff while drying their bag O’ goods. And there are plenty of fathers like NudeDude who have no problem being nude with their kids and it hasn’t been a problem for those parents or their kids. I’ve had dads tell me that they stop taking showers with their daughters at 2-years-old. I also know a few dads who shower with their 6-year-old daughters. (In my mind that really pushes the limits of what is okay, but as Santo always said, “To each their own.”) Heck, Casey doesn’t even have the same rule as me. She has no qualms about being naked in front of Addie or Vivi, but they’re all girls so I don’t really consider that the same thing. If we ever have a boy, I’ll learn her true feelings on the subject. How have you approached baths with your kids? At what age do you stop bathing with your kids?

And to find out what the AAP says, check out their guidelines for when it’s appropriate to bathe with baby

Read more about my family on Moosh in Indy or follow me on Twitter!

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