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"Protecting" children from nudity?

posted 1 decade 6 years ago
Hi there,
I have a fantastic six year old boy called Duncan who I'm taking on holiday for the first time this year, and I have a couple of things I'd love to hear your opinions of.

With regards to the topic mentioned above - that of protecting children from nudity, and giving them a sense of what is acceptable and what is not - I wonder if it would be unnecessarily confusing for Duncan to take him to some of the European beaches where topless sunbathers abound.

Now please note that I am a successful photographer, and do a lot of portrait work, but I also do a fair bit of fine art work, some of which involves full or partial nudity (both male and female) - nothing titilating, purely artistic. As such, I have a very accepting nature when it comes to nudity, and neither my wife or I worry about covering up if our son see's either of us in the bath, or before we get dressed in the morning. I guess it's part of the learning process for him too.

Note that I never let Duncan (or my wife) come in to the studio during a shoot - not least as that be distracting and would not be professional, but I also wouldn't want him to see any of the models posing nude, although at some point, I guess, that should become less of an issue. Of course, sometimes he does see me working on the images after the shoot but never asks any questions. Of course, I'd be quite open if he did ask anything.

That said, I'm trying to instill in him that our "pee-pee's" are "secret" and he has to be careful not to pull down his pants when getting changed for gym class etc. He came home from school the other day with a picture of our family, showing two circles on mummy's chest with little X's in the middle. So I had to explain that mummy's boobies are secret too, and people shouldn't show their boobies or private parts to other people - and shouldn't draw pictures of them in school either. That said, maybe that's precisely what he see's daddy doing!

I want to give Duncan a healthy respect for the human body, but surely it must be so confusing for him! The last thing I want is for him to stigmatise nudity as something purely sexual (and I think I'm doing that okay), but not to the extent that he becomes too liberated.

So we're heading off to the sunny climes of the meditteranean for a couple of weeks of well-earned relaxation and fun with Duncan. I can just hear the perplexed questions when we head to the beach and find scores of topless sunbathers everywhere.

It's okay, no it's not, okay, it's not okay in public, well actually, sometimes it is, but not often, but it should be, sometimes - or not.

Hell, it's confusing for me too!

So surely having a son can't preclude me from this profession, but should we make a point of being more "reserved" with how we present ourselves in front of him?

Appreciate your thoughts.


posted 1 decade 6 years ago
It sounds to me like you guys already have a healthy attitude toward nudity Very happy and your son will also have a healthy outlook as well. I think your son will be ok with the toplessness on Holiday if "no big deal" is made out of it.

I'm an American and I think in general we have such a more prudish attitude about nudity and therefore is more "intriguing" to our children. I would not think twice about having my 5 year old on a topless beach and just explain that it's more comfortable that way for some people... it's just not appropriate to go "all" places with out your top on.

Good luck with everything and have a great trip to the Meditteranian!

Oh yea, welcome to JP too!!

posted 1 decade 6 years ago
C'mon guys!! This is a really good topic I think... I'd like to hear some other opinions too!! Very happy

posted 1 decade 6 years ago
- My blog
ok charlys baths with me and has seen my parts but she doesnt see daddy.
daddy covers up. it doesnt bother me her seeing me as she is a little girl herself and she can ask questions etc...
but daddy doesnt feel comfortable being nude in front of her.

posted 1 decade 6 years ago
Jas was fine with nudity until she got to about 7 years old then decided she didn't want me or her father wandering in and out of the bathroom when she was in the bath and she didn't want to bath with us anymore. We said that was fine so therefore she didn't come in and out when we were in the bath.

She has phases though. Sometimes you have to knock on her door when she's getting dressed and she goes all shy and hides if you just wander in and the next day she's streaking about the house Cuckoo She's 9 1/2 now so she's becoming more aware of her body.

She understands that you can undress at home and wander around but not outside. She has seen topless sunbathers and asked me why I didn't do it and I just said it's not something I want to do but it's fine if other people do. She accepted that and no more was said.

