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Nakedness and children

(46 Posts)
BummyMummy77 Wed 30-Oct-13 13:23:36

So I haven't posted in here before (usually post in the pregnancy threads) but I figured this would be the correct place.

My dh is pretty liberal and born of hippy parents. I am too. We live in the States but I'm British. Just some background info to help you along.

The other day I was getting out of the bath, and dh was helping (39 weeks, things are getting pretty difficult). He held up my towel for me and put it round me and I said "aw, just like my Dad used to do it." He was horrified. He said he thought it was really weird that my Dad helped me bathe and saw me naked.

Now my Dad actually brought us up so there wasn't really any other option other than letting a 5 year old get out of the bath herself but even so, I don't think this is 'weird' is it?! I can't remember when I stopped being naked in front of my Dad, probably around 8 or 9 or so and I certainly remember telling him in no uncertain terms that he was no longer allowed to walk to the bathroom at night undressed at about 9 or 10 lol.

So we carry on talking about this and it turns out dh can never remember seeing his parents naked. If they would go camping they'd get undressed in their sleeping bags and swimming would use private stalls.

He was also horrified at the fact that I'll go in with my Mum in the bathroom and pee while she's showering (it drives her nuts too but only because I'm ruining her zen) or sit on the loo and chat to her.

He says him and his sister were told to cover up from as far back as he can remember and once when he was a tiny lad (probably about 3) he got torn apart for peeing in the bushes whilst his Grandma was around.

Now I've been a maternity nurse/nanny for over 18 years and whilst things have obviously changed over the years, for good reason I guess considering the amount of weirdos out there, but I never used to think twice about showering with little girls and boys I worked with let alone my own children I'm about to have. I've spoken recently to old bosses about it it and they've said things like "well obviously we trusted you not to do anything to harm our children/babies or you wouldn't be employed, we'd rather they saw you in a swimming pool shower than not shower them or let them shower on their own!".

So what's everyone else's opinions on nakedness and children? Am I just naively WAY too liberal? Maybe it's an American thing? I've told dh if I hear anyone telling my son to 'cover up' or that it's wrong to be naked at an early age I will flip the fuck out. I think it can cause body issues and a shyness that will come all to quickly anyway.

tweetytwat Wed 30-Oct-13 13:27:53

I remember seeing my mum in the bath loads of times, last time I was around 11ish. My Dad, not really except for accidental flashing while wearing a dressing gown which I wanted to unsee!

They are just bodies. I think it's important DCs know what real bodies look like, as oppossed to airbrushed/unusually thin/models and actors etc.

We don't walk around naked generally but at 'usual' times for nakedness (baths, getting dressed) the children see both of us naked

GooseyLoosey Wed 30-Oct-13 13:31:55

I have one of each and they are 9 and 10. They see us both without clothes on if we are getting dressed or in the shower. We see them too. It is not an issue at all in our house.

If the dcs become uncomfortable with it, I will act accordingly and respect their feelings. Ds oddly likes to get dressed where no one can see him but is happy to walk around with no clothes on. Whatever he wants is OK by me.

I don't think I ever saw my dad with no clothes on but always saw my mum and she would still get undressed with me in the room.

5madthings Wed 30-Oct-13 13:33:51

my kids see us naked. my eldest is 14 and he keeps himself covered now but will still come into the bathroom whrn i am in the shower or bath and sit and have a chat etc.
nudity just isnt an issue in our house.

the kids choose to cover up when they want.

ds2 is 11 and starting to cover up.

the others are 8, 5 and 2 and are happy to be naked.

OhAntiChristFENTON Wed 30-Oct-13 13:35:14

It sounds like you and your husband grew up in families at opposite ends of the scale on this subject.

I remember being shouted out of the bathroom by my mum at the age of six because she was in the bath.

And I don't think I've ever seen my Dad without his vest on, EVER. grin

On the other hand my Gran (mum's mum) would laugh at us as children if we tried to get undressed under a towel 'what do you think you've got that no-one else has, eh?'

TheBreastmilksOnMe Wed 30-Oct-13 13:35:25

My dc are 5 (boy) and 2.7 (girl). They both see me naked during showers, getting changed etc. I have no qualms about it. They ask questions about my body, my pubic hair, my breasts, my tummy (now that I'm 33 weeks pregnant) and I'm happy to chat about things. Where else are they going to learn about bodies? I certainly don't want feelings of shame creeping in. My husband is the same, he walks naked from bathroom to dressing room, and sometimes gets questions or little hands trying to give him a 'yank' as he's trying to get dressed which I find so funny! It's perfectly harmless and so important that they see what normal bodies look like.

BummyMummy77 Wed 30-Oct-13 13:45:16

Phew! I thought maybe I'd grown up in a family of raging perverts for a minute!

