It’s a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on. Yet when it comes to how much nudity is acceptable in the family home, there are no hard and fast rules.
Some families are comfortable with members wandering around the house in the nude and have always acted the same way, while others may shower with doors locked and never be seen in their underwear, let alone naked.
“It’s personal and it’s cultural,” says Claire Eaton of Creative Parenting, adding that every family has its own approach to nudity.
She advises families to work out what everyone’s comfortable with and to be flexible and able to change if attitudes of family members change. She does point out that kids often get their body image cues from watching their parents.
“Children can learn how to be comfortable and accepting of their own body by watching and hearing how parents relate to weight, shape, size, changes and differences,” Claire says.
“Parents can gain a lot by reflecting on how nudity was handled when they were growing up and whether they’re happy with that or if they want to make changes or embrace a completely different approach in raising their own children.”
Bare essential tips
- Be true to yourself – don’t force yourself into feeling comfortable with parental nudity. If you are starting to feel awkward about wandering around unclothed, it’s likely it’s time to put some clothes on.
- Be consistent. Don’t juggle between being prudish one minute and carefree the next.
- Be ready to explain. If your child tells you his friends’ parents are never seen naked, explain that every family has different approaches.
- Look out for kiddie cues. There will most likely come a time when your kids will no longer feel comfortable with your nudity or their own in front of you. Respect that.
- Do you want your private “matters” discussed publicly? You may not wish your private parts to be the hot topic of the day at recess!
What’s that, mummy?
Claire warns parents not to make nudity a topic that will make their kids cringe but be ready to talk to them if they bring up the issue.
“Good open communication helps children to be naturally inquisitive, so parents can be comfortable chatting with their children as questions arise,” she says.
And if they start querying certain bits and pieces?
“Children will ask questions about body parts, all body parts – they always have! We can gently teach our children about the body and help them to understand by keeping our answers simple and clearly answering the question.”