Reader Question of the Week: Modesty Standards within Families

'Questions?' photo (c) 2008, Valerie Everett - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Every weekend I like to post a question someone sends in and let you readers have a go at it. After the discussion in the comments last Saturday, one reader wrote in with this question:

What standards for modesty do you have inside your home? Do family members see each other getting out of the bath or shower regularly, is the bathroom door locked with a dead bolt or is it somewhere in between? What rationale did you use to come to your decision on this issue?

What standards do you use in your home and why?

Comments

  1. We are very modest as a family. Once the children reached around 4 years old, they didn’t see us naked anymore. We taught them to be modest so they all grew up to be very modest. I have friends, however, who all walk naked around each other and shower together even though they are teenagers. I find this very odd. I don’t think it is healthy for young boys to see their sisters and mothers naked. God covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness for a reason.
    Lori recently posted…Taken Far Away From HomeMy Profile

    • I don’t believe it is necessarily “wrong” to be modest with your family, but I wanted to point out that God did not cover Adam and Eve. They covered themselves because they had the knowledge of good and evil and felt shame. SHAME caused Adam and Eve to cover themselves.

      • Actually, Adam and Eve covered their genitals with fig leaves (the word used for their coverings means a “belt”), which wasn’t sufficient to cover their nakedness. Thus, God made garments (the word used means a “coat” or “robe”) of animal skin for them (Genesis 3:21). Of course, since God must have slain an animal to do this, it is a picture of blood sacrifice to atone for sin and a foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ that was coming. However, I also think that it shows that God has a standard of modesty because He did clothe them with an item of clothing that covered more than the minimal coverings they had made for themselves.

        There are other indications in the Bible that revealing your body to others is wrong as well. For example, Noah’s son Ham was cursed when he came upon his father lying drunk and naked in his tent and joked about it to his brothers (while they were commended for walking in backwards, so as not to see him, and covering him up). In the OT, having sex is often euphemized as “uncovering their nakedness” because seeing someone naked was only done for sex and was thus rightfully reserved for husbands and wives.
        Lindsay Harold recently posted…What it Means to Be Conservative – Part 7: American ExceptionalismMy Profile

  2. We taught our children at a young age, if a door is shut we do not open it. My son never sees the females naked and my daughter never sees the males naked. We do allow our children to come into the bathroom if the shower is running to get ready for school/bed but once the water shuts off they have to leave the bathroom. It is very important that we teach our children to respect each others privacy and boundaries at an early age. Modesty is VERY important in our home.

  3. It’s very important to us as well. Our oldest is 14 months old, so right now he catches glimpses of us, but we’ve been getting better at not letting him see nakedness, other than his own. Especially with his sister now in the picture!
    Peggy recently posted…Longing To WriteMy Profile

  4. workinprogress says:

    I am the only female in my house. When the kids were young (under 5 probably) they would see me naked, but there came a point when my husband mentioned that they were getting too old for that. Now things are very modest. My boys would die if they saw me naked most likely. My husband doesn’t even like to run around naked in front of them. Interestingly, they are very modest around each other as well. They don’t let each other in the bathroom when they are showering and such (this isn’t anything we taught them… just something they seem picky about) My husband and I see each other naked all the time though :-)

  5. Our only child (so far) just turned one, so we haven’t had to deal with modesty issues yet. However, we do plan to teach and enforce modesty. There should be a certain sacred awe about the body of the opposite sex. Nakedness is a beautiful thing when shared withing the intimate confines of a marriage, but it’s not appropriate for children older than 3 or 4 to see others naked or have others see them naked. After all, one of the things that child abusers do is reveal themselves to children and show them inappropriate pictures. It’s very damaging to a child’s view of sexuality and the human body.

    Another thing we plan to do is to make sure that our children dress appropriately. Clothing that is designed to sexualize a child is not appropriate. Clothing that is provocative or suggestive should be reserved for husbands and wives to wear for each other. Of course, there are differences of opinion on what constitutes “provocative” or “suggestive,” but certain things are obviously designed to reveal and lead the eyes and mind of others to where they have no business going. No one looking at my child should be referring to her as “sexy” (and that includes teenagers).
    Lindsay Harold recently posted…What it Means to Be Conservative – Part 7: American ExceptionalismMy Profile

  6. Doors open. No attempt or desire to teach them that the human body is something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by.

    Given that, my oldest daughter is becoming more body conscious as she gets older and now demands privacy when she gets dressed. We’re okay with that. I imagine when puberty hits she’ll need a deadbolt on her door, which seems quite natural.

