Discussing Family Nudity With Your Children

Mother and baby take a bubble bath
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When does family nudity become inappropriate? There really is no right answer to this question, nor is there a set age. The key is to take cues from your child. When he stops being comfortable with family nudity, then it should stop. If he starts closing the door when he gets dressed or uses the toilet or asks if he can take a shower without your assistance, that might be a good time to begin to start considering a privacy policy.

Teaching Your Child About the Body

The majority of young children enjoy running around the house with no clothing on. So if their parents do the same, it's likely they don't even notice. And if they do, it's to point out differences — "Mommy, why don't you have a penis (or whatever word your child uses to describe his private parts)?" As kids get older, say 6 or 7, they may become more aware of nakedness, particularly as they interact with peers and are exposed to more on television.

If your child has questions, answer them honestly and encourage an open dialogue. You want your child to get information from you, not anyone else.

The Importance of Openly Talking to Your Child

It's also important to talk to your child, even as young as three, about inappropriate touching and private parts.

As for bath time, siblings have been bathing together, you would imagine, for centuries. Again, as long as both children are comfortable, it's fine. But as soon as one starts expressing displeasure or embarrassment, then it might be time for separate cleaning sessions.

How to Discuss Family Nudity to an Uncomfortable Partner

In the meantime, if you have a partner who is uncomfortable with family nudity, talk to them about it. Find out what it is exactly that makes them so uncomfortable. Is he or she equating nudity with sexuality?

It's likely that seeing you naked triggers sexual thoughts in your partner (perfectly natural), and they may feel strange about feeling that way in front of your children. They may also worry that your child is having similar thoughts (they aren't).

Explain many experts believe that kids who see their parents naked grow up to be very comfortable and confident in their own bodies.

A compromise may be in order. Ask them to give your children a bath together so your partner can see how innocent (and fun) it is. Or if they are really uncomfortable that you bring your child in the shower with you, only do it when your partner isn't home (with their knowledge).

Ultimately, this is a decision you need to make as a family.

By Amanda Rock
Amanda Rock, mom of three, has spent more than a decade of her professional career writing and editing for parents and children.