Parenting Advice: When is nudity around your sons no longer appropriate?

My youngest son is 5 now and I can’t help but think about this really intriguing question: “What’s the proper age to stop being naked around your boys?” For those of you who may not know, I’m a single mom of boys—3 to be exact. I’m sure that it’s pretty obvious by now why I would even think about this question—my body is different from theirs Now I’m not 100% sure, because I am a woman and a mother, however, I have a feeling that fathers don’t have to ponder on this question when it comes to their sons, but they most likely have to for their daughters (that’s a blog for another time). So whether you are a mother or father, as a parent, I’m sure you can level with me on this topic.   I’m a #boymom, so I can only speak from that perspective. Here are my thoughts on nudity in front of children.  

Is it okay for a mother to be naked around her sons?

I think that it is totally acceptable for a mother to be nude in front of her children. I would even go as far as to say that I believe moms should purposefully be naked around their boys because it’s important for them to establish that there isn’t anything to feel ashamed of when it comes to nudity.
You’re born naked. It’s a natural thing.”
Making nudity this taboo thing is something that is taught, not innate. It’s important to remember that when kids are super young— as in under 5—they don’t know any better. It’s up to you to teach them and help them define concepts, as well as understand things. This is an opportunity to start with a clean slate and normalize nudity.  

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.

Many women breastfeed their children up until 5 or even 7 years old—those kids are being exposed to her breasts on a daily basis and see it as a source of nourishment. I think the key here is to not over-sexualize nudity but to normalize it instead. I don’t believe that there’s this blanket approach to parenting. Each child is different and will require different needs. That said, I also don’t think there’s a specific age to associate with it not being appropriate to be naked around your children, because every child is different.  

Address it when they start asking questions.

My boys started asking questions around 3 or 4 years old. If you’re looking for a sign to maybe consider covering up more often, I would say the best tell-tale sign is when they start asking questions pertaining to nudity. That means they’ve isolated it in their mind and have defined it to some degree. Now, it’s your job as a parent to help them with that definition.    In my case, it all started with the infamous question, “where your peppy (my son’s word for penis)?” Most parents’ reaction, like my own (which I regret), is to just give a quick response like “mommy doesn’t have one” and then just cover up moving forward so that they can avoid being addressed about the topic in the future. To be clear, I think that it’s completely fine to be nude in front of your children past this questioning stage, however, I do also think that it’s equally important that their questions are addressed first before you continue to be naked around them. Fun Fact: I’m going to be 50 and I have friends that tell me that their parents still walk around naked in front of them, and these are adults.   

Here are the grounds for stopping all nudity.

  1. If you are uncomfortable.
  2. If your children are uncomfortable.
  3. If anyone around you is uncomfortable.
Deciding when to stop being naked around your kids is not about a particular age, it’s about a feeling. Do what feels right for you and your children.      

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