You Really Shouldn't Worry If Your Child Draws Pictures of Naked People

statue of DavidI've always been modest with my body. However, I've always been very open about bodies in general -- I use anatomically accurate words for my kids' body parts and rolled my eyes at my peers who laughed at the word "penis" in health class. My mom was a nurse, so it helps that things like that were everyday conversation for her. You pee from a penis; breast milk comes from breasts.

Not everyone sees things that way. Many of us struggle with seeing something as simple as women breastfeeding their babies, despite the fact that there is art of Mary breastfeeding Jesus much more openly than modern women do. We even have folks who think showering with a toddler of the opposite sex is somehow abuse. So, it's no surprise that when children draw pictures of nudity and people freak out. Even teachers.


My sister, as a child, drew a picture of a man, surrounded by crystals. One happened to look like a penis, and the teacher freaked out and called my parents. My mom explained they weren't worried -- even if she had intended to draw a penis. After all, my sister had seen both of my parents naked, and of course, me as her baby sister. We had age-appropriate books on our bodies. We didn't make a big deal of it.

Why can Michelangelo carve a marble statue of a man, complete with testicles and pubic hair, and it's revered art, but a child innocently draws a nude figure, and it's problematic? Search the Internet, and you find tons of parents either laughing at, or concerned about their innocent children drawing naked figures. Unless ingrained in them that it's somehow bad or wrong to know what the human body looks like, kids will just draw, and if they happen to be thinking about clothing, they'll draw that, if not, just be glad your child actually knows anatomy!

Just like how children "playing doctor" is often a normal part of childhood curiosity, so is illustrating nudes. Of course, there's always the exceptions of looking out for signs of sexual abuse and so on, but generally speaking, kids + curiosity about bodies = totally, completely normal.

In fact, it's like, Kid 101 that by drawing attention to a nude drawing is more likely to A. make them do more of it or B. confuse them and possibly shame them about their own body. Best to just let them draw boobies in peace. In a few days it'll be cats, robots, and vampires.

How would you feel if your young child drew a picture of a naked person?


Image via evil nickname/Flickr

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