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Teaching Body Privacy

(6 Posts)
user1487085151 Tue 14-Feb-17 15:22:59

New user. Not sure if this is the right place to ask this.

My daughter's getting to the age where I want to start talking about body privacy. We already teach her that she can say no to hugs and kisses, and that it is up to her who touches her body, but I now want to expand to discussions about keeping private parts private.

BUT I can't work out how.

The message I want to give her is that her private parts are just for her to see, and that some other trusted adults may need to see them on occasion (that we as her parents still need to help her with washing, and that she may need to trust a doctor or similar).

The problem is, that can't be true. More and more places seem to be alright with communal nudity. A lot of the swimming pools around here, for example, have communal (single sex, of course) changing rooms where everyone dresses and undresses together. This has always made me feel very uncomfortable, but is increasingly becoming the norm, and I don't want my message to make her feel as uncomfortable about that as I do.

Then, there's school. We frequently go to a pool that does have individual changing rooms but also has larger rooms for groups. These are in full view of passers-by, often with the door open, and all of the children (early primary school age) are in the rooms naked together whilst getting changed before and after their swimming lessons. This includes the school that I am hoping to get her into.

If I give her the message that her private parts are only for her and a few other trusted adults to see in situations where it's necessary, and that she should not be naked in public, what happens when she gets to school and is expected to strip naked and change in front of all her classmates?

None of it sits well with me, but the fact is that it happens and I don't want to give her the wrong message that'll lead to confusion in a couple of years. Would like to hear your thoughts.

AllTheLight Tue 14-Feb-17 17:16:13

Could you replace 'see' with 'touch' in your chat to her? I feel that 'touch' covers the kind of thing you want to warn her about.

I'm relaxed about things like nudity in changing rooms, so I'm sorry if I haven't quite understood what you want to convey.

Mrscog Tue 14-Feb-17 17:31:41

I think it's about talking about touch and discretion. We should be promoting less prudishness about simple non sexual nudity - such as in a single sex changing room, but it's right to teach her about a consent around touching, and also how to be polite towards someone's nudity and what to expect back - so not commenting, or gawping and giving appropriate amounts of personal space.

user1487085151 Tue 14-Feb-17 17:32:19

Thank you. Yes, that may be the best option.

I was hoping to also cover 'see' as she's currently at the age where she'll lift her top up in public without thinking much about it, or because she finds it funny that we've told her to put it back down in the past. And at the age where she's perfectly comfortable taking her clothes off at home, and so I had hoped there was a way of conveying 'it's alright to get naked in front of Mum and Dad, but don't go stripping off in Tesco'. But at the same time, then adding in 'but it's ok if you strip off in the changing rooms at the swimming pool' seems to add one too many layers.

I was wondering if I went for a blanket 'don't take your clothes off in public' for now, and later changed it to 'now you can take your clothes off in front of all of your schoolfriends' was going to cause confusion.

user1487085151 Tue 14-Feb-17 17:34:44

Thanks Mrscog.

That's the balance I'm trying to find.

I was raised with a strict 'nudity is private' approach, and as a result I can't use communal changing rooms because I feel so uncomfortable with it. I will put clothes on over wet swimwear and go home, if that's the only option.

I don't want the same for her.

overmydeadbody Tue 14-Feb-17 17:42:08

How about teaching her that we don't take clothes off unless there is a reason to, such as changing for swimming or trying on clothes?

I don't think there is anything wrong with her lifting her top up in public though?

As she gets older you can adapt what you tell her, and more importantly, lead by example. Use communal changing rooms with her before she starts school etc.

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