    As for my wife and I, we still walk to and from the shower with nothing on but a towel, then promptly drop that once we’re in the bedroom. And if one of our kids is sitting on the bed watching a movie or reading a book, too bad, it is our room! If they think us being naked is gross, well, that is a quick and effective way to get them to evacuate the room! LOL!

    I understand modesty is important when it comes to hormonal teenagers and dating, but I think it is a bit neurotic around little kids whose entire concept of sex is “mommy and daddy have different parts” but have no clue what those body parts do or how they work.

    At the end of the day, it is a balancing act and adopting different standards for different stages of life seems most practical and reasonable. Just don’t turn them into little neurotics about the human body at the age of two.

  7. This is a tough subject with some very fine lines–especially given that all we know is nudity in a sexualized culture. IMO there are two kinds of nudity: sexual and non-sexual. Those in the medical profession or a missionary ministering in a third-world country (that hasn’t been westernized yet) know this. Scripture also includes a number of instances–some against it, some neutral (Isaiah 20:24, Micah 1:8, Isaiah 32:11).

    As Dr. James McKever notes in chapter 7, “Nudity and Lust” of his book “It’s in the Bible”:

    “If we conclude that it is a sin to be nude in front of a member of the opposite sex [to whom we are not married], we run into difficulty in trying to devise our own law.”

    In short, nudity boils down to context, culture, and the hearts of the people involved.

  8. Our kids do not see my husband and I naked past the age of 4 or so, younger than that for an opposite sex child. That age seems a natural time to cover up because that’s about when a child would be able to remember. I have memories of my dad’s body and its something I would rather not have. Lol. So i try to think about what memories I could be forcing on my child when it comes to my body. But nakedness is not a shame thing. Covering up is protective, big physically and emotionally for all involved. My boys get peeved with our 6 year old girl when she runs around naked after a shower, so we get her dressed pretty quickly. They have no such problems with our 2 year old girl running around naked. This is not some arbitrary thing we’ve put on them, but something they naturally developed. Same sex children in this house see each other naked, but our older girls 14 and 12), no longer want to take showers together (and we don’t make them). The Bible does talk about “not uncovering nakedness” of people like fathers and other mens’ wives, but it’s not something we’re neurotic about because we don’t want an accidental or innocent exposure to give the impression of shame.

  9. I agree with Mark & Greg. Naked does not mean sex, naked is not a sin, naked is not something to be ashamed of. Naked is just unclothed.

    I pay attention my children’s comfort level when it comes to nakedness. When they are no longer comfortable being seen naked then I refrain from changing in front of them etc. I have found that the level of modesty fluctuates with age as well. My teen daughters have no issue if we change in front of each other but it wasn’t always that way; for a few years they liked total privacy.

    I want my children to know that God gave us our bodies and they are not to be ashamed of. Naked and shame should not be linked.

    Modesty in clothing is a totally different issue to me.

    • I had a similar experience to you. For a few years, around puberty, my girls were really shy. Now they don’t care anymore about changing in front of each other or me.

  10. Age 3 is the magic number where I think modesty should start being enforced. As a child development and psychology major, I learned that age 3 is when kids start to understand their gender identity (as well as the gender identity of others). Age 3 is also when many people start forming long term memories. We have talked with our children about the fact that we keep our bodies covered and private, because they are sacred. Our bodies are temples and are very special, so we don’t just walk around naked, and we never intentionally show anyone the sacred, private parts of our bodies. There is a GREAT book that is somewhat off topic but I think very helpful for parents in teaching: How to Talk to your Kids about Sex by Linda and Richard Eyre. You can find it on Amazon.

  11. We are very comfortable seeing each other naked within our home. My wife and I have always slept naked and our en suite bathroom is open plan and does not have a door, and our children, now aged 9 and 7, have grown up with that and are comfortable with it. I do believe that one can separate nudity and sexuality if one grows up comfortable with nudity in a non-sexual context, as my wife and I both did in our respective families, so we do not see the naked body as anything to be ashamed of and would like our children to grow up with the same positive body image. At this stage our kids are still comfortable bathing and showering together, or hopping into the shower with one of us, and we plan to be guided by them as to when, if ever, they become uncomfortable with this. I am sure that once they hit the teenage years they will likely go through a stage of not wanting to be naked around each other or us, and we will respect that. They do know, however, that when our bedroom door is closed (locked) we are having intimate time together and it is not appropriate for them to interrupt us!
    Happy Hubby recently posted…Male arrogance – it isn’t all, or even mostly, about you!My Profile

  12. Our house is a bit different -we adopted our kids from special needs foster care and they had been victimized, so this is a big issue for us.

