African little girl covering the mouth isolated on a over white

The GEM Debate:
Should Your Kids Know The Naked Truth About YOU?

I worry for my 3-year-old.  Not only does she see me naked, but some of my body parts are her (not so) imaginary friends.  That’s right.  She says good morning, kisses, and has skits for parts of my body heretofore…well, let’s just say they weren’t always G-rated.

THIS is where we find today’s debate.  Is Joelle (my 3-year-old) too young to see me naked and, if not now, when should I cover myself up?  Recently on The Stir’s site, one of their writers revealed that her 8-year-old daughter still sees mommy and daddy naked.  It isn’t a grandstanding kind of thing, but more a don’t-knock-over-the-kitchen-table-the-baby-is-in-the-room-and-you-are-naked kind of thing; and I wholeheartedly agree with their stance.  She informs us that it has a lot to do with body image; if you freak out every time your child sees you naked then the message is there must be something wrong with the human body.  I agree.  Yes, I agree.

And then there is the point of the writer of the article about body image.  I don’t love my love handles as much as I probably should, but I wouldn’t dare tell Joelle not to love any part of herself and that’s definitely a message I think we send when we hide or shy away from people seeing our bodies in the proper atmosphere and context.  Coupled with the right conversations about who she should see naked (short list mommy and daddy) and who she shouldn’t (pretty much anyone else except that one new acquaintance in the dressing room, to whom Joelle told her breasts didn’t look like mine), I think my daughter should be safe out there.  My being naked in front of her is something that happens in the house.  She’s never out of an approved caregiver’s sight and as she ages (say around eight like the girl in the article) she will have definitely learned that inside our house has different rules than outside of our house.

Now Rene had some questions, concerns, and someone may soon be knocking on my door (let me get a robe).  What do the experts say?  Well, Dr. Spock in his book Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care: Time-tested Parenting Advice Fully Updated For 2012 made a good point about children having their own time when they become aware of their bodies and modesty takes over.  I’d say that’s a great way to gauge if you should be au natural around your child.  If they aren’t comfortable with it, it isn’t something you should force.  Whole-heartedly agree with that point of delineation.  You learn something new about parenting every day, right?

Joelle may grow out of her skits-with-my-body phase, but for her safety (remember this teen with testicular cancer?) I really hope she never grows out of the phase where she feels comfortable letting me be her mother.  It may not be the prettiest part of my job, but teaching children about who they are, including physically, is definitely on the list.

So, what’s the policy in your house?  Are you covering up or are you pretty much “out there and loving it” (Kramer on Seinfeld)?  Let us know.

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