General Question

krose1223's avatar

How old is too old in a child for parents to walk around in underwear?

Asked by krose1223 (3254points) September 7th, 2010

My son is three and thus far in his life he may as well have been raised in a nudest colony. Ok, maybe not that extreme but pretty much. He still tries to hop in the shower with me, and the only reason I don’t let him most of the time is because we have a tiny shower. He also barges in the room when I am completely naked, and likes to have conversations while I sit on the throne. I am not bothered by any of this, not even when he pointed to my private area and asked me what it was. I just explained it to him and went on with our day.

I know there is obviously a point where I shouldn’t be around him stark naked, but what about just walking around in my underwear and a t-shirt? Personally I see nothing wrong with it, even when he is a teenager. It covers more than a bikini, so really even a bra and underwear wouldn’t be any different than having a day at the beach. I have met one guy who told me his mom walked around in her underwear all the time, and he said it never bothered him. He wasn’t embarassed, he wasn’t scarred for life, and if he didn’t want to see it he just didn’t look. All the other guys I talk to about it are disgusted at the thought of their mom in her underwear, and think there is something wrong with me doing it.

I just don’t see a problem if you don’t make it a weird thing. We are family after all.

whew, sorry that’s so long

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22 Answers


I don’t see any problem with that. My young children have seen me and their mother naked. We go swimming naked in a lake every summer, all four of us. And we regularly soak in a hot tub naked too. To be seen in underwear then is, for me, totally harmless.

Whitsoxdude's avatar

Sometimes my mom does it, and it weirds me out a little. If we are having an enjoyable conversation I forget. Then, when she stands up to walk away, I realize and say, “Gee Mom, put some pants on”.
And she says, “I will if you give me some privacy”.

El_Cadejo's avatar

ehhh my mom still does that.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I think this decision relates more to the parent’s comfort level with their bodies and their attitudes towards the traditional prudishness of our society with respect to sexuality and privacy.

The age depends on the sex of the child and which parent is under discussion. There is no right answer here. At the very outside, as the child approaches puberty, it would be wise to limit exposure the the nude or scantily clad parents.

augustlan's avatar

I think it completely depends on the family, and their feelings about it. Some families are completely comfortable, others not so much.
I can’t see how walking around in a T-shirt and underwear would ever being a problem, at any age. My kids are in their teens (all girls), and pretty modest, so they tend to avert their eyes when I’m naked, or the boobage is swaying in the breeze (generally when I’m getting dressed). It still doesn’t stop them from barging into the bathroom while I’m showering or sitting on the toilet.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I remember my mom wearing short nightgowns and her underwear around the house. I wear a t-shirt and underwear around my son (he’s 8) since that is what I sleep in. Every now and then he’ll make a comment about me putting on some pants and I usually will because I want to be sure he is comfortable as well. When my husband is home, we sleep naked, but neither of us walks around the house completely naked (he’ll put on shorts and I’ll put on a shirt and underwear or a robe). The bathroom has always been a private place in our family. Once my son was able to go to the bathroom alone, he was given privacy in the bathroom as well. If one of us needs something from the person in the bathroom we knock and wait for them to respond.

Jeruba's avatar

How about when he is a teenager and has his friends over?

augustlan's avatar

@Jeruba Yeah, nudity or semi-dress is for family (and significant others) only. At least, it is in our family.

cazzie's avatar

My son and I still take showers together and he’s almost 6. It’s mostly for practical reasons. We have a shower over the tub, so there are no room issues. My husband will walk through the house naked before/after a shower and he pretty much doesn’t care who’s around when he does it. We swim in our lake at the cabin naked in the early morning.

My 16 year old step-son has become painfully self conscious though. A year or so ago, he really didn’t want us to see him naked at all and vice versa. He’s also autistic, so communication and social limits are a bit challenging with him anyway. Only time it’s an issue is when he’s hogging the bathroom and someone needs to shower or go potty, then we have to force the ‘I won’t look if you don’t look’ policy.

I think if children see grown-ups with good body image, who don’t think they need to hide every bit of skin on themselves, makes coming out the other side of puberty easier. But being embarrassed as your body changes as kids go though puberty is normal and expected. Kids should NEVER be mocked or made to feel stupid for feeling that way. It’s normal, but if they’re shown positive, helpful behaviour to model after, they will learn to feel good in their own skin, too.

krose1223's avatar

@jeruba- No I’m not going to be flashing my goodies to my sons friends. They are not family so it would be weird.

keobooks's avatar

Oh man. This is an issue I didn’t even think of. I never wear clothes at home unless company’s coming. My husband is constantly following me around reminding me to shut the blinds so the neighborhood can’t see me. I never really thought about what my daughter might think of me doing that when she gets older. (she’s 2 weeks or sooner from being born—set up the induction appt. today.) Now I’ve got stuff to think about! I’m sure whatever age I think is appropriate, my husband will go younger. He’s not a naked kinda guy.

