Ask the Mamas: Modesty

Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, toddlers, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses!

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Mama Say What?! reader Tara W. asks: “At what age do you start being ‘modest’ around your children? For example, at what age do you think is it not okay for Mommy and Daddy to get dressed or be naked around their kids or not okay to take a shower while a child is in the bathroom, etc.?”

Our daughter is ten months and I have no issues getting dressed, using the restroom, or showering in front of her. I love my body and want her to grow up loving hers, too! Plus, I believe it’s helpful for her to see me using the restroom so she can begin to understand the process of “using the potty.” I think I’ll start being more modest (by being sure to have a bra and panties on at least) when she gets to be in kindergarten. By that point I won’t need her to be shut in the bathroom with me so I can keep an eye on her while I shower or get ready for the day, anyways. Now, my husband, on the other hand, has never been comfortable having anything less than shorts on around our daughter. Even during those newborn middle of the night diaper changes when we were walking zombies, he would still grab a pair of basketball shorts before going in to our daughter’s room. -Michelle W.

My daughter was about 19 months old when her baby brother was born. She liked to help with his diaper changes, and noticed that his body was different than hers. Then she started noticing that daddy’s body was like her brothers, and pointing out differences in my body when I was naked around her, after a shower or whatever. That’s when we began to discuss privacy with her and tell her about private body parts. When she started trying to point out and talk to daddy about his parts, my husband started to get uncomfortable and he started to be a little more modest with her than before! I agree with Michelle though, that I love my body and I want my kids to love theirs. I think there is a lot of good in teaching your child about modesty and privacy, but being open about it. -Cassie W.

Age two to four for daddy/daughter or mother/son for total nakedness depending on the child’s awareness. But for underwear… adulthood? Ha! My dad actually had to tell me to put on a shirt when I was 11 because, in his words, “Your brothers have friends, and you’re getting boobs. It’s time to cover up a little.” But my family was pretty open about that stuff. I know it’s not the norm. -Bonnie N.

I guess I’m an oddball in that I’ve always been modest around my kiddos. With the exception of breastfeeding, I’m pretty much always covered up. My toddler will sometimes come with me to the bathroom and likes to flush the toilet, but I look at that more as potty training readiness. We’ve only showered together a few times and it was more for convenience. Since our bedroom is upstairs (where he doesn’t go), he’s never with me when I’m getting dressed. -Mary Ellen M.

Our two-year-old is still too young for modesty, but I believe that my seven-year-old was around three or four when I stopped showering with her. -Miriam R.

I think that for us this may be different for each child. At the moment, my daughter is 20 months old, and we’re not very concerned about modesty. She’s fascinated by watching me use the potty, which is actually going to be beneficial for potty training (when she’s ready), so I don’t lock her out if I need to go. I talk her through what I’m doing instead. But she’s already putting together two to four word phrases and sentences, and she’s curious about everything. So pretty soon, I think we’re going to have to make some decisions about boundaries. For us, the point of teaching her about modesty will be to help her learn to respect her body and also to maintain healthy boundaries for safety purposes. In her case, I think she’ll need to start learning this by age two or two and a half, so most likely she won’t be seeing daddy with less than underwear. By the time she’s four or five, I expect we’ll be to the point where we’re both at least in underwear in front of her. But she’s my first child and my opinions on all this aren’t firm yet — I’m sure I’ll be learning as I go! -Christina D.

N is three and a half and he still sees me. It would be kind of hard to avoid this considering I am home with him all day and need to shower. He loves to get in the shower with me because he LOVES water. We have started practicing him being more modest because he has been the kid to happily run around naked whenever and wherever he can. So we talk about wearing clothes and underwear to cover our privates, even if it is just to hang out on our patio (since it is open for neighbors to see). I am not sure yet when we will put the “kibosh” on him seeing me nude, but I am sure it will come up eventually. -Cari H.

We’re a pretty naked family. My son is four and he still showers with my husband or me at times, and we often see each other naked… and we have no intention of changing that anytime soon. It’s just how we are. He occasionally asks questions (most often why I don’t have a penis), but for the most part, it’s really not a big deal. Maybe it’s the hippie blood in me, but I want him to grow up seeing his parents comfortable with their bodies and that it’s not shameful to be naked. I know that this can also be taught in a more modest household, but I don’t feel that we need to change how we are because some expert or other parents say so. He knows and understands that it’s inappropriate to be naked around strangers and when we’re not at home, and for now, that’s enough. -Alex T.

Image by Cari Hollis Photography

One Response to Ask the Mamas: Modesty

  1. Pingback: (AV)Ask the Mamas: Nudity while Nursing Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

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