    We don’t lock bedroom or bathroom doors – but the kids do. I have managed to prevail upon them to not lock their bedroom doors as night – mostly by putting an alarm on each door so they would be wakened if someone opened their door. That seemed to make them feel safe enough.

    We stay dressed in public areas of the house – I’m wearing much more in the way of jammies than I prefer, but it keeps everyone comfortable.

    May daughter, as a teen, has become rather provocative and promiscuous – not an uncommon happening for sexually abused kids – so we are focusing on modesty alot more with her than our son.

    We’ve also been very careful to make sure that my husband NEVER enters either of their bedrooms without me. They were both abused by males, and it is not uncommon for such kids to make spurious allegations, so it’s as much for their comfort as his.

    That said, my now-14 year old son walked in on me in the shower a few months ago. We both had a good laugh about it and reminders to knock on closed doors, and it was no bigger a deal for us than it would have been in a “typical” family. I call that progress!

    • We are just like Leigh in that we have 3 adopted children through foster care and have fostered over 100 others…..many with very sexualized backgrounds.

      We do try to maintain privacy for all and keep covered up. There might be an occ. slip but we don’t make a big deal out of it but do try to respect the kids privacy.

      It really helps that our new house has 2 bedrooms upstairs, 2 bedrooms in the daylight basement and then our master suite on the main floor. Upstairs and in the basement are full baths and then we have our master bath along with a 1/2 bath on the main floor. This might seem like overkill but that way we have the girls upstairs with their bath, the boys all in the basement with their bath and dh and I with our own. This set up helps make it easier to avoid problems, temptations, and potential allegations.

      Most of the time the boys do not to upstairs and the girls do not go downstairs.

      Now our kids have seen dh in his undies at time or me in my bra. It just happens but we try to avoid it. The kids likely know that dh and I shower together at times and enjoy our time together but we lock the door.

      When the kids were younger they would see us bathe the little fosters or the girls would jump in together, etc. but again with foster care we had to be much more careful as many kids didn’t have the natural boundries that most bio kids seem to have.

    • God bless you, for not only being a loving mom and dad to those kids, but for also being respectful of their feelings and wise in how you approach their raising! :-)

  13. We are modest around each other …. although my boys have seen me in undies (that’s what happens when you open the door duh!) and as long as I have those on I figure they aren’t to traumatized lol! Our 12 yo no longer wants me to do tick checks so he has to let Dad help …. I think there’s an age where kiddos naturally become more modest and it doesn’t have to forced upon them . We have taught them to dress appropriately for everyday as well as occasions, work,etc … I am not the “shoulder police” and others may think we aren’t modest enough but as long as you can’t see any private parts and only a tiny bit of cleavage at times – depending on the dress/shirt I think it’s fine (my girls tend to wear cami’s under almost everything). Modesty is also cultural in many ways — what we consider modest others may not or may think is even frumpy! Definitely want them to be modest and aware of where they are, dress appropriately but we also try to teach them that the body is a beautiful thing and nothing to be ashamed of.
    Holly recently posted…Warrior Prayers … praying for your sonsMy Profile

  14. one cultural example …. when we lived in Germany and were at the swimming pool our youngest son did run about naked because he went through his swimmy diapers — lots of naked kiddos about 10 and under at the pool and nobody really thinks anything of it, most are about 5 or 6 and under but there are a few older ones ….. we were at a family pool so no one topless although if there had been we wouldn’t have made a big deal out of it just moved on ….

  15. I’m curious… For those who think nudity is ok, how many also look at pornography?

    • I don’t think it’s related at all.
      Elise recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

    • Why would you connect the two?

      Nudity does not equal sex, sex does not equal porn.

      I find this question utterly bizarre. Trying to understand the thinking behind it, but failing miserably.

    • I am one that is not too firm about being clothed when around my younger children – ages ranging from 10 to 20 months. The 13 year old tends to be a bit more naturally modest, largely due to age, but I don’t worry too much about who sees me in my knickers – most swim suits show more skin than that!

      My attitude about it has been expressed already so I won’t reiterate it here, but wanted to say that pornography is a completely different issue and is NEVER in our home. Our oldest son has his iPad frequently checked, computers are never in private areas, no tv’s in bedrooms, etc. It could happen, but would be difficult.

