I vaguely remember hearing, at some point in my life, that it’s inappropriate for children over the age of two to see their parent of the opposite sex naked. At that point in my pre-kid life, I filed that little nugget of information away for future use.
And then, after having kids, I realized that that was COMPLETELY insane.
Every parent knows that sometimes it is significantly easier to take a child into the shower with you than it is to get them into a bathtub. Add to that multiple children who seem to attract dirt, and you can almost guarantee that children will be well past the age of two before the decision is made that it is finally time to end parent/child bath time. And that’s not even taking into account kids who insist on disrupting your showers, or being in the bathroom when you’re using the bathroom.
I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but my two older kids are essentially banned from seeing me naked. At 6 1/2 and 4, they have reached the point where they notice the differences between their bodies and mine, like to point them out, and are full of questions. Questions that catch me off-guard and leave me stumbling to find an appropriate reply. It is uncomfortable. Add to that my fear that they will somehow remember seeing me naked, and you can guarantee that I will lock the bathroom door behind me. Every time. The last thing I want is for my 25-year-old son to have a grainy memory of his naked mother.
My 6 1/2 year old has reached a point in his life where he wants privacy. He doesn’t want anyone to be around when he’s in the bathroom and he doesn’t want anyone to see him without underwear on. The few times that he has seen me naked recently (upon barging into the bathroom), he’s turned bright red and and developed “the look.” A cross between curiosity and embarrassment, I think it makes us both feel a little awkward.
Now, I fully admit that when it comes to nudity, I am a bit of a prude. I didn’t grow up in a household where I saw my parents in the buff, and (although I don’t see anything wrong with it), nudist colonies, especially family friendly nudist colonies, totally baffle me. It is beyond my scope of understanding.
But I wonder how other families handle this? Would it be different if I had a daughter? Does your family have a different “policy” on nudity?
For another take on this topic, check out Amber’s article questioning when kids need privacy from siblings of the opposite sex.
Photo Credit: Flickr