I do remember seeing a tampax advert when I must have been between 8-10 (the one with the ball and chain on the side of a swimming pool) and noticing that my Mum had Tampax in her bathroom and asking her about it. I can remember as plain as day her telling me it was something "I shouldn't be asking about" which worried me.

I also remember seeing the string of a tampax whilst she was showering when I must have been around the same age and her getting all antsy when I asked what on earth it was. She said something like "nothing you should be talking about" and for some reason I got it into my head that she had cancer! Kids are so sensitive and I worried and got the wrong idea about things for a few years due to a few innocent but badly thought out responses I just want to be very upfront about bodies with my children.

Another thing which is sticking in my mind is that dh's sister who also had this uber strict (in my eyes) upbringing around bodies had awful anorexia at age 14 which saw her sectioned for 5 months. Now I know there will have been lots of other contributing factors (peer pressure, personality etc) but I can't help thinking that if she hadn't been made to think of her body as something to hide and be ashamed of it may have been different.

Northumberlandlass Wed 30-Oct-13 13:53:59

DS is 10 and is still happy to be naked around us. There is no lock on our bathroom door, so when we shower we can still use toilet. DS has no issue seeing me or DH naked - I have never made a big deal out of it.

DH does have a habit of taking his work clothes off (really dirty) in kitchen & then scooting upstairs for a shower, I rarely walk around the house naked but that is mostly due to the unflattering angles I can see in mirrors smile

StickChildrenTwo Wed 30-Oct-13 14:24:11

I really don't know how people live in the same house and don't occasionally see each other naked!

FWIW my mum dies when I was little and my dad HAD to help me and my sister get dried after a bath. Nothing perverted in it. Just helping your children with a task...they just happen to be naked. Think I was about 9 or 10 when my dad stopped walking in on me naked or wouldn't some help rinse my hair.

I have 2 boys, oldest is 6, youngest is nearly 2 and they both still see me and DH naked, often jump in the bath with me, walk in on me in the toilet etc. Don't see a problem with it at all. When they are older and want privacy, they'll get it. For now they are innocent children who really don't care whether I'm naked or not!

BummyMummy77 Wed 30-Oct-13 14:25:05

Dh says he won't feel comfortable having our children see him naked.

It's TOTALLY his choice and prerogative I know but that makes me really sad.

He's also said he doesn't want my belly cast hung in the house as "people will see my boobs".

He grew up in a sodding log cabin with no running water or electricity, eating quinoa burgers and his middle name is 'Namaste' ffs. Some odd kind of hippies his parents were!

StickChildrenTwo Wed 30-Oct-13 14:32:03

I think he may change his mind when the baby is here, surely! I just don't think he'll be that bothered when he knows the child and is helping bathe him or her. Seeing them naked, them seeing him naked etc. Trips to swimming, bathing together, it's inevitable they'll see you naked surely!

I know it's his choice but it seems like an odd attitude really. There's no way my boys will let me bath or shower without them!

teenagetantrums Wed 30-Oct-13 14:33:31

well my children are 19 and 17 now, DD is 17 and will come into the bathroom when im in the bath to get something and get changed when im her room talking to her.

My DS i have not seen him naked since he was about 11? he doesn't come into the bathroom, but i sure he wouldn't freak out if he saw me getting changed.

My ex must have bathed my DD up till the age she did not need help so 7?

I think you take your lead from the children, if it makes them uncomfortable don't do it.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Wed 30-Oct-13 14:36:31

grin Bunny sorry just laughing at your last comment!

DD1 is going to be 9 soon and is just starting to kick her dad out of the shower room and go hide to change. DH did bath time quite often for both DDs until now. Little one (3.5) still fine running naked everywhere.
Both see me and DH naked too when they storm in the shower with something so important it can't wait hmm.

Thurlow Wed 30-Oct-13 14:36:43

I think you probably should talk to your DH about this. It's very, very normal for children and parents to be naked around each other up until the children grow old enough to have their own sense of privacy.

I know it is his perogative, but realistically there's going to be a lot of nakedness for him to deal with over the next few years! Children will need a parent around while they are bathing for years. It is almost impossible to get into a shower with a toddler around without them getting in too. Ditto baths (and bathing with a little one is so much fun anyway) Little children do like to have a good rummage or fiddle with their private parts too. And sometimes with yours grin

That's why I'd have a nice, friendly chat about it, nothing accusatory, just wonderingly ask him if he's thought about how he'll try not be naked at all around his DC. There's a reason why everyone complains about not being able to pee in peace! And toddlers are naturally inquisitive, they will want to investigate your body.

Currently, our toddler sometimes showers with DP and the other day discovered that she is the correct height to stand between his legs and get this funny 'hat' that rests on her head. DP was admittedly a bit a funny about this, but he didn't make a fuss. We're just going to gently start saying that you shouldn't prod and poke and pull body parts (kind of in the same way you'd say no, don't poke me in the eye) but not in any way that would make it a bad thing.

