Being a mother usually means there are times when your children will see you naked. Whether that’s because you’re bathing them and have decided to be in the bathtub with them, or they barge into the room as you’re changing or showering, the likelihood of it happening is pretty real.
Before this occurs, it is important to consider how you feel about the general topic of nudity around your children, as well as the message you want to teach them. Each household has a different approach when it comes to how comfortable they are being naked in front of their children, but it is important to be aware of the message you’re sending.
We spoke to Certified Positive Discipline Educator, Rana Hany, to get her advice on the matter. “Before the age of two, children are unable to distinguish or realize any differences in appearance, so being naked is just easier for the mother. As the mother breastfeeds for the first two years, it is considered appropriate for your little ones to see you naked if necessary,” Hany told us.
Here are a few points to consider before deciding the best approach for your household:
Before you consider what you want to teach your children in regards to the body and nudity, you need to see what you’re comfortable with. Especially if you have a child of the opposite sex, you could feel very uncomfortable undressing in front of them entirely, even at a young age. It is important to feel comfortable to prevent portraying the wrong message to your child.
Welcome questions about the human body
As a child gets older, it is normal for them to have questions about the human body. Being naked around your children is a great way to welcome those questions and ensure that you provide them with factual, anatomical answers.
While your child will sometimes ask inappropriate questions, it is important to be able to handle them without being mortified or showing concern. After you’ve responded to their questions, you can take this opportunity to explain boundaries, appropriateness, and what they should not be asking other people.
If you decide to avoid being naked around your child, it will be a great way to teach your children the importance of boundaries. This will prevent your child from getting confused or mixed up when it comes to adults being naked since they know it is unacceptable to ever see an adult naked.
“By the age of three, a parent should start enforcing the concepts of privacy, consent, and basic sex education to help your child comprehend that certain body parts should not be exposed. That’s why it is recommended at that age for parents to avoid confusing children by teaching them to knock on doors before entering, to cover up and avoid being seen naked,” Hany explained.
Another approach is always wearing undergarments around each other to send the message of hiding certain areas of the body, not out of shame, but out of privacy. However, make sure they understand that it is for protection and not out of shame.
In this day and age, children are surrounded by idealistic images of the body and body standards that are very difficult to meet. This can easily cause the child to feel dissatisfied with their own body or not comfortable in their own skin. When allowing nudity within the household, they not only get to see a realistic image of the body but also your acceptance towards yourself. This can prevent unrealistic expectations and self-hate towards their bodies as they grow up.
Follow your child’s lead
Before the age of 3, most children do not even comprehend the concept of nudity. However, as they start to grow older, they will start to ask questions, poke or touch unfamiliar looking body parts, or even start trying to cover up. This is a great opportunity to make it clear to your child that it is unacceptable to touch, stare, or poke people’s private parts. If you feel your child has started to feel uncomfortable being naked around you, tries to cover up, or asks you to do the same, then it is essential that you respect their wishes.
Teach valuable lessons
Regardless of the approach you decide to take, between the of 5-10, it is essential that you teach your children their body limits and how the society perceives certain actions. Through your rules and reactions, you can help them understand the importance and necessity of covering up and what is never acceptable under any circumstances.
- Child Sexual Behaviour: Why Does My Daughter Touch Herself?
- 7 Ways to Protect Your Child From a Pedophile
- Sex Education: Mom, Where Did I Come From?
Sources used in this article:
- Kids and Nudity – Healthline
- When Should Parents Stop Letting their Kids See Them Naked?
- Is it Ok for Your Kids to See You Naked – Parents