Keeping Mum

Dita De Boni looks at the trials and tribulations of being a parent.

Keeping Mum: When do you stop being naked in front of your kids?

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When are your children meant to stop seeing you naked?
Photo / Thinkstock
When are your children meant to stop seeing you naked? Photo / Thinkstock

At what stage of a child's life should you cease to appear in front of them naked?

This might be a minor issue for many people, and indeed I had not thought of it before this week, before my son saw me getting out of the shower and laughed at me for not having a penis.

Now, I don't make a habit of walking around naked, but there's a certain amount of residual nakedness that occurs when you have young children and it seems there is no time or place where you are allowed to just exist in peace and privacy. Whether you are in the bathroom and the four-year-old continues yapping right the way through all your morning ablutions. Or the six-year-old runs in to use the toilet always at exactly the same time as you have to. Or the 11-month-old will howl piteously if not allowed to follow you everywhere (and particularly seems to like putting his mouth over the rim of the toilet while you are sitting on it, for some unfathomable reason).

As I say I had never thought much of any of this at all but realise now that things must inevitably change at some point, perhaps especially with a child of the opposite sex.

He's nearly at the dawning point of a more mature understanding of life, and I don't want to be the one to traumatise him forever. (Although, I may have already: at the end of one rudimentary explanation of the facts of life recently, he turned to me and said, "Mum, I've got it, I've got it. To make the baby, dad peed in your mouth, right?")

It may be a bit of hard habit to break, reversing the sloppy habits of almost seven years though. When kids are young you tend to think they won't remember things - and that doesn't just apply to nakedness, but everything you do that they tend to ignore. However, little, but increasingly, they have a curiosity and/or awareness for said things, like buying alcohol, or lotto tickets, or biting your fingernails.

And obviously, it's not that these are things they shouldn't learn about - it's just having to factor in the endless explanations - some of them almost impossible to come up with, and many of them cack-handed, if my efforts so far have been anything to go by.


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