Monday 26 September 2016

Amanda Brunker: 'Is it ever okay for a child to see their parents naked?'

Amanda Brunker

Published 23/08/2016 | 08:21

Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin
Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin

Is it ever okay for a child to see their parents naked? Yes, I’m going there. It’s something we all need to think about.

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Being around your children minus your undies is fine when they’re babies… but is it still acceptable at five, six or older?

As a mother of boys, this is something I wrangle with. In the early years, there was nothing sweeter than being able to enjoy a bath with my boys. I didn’t hide my body. Nor did I make a big deal of their obviously different body parts. It was an age of innocence. They were precious times.

I remember on one occasion being in Crumlin Hospital with my eldest. He was very sick and I had been staying with him on the ward for a week.

One night, we snuck onto a closed ward (naughty me) that still had electricity and hot water and had the most wonderful bath together. It was a break from our own sweaty room and temporary reality. We laughed, he had play time and it was a beautiful bonding experience. At the time, he was four.

Those days are now gone. My sons are nine and 10, and while I never want my boys to be embarrassed about their own bodies or mine, I no longer walk about the house in the buff. Something my neighbours are quite happy about. Well… some of them!

Occasionally, one of my sons might walk into my bedroom while I’m semi-undressed but I don’t scream or make a drama out of it. I don’t want them to have issues about nudity. The human form is beautiful — even when you’re 42 and packing a few extra pounds *coughs*, or 82 and wearing your fun bags as earmuffs.

Many of you have already been banned from seeing your children naked. That can happen from about seven years up. Thankfully, my boys haven’t expressed any concern with me wandering around during shower time, but that, I’m sure, will come to an end. Though if they take after their father, maybe not.

When it comes to your own nudity, some of you may be horrified at the thoughts of your children seeing your wobbly bits. Or anyone seeing them for that matter. But if being naked is and always has been the norm in your home, then there’s no fuss.

Let me be clear that the idea of a visit to a nudist beach would be a definite no-go for my family… but my boys wouldn’t freak out if they stumbled upon one. Though there definitely would be stifled giggles. Sure that’s only human. 

Assurance

Giving your children the gift of confidence in their own skin is very important. Too many young people suffer from eating disorders now. That is a terrifying reality that I wouldn’t wish on any family. They will encounter plenty of peer pressure about their bits and bobs later in life, so it’s imperative to make them solid in themselves to be able to cope.

Even if you’re tragically self-conscious about your own shape, make sure to break the cycle with your kids. You don’t need to groom mini exhibitionists, but allowing them to feel good about themselves is a wonderful thing.

Remember, you get to create your own normal with your family. Stay beautiful peeps.

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