A mum has turned to the Internet for advice about whether there’s an age limit on children seeing their parents naked and it’s thrown up all sorts of opinions.
Taking to parenting site Mumsnet, the user explained that she’d started pondering the subject after her son’s teacher raised the issue.
“Quite often we all sleep naked in our house and we are pretty relaxed about talking to each other whilst one is in the bath etc or walking from bathroom to bedroom naked,” she wrote in a post entitled ‘Being naked with your children – how old is too old…’
“We’re not naked all the time by any means but don’t go out of way not to be or never allow the children to see us naked. This is our normal, we’re comfortable with our bodies,” she continued.
“DS1 (her son) happened to mention he’d seen mummy naked to one of his teachers today, and though she wasn’t overly bothered, she did mention it to me as if I should start to avoid this scenario.”
The mum concluded her post by asking if six was too old for her son to see her naked and whether she was being unreasonable to think it was fine.
And parents were quick to offer their own opinions on the tricky topic.
“I grew up in a naked house and believe it’s why I’m happy in my own skin,” one user wrote. “My kids are happy to come in and chat to me while I’m not the bath or shower. Oldest is 12 and shows no signs of being uncomfortable. I hope they grow up without body issues.”
“Ds1 is 21 and will come and talk to me when I’m in the bath. He’ll also do the dash from the bathroom to his bedroom with nothing on. Younger teen DSs aren’t quite so keen on nakedness. The answer is, there’s no answer imo. Whatever works for your family, be led by your child,” another mother offered.
“Not true that kids are always embarrassed. I was never embarrassed about seeing my parents naked even as a teen or young adult,” another parent wrote.
While many suggested that parents should take their lead from the kids about whether they felt comfortable with them being naked or not, others felt more strongly that children shouldn’t necessarily be exposed to nudity.
“Best avoided when school age, I think,” one mum wrote.
“I grew up a shy child in a naked house, it was excruciating. I don’t want to be confronted with breasts and penises when I’m trying to walk around my own home,” another commented.
“For me personally I haven’t let my two boys see me naked since the eldest when 4 told me “mummy you’ve got LONG boobies””
Celebrities have also created headlines about the tricky subject of nudity in front of kids. In 2015, the US blogger Perez Hilton sparked debate after he posted a photo of himself sharing a shower with his then two-year-old son, with some of his fans even unfollowing his social media accounts for the post.
In the photo, Majesty is nude in the bath and planting a big kiss on her Auntie Riri’s lips, with Rihanna also appearing to be fully nude.
Although both Rihanna and Majesty maintain their modesty due to the angles of their bodies, some blasted Rihanna for sharing the photo – with one even go so far as to dub the image “child porn”.
More recently, singer Ciara shocked fans by appearing in a nude photo shoot for Harper’s Bazaar while holding her two-year-old son, Future.
In the shot, in which she is pregnant with her second child, she stands unclothed except for her a white pair of briefs while cradling her naked son in her arms.
But while its undoubtedly a beautiful shot some of the star’s 15.4million followers were not so impressed, slamming the image for being “inappropriate”.
It’s clear this is an issue that divides opinions amongst parents but what do the experts say?
Psychologist, Robel Iyassu, believes that nudity in front of children is a matter of opinion for the individual families concerned.
“Some parents, particularly in the developing world, have no option but to walk around naked in front of their offspring,” he explains. “To my knowledge there is no widescale adverse effect of this in developing countries.”
He went on to advise that parents take their cues from children directly when it comes to seeing them naked as they get older.
“With appropriate sexual education, it is probably fine to let children see you naked but it would be wise to reduce this as they approach puberty and develop their own sexuality.”
Previous studies about the impact parental nudity might have children don’t offer a clear opinion on whether there should be some kind of unofficial age limit placed on children seeing their parents nude. Though there is not much data to reference one study found no negative impact on adolescents who regularly saw their parents naked at ages 3 and 6. But another “found that parental nudity when kids were ages 6 and 11 resulted in more permissive attitudes about sex and increased sexual frequency.”
So all things considered there doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong with regard to whether you should or shouldn’t allow your children to see you naked, and at what age.
The overall advice from both parents and experts is do what’s right for you and your family. “Culture makes a huge difference. Religion makes a huge difference as do parents’ own individual attitudes about the body,” Dr Alan Kazdin, director of the Yale Parenting Center told Yahoo.
Kazdin believes the only real “con” for parents baring all is that if a child is uncomfortable seeing parents naked, it’ll likely make him or her uneasy about nudity in general.
“And you’d like a child not to be uptight or concerned about natural processes, such as eating and drinking but also the human body.” His advice: “Take cues from your child and from your own values.”
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