Quick, when was the last time your kid saw some other kid's privates? A kid of the opposite gender, I mean? When I was growing up, this was sort of a given. I'm the oldest of five children, so I saw all my sibs' diapers getting changed. And I saw my friends' mothers changing their babies' diapers. And I saw diapers getting changed at church. From an early age, I learned that little boys look different -- and it wasn't a big deal at all.
So it's just been weird to grow up and discover some people think children should be shielded from the horrifying knowledge that there are babies out there with DIFFERENT GENITALS! I mean, from there it's just a slippery slope of childhood corruption. Sayonara to your little darlings' shattered innocence. Now she knows there's such a thing as a penis -- OH MY GOD, you didn't tell her that's what it's called, did you?!?
Moms, most of you are totally over this, right? I mean, if you have a few of your own, or if you hang out with friends with kids, it's just unavoidable. Oh sure, you could lead your 3-year-old into a different room when you go to change or bathe her baby brother. But that's not practical. And anyway, what kind of a message is that going to send?
Kids have vivid imaginations. If you make a big deal of getting your older child out of the room every time the baby is nakey, she's going to come up with some sort of explanation. Like, from the waist down, Baby looks like the Kraken. Or he has highly toxic poo. Or you're sneaking him candy.
I think kids should see each other naked at a very young age. It's the best way to teach them about those differences in a healthy, un-sexualized way.
I think it's hard, sometimes, for grownups to see things from a kid's perspective. For a 3-year-old, having different genitals is utterly innocent. It's adults who layer on that sexual meaning. If you let your kids find out about all that while it's still innocent, I think they'll have a much healthier attitude about bodies. We don't have to start shaming our kids at such an early age -- society will do plenty of that when they're older.
Do you let your kids see other kids naked?
Image via tresross/Flickr