If you are asking the question “is it okay to be naked in front of your kids?” then I’m assuming you want to be naked and you're looking for validation from an expert that it’s okay.
Expressing your inner Lady Godiva is not necessarily a bad thing. However, there are some important caveats I think you need to consider.
Helping kids develop a positive relationship with their body
As a parent, we have to put our children’s interests first. Helping them develop a good self-concept about their body and sexuality is one of our important jobs. That doesn’t mean you have to be a nudist, proudly flaunting your private parts to have an adjusted kid who is okay with their own.
So let’s discuss what is required.
1. Children make up their own minds.
The reality is, children decide for themselves on just how open or closed they feel about matters of nudity and personal discretion. Sure, we can model a positive attitude, but they are their own people, and they bring a certain temperament or position on the subject matter, too.
Being overly open with our own bodies can be just as disturbing to our children as being overly cautious and timid.
Imagine this scenario: Your child walks into the bathroom while you are getting out of the shower. If you shriek and cover up, you can send the message that our bodies are shameful, and we should hide them.
Yet, if you strut around naked in the kitchen waiting for the coffee to brew, thinking you are demonstrating body acceptance, you may not be aware that your child is horrified to see their parents’ private parts.
Get to know your child and be sensitive to their sense of privacy.
2. Kids have double standards, too.
Some kids have a double standard; they may be okay seeing nudity in the change room at the swimming pool, but they still would prefer a private stall for changing into their own swim suit. Looking and showing are different.
Seeing a stranger nude could be different than seeing a friend. Seeing older people is different than seeing your peers. It’s all very nuanced isn’t it?
There are many social norms and private rules to be worked out. Pay attention as your children find their way, sending encouraging messages that normalize how lovely the human body is and allowing them to find their own sense of personal comfort in seeing others or revealing their own.
3. Time changes everything.
And of course your child’s perspective can change over time. Many toddlers run around nude but they can become more self-conscious as they grow up.
Puberty creates so many changes to the body that even the most confident children struggle with their changing body, and most prefer to keep their changes as private as possible.
What’s a parent to do?
Given all the variables it's best to:
1. Keep your own attitude and remarks about your body positive.
2. Don’t say embarrassing or disparaging remarks about your child’s body.
3. Talk openly about the body and share information regularly.
4. Purchase an age-appropriate book about the body that your child can read and ask you questions.
5. Discuss as a family what works for everyone regarding nudity and privacy in the house and review them regularly. If you have a private kid who prefers to keep their body private -- respect that and don’t allow others in the family to walk into their room/bathroom without knocking first.
Everyone deserves their personal choices to be followed. If your child doesn’t want to see you naked in the kitchen, honour that by wearing a robe, or claim the kitchen as a “nude zone” between certain hours, so that those who don’t want to see you there can organize their morning around it.
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