Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Exposure

I have a question that has been bothering me for a while now and I have never been able to figure out how to ask the question without it sounding totally perverted and messed up. It is a serious question and one that I think other parents may ask and one that I think could be answered by the people of the Internet.

At what age is it inappropriate for a boy to be naked in front of his peers? Especially if his peers are little girls? (See what I mean about the question?)

And at what age is it inappropriate for a girl to see a penis? (See, again, I can't ask the question without it being weird.)

I have three boys and sometimes during play dates with their female friends or cousins one of my boys ends up in a state of undress. Whether it is Max who walks around the house with his pants around his ankles because he had trouble pulling them up after using the bathroom. Or Wyatt, who, if he had his way would be naked all of the time. And of course Jackson needs to get his diaper changed from time to time.

When their girl play dates were young, two or three years old, it never bothered me that my boys were all willy-nilly (pun totally intended) with their nakedness. I guess because the girl's mom's never seemed to care. But now that Max's friends are older, I guess I am feeling somewhat, hell I don't know, more uncomfortable.

I still have no problem changing Jackson's diaper, any where or any time. I understand Wyatt's need to spill stuff on his clothes, on purpose, just so he can run around naked. I get that Max, some times, has problems with his pants. I guess lately I have become more aware of the audience.


So I am asking the Internet, at what age is it uncomfortable for exposure? Being the Exposure-er or the Exposure-ee?

14 comments:

Effie said...

good question--I've been wondering that myself, but I think, that now that Katrina is about 3 years old and she understands WHAT the difference is between girls and boys "girls don't have THAT" now (being 3) is a good time for exposure "willy-nilly" to end. We've tried to keep her covered up anyways, but when needing to change after a missed potty event, etc, you can't always find a bathroom. Her speaking is very clear and concise and everyone can understand what she is talking about now, so, since she's started into the "why Mommy, why" business, only her younger siblings will be "naked" in public. She still is allowed to go into the changeroom with Papa at the pool though...I think that will end shortly too!

eclectic said...

Gratuitous 'naked' is probably inappropriate by preschool standards (sorry Wyatt), but unavoidable or inadvertent 'naked' is probably no big deal until it becomes a big deal to them... and that differs dramatically from child to child, or at least it has in our home.

A modest child becomes uncomfortable early on, while a streaker may never develop a discomfort with naked. I don't know. We never had a set age, we just tried to be sensitive to the sensibilities of the kids. If we had little guests, we made efforts to not expose anyone, but didn't come unglued if exposure inadvertently happened. Actually, it was a little guest's need for help with the potty that led to my oldest son wanting to become potty trained himself when he was 2. So there ya go. Not the answer you were looking for probably, but that's all I got.

Good luck trying not to look like a perv. ;)

melissa said...

Good question. I have two girls, and the oldest sort of became modest on her own around age 5. She's not super modest, but she doesn't just wanna be naked either so i think your kids behavior will kind of indicate. unless of course you passed on the perv gene :)

SciFi Dad said...

I would say around four or five. My daughter is smack dab in the middle of that range and I'd be uncomfortable with a kid say in her JK class walking around naked in front of her.

Meg said...

I know our public pool requires children to go into the appropriate locker room, or family changing room, at age 6. I think in playdate situations, it probably makes a difference if the girls have brothers or not. My daughter (8) might be embarrassed by seeing a little willy, but she has certainly seen her younger brother's and it wouldn't be a huge deal. Her female cousin (6) who is a single child, however, would be scandalized.

Nyx said...

The rule in my house is when you feel uncomfortable it is time, period. That is the indicator. The only struggle I still have is changing my twins diapers in front of anyone, when it needs to be done, it needs to be done.
Nyx

James said...

As long as you keep your own pants on, I think you can just go with your gut on making sure the kiddos aren't uncomfortable.

Effie said...

I was just thinking about this again--i remember once that my hubby (who is a few years older than me, so he grew up in the 70's) would go over to his friend's house and his friend's mom would walk around topless--needless to say, he apparently enjoyed visiting there....all i'm saying is, so long as the friends aren't seeing YOU and LAUREN in various stages of undress, it's all good..

Anonymous said...

Since You were not uncomfortable before, and are starting to feel so yourself, then it's time. School age is definitely the time. Kids are going to school much earlier than 5 now, so instruction should start about 3. Whether they are compliant or not depends on the child. If YOU'RE uncomfortable, tell them so. Tell them what is appropriate and what is not and why. NOW is the time, BIG MAN! No pun intended!! But I did change YOUR diapers!

Anonymous said...

Mom calls me Huge Man

Anonymous said...

I have a 4 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. So this is a difficult question for me because they will still ask to take baths together, which some people may find wrong, but it saves me time and energy. My daughter is becoming more and more modest while I am constantly reminding my son that it is not appropriate for him to pee off of the front porch especially since we live in a subdivision and our front porch is only 50 feet from the road.
Although I am trying to teach a little modesty, it seems to be a losing battle with my son.
I can say though, that I heard teaching your children correct terminology for genitalia is important. Apparently if Little Johnny calls his genitalia a penis and some pervy uncle asks to see his ding dong- that Little Johhny is more likely to come to you with information,even if it is just asking why uncle pervert called his penis a ding dong.

sari said...

We have to have designated pee areas in the backyard, it's not a matter of NOT doing it, it's a matter of NOT doing it HERE or HERE or OVER THERE.

Bogart in P Towne said...

Having never been "Naked Guy" I can't even begin to fathom this.

The Maid said...

Today is my 38th birthday. While I understand their usefulness, I still don't want to have to SEE a penis.