    • Not sure if this poster is just that odd, or a troll…

  16. I grew up in a house where nudity and nakedness was something to be ashamed of unless you were my father who could walk around in his skivvies, poop with the door open, make comments about women on TV, etc. I was made to feel that even my own naked body, looking at it, touching it, knowing how it works was shameful. I remember as a teenager trying out sleeping naked and feeling great guilt and shame. Even sleeping without underwear made me feel guilty. Ironically, all the shame didn’t stop me from getting naked with my boyfriend (who thankfully became my husband and we were able to refrain from intercourse until marriage). Now, I enjoy the freedom of being able to be naked and comfortable with my body.

    We’re kind of all over the board concerning nudity in our house. We live in a VERY small house, so privacy pretty much doesn’t exist. My children always see me in some form of undress (usually sitting on the potty), but I ask my oldest to avert his eyes should a private part need to be exposed. Hubby tries to cover up now, too.

    We expect our young, but growing children to respect each other’s privacy. Preschool aged daughter does NOT need an audience of brothers while she’s taking a bath. However, if they’re all a muddy mess from playing outside, they all go into the tub at the same time! (My oldest is just 6).

    I also teach my children to conduct themselves with modesty and sobriety. There’s no need to be flashy and silly and show-offy. Also, I try to teach them that body parts are not “funny” and are not to be made fun of. Both genders know about gender differences and age appropriate workings of male and female bodies. We use proper names for genitalia as well. We also teach them that if you happen to see a naked body, it is not a big deal. It is nothing to be ashamed of, but privacy should be respected. Happening to see is one thing. Staring is another. They are also taught not to touch each other or purposely flash private parts at each other. So, no slapping each other’s butts or mooning each other and no playing with your genitals in front of another person.

    My daughter sees me naked on a regular basis. She’s very curious and I think her seeing me unashamed naked (especially after having several children) will help her own body image. She says, “Mommy, you have a big butt and belly.” I say, “yes, I do. What do you think about them?” She says, “they’re BEAUTIFUL! I want a big butt and belly some day, too!” (As a side note, I’m not overweight or anything, so it’s not like my little girl wants to be unhealthy. It’s just normal post partum “additions.”)

    I also believe that the Bible says that nakedness is something to be hid and the exposure of our nakedness is generally something not good. They stripped Christ naked on the cross to shame and expose him. When Noah was drunk and naked, his sons covered him with averted eyes. When David saw Bathsheba naked, he lusted and murdered and pretty much raped her. Her nakedness wasn’t a sin, but his reaction to it certainly was. So, we ought to be modest and covered because there is a fine line.

    It’s about respecting the HUMAN, the person and ourselves.

  17. Annie Jo, in response to your question, my wife and I do not use pornography and have strong feelings about the negative impact of pornography on marital intimacy. As I mentioned in my original comment above, we have been brought up to believe that there is a distinction between nudity and eroticism/sex, and do not view nudity in a sexual context outside of our marital bed.
    Happy Hubby recently posted…Male arrogance – it isn’t all, or even mostly, about you!My Profile

  18. Nudity is fine. Pornography is not. Nakedha has nothing to do with sex. Pornography is a disgusting warped version of sex.

    I honestly don’t see how the connection is made.

  19. My husband and I were raised very differently. My family was 100% covered all the time. I would maybe sometimes see my mom in underwear and a shirt if she was changing or something, but even that didn’t happen very often. My husband’s whole family walked around in various stages of undress all the time. When we were dating, I saw his parents and brothers in towels FAR more often than I was comfortable with!!

    We are sort of somewhere in the middle with our family now. We have trained our oldest (7) that if a door is shut, you need to knock, and that if he happens to walk in while I’m not covered up, he needs to walk back out, unless there’s some sort of emergency. We aren’t obsessive about shutting doors, and throwing a robe on is ‘good enough’ in most cases. I don’t freak out if he walks in on me, I just calmly remind him that I’d like a little privacy. My younger son (3) is just starting to notice that I have different parts, so we’ll start encouraging the same rules with him. My husband hasn’t been as modest with them, but now that we have a daughter, he will start being more covered up, too.

    I don’t think that encouraging modesty in any way teaches that the body or sexuality is shameful. I also don’t believe that it needs to be a big stressful ordeal if someone is caught less covered than they’d like to be – just ask for a little privacy and move on.

