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What’s your nudity-in-front-of-the kids policy?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Don’t ask how or why, but this topic has come up three different times in the past week. And I think it’s important and interesting and complicated so I want to talk about it with all of you. Let me preface the naked talk by saying that I have always been very comfortable being nudey in my own house. If I have to run from point A to point B with no clothes on (to get a towel or my jeans from the dryer, say) no big deal. I also feel fine disrobing in the doctor’s office (having two kids helped this). I am not, however, a locker room nudist or entirely comfortable with other women who like to parade around spas and gyms as if it’s their own home. So now you know where I, personally, stand on nudity.


Back to the kids. They see me naked sometimes. I take showers with them. If they’re in my room while I’m getting dressed (which they always seem to be) I don’t cover myself up or go into the closet. I just don’t really think about it. It’s not like we live in a nudist colony, but we’re all pretty comfortable in our birthday suits. And apart from a few times when Alex was younger and pointed out that I didn’t have a penis, he has never commented on my being naked. Or his. In other words, it’s a non-issue in my house. But will it eventually be an issue?


I grew up with two sisters so of course we were naked in front of each other--and my mother was pretty open (my father, thankfully, was not) so I never thought it was a big deal. But now that I have a son, I’m beginning to wonder. Mostly because a friend asked me when I was going to stop being naked in front of him. And the truth is, I hadn’t thought about it. Yet. I wasn’t planning to flit around fully frontal when he’s in junior high, but I thought I had more time.


I realize having both a boy and a girl means we’ll have to be a little more sensitive to the whole privacy thing (e.g., the coed baths are going to end) and, as they get older, we’ll all become more modest, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts. What do you think is the right/healthy/normal thing to do? Or, I should say, what’s your personal take since I’m guessing this is a pretty personal topic. Let’s discuss!