Dressed or Undressed Around Your Kids?

Around our house, we don’t give much thought to our nakedness. Usually, we are only undressed in places where it is expected, like the bedroom or the bathroom. If we do close a door and lock it, it is because we want peace and quiet rather than privacy. And, we certainly don’t parade our naked selves in common areas like the living room or kitchen.

The only time our daughter is naked is straight out of a bath or while changing clothes. She doesn’t think twice about using the bathroom while her dad showers, and she prefers to keep me company while I dress for work in the morning.

Honestly, I’ve never consciously asked myself– to dress or not to dress? Having the bathroom door open as I shower, use the bathroom, or change clothes is just something I have always done. Thinking about it now, I guess leaving it open might seem strange to others, but for me it’s just…normal.

There are at least a few compelling reasons for leaving the bathroom door open, as I see it.

First, allowing my daughter to see me undressed has led to many meaningful conversations about what it means to be a woman and about the female body, including menstruation, body hair, and breasts. She’s six and curious. I would rather teach her about those topics than to have her learn about them from TV shows, magazines, or her peers.

Additionally, I want my daughter to know that a body doesn’t have to be “perfect” to be of value.

I’ve always carried extra weight and have hated or felt uncomfortable in my skin for most of my life. I’ve tried to set a different precedent for her. I will talk about how strong my legs are, but I will never say anything bad about my body to her. I would rather point out how amazing my body is because of the work it’s able to do.

If I had sons, I would like to think I would believe and behave similarly. However, because I do not, I can only speculate. In her book, Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It, Brittany Gibbons speaks about being naked in front of her sons: Walking around after a shower naked…help[s] set the standard bar for myself and my kids back at normal. You’re welcome, future girlfriends of my sons with two different-sized boobs.

From the research I’ve conducted, most experts agree that as long as the parent and the child are both comfortable with being undressed, it is okay to continue.

The key word here being comfortable. When being undressed is no longer agreeable, it should stop. Most likely, this will happen when the child’s body begins to mature and when he or she begins to see their body and the bodies of others in different ways.

Just like my daughter let me know when she was ready to eat solid foods or walk using her own two feet, she will also let me know when she isn’t comfortable anymore. She’ll cover herself or close the door while dressing. She’ll turn her eyes away or leave the room while I am dressing. She’ll talk to me because this is the kind of relationship we’ve built together.

Still wondering whether to dress or not to dress? My advice: Let your conscious, your comfort, and your child guide you to the answer.



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