Nudity - Boundaries for Babies?

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies, In The News, Development: Big Kids

naked kid

Do your kids go naked? Photo: nkpix, Flickr

For most adults, home is the one place where you can let it all hang out, within reason. Young kids, who don't pay attention to social norms, or completely disregard them, have a different set of clothing-optional standards. So, at what point is it appropriate for parents to set some ground rules about nudity?

Parents often don't notice their own kids' nudity, especially if they're laid back about it themselves. There's nothing cuter than a baby's chubby bottom, and breastfeeding moms quickly become comfortable with sharing their body with their babies. But as birthdays come and go, nudity becomes an issue in some homes.

"My mother, it used to drive her crazy how naked Ava was," Aly Mandel, mom of five, recently told The New York Times. "My mother-in-law also, they both felt it crossed the line of what was appropriate. My mother-in-law would come in and automatically say, 'Ava, put on your clothes. Put on your underwear.'" Mandel, however, saw nothing wrong with her six-year-old daughter's desire to be naked.

Neither do many parents. A poll taken at LilSugar last year found that readers overwhelmingly thought they'd never make rules about nudity in their house. But, as Jezebel points out, there are plenty of reasons to at least have a few boundaries when it comes to nudity: Only in the house, for instance, or never in front of company. Or as Magda at Ask Moxie says, "No bare butts on the couch."

Boundaries aside, are today's parents too worried about what their kids aren't wearing? At The Mommy Files, Amy Graff wonders, "Whatever happened to naked summers?" As soon as they start stripping down en masse, we all get a little uneasy.

It comes down to personal comfort. Kids usually develop modesty all by themselves, in time, and once they do, that needs to be respected. But until then, is it a parents' job to teach modesty or to let them enjoy those few short years of childhood innocence?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.