Friday, November 18, 2011

Being naked

So a few days ago Travis and Grey were playing and laughing in the living room while I took a shower. When I came out of the bathroom, but before I got dressed, I came out to see what all the ruckus was about.
Grey looked up at me and smiled and I waved to him, then Micah started crying (he was taking a nap) so I went to get him.
And Travis said "you should get dressed, it's weird that you're playing with them naked."
"No it's not," I said. "Plus, they don't know that I'm naked and if they did know, they wouldn't care because they're only eight months old."
But it did get me thinking, when should nudity become "a thing?"
I mean, I don't want to be one of those moms who walks around naked with a twelve-year old boy (or two) in the house, but I don't want my kids to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable with nudity or the human body.
I was an art model at BYU for a few years, and even though the art models at my very religious university wore bikinis instead of being totally nude, a lot of the students had a really hard time even looking me in the eye after they'd spent an hour drawing me.
They would even hold loud, offensive conversations while they painted me about how "the type of students who works as art models have no decency," and "all nudity is pornographic."
I mean, seriously?
Sitting perfectly still, and not allowed to move and retort hotly that they were bigoted prudes who should be thrown out of the art department for being closed minded, and thrown out of BYU for being judgemental non-Christlike pricks gave me a lot of time to think about my opinions on nudity.
And how sometimes (oftentimes) nudity is excellent.
But yeah, sometimes it can be inappropriate.
So I'm back to the topic and I'd love it if you left your opinions in the comments for me.
How do you approach teaching modesty and reverence for the human body to your kids without somehow branding on their minds that naked=evil?
And when should parents stop being naked around their kids of the same or opposite genders?

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The Jacksons said...

Ooh I've thought this many times. I grew up in a household where it didn't matter if you walked around in your underwear, even as teenagers (or parents).
So naturally, in my own home I feel the same. But the husband doesn't agree necessarily. So he's only been naked around our little girl (18 months) once. And I still plop her down in the tub with me. I think once she begins to feel awkward about it that's when it'll stop. And maybe in 15 years she'll still be walking around in her underwear..time will tell I guess.

Meagan @ Meagan Tells All said...

At least in my house, with my 2 yr old daughter running around...seeing Mommy naked isn't a big deal. But seeing daddy naked IS a big deal because she...notices. PLUS it is at head level! LOL! But I think modesty in a family is much appreciated for everyone. My family is very private with that sort of thing. Like my dad got all big eyed when I showed him my bare pregnant stomach for the first time hahah! I'm grateful my family was private when it came to nudity because it enforced modesty at the same time. Walking around your house in your underwear I don't think gives the impression that anyone cares about modesty. I'll stop haha Obviously, everyone has their own opinion about it, but I just don't know if it is very appropriate to display nudity like it is so available and casual. I'm thinking more in the long run. With little kiddies (maybe younger than 5), you can't help it sometimes!

Unknown said...

I think when your kids start to ask questions its probably time to cover up your "undies" and put on some pajamas. Until then, everything they see they just assume is normal :)

Little Gray Pixel said...

Wow, your experience as a bikini model is CRAZY. Those people signed up for an art class fully knowing they were going to have to render the human form. Hypocrisy, man.


I think once kids are able to point at your body parts and ask, "Why doesn't Daddy/Mommy have that?" -- that's when you might want to be more modest.

Nanner said...

Hmmm,I guess my home was quite modest growing up. But now that I have my own family and a set of twins who have sensory problems and an aversion to clothing, (thereby usually taking it off with their coats when they walk in the door even until age 5). And since I still get in teh tub with my youngest twins sometimes to wash their hair, I guess I haven't been too concerned with modesty.

But dad is. He definitely turns the other way when a kid is in range. But honestly, I wish he wouldn't. I wish the kids would have grown up occasionally getting a peek at his male parts (which are unique in our house since the rest of us are girls!) So that it won't be a shock to them some day.

Well as much as I always made sure that they knew boys had boy parts and girls had girl parts, they never could really visualize what that meant until one day there were at a friends house and saw her baby brother. I'll never forget at 6 years old telling me 'mom guess what! Nicole's baby brother has a little hot dog!" It led into a good discussion. And I still wish dad let them have a glimpse occasionally - as long as they don't feel offended or threatened, I think it is much better than not knowing, or wondering, or looking it up on the internet someday because they've never seen a penis before! There is nothing wrong with seeing a 'private part'! Doctors do it all the time! As do spouses and It is all about the context and the heart of those seeing.

Bottom line for me is that our society has been affected by victorian mentality that is not actually a moral standard biblical or otherwise, but a social standard. do you think no child ever saw or heard any private parts or activities when for most of human history families lived in one room tents or homes? I really don't think nudity within a family is weird or wrong until someone feels uncomfortable with it, or it is threatening, forced or otherwise sexual, which of course in most cases, in most families, it is not. IMHO..great post though!

sienna said...

interesting topic for thought and discussion. i grew up in a really small house with only one bathroom so modesty/privacy wasn't really an option. but since my mom was single and my brothers were so much older than me, it was mostly just the girls and so i don't remember it being an issue at all. that said, i was very surprised when i came to college and met girl who were uncomfortable being naked around other girls. as i have gotten older and seen how our society has become increasing sexualized (even for young kids), my respect and understanding of modesty has grown and i have a greater desire to teach my children about the whys behind being modest at a young age and the dangers of expressing inappropriate sexuality (even if inadvertent). hope that makes sense.

Kayleigh said...

can i just say that it makes me mad that art students said that about the body. i'm an art student at byu, and i love drawing those models. i love the body. i've learned from drawing real people for 12 hours a week for three months how a real person should look and how beautiful real people are. so props to you for doing that. and i'm sorry there were some close-minded art students painting you. that makes me mad.

i think you just do what you normally do and think as far as the human body. i don't have children, but i hope to teach them that bodies are special and sacred and beautiful. and it sounds to me like you'll probably just instill that in your children, you know?

haha. soapbox over.

Alexa said...

My dad was always super, super modest and private when I was growing up, but my mom was always really comfortable and casual. I would kind of assume that a girl would take more after her mom in this matter, but somehow I ended up extremely modest. I don't have a husband or kids yet, so I am not sure how I will be. Thanks for a great discussion topic!

Esther Noelle said...

My son is 4 1/2 and both my husband and I are comfortable being naked around him, taking showers or baths with him... I was curious to see what people's comments would be to this because I've wondered too when we'd maybe stop doing this but at the same time I think it will help him to be comfortable with his own body and a woman's body won't have to be such a mystery and a shock! I don't know when we'll make a point to stop being naked in front of him -we'll just see how it goes. Our culture is more strict about nudity than others - families I knew in Russia would bathe with their older children and it was no big deal. Just a thought...