  20. My oldest son is three years old. I change my clothes in front of him and he is not fazed by it, neither of my children are the slightest bit interested in my body, so I make no attempt to make z big deal out of it. I figure when you start to make it an issue they pay more attention. He has been starting to ask more questions about my (clothed) body, breasts in particular, and I explain what they are for, etc. There may come a time when it seems like it would be a good idea to be more modest around him, but I don’t think his curiosity at this point is a problem. He prefers to run around without pants and underwear and that is OK, although we encourage him to wear underwear. My husband and I are usually fully clothed and do not use the bathroom with one another, although the kids are generally welcome to come in (or more like, we are powerless to stop them.)
    I am working on my own body image, which I think is super important to pass on a healthy view of our bodies to our kids but its hard! I hope I get it figured out before I have a daughter :-)

    And in response to another comment, pornography and nakedness are not the same thing. There is nothing sexual about me changing my clothes in front of my child, in my opinion

  21. My house growing up was weird. My mother was from a part of the world where multi-generational nakedness was perfectly ok in a home, and we grew up very poor with 6 people in a 2-bedroom apartment, so there was pretty much no privacy. I shared a room until I moved out, showers were always communal (until we rebelled), and my parents had sex with the bedroom door open.

    Now that I’m an adult I hate familial nakedness to the point where I don’t even like my sister to breastfeed in front of me. I remember my brother would barge into the 1 bathroom while I was showering to take his contacts out, and I had to throw a fit to make him stop, and the family was like “well Anna is crazy but you better do what she wants, otherwise she won’t shut up”.

    So I think excessive family nakedness can have a negative effect on some people especially if they don’t have any say in it, like if their privacy is not respected at all like at my parents’ house.

  22. I grew up seeing my mom naked and my sisters naked but never my dad. My sister and I tried to keep modest around our younger brother but he wouldn’t ever knock just barge in so he got an eye full young lol. I have two girls now and they never see my husband naked although he does walk around in his underware all the time. They do see me naked and for now are naked around their dad too. I have no problem with them seeing me naked; I want them to be comfortable with their bodies and I feel that if I show them how comfortable I am they will be that way too. I am teaching them about dressing modestly and if they reach an age where they aren’t comfortable with their Dad or I seeing them naked we will respect that.

  23. I think that modesty is not a dress code or set of rules as much as an attitude. The most important thing is to teach respect for each others boundaries. While we are pretty open as a family, when one member or another expresses a desire for privacy it is respected. With a tiny house, 1 bathroom and 6 people, there are lots of breeches of privacy. However, when these happen we teach our kids to apologize, but we do not make a big deal out of it.
    I’ve seen strict rules backfire with a desire for exploration or severe inhibitions. I would like to avoid these extremes and hope that our approach will help our children feel secure about their bodies and respectful of others. In order to protect our respect for each other, we are very careful to keep toxic imagery and language out of our house. I also try to protect our children’s innocence by not suggesting their is anything wrong with nakedness until I notice a natural modesty emerge.
    Ultimately, culture and customs form our attitudes about the human body and I think the diversity of human experience supports the idea that modesty can take many forms.

  24. As a mom of 13, nine of them girls, modesty has been an important aspect in raising our daughters to live for Jesus. We are missionaries, and have now started a small, Christian international school (in Japan). I love Pure Fashion’s modesty guidelines (a Christian modeling agency) and basically use them for our family and school. You can check their website for more details, but here are the basics. (for boys too) God Bless,
    Cheryl Bostrom (www.kicschool.net, http://www.sccjp.net – on Facebook: PaulandCheryl Bostrom)

    Always and Anywhere:
    Shirts

    Necklines are four fingers below the collarbone.
    Material is opaque, not sheer, very thin, or spandex.
    Shirts draw attention to the face, not the bust line. They can be ruffled, be-jeweled, patterned, etc, but the bra is not seen in the back (if visible, the shirt is too tight).
    The back is covered: no strappy backs, halter, or backless garments.
    Tank tops are worn with a shirt, jacket, or sweater over them.

    Pants

    Can be form-fitting but not too tight, especially in the seat or thigh area.
    One should be able to pull pants away from the leg—and not just because the material is spandex (that doesn’t count).
    When the arms are straight down at the side, the bottom of the shorts is below the longest finger.
    Panty lines are not visible. If necessary, pantyhose or a “thigh shaper” can create a smooth appearance in the clothing.

    Skirts

    Skirts are four slender fingers above the top of the kneecap.
    Be attentive to see if a slip is necessary.

    Dresses

    From the waist up, dresses follow the shirt guidelines.
    Dresses need sleeves or two-inch wide straps. Wraps go nicely with dresses that have straps.

