At what age should you stop allowing your children to see you naked?
Nope, not your age – kids don’t seem to mind too much if bits are sagging more than they used to, though they may well comment on it! – but the child’s age.
Some parents are sticklers for privacy from as soon as their bundle of joy can crawl or toddle into the bathroom, while others are still letting it all hang out when they’re offspring are entering their teens.
It does seem to depend a bit on where you come from – some European countries have a well-earned rep for being comfortable with family nudity, while other nationalities tend to be much more buttoned-up. And the era you grew up in probably makes a difference too – being raised in a ’60s commune was perhaps a little more relaxed than a ’40s household.
But it’s not something many people seem to have come up with a firm answer on, when it comes to the right age.
That’s the issue raised recently by a well-known British blogger, who says she’s currently happy to be naked in front of her sons aged two and three, but that she knows it will have to stop.
“There is a difference between being relaxed and exhibitionism, and we all went to school with the kid whose parents were in-your-face naked, too relaxed to make anyone comfortable,” Celine Bell, who blogs as Bell from Bow, asked. “When do we need to be mindful of embarrassing them?”
It’s a question a CNN reporter also asked lots of people, most of whom said it was time to stop when your children themselves looked uncomfortable with seeing you naked, or began behaving more modestly themselves – a change that comes to different kids at different times.
But other parents use the practice for reasons other than just practicality. Such as blogger Rita Templeton, who got a lot of hate mail after writing in 2014 that she wanted her young songs to see her body because it would prepare them for what ‘real’ women looked like in adulthood.
“Before they are exposed to boobs that are as round and firm as cantaloupes and pictures of taut, airbrushed, dimple-less butts, I’m exposing them to a different kind of female body,” she wrote, causing some people to accuse her of ‘sexualising’ her children.
Others, such as Terry Greenwald, felt the total opposite, telling CNN that allowing his children to see him naked would undermine his attempts to teach them concepts such as modesty and humility.