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Clothing Optional: even when friends are over?

Growing up, my parents, my religion, and my culture taught me to be ever-conscious about my body.  There were so many constraints to my dress, so many restrictions on what was appropriate, so many opportunities to feel bad for being exposed.  Our household is very liberal about the kids and whether they want to be fully clothed.  We, the adults, are no different here.  We're clothing-lite.  I often sleep unclothed.  I wake up and greet the kids "good morning" even before I get dressed.  The other week, a friend spent the night, and I tucked the kids in with no pants on.  I don't often walk around topless, but I very often walk around pant-less.  For some reason, it only recently occurred to me: Should I be more modest when other kids are over?  Should I have a top and bottom on?  Should I close the door when I potty (as this is another thing we are all very liberal about in this household)?


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Yes. I've wondered the same thing, and I've decided that I never really know what background a child has, and if they've had some kind of abuse or WHATEVER, it could be relative to their trauma for the adults in their lives to be less than modest. Better safe and nurturing than sorry.

liberal as we are about clothing in my home, as a general rule top and bottom should always be worn around other people's kids and guests in general i feel.
my son wears underpants when family is over and i usually go so far as to put a bra on under my shirt. its just polite. i would also be very upset if my child came home from someone else's house and told me that they saw some adults naked. its not the nakedness that is the problem but the context, which children often dont understand or are unable to explain. you may be a very nice person who doesnt like pants, but someone at the next sleepover elsewhere might be a perv and how will a little child know the difference?

Personally, I would be dressed (though I consider a nightgown dressed even if there is nothing under it) if other kids are over and for most other adults (though with my mom or mother-in-law I have very little modesty).

As far as the kids go, I try to feel out the other kids or adults that are over. I have some friends who don't bat an eye and others who are a little uncomfortable. And it depends on the ages of the kids, too. My little boy is 7 in less than a week and I think he is old enough he should be dressed most of the time we have others over. But it still depends on who it is. :)

I like what's been said about politeness and safety. People obviously have a wide variety of thoughts about nudity, but to keep our kids safe, they really do need to know what is okay and not okay. I am a complete prude and am always clothed around my kids mostly in reaction to being raised by naked hippies who seemed to have no boundaries. And there is definitely a way to teach modesty without shaming.

If my daughter came home from a peers house and told me she saw a naked man there, I may call the police depending on the circumstances. If she saw a naked man at a clothing optional event such as Free Spirit Gathering, that's probably ok. Context and familiarity.

We're pretty open minded about clothing. I'll echo what's already been said about 'context and familiarity'. Now that my boys are older (7 and 8), I do usually require at least shorts for my boys when company's coming. My standard attire is a tank top and yoga pants - comfy and presentable for most unexpected drop-ins and overnight guests. I also err on the side of caution with friend's kids; we're not hyper conscious of things like doors closing, but at least pushed to so that there's a little bit of separation... I've been walked in on while changing clothes and have tried not to make it into a big 'thing', just covered up and asked for a minute to finish dressing. We live in the 'Bible Belt' so modesty is quite strict - we're black sheep in the respect, lol.

I'm intrigued that CC's reaction to being raised by "naked hippies who seemed to have no boundaries" is to become much more modest by comparison.
Great topic!

As liberal as I like to think I am, this is a definite NO. (and I actually didn't mind the kids catching a glimpse of a naked bike ride). Wear a top and bottom. If I heard from my kids they saw anything else (other than by accident), I'd have DHS knocking on their door in short order. For adults to have no clothing covering "privates" when guests are over is the same as indecent exposure in my book and could lead me to believe other things as well.

We're pretty casual about nakedness or bathroom privacy when it's just our family at home, but when the kids have friends over or are at friends' houses, I expect the adults to be wearing tops and bottoms. If I heard otherwise I'd be flustered at least, and probably would be asking a lot of questions to try and figure out whether something inappropriate happened. I have friends who were appalled to learn that I let me then-3 year old son bathe with his then 3 girl friend, and that they played naked in the sprinklers together, but I knew her parents well enough to know they'd be fine with it, so that doesn't seem something to be uptight about. However, I think non-family kids seeing me or my husband naked would be weird. I want my kids to have healthy attitudes about their bodies and nakedness, but there is a different level of exposure that's ok at home with family than in other contexts.

Yep, its okay if its just us at home. If we have friends over, we cover up. I think its disrespectful to force nudity on those who aren't ready.

I don't want to be on the receiving end of the CPS visit, so I'm definitely not uncovered when friends are over. I'm with everyone else that I wouldn't like to hear my kids talk about the naked adults at other houses either.

When my kids go to someone's house I DEFINTELY expect the adults there to be clothed.

Our oldest is almost nine. I expect his peers to have clothes on too, some sort of bottoms at minimum.

When you say you tucked the kids into bed pant-less, do you mean naked or did you have underpants on? I would be very upset if I heard another mom tucked my kid into bed naked on any level, just underpants would be OK for me if it was a good friend of mine.

