The search for the naked truth
Date: Saturday, March 11 @ 04:00:00 UTC
Topic: Nudist Info

The search for the naked truth
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
By Gregory Ramey

There are many opinions about undressing in front of children, but few facts, writes Gregory Ramey.

I WAS recently asked about the age at which children should no longer see their parents naked. I responded that parental nudity around children is a matter of personal preference, and parents should be guided by what feels comfortable for them and their children.

I had no research basis for telling the reader that children beyond a certain age should no longer see their parents in the nude.

Response to that advice was intense. "You're nuts," suggested one reader. "I have a three-year-old daughter, and I would never let my husband parade nude around the house in front of her. Where are your morals?"

Several parents said they felt it was wrong to ever undress in front of their children, and no so-called "expert" was going to tell them it was ever acceptable.

An acquaintance who grew up in Europe severely criticised my advice from the opposite perspective.

Within her family, nudity around the home was common. She felt it contributed to a much healthier view about her body and sexuality. Such a casual atmosphere about nudity prompted many discussions that she felt helped protect her from premature sexual activity and sexual abuse.

"You lost a great opportunity to educate parents about the importance of teaching children healthy attitudes about their bodies and protecting children from sexual molestation," she said.

While I respect both viewpoints, neither position can be ...

justified by scientific facts. Parental nudity is a matter of style, and no expert can give a specific age that applies to all families and circumstances.

I would feel extremely embarrassed and, therefore, would never take my two children to a nudist camp. However, as a professional psychologist, I am not willing to declare that all parents who take their families to nudist camps are harming their children. My decision is based on my personal preferences, not professional evidence.

Within reason, parents should use their own values, morals and styles to raise their children in a way that seems right to them. They shouldn't look to some "expert" to argue that their way is the one and only way to raise all children.

When it comes to family nudity, parents (particularly those from other cultures) have a variety of approaches. Your way may be right for you, but it doesn't make it the only way for everyone.

However, there are times when parental nudity is wrong. In some instances, nudity by one parent is a way to condition a child to later sexual exploitation. These are situations where adult nudity is intended for sexual stimulation.

This is a type of sexual abuse that warrants immediate action by a responsible adult. If you have any such concerns about your spouse or other family member, please take immediate action.

We are a culture that looks to experts for answers. We feel that there is a right way, and only one way, to do most things. Concerned, and perhaps overly anxious, parents look to experts to help them through the most important job of their lives - raising their children.

While I hope you find my advice helpful in giving you different perspectives, please continue to rely on your own good sense and intuitive judgment. When it comes to issues such as family nudity, also recognise that what works for you may not be the only way for the other 6 billion people in the world.

The New York Times

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