She's not seen 'full frontal' nudity in any public places such as naturist beaches but as I wouldn't particularly want to either, as I wouldn't do it so we don't frequent them as it would be pointless.

I am far more the 'wandering the house naked' type and she often laughs about it saying "mum, put some clothes on" Embarassed

I have two friends who both often walk around their house in the nude and their daughter is now nearly 10 and thinks nothing about it. Again, she knows that they don't do it outside and it's never been an issue.

I think you have a great attitude to it and I'm sure you'll have no problems Very happy

It's a really interesting question and I hope you get some more responses.

posted 1 decade 6 years ago
Thanks guys, it's good to know that you think we're on the right track. I'm glad to hear that we're not the only people who wander around the house naked!

Personally, I was brought up in a house where it was frowned upon for any of us to see eachother naked - even when I was a kid. I think times have moved on though, and it's generally a lot more accepted in society.

Even now, it's something we see in newspapers, and on the continent, even on magazine covers and billboards.

I hope it doesn't eventually become so commonplace that we lose our inhibitions altogether, though.

In the mean time, I don't think I'll worry too much about Duncan seeing the sunbathers on the continent, and no, I won't be frequenting any of the "clothing optional" beaches. I guess I was more concerned because, obviously he's a boy. I have a feeling I wouldn't have even asked the question if we'd had a girl.

Thanks for the insight, and keep the comments coming. It's interesting to see the points of view.

posted 1 decade 6 years ago
We often wander about nude and the kids often share the bath with one of us.

I think being too prude can make a child think a body is somthing to be ashamed of. I think giving limits of what is acceptable and what isn't in public is a good thing.

I wouldn't take my kids to a nudist beach but I wouldn't have a problem with them seeing a pair of boobs. My daughter would probably point and say 'mummy look boobies' and that would most likely be it!

posted 1 decade 6 years ago
I have three kids. Eldest daughter is 10, another daughter is 6 and my son is 4. Up to 5 years old I don't think I really had a problem with it, however I certainly don't feel comfortable being exposed in front of the girls anymore. Especially the eldest. I know it is something that they will learn about and they still see my son naked now and again.

Topless is different as its not so much of an issue. Men do it all the time, and in certain environments its fine for women. As long as it is explained that it is not suitable in all places then I think it should be okay. Not sure how I'd feel about that statement in a few years time if one of my daughters decided they were gonna go topless sun bathing. Guess I'll just have to deal with it if it happens.

posted 1 decade 6 years ago
My daughter 2 baths with both me and my partner i feel she needs to learn it's natural and i dont want to feel uncomfortable we walk around the house naked when appropriate. But if she was to approach me when she is older and say she didnt lik it i would discuss with her and then cover up. Personaly i am ashamed by my body so would not go onto a topless beach unless it was the only 1.. As far as when it is right she knows she does not take her clothes of in public.


posted 1 decade 6 years ago
great thread!

We went abroad for the first time in 1978 (my sis 7, my bro 9 and me 5). We were in an area of Spain where the tourism hadn't hit yet. SO on the beach there was signs showing nudity okay,but when at the taverna (even on the beach) u had to be covered up. Even in the local village the police would ask men to put their t-shirts on to be there.

Lots of the children there were swimming with no clothes on, my Dad said it was okay so we did. Altho mum wasn't happy but my dad said let us get a positive body image (way before his time).

Last year we took my friends son on holiday with us (he is 8) and at the swimming pool women had their tops off. He got very embarrassed as this was the very first time he had seen boobs and got to the satge he would only come down to the pool when it was quiet first thing in the morning and late afternoon when the sun wasn't on it. His mum was shocked that he had had to deal with this, and she was very Angry Cuckoo and livid. The lad though is very positive about it all altho did struggle why we were there. We explained that our bodies are beautiful and that some people choose to show them off. He asked my hubby why there was no man exposing themselves? Hubby explained that the bottom halves of people have special areas so there are special beaches where people can go if they want to show them off, but in general they are just for ourselves. Thankfully his mum was happy with this explanation.

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