    Note

    Undergarments should never become outer garments.

  25. My little boy is only 19 months, so we haven’t yet needed to venture into this topic so much. But that time is coming! And as a note, he started noticing that Mom-mom’s parts were missing bits that Daddy and he had around 13 months. When you are a stay at home mom, and noone else around, the child comes into the bathroom with you. I have worked to teach him that I don’t need help wiping, though we are still working on that. :P

    I lived in Asia for several years, where ‘modesty’ is quite different from the US or what I’ve heard about Europe. I’ve tentatively settled on the distinction between modesty and self-consciousness. Staying covered up with those of the opposite gender is modesty and important. Staying covered up with those of the same gender is being self-conscious and is a bit of nonsense. You see this principle in a lot of places, especially in places where bathing is limited by lack of water or warm water — all the women and girls get together in one place to bath, and the men and boys in another place. Nobody is flaunting anything, just getting clean and getting a bit of fellowship. I think this is a good thing for several reasons. First, as we tend to fear the unknown, and if we don’t know what a grown woman’s or man’s body should look like, we have no idea if we are normal or not as we develop. But if we’ve seen a variety of body shapes and sizes, and in various stages of development, we can find comfort that the way our body our developing is okay. Second, community and fellowship!

    Okay, so what does this have to do with American/Western families that close the door and shower alone? Lets not be afraid of our bodies, for God did create them and declared them good! Let’s protect them and treat them with honor. That will mean staying covered in certain situations and uncovered in other situations, and it will vary by weather, climate control and those present. But locks inside the house! Goodness, I can imagine good reasons, but they are very few. We lock the outside doors, not the inside doors, as a principle.

    Comment long enough… I might have a whole post in my head!
    Rachael recently posted…What does that song mean? “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”My Profile

  26. Growing up in a household of all girls, I’d say we weren’t that terribly modest if by ‘modest’ you mean did we bathe together, change clothes in the same room, run around in undies as small children. We saw our mom naked from time to time. I would suppose we saw our dad naked, or at least partially naked from time to time as well since *somebody* had to take small children to the bathroom in public places and keep them in sight all the time, even when you were using the facilities. My only borther wasn’t born until I was 18 years old. We girls were not allowed to bathe him, change his diaper or clothes even though it had been primarily our jobs to do those things for our sisters. Hubby grew up in a overly modest household. Not modesty between him and his brothers (he came from a family of all boys) really, but overall, any sort of undress was a horrific crime. Now. Hubby has a very warpped view of sexuality. I came into marriage completely ignorant of even what male parts were called. I guess some would say that’s proper but I think it was just detremental in many ways. Our kids have never seen their dad naked, shoot, I’ve only seen him naked once and I’m married to him! Sex was only in the dark and under the covers, something shamful, to be hidden. Now we don’t have sex at all by his unilateral decsion. Anyway, I digress. I began bathing with my kids as babies. They hated baths b/c they wre cold and unable to cuddle close. It was scary for them. It worked much better for me to take a bath with them and then we were all happier. Add to that 3 kids in 2.5 years. You just don’t have time and energy to give separate baths when you’re solo parenting. That said, by the time the child reaches 4, I find that I’m not comfortable with bathing together anymore. My 6&7yos (girl/boy) still bathe together occasionally, b/c they are best friends and barely a year apart in age. But they too are outgrowing that desire. They share a bedroom, again b/c they are best friends. Nothing sexual about it. They’ve all been taught from an early age that boys and girls are different and why. They’re taught that the body parts that are covered by underwear are especially private so nobody else should touch them. They are taught that at any time, they may tell any person not to touch them even in non-personal areas. Clothing. Girls were dresses or skirts and tops. Skirts must be below the knee. Little girls under 4-5 can wear then a bit shorter but they must then wear tights or leggings. Boys can wear short pants as long as their parents deem appropriate at home but not past 8 or so in public, not past 4-5 to church. Girls’ tops must have sleeves or have something worn over them if they do not. Clothing should not be see-thru, overly tight, must not show cleavage or straps. If you’re doing something where your undewear might show, you should wear shorts under your skirt. All that said, kids are kids and underwear are ‘funny’. eyeroll But everyone wears underwear, even if we don’t shout about it. lol I think things will change as the children get older. They are able to decide when they no longer feel comfortable changing around others, bathing with others etc and have those boundaries respected.

