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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Naked kids running all over the place



I was a little shocked recently when I read this story about children running around naked. It quoted a Mom_sunflowerbaby grandfather who thought it was perfectly fine for his grandsons, ages 10 and 4, and his granddaughter, 6, to go skinny-dipping in a lake outside his upstate New York home.

His son was less than enthused, and I can't blame him. Age 10 and 6 is pretty old to be playing around in your birthday suit. And siblings? Yuck!

The grandfather, to his defense, says if you can't streak when you're a kid, then when can you do it? Fair enough. But at what age is it appropriate? And when does it border on creepy?

I've been dealing with this issue in my house. Letting my 2 1/2-year-old daughter go naked, or even bottomless, has been the most effective way in trying to potty train her. Pants on, she has no qualms about peeing wherever she wants. Pants off, and she tells me she needs to go to the bathroom, pronto.

Long term, I know this isn't practical. She can't go naked to the store, and I worry she might start rebelling against clothing altogether and put up a fit, which I've heard some kids do.

Besides that, I wonder what impact it will have on her later in life. Yes, I want her to be confident and comfortable with her body. I also want her to be modest and set boundaries for others. In other words, no hootchie.

The newspaper article quoted New York University psychologist Lawrence Balter who said that people who have an overly strong reaction to seeing young children running around naked must have their own hang-ups and inner conflicts.

I have no inner conflict with nakedness -- that I know of -- but I do feel a little uncomfortable when my daughter goes even topless around other kids and their parents, especially the dads.
It seems like a simple thing to put on a shirt -- or a bathing suit -- and leave the nakedness for the bathtub.

-- Times mom Susan Thurston

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:02am]


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