I still talk to my mum while she is peeing or getting dressed. Less so my dad, but there's no embarrassment if I accidentally walk in on him.

okthen Wed 30-Oct-13 14:50:09

Nakedness is fine in our house too- parents and children.

However we make it clear that private parts are private, and while it's fine to touch your own, you don't touch other peoples'. This was after dd got grabby with her baby brother. We feel it's a good lesson to learn early on, not least to teach DCs to recognise any inappropriate behaviour towards them.

I'm also in a dilemma about periods, now that mine have come back post dc2. DC1 is 3 and I know if she sees me using sanitary towels etc she will ask questions- and I'm not sure how to respond, how much detail to go into etc (also I don't really want her to start telling strangers in her clear piercing voice all about mummy's periods!)

Thurlow Wed 30-Oct-13 14:58:35

Okten, that reminds me of a friend who ended up sharing a loo with her DH's niece while on a day trip and then remembered she was on her period, but had no idea whether the niece knew about periods, and it was far too busy a place to open the cubicle and ask the niece to leave (and anyway that would have been weird) so ended up trying to pee while pretending to do up her shoelaces at the same time to try and hide it... grin That would have been a corking SIL thread had friend accidentally ended up explaining periods to her niece if the mum hadn't yet!

BummyMummy77 Wed 30-Oct-13 15:01:44

I think I will have a gentle chat with him. And then see what progresses naturally.

He's told me he'll always get a private stall in swimming baths or public loos and that when he was at college he used to wait until the showers were empty to wash.

I know some people are naturally shy, I've looked after little boys who didn't even want people to know they were going for a pee (but then I've looked after some who can't poo with a stitch of clothing on and it becomes an issue when they get to school lol) but don't think this is the case with him.

Americans are a bit weird about nudity though. I've never really been a sunbathing topless kind of person, just as I feel a bit, well, naked but have no problem with it. I remember being in Miami one year with a couple of friends who went topless and we instantly had a huge group of college lads sit next to us and two women actually came up to us and told us we were being disgraceful and to put clothes on. I've been to places in Europe where I've felt out of place keeping my bikini top on!

The period thing is difficult. You don't want to scare the living bejesus out of them (let's face it, it's pretty scary finding out you're going to BLEED from you moonmin every MONTH for most of your life) but fibbing is not a great option either.

okthen Wed 30-Oct-13 15:02:01

Thurlow- grin

Thurlow Wed 30-Oct-13 15:07:39

I'm planning on being honest about periods, I always appreciated that my mum was. When DD is old enough to ask I'll just tell that it's very normal and it is what happens to women once a month when they are grown ups. I guess you can lead on from that as their understanding grows, so when they start to understand babies you can say it's to do with that.

DD did actually get a sanitary towel out of the box the other day and tried to stick it between her legs... They cotton on much earlier than you think!

BummyMummy77 Wed 30-Oct-13 15:21:01


I remember a little girl I was looking after once YELLING in the toilet at the Harbour Club in Chelsea - "oh my GOD, is my front bum going to be all hairy and disgusting like that when I'm older?!"

On the plus side I've never seen the stuck up cows that go there actually belly laugh so much.

teenagetantrums Wed 30-Oct-13 15:26:56

My mum told me once you had baby you bleed every month( to explain why she wouldn't go swimming with me) i was about 6 and horrifiedshock.
When my DD asked about tampons at the age of about 3, i just told her a version of the truth, in that if a mum didn't want baby she had to use the tampax for a few days every month. By the time both my kids were about 8/9 they knew the true biological fact, no big drama.

claraschu Wed 30-Oct-13 15:39:16

We all see each other naked (children are 18, 15 and 12). Nobody is bothered or embarrassed. I have German blood; maybe that explains it.

BummyMummy77 Wed 30-Oct-13 15:43:09

I must admit I saw my Dad naked when I was staying with him last year at 3am on the way to the bathroom and I was horrified. He thought it was hilarious and told everybody the next day.

JoandMax Wed 30-Oct-13 15:49:10

We're a naked house, mine are only 5 and 3.5 but no plans to stop until they ask us to!

My ILs still wander round naked, I think its in the knowledge that if we see their bits we'll be so grossed out we will NOT be having sex in their house!!!

BusyLittleSpider Wed 30-Oct-13 15:54:30

I remember my mum walking round the house naked until my siblings and I were about 10 or 12, it was no big deal. She used to leave the door open if she was in the bath and we'd walk in and out chatting to her. However like yours OP, my DH is the complete opposite. In his family, it is/was considered somehow wrong to be naked at all and DH has real issues with nakedness, to the extent of telling our 6 year old DD that she was not to walk round the house in just her knickers as it is "disgusting" hmmangry

I'll definitely be showing him this thread later!

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