Was my family weird or was this just the way potty training used to be done? When I was a toddler, my potty chair was in the bathroom and I always used the bathroom at the same time someone else did so that I could imitate it. When I told a friend of mine who was having trouble getting her kid to go, she looked aghast—as if I told her that my parents made me watch them have sex. I was kind of surprised. I thought all kids watched their parents potty—how else will you see how it works?

krose1223's avatar

@keobooks- Congrats!!

And no I don’t think that is a bad idea. Makes sense to me! I used to make my son go in with my husband so he could teach him how to work the equiptment. He is 3 now and has been pottytrained for some time and still likes running in the bathroom after my husband so he can “go pee like daddy”.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Seek's avatar

Meh, skin is skin.

My son is two, and I’d have no problem being semi-nude, or even totally nude, in front of him, except that he still hasn’t forgotten that my breasts used to be yummydelicious mama milk, and he gets all “Heyy, mama…” and gives me hungry eyes and grabby hands whenever he catches me shirtless.

sliceswiththings's avatar

It only gets unpleasant when you’re 22 and female and your 62-year-old dad stumbles into your room in just a short t-shirt when you’re home for the weekend to turn your light off, forgetting that you’re home. Still recovering from that one.

YoBob's avatar

Bottom line is that your kids will let you know. Let nature be your guide.

I have two kids and around our house nudity is really a non-issue. The human body is what it is and there is no reason to make a big deal about it. However, about the time my oldest son hit puberty the dynamic changed. While nudity is still no big deal, we are now both equally uncomfortable seeing the other “dangling” about and give each other the common courtesy (for the most part) of covering up when wandering through the house.

I can’t imagine any problem with underwear and a t-shirt. They do, after all, cover what needs covering.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ll let you know when I feel it’s a problem – so far the oldest is 4 and a bit and I am generally always naked, at home. My mother believes this is a huge deal and that it’ll scar my child but she’s repressed.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t understand why you shouldn’t let him see you naked after a certain age. My mum used to be naked around my brother and I right up until I left home at 19 years old. It was very normal to see my mum walking from her bedroom to the bathroom naked (she slept naked so if she need to use the toilet or walk to the shower she just rolled out of bed and into the bathroom), and she would also sunbathe topless (weather permitting) in our back garden. It was never an issue, my brother and I were used to seeing bare skin and it was never a problem. We would talk to her while she was having a bath.

The only affect it is had with me is that I seem to be more comfortable in my own skin than many of my friends. I don’t have a problem with being naked and if I need to get changed and there are people around I don’t try and cover parts of my body whilst doing so. Nakedness isn’t something to be ashamed of in my opinion.

Having said all that, you should do what you are comfortable with. Each household operates differently and what is normal to some is uncomfortable for others.

krose1223's avatar

I love being naked. It’s my favorite part of the day. haha I just don’t want to scar my son for the rest of his life.

MrDad's avatar

First of all I want to let you know that I am speaking as an individual who grew up in a fairly conservative family that you just didn’t do that type of thing and which considered it wrong

I have realitively recently explored this and related concepts. I ended up doing some serious study and research about this and attemted to keep an open mind and find out the facts.

I have learned that most folks find this behavior offensive and claim it’s wrong. There are many folks that I’ve heard from say that there are limits and at a certain age you should cut such behavior off, others will say to take indications from the child.

Having read the one or two actual studies on this versus just what the supposed ‘experts’ say about it I have come to the conclusion that there is absolutely nothing wrong or bad about you children seeing you in your underwear or even nude on a regular basis without regard to age or gender. In fact one study actually indicates a potential positive for kids growing up in this environment.

I will say that I don’t exactly approve of or care for public nudity or such. I think there are still limits to decency. Answering the door in your underwear probably not a good thing, walking around the house in and around your own family in your underwear or such, not a problem.

On the flip side I found that those who argue against being relaxed this way, particularly with older children tend to be working more off emotion and repeating what the ‘social norms’ that they have been taught, which are based on the Puritanical and Victorian norms that have become so prevalent.

So I say let the kids run around in their underwear or however they feel comfortable to do regardless of age or gender, and you do the same.

rocco218's avatar

My wife told me that she and her sister grew up not being taught about modesty when it came to being seen in their bra and panties by their mom and dad. She told me that since it was just the 4 of them, the “rules” for such things were non-existent. There were no brothers to worry about peeping at you. It was just my wife and her sis.

She said that they would come home from school, or work (when they got into college), and take their clothes off and basically lounge around the house in their bra and panties. When they got up on Saturday and Sunday morning, they get dressed (they slept nude) and walk downstairs in their panties, staying like that pretty much until well in the afternoon since they had nowhere to go.

They didn’t give it a second thought that their dad would see them. They were perfectly comfortable with themselves. They were both very shapely and mature young girls, but again, there was no self-consciousness about their developing bodies.

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