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Getting Naked Around Your Kids: How Old Is Too Old?

Illustration for article titled Getting Naked Around Your Kids: How Old Is Too Old?

Last week, Britney Spears was given a stern talking to from a judge overseeing her child-custody dispute after a "secret witness" (an ex-bodyguard) testified against her regarding "safety issues" which included alcohol, drug use, and nudity. Nudity? Really? Much like feeding her kids Doritos and putting soda in their baby bottles, I think that getting naked in front of your children may be a little, uh, unsophisticated, but dangerous? Brit's little boys Sean and Jayden are two and one respectively. Well, Slate had a piece on Friday about how bullshit it is for Brit catching flack for her familial nudity.

If the kid is younger than 3 years old, it's probably harmless. At least, this is what many adolescent psychiatrists believe. Very young children won't notice anything odd about a parent who prances around the house in the buff. Likewise, babies who breastfeed at 12 months are physically intimate with their mothers and don't think twice about it. Chances are good that a 2- or 3-year-old won't form any lasting memories of seeing his parents in their birthday suits.

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Hell, I'm 28 years old and my mother still gets naked in front of me.

At worst, it's annoying. Like, does she have to do the NY Post crossword in a turtleneck and no pants? My mom is an R.N., so the human body is no big deal to her. (She also believes in "airing out," i.e. chillin' around the house with no underwear.)

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I think that when you become a mom, the process of getting that baby out of your body is one of the most intense things that you go through. Exposing your vagina to your baby who came out of it, or your boobs to your baby who is nourished by them is actually really normal. It's probably more damaging for Sean and Jayden that we've seen her vagina a bunch of times. Or it will be when they learn how to surf the internet.

So what's the worst that will happen to Brit's boys if she continues with being naked around them? They'll become gay? First of all, there's nothing bad about that, and secondly, they have an incredibly camp mom. The odds of them becoming gay are way higher than most. Anyway, alls I'm saying is that Britney's nudity is not dangerous to her children—just to her career.

Should Kids See Their Parents Naked? [Slate]

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DISCUSSION

Ridiculous!

I used to attend a "naturalist" camp with my daughter regularly until she was almost 6...normal stuff - cabins, camping, trailers/ swimming pools, volleyball, golf...

The owners themselves were about 80 and many of their clients have been coming since they were kids and now bring their own kids along.

I was there for an anniversary party and guess what? Everyone was normal! Ok - some people were weird but it had nothing to do with nudity.

I, myself, don't like being naked that much but I can barely get my daughter (9) to put clothing on. It was pretty simple, though, to talk to her at 4 and up, about social propriety and keeping herself safe. Then, at about 7 she just was more self-conscious...she's not comfortable with people seeing her naked in the wrong context (ie. on the street or even at home if they're not family) and she's not so interested in seeing others naked but, at the same time, totally not put off by it unless its in a weird place at a weird time (see parenthesis above).

She's still naked at home most of the time and at the camp when we go, very sporadically, and she watches me change or get out of the shower all the time. And guess what? She's normal!

A thing like that can only really cause stress when people are stressing about it. Otherwise, kids just assume that whatever they experience is normal behaviour. And they need to know the difference between what is acceptable with family, with friends and in public anyway - about everything, not just nudity.

Someone said it up there - its more about SEXUAL behaviour in front of children which can be VERY damaging for children who are too old to ignore it and not yet old enough to wrap their little minds around it. Hate to say it but: especially if the parents are single and dating. Its just too complicated and disturbing.