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Naked truth: do your kids see you nude?

Categories: Push my Button


I did not grow up in a naked house. Aside from the sight of my dad in his not-so tighty-whities while cooling off after a run (in the living room? Daaaad, please! I’m trying to watch TV here), I never saw my parents unclothed. Ever.

My ex came from a different house. A naked house. When I confronted him about prancing (yes, prancing) around naked after a shower in front of our kids, son 7 and daughter 3, he informed me that he routinely saw his mother stepping out of the shower until he left home sometime in his 20’s.


(He also left the bathroom door open. WHENEVER.)

So there was a basic difference between us. Me = [eyes averted]  Him = “La la la look, I’m NAYYYKIDDDD!”

Am I sounding prudish here? I don’t mean to. All my kids have seen my breasts, by the way, both up close and from across the room, plus in hotel rooms, on buses, trains, and planes, on tours, in restaurants, and in a cave in Ireland. I’m not shy. There’s more than 7 years combined breastfeeding among them, so it became very clear early on that modesty was time-consuming and nearly impossible. Nah, let it hang out. But full-out nudity? Apparently that’s not in my genes. Look at my face when I’m talking to you, not my … yeah. That.

Just so we’re clear, nudity has nothing to do with sexuality. I mean, they’re often combined, but with kids? Nuh uh. And I believe in teaching kids that their bodies are awesome. Nakedness is a pretty standard condition the world over, and most kids love being naked.

Some conclusions from my extensive scientific research:

A. People who grew up in non-naked houses are more likely so eschew household nudity as adults.

B. People who grew up in naked houses are more likely to have naked houses as adults.

C. Unless they were skeeved out by it, in which case they’ll revert to A.

D. Eventually none of us will be naked. (Do the math!)

I think it’s kind of cool, the parents who walk around in the buff, or who at least aren’t awkwardly grabbing for towels when kids barge into the bathroom to ask a Very Important Question That No, It Can’t Wait while mommy is taking a shower. But I’m not one of those parents.

Is nudity cool in your house? Were you affected by your parents’ choices? Will you change your tune as your kids get older? Is this even an issue for you?

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10 comments so far...

  • When it was the two of us (and even before I came along), my ex was very free walking around naked; he was the type who would walk out of the kitchen and then have to dash back because he’d forgotten to pull the blinds.
    But once our daughter came along it was boxers all the time when leaving the bedroom. I wonder if he would be different if we’d had a boy.
    My daughter has seen me naked but it isn’t a continual walk around the house thing for me. Now that she’s older she’s doing comparisons (you have hair, why don’t I) which I feel is a more natural way to start with the “when you’re a woman things are different” type talks. But woo hoo look at my nakedness? Not me.

    Mich  |  January 27th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

  • My son who has just turned 5 enjoys his naked time. He knows that what is acceptable for a younger child, i.e., nakedness, is not so acceptable in a school age child (kindergarden and on). While he likes nothing more than to be sans clothes, I do not feel comfortable walking around with nothing more than my skin. When he asks me about this, I just say while its acceptable for him at his age to be naked, it is not acceptable for mommies and daddies to be naked.

    faye  |  January 27th, 2010 at 5:58 pm

  • At almost 22 months, nudity is hardly a blip on our daughter’s radar. She loves to be naked (what baby/toddler doesn’t?) and has no concept of modesty for Mommy or Daddy yet. And that’s fine. She sees us in the shower or on the pot or even getting out of bed…

    But to walk around nude in general? Not so much. I think that, for me, it has less to do with being raised in a clothed household and more to do with the fact that I’m not altogether comfortable in my skin right now.

    Mostly though, it has to do with the fact that venetian blinds can still be seen through and I don’t need to scar my neighbors for life. Oh…and I just don’t see it as necessary, especially in the cold New England winter.

    Phe  |  January 28th, 2010 at 8:26 am

  • we have 2 daughters, and they have showered with me on occasion (after the beach for example, when we are rushing). they are 9 and almost 7, they have seen it all in me. now DH, no, they do not see him naked. If I had a son, same thing, I’d remain clothed.

    gretchen  |  January 28th, 2010 at 9:09 am

  • I’m with those who will let my same-sex kids see me nude on an as-needed basis (not all the time, but it’s not a big deal either). But after a certain age, I would not be comfortable with a child seeing an opposite-sex parent naked. The kids, age 3, still love the chance to run naked but they understand that that’s relegated to bathtime and changing clothes, and they are starting to learn about modesty with people who don’t live here.

    SKL  |  January 28th, 2010 at 9:18 am

  • My son doesn’t really like to be naked, this has been since he was born. I really don’t know why but he really likes having clothes on and gets upset withouth them. I grew up in a naked household and always thought it was weird. However, I do walk around in my bra and underwear because it is exactly like what I wear to the beach and we go to the beach all the time so I figure he won’t know the difference.

    Oceans Mom  |  January 29th, 2010 at 11:25 am

  • My mother comes out of the shower in the nude. My father also did this until my sister became 12. Howver, he still does it sometimes when she’s home. I also come out of the shower naked and it never seemed weird to me. My sister doesn’t think anything of it. One time in sixth grade her female classmates entered the boys locker room to see them showering. Every girl stormed in unless my sister. Maybe because she already knew what a naked teenage boy looked like. My sister is more private, but she changed completly infront of me until she was 15. We pretty much have a naked house. I’m from Holland btw.

    Marshall  |  February 5th, 2010 at 8:46 am

  • While growing up, my mom was pretty modest and rarely ever seen her nude or any of my older sisters for that matter. But when i turn 10 my dad remarried and my step mom was much different. She would come out of the shower naked and would change clothes with the door open alot. It took a little while for me to get used to this. But through my teens i came accustomed to seeing her naked and never had a problem with it. My step mom was a bigger woman and not ashamed of her body,as i became an adult i respected her for being the way she was and showing me that people shouldn’t be embarrassed of there bodies. My wife and i have raised our kids the same way and i feel it is a good thing

    bigkev  |  May 6th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

  • I have been divorced for three years now and have a 12 year old son and 8 year old daughter. I have always been fairly open with my kids as far as them seeing me nude and them being nude. I have noticed that my son has been going through some changes lately so i have made a point to cover up more around him. I no longer leave the door open when i shower or when i dress. and i put on shorts or pajama bottoms on at night now too. How ever he has not done the same as of yet. he still likes to “streak” around the house after a shower and sits around in his loose fitting boxers alot in the evenings. I have tried to talk to him about this but he doesn’t seem to care. He has been cuddling up with me in bed in the mornings naked lately too, which is a whole differnt subject,lol

    lonelysara  |  May 6th, 2010 at 1:53 pm

  • I’m the father of three kids. We have a “naked house” for sure. Unlike a lot of posters we actually do walk around naked. My wife and son get cold easily and tend to wear more clothes. My 17 year old prefers to be naked, as do I, and our middle school age daughter likes boxers. I’ve resisted the temptation to change my behavior or my attitude towards my kids as they’ve grown older — after all, our family was based on love and respect when they were little, and it still is. So we teach, and act out, body acceptance and clear boundaries on how people should treat one another. Anyway, it is Florida, it’s often hot and why should we have to wear extra at home?

    Stewart  |  November 8th, 2010 at 10:11 am