  27. I find it interesting that so many say that they are fine with nudity b/c they are teaching their kids not to be ashamed of their bodies. I do not understand that view. I am fine with my body, my hubby’s and my kids, however we are very modest. This is simply b/c we are sexual beings. God made men and women different and those differences are to be seen and enjoyed when in an intimate relationship with your spouse. Don’t get me wrong, us girls will change in the same room, as will the boys, if it is necessary. But we don’t just wander around with it all out for show, or shower together, etc.

    • Adults are sexual beings, three-year-old kids are simply kids with different parts.

    • The fact that adults are sexual beings does not mean that the moment we see nakedness, sex should come to mind. Nakedness does not equal sex, although it is certainly appropriate in the sexual relationship of a married couple. It is healthy to be able to look at the human body, naked, and not think “SEX.” We are “fearfully and wonderfully” made by God. If we equate a person’s exposed body (completely naked or not) to sex, we’re teaching that the human body is something to be ashamed of, and that’s not what God intended.
      Rubi recently posted…Equality for Women from MaryMy Profile

  28. lots of different opinions here!

    I grew up in a fairly modest home. I bathed with my younger brothers until I was 8 or 9. I rarely saw my mother naked, and my father never.(although he always wandered around with a towel around his waist after a shower!)
    My husband grew up in a much more open home, with family members comfortable being naked around the house from time to time.
    With our own children, we allowed them to bathe together until they were about 8 or 9 (separated boys and girls around the age of 7 or 8 because they were getting silly!). But we have been teaching them to be modest – or actually they have chosen to be modest with each other – ie boys get dressed in the boys room,girls in the girls room. The girls are particular to shut their door when dressing, but the boys often forget ;-)
    We have not regularly or deliberately shown ourselves naked to the kids since they were about 3. Hubby has taken the boys camping and swam in a river naked with them. But around the house, we tend to keep ourselves covered up. We close the bathroom door when showering, dressing and toiletting and the kids do the same. We close our bedroom door when we are dressing (the kids know to knock if our door is shut), and the kids do too (well, the girls!).
    One thing that we wanted to balance was understanding there is no shame in a body, with desensitising them to nudity. We don’t want them to be so comfortable with nudity that they aren’t offended by inappropriate nudity. There is a reason God requires public clothing, and we feel that our family is a micro community,so we need to behave within our home in a way which reflects God’s view on nudity. Not obsessively paranoid, but holding to a standard that nudity is not something to be flaunted. That our bodies belong to God, that we are to treat them with honour and respect, and that they are not for public viewing.
    On clothing, we don’t hold to lots of precise rules. Underwear should stay Under the Wear. Micro shorts and skirts are out. Other items of clothing may be deemed inappropriate by me :-) But really, I think the issue of modesty in clothing is very much culturally determined. What is modest in middle america conservative homeschool land is different to outback Australia, Tokyo city, or German countryside…
    So there are my views thrown in the mix to ponder…
    siminoz (mother to 6 including 4 teens)

  29. I have two boys and then my husband. Not much modesty with hubby, because he’s hubby. My boys are 5 and 1 years old. The five year old, I don’t let him see me nude because I think he can recognize things, but I am teaching him about the private parts of the body because he needs to know that. For my little one, I try to be discreet, but at one I don’t think he’ll remember. Of course once my boys get older, they will see mommy fully dressed whether it be in a robe or in clothes.

    My mother always taught me discretion especially when it came to men. I think it would be a little different if I had a girl.
    Tiffany Godfrey, The Committed Wife recently posted…Do You Really Need Sex for Your Marriage to Work?My Profile

  30. The hubby and I are both very casual people. It wasn’t uncommon for us to wander around our house in nothing but our underthings. We both like to sleep nude. Now that we have a 2 year old, we have had to adapt! I’m not going to raise my son thinking that bodies are dirty. They’re not! They’re pretty darn awesome! But I still want him to know that there are public parts and personal parts, and that the personal parts aren’t always known or accepted by other people! Right now we’re going with calling all body parts by their correct name “What’s that?” “That’s mommy’s breast.” “What’s that?” “That’s your penis.” Etc.
    We’re also going with the rule of I can be nude in my room or bathroom, but clothing, or at least a housecoat, PJ’s, or some other form of covering, must be worn in the rest of the house. That way if he’s traumatized because he saw one or the other of us being naked… what? We were in OUR room. Why didn’t you have the decency to knock? ;-)

  31. I have four kids, 9, 8, 6 and 3. We’re very modest regarding nudity. I understand my 3-year-old is not seeing his older sisters or me sexually, but I’m raising adults. I don’t think it’s appropriate for an adult to walk around naked with other adults (except spouse!). So as we raise our kids, we teach them the modesty standards we hope to instill in them as adults. Same as everything else.

