Though we send our kids to school for their education, arguably their most important education happens in the home. Our children learn a lot from us, including mannerisms, habits, and routines. We also, intentionally or not, teach them how they should feel about their bodies and what they should and shouldn’t feel shame for. This mom wrote an essay for Insider about why she and her husband have allowed their children to see them naked. In her family, they have only seen positive outcomes.
Why I Let My Children See Me Naked
Rachel Garlinghouse and her husband are parents to four adopted children between the ages of five and early teenage years. As you can imagine, they’ve had a pretty busy household for over a decade. Rachel explained that at one point, they had three children under the age of four all at the same time. She stated that their children seeing them naked, at first, was simply a safety thing.
“We never closed our doors because we had to supervise our children at all times,” she explained. “When we would occasionally take a quick bathroom break to shower or use the toilet, we needed to be able to hear our kids — just in case.” (1)
From there, leaving doors open when they changed or were using the bathroom just became a natural, normal thing in their home. It wasn’t a conscious decision. The parents simply didn’t bother overthinking it.
Rachel went on to explain how leaving the doors open as their children got older unintentionally led to some important conversations. Typically, these conversations centered around hygiene, bodies, and boundaries.
“Our kids aren’t shocked by natural bodies and bodily functions, like periods. By knowing what was going on, within the comfort of our own home, they felt free to ask us questions, which varied from what products to use to manage a period to how babies are made.”
She’s realized that these conversations have allowed them to talk about bodies in a way that doesn’t cause her kids to feel embarrassment or shame. Rachel doesn’t want her kids to feel that their bodies are something they should be ashamed of or have to hide. The couple has also allowed their kids to establish their own boundaries. If they wish to close the door while they’re changing, showering, or otherwise, they do so.
Rachel explained that, of course, sometimes she and her husband close their door. They do so when they are wrapping gifts, for example, and of course when they are being intimate with one another. Their children know that if the door is closed, they must knock first and be invited in before entering.
“I want my kids to learn about bodily autonomy within our home so they aren’t shocked or conflicted as they grow up and experience situations outside of it.”