D wrote: “My girlfriend (of 4 years) and I just had our first child, a daughter, in December. Life as first time parents has been stressful as we never quite saw eye-to-eye on most things (opposites attract, I guess).
Last night, my girlfriend brought the topic of nudity at home, raising a child up. This surprised me because I’ve struggled with where I stand and my conflicting opinions/comfort on the topic.
We agree that, when executed properly, parents who raise children in a body positive “naked house” (as I’ve heard them referred to by people who’ve grown up in them) CAN produce mature, realistic, well adjusted, healthy kids. We’re just not sure of our own or each other’s boundaries. She is also concerned with having to explain her parenting to her family, friends or our child’s peers/other parents down the road.
We DO agree on when enough is enough as at some point our child will become uncomfortable and crave privacy. But we either disagree or are unsure of everything else. To be clear, we were *fairly* nude-friendly people before the baby but I don’t think anything out of the ordinary.
So, my question is: Do you have any pointers for brand new, first time parents who are open to raising kids in a nude-friendly home but aren’t totally sure of how to get on the same page & go about it?”
Liz says: It’s unclear to me whether you are referring to raising her in a home where you both rarely wear clothing (a “naked house”) or a home in which the nudity is more incidental (she walks in to see you in the buff while showering, changing clothes, etc.) Either way, there’s no evidence that raising kids in a home in which non-sexual nudity is the norm is damaging to them. On the contrary, I think it allows them to develop healthy attitudes toward their own bodies, shows them what their bodies will look like later in life, and allows them to “study” the differences between males and females.
My hubby and I have a 5 year old son, and we both discussed our attitudes and expectations on this very subject, too. Neither of us have ever hidden our bodies in shame if our son wandered into the bathroom or bedroom while we emerged from the shower or got dressed. We believe that to yell at him or hide our bodies would teach him the wrong thing and perverts a natural, normal state. To yell at your kids or hide your body reveals an inability to recognize nudity as a non-sexual state, it sends the message that nudity is shameful and to look at your parents while nude is an inherently sexual act–which it is not. Plus, we have to see him nude while changing his clothes and bathing him, and when we had to potty-train him, so allowing him to see us nude makes things even for him.
However, we don’t walk around nude while cooking or cleaning or watching movies with him. But that’s only because we aren’t comfortable with that personally, not because we think there’s something wrong with it. Our rule is that we will stop being nonchalantly nude around him as soon as he expresses discomfort with it. It’s all about balance and mutual respect, in my opinion.
Don’t worry too much about this, it sounds like you both have a good head on your shoulders and will figure out what feels right for your family. Speaking of family, tell your girlfriend not to worry about “having to explain” to hers why your kids aren’t ashamed of their bodies.
For further reading, I found this expert’s 5 rules informative and reasonable: Is It Okay To Be Naked In Front Of Your Kids?