Why Little Girls & Boys Should See Each Other Naked

baby surpriseQuick, 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

boys, girls, learning, toddler development


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miche... micheledo

Yep. I don't make anpoint of neing sure they see the opposite sex naked, but when it is just a part of daily life .. . No big deal. All of mine know what a penis and vagina are. But then we will soon have six, ages seven and under!

heleo... heleowens

My son was just turning 3 when my daughter was born.  The first day we had her home and I was changing her diaper, he was sitting with me, admiring his baby sister, then looked a little confused and said "Where's her pee pee?" I just said "That is her pee pee, that's why she's a girl and you're a boy, she has a vagina and you have a penis" and never once has it been an issue. They are 5 and 2 now and take baths together sometimes, and neither one of them even acknowledge thier privates. I try to be straight-forward and honest with them, and tell him as much as they need to know for thier ages.

hello... hellokd87

I support this, as my stepson thinks girls have penises, too. One time he threw a ball at my crotch area (meanie!!) and when I didn't double over in pain like my fiancee & other stepson he asked why I didn't have a "peepee". It made me extremely uncomfortable that he's 8 & doesn't know that thats what makes boys boys & girls girls. And I was the one that had to explain that!!!

Lesley Rae King

I have 3 year old boy-girl twins who share a bedroom and take baths together. Never been an issue. My 18 month old daughter sometimes tries to grab her brother's penis, and pretends to pee standing up, which is pretty funny.

amazz... amazzonia

I just don't get it how some people are so stupid. I heard moms being shocked by dolls with genitals! Both my dd see my husband naked they see me naked and there is just nothing wrong about it.. The bad thing is to sexualize everything e penis or a vagina are sexual parts when they are used to have sex otherwise are just a body part like an arm or leg! It's good for them to see "secret" parts so when thy turn 14 don't get too curious on seeing the other gender parts....

Samuel Rupe

Teaching kids proper modesty and respect for privacy is good, but can be easily taken too far--often to the point instilling fear and shame of one's own body, or being easily traumatized by nudity. Even in households like ours, where nudity is normal and expected-we also expect everyone to be modest, and respect the privacy of others. In other words, being naked is not automatically immodest, or an invitation to behave rudely, or disrespect others.

Kent Martin

The only problems I have seen are the holier than thou idiots !

Bunny Lee DuChemin Wilson

I have never intentionally shown my children anyone naked, but seeing it is not a big deal in our house. Its not sexual and my kids know they dont let strangers or anyone in public see them without clothes. I have a girl and a boy, 17 months apart. They've bathed together etc. We adults dont parade around naken in front of the kids, but if they accidentally see something, we dont make it a big deal.

Harle... HarleyGirl0779

Ok I'm sure I'm going to get blasted for this, but nudity is a complete non-issue in our house. It happens. We have one bathroom and we're all trying to get ready at the same time in the morning. I'm also very pregnant with twins. It's not always possible to keep everything under wraps and we stopped trying. The kids have doors on their rooms so if they feel like they need privacy it is there for them. But honestly with five people and one bathroom we're in a constant state of organized chaos and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

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