  32. I would say that my family is fairly modest. My kids are all under 5, so they’re still pretty young. My husband and I try not to be naked around the kids, but sometimes it happens, and we don’t make a big deal about it. My kids all bathe together, but my eldest sometimes wishes to have privacy when dressing. We teach them that while it’s okay to run around the house naked, they aren’t to be naked in public, and they never show their private parts to anyone, or let anyone touch their private parts unless it is a doctor who has asked first with Mommy or Daddy in the room. (wow, that was a long sentence)

    This is a great thread; many great contributions.
    Vinae recently posted…The Truth About Cloth DiapersMy Profile

  33. Family nudity at home is a complete non-issue. We are trying to teach our children positive body images. How can we do that when we hide our bodies (in shame) and freak out when they might see each other or one of us parents nude. This is the reaction that Eve had as a direct result of her sin. God made us in His image and I am not ashamed.

  34. Our son is 6 our daughter is 10 months. We never worry about nakedness in our house. We aren’t ashamed or worried about it. I am a modest public dresser and our son has never once had an issue understanding that you where clothes in pubic and sometimes naked happens at home.

    We had an incident a few weeks back with the neighbor behind me, they have no window cover over their bathroom window and the shower is next to the window. My son saw the lady showing and made mention that he could see her and I said well do you think its an issue? He said no and went on with his life.

    Nakedness and provocativeness are two different things.

  35. My family was incredibly modest growing up. Of course, I grew up in a household of women (my two sisters and my mom), but even so, no one barged in on each other while in the bathroom or changed in the same room together. When we were out in public and needed to change, it was always done in the privacy of a bathroom stall, not out in the open changing rooms.

    When I went to college, even with having a roommate, I was still incredibly modest, unless my roommate was already asleep and with the light off, I’d change really quickly. When my husband and I got married, having someone else in the bedroom/bathroom with me while I was changing/showering was incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. It took me a long time to learn I didn’t need to be modest with my husband, but I don’t think being modest hurt me at all growing up. In fact, I want to carry that over with our children someday.
    Hannah Williams recently posted…Christmas Change of Plans & The Door, Emmanuel, and FriendMy Profile

  36. We fall some where in the middle…i dont know that being comfortable at home equates to modesty from the cultural conservative context. my children are older (>18)and when they are home walk around in various stages of undress, but tend to lean toward being conservative in how they dress – well no one is walking around wearing booty shorts or wifebeaters in public..
    i think we have a healthy balance, as we always try to incorporate biblical standards in to everything we do.
    nylse recently posted…Writing, Life, Etc.My Profile

  37. For families with both boys and girls, don’t discount the value of a safe/neutral setting for them to see and accept each others’ gender at a young age. Growing up in a home without sisters, I still struggle with acceptance or being belittled because of my gender.

  38. This has been fascinating reading!

    I’m recently married with no kids yet, so with just my husband and me, modesty doesn’t really exist in our home, lol. When I was growing up it was different, of course. My brother–two yrs younger than I–and I bathed together until we were probably 7 and 9 or so, maybe younger. He’s always had his own room and my sister, 7 yrs younger than I, shared a room. So we saw each other in underwear or less, when she was younger, but as she got older–probably 10 and up–she preferred changing alone, and didn’t like seeing me in less than underwear. Now that she’s 14, when we are together (which is rare nowadays) she doesn’t mind so much, because our bodies are more similar than they used to be.

    My brother would go around in just boxers, but I never saw him naked past the age of around 7. My parents would shower together on occasion and we knew it, and would be in their bathroom at the same time, but unless my sister or I was in the shower we were never in the bathroom at the same time (unless brushing teeth or whatever). My brother always showered/changed alone.

    I saw my mom in her underwear on occasion but never less than that; Dad rarely in his underwear, although they wore bathrobes in front of us comfortably. We were always encouraged to dress modestly. I was always rather uncomfortable seeing nakedness when I was younger, or really being naked myself, but since getting married that has changed dramatically! I’m quite comfortable in underwear around my female friends, too, although my naked body is reserved for my husband. I expect that as long as our (future) children have no memory of it we’ll be comfortable being naked/in underwear around them, but it’ll be interesting to see what we do when they get older.
    Jaimie recently posted…living in AdventMy Profile

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