Today I read an article in the NY Times about children wanting to be naked. One particular section in the article made me think about what my reaction would have been to this situation.
“Upon picking up her son, Hayden, from his friend’s house in Burlingame, Calif., last year, Rachael Dominguez, an optician, said she was stunned when the friend’s mom told her that Hayden, who turns 6 next month, was not welcome back because he had undressed and urinated in the yard. “She said, ‘I just think it’s a bad example for my children and I think he shouldn’t come over and do that anymore,’ ” said Ms. Dominguez, 42.“
So there are two parts to the situation above.
a) Being naked
b) Urinating in the backyard
Lets deal with the second one first. For a child who is almost 6, urinating in someone else’s backyard, certainly not acceptable. Ms. Dominguez needs to make sure that Hayden is made to understand that some he is (probably) allowed to do at home is not acceptable at other places. A non controversial example is that Hayden (or my kids) should not open someone else’s fridge and help themselves to stuff without permission.
Next is the nudity. Well, the lady in Burlingame (very close to where I live actually) is overreacting. No kid would be scarred for life by seeing a naked body. If something in not acceptable in your home, make the rules very clear. If broken, let the child’s mom know what is acceptable and figure out what needs to happen. Freaking out never helps.
So, now my thought about kids wanting to be naked and what people think. First there are two situations here. One is at home and the other is in public.
In a private situation, my kids can be naked for as long as they want, as long as that does not come in the way of any scheduling like heading off to school, the park… or just heading out. After a bath both the kids have “nangu time”, translates to naked time. They run around, squealing, chasing each other and just having a good time. When I turn on the sprinklers in the backyard, Eve strips down before running around naked on the grass. Arjun can’t be trusted to be naked for too long cause he pees/poops on the floor (twice so far) and stands there, points and it and says “Ooooh!”. But he gets supervised naked time.
The next situation is with people at home. Well, it depends on the people, if it’s relatives, it’s all good. With other people, we haven’t been in a situation too often. Eve used to bathe with her friend Eliana and then they would be naked, but that was a couple of years back. I don’t think Eliana’s parents thought anything about naked babies playing together.
The last situation is being in public. This one’s tricky and has plenty of facets. One is the beach. I’m all for kids being naked in safe places. If someone else takes offense it is their puritanical obsession with sexuality and thereby child abuse. Anytime there is a discussion of children being nude in public, there is always a religious wing-nut who has something demented to say.
I also can’t understand why people think that naked kids are more susceptible to sexual abuse. If that was true, we’d see the majority of sexual abuse incidents should be of the kids who were naked, and I’m pretty sure that is incorrect. Clothes don’t magically stop child abuse. It’s similar to what some idiots say about women who were dressed skimpily and was sexually assaulted… “She was just asking for it”. The clothes have NOTHING to do with this kind of abuse, it the deviant who’s responsible.
I am appalled that some would impose their own (skewed, misplaced) sexuality on pure beings. I want my children to be comfortable with their bodies. Let them run free and innocent.