With my own daughters I am very open partly because I want to be a role model--feeling comfortable with my body and not critical or ashamed of it. BUT--I think it is also important to show that there is a time and a place for everything. I would never, ever be in a state of semi-dress around anyone other than my immediate family. Kids need to know there is an appropriate time and place for everything, and these boundaries can be gently but firmly enforced. Not understanding these appropriate boundaries can be potentially dangerous and pretty foolish in this day and age. You know?

Great subject to get comments on would be even a good debate subject would love to sit and chat with you on this over coffee.
May I give a true story from personal experience. Years ago we visited some friends that had a two year old son. The Mother in law took care of the child ( from a poverty stricken country ) mostly while both parents worked full time. As we were sitting down chatting before dinner the child ( boy ) took off his pants and diaper and started to run around the room naked. Well it was just a little embarrassing , but having children of our own we understood, but then the child started a bowel movement and just crapped all over the living room floor. Needless to say our appetite for host's meatloaf was completely diminished.
So I would have to say clothing is good.

SO fascinated by cc's comment about being modest because her parents were always naked. My upbringing was the exact opposite: lots of shaming, no shorts allowed and the collar bone was considered "your chest is hanging out." I'm definitely not modest and have been nonchalant and comfortable about my 2.5 yr old's recent inquiries about "mommie's boobs" and "mommie's peepee"... but I think I'd like my kids' exposure to nudity to be controlled by me. So, I agree with what the others here have said.

I'd like to collaborate cc's comment: My husband grew up with very "free" parents that were always naked around him. He went through a period of time as a child where he was basically a never-nude (LOL) and would change his clothes half . He's a little more lax now, but I can tell that he is starting to get uncomfortable with our 2 y/o daughter seeing him naked.

As far as the OP, I would definitely wear clothes. We're not at the sleep over age yet, but if we were, I would wear jammies. If adults are coming over, I put a bra on (except for a select few girlfriends who I am close enough to that it doesn't matter).

Funnily, I would be the most weirded out about the open bathroom door. Kids who are old enough to have sleepovers are old enough to be unsupervised for the two minutes it takes to pee. I'm a firm believer in bathroom time being private time. And that's just it, you are never going to know where another parent draws the line. We all have our boundaries and it's best to err on the side of caution with other peoples children.

Ugh, I didn't finish the "never-nude" sentence above. My husband would change clothes a half a dozen times a day. He realized as an adult that it was his way of dealing with the discomfort he felt at his parents always being naked.

Also raised in very free "hippie" household with lots of nudity. I vividly remember reaching a certain age, about 7, when I became very aware and very embarrassed by it. Like CC, I'm pretty modest now and have already started helping my daughter understand why she should keep certain parts of her body private around anyone besides her direct family. As for me, no WAY would I be nude around other people's children except in the most necessary situations, (going to the bathroom with my niece in the stall with me, for example). I think it's disrespectful, no matter how innocent.

My parent's were always very open to nakedness and would answer any questions we had matter-a-fact. I don't remember ever feeling shame in nakedness except we always wore swimsuits in the backyard and at the lake, and always wore pjs to bed. I remember taking baths with them and seeing them naked at various times, but it was never a big deal. I guess our family was "moderate" in the scale of nakedness.

When I was in 3rd grade (I guess around 8?), I slept over at a new girlfriend's house and she went to bed with a nightgown on but no unders. I remember asking her mom why she didn't have any on and she stated matter-a-fact that no one in their family wore unders to bed because it allowed their private parts to breath after bathtime and being in unders all day long. It made perfect sense to me (and made me question why I wore unders to bed), so from that day on I've never again wore unders beneath my pjs again!! As an adult, I love that her mom was honest and straight-forward about a new kid asking questions and I have become that way when other little kids have asked me questions now as an adult.

Our little guy is only 8 mos old (and LOVES being naked). I have no problem with this continuing and hope it does as he becomes a toddler and boy. Thanks for the thoughts above, it made me think about how our household might deal with these questions in the future.

So, I there's 2 pieces to my response. 1) My personal belief is that nudity and "clothing-lite" is nothing to be ashamed of. Children should not be afraid or ashamed of the human body. 2) The other piece to this is what the other parents beliefs are. I wouldn't want to impress my ideals on someone else's children against their views.
Just my two pennies worth. I'm pregnant, and have similar idea when it comes to optional clothing so I'm sure I'll run into this soon. :)

Our household is definitely clothing optional. We follow along with most of what has been posted here, with one big difference. If new friends come over, or friends whose parents and family we don't know well, we makes sure to be wearing an acceptable amount of clothing. Just like others, we neither want to freak children out or their parents; nor do we want child protective services or some other agency getting involved. On the other hand, we've had people who we've gotten to know well. More to the point, either adults or children were constantly at our house. It gets to be a drag to be wearing clothes all the time when in our own home. So, we opened the conversation to find out their level of comfort. To this day my kids have friends who are comfortable with nudity at our home, either theirs or ours. I would feel the same about my kids at someone else's home: I would expect them to be clothed unless there was clear communication about not wearing clothing.

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