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  • Advice on Manners and Morals

    Dear Prudence: Advice on manners and morals.

    We Can Dance If We Want To

    Should I try to stop my children from frolicking naked with others?

    Dear Prudie,
    I am the mother of two girls, ages 2 and 4. I also have two nieces who are 3 and 4. They play together often and are typical, energetic little girls. I am concerned about something my 4-year-old said to me recently. We have discussed modesty and she understands that we keep our private parts covered, but I've tried not to make it an overly big deal. I recently allowed her to skinny-dip in her grandmother's swimming pool. The next day, she asked me if she could skinny-dip again with her cousins next time we're at Grammy's. Then she said she and her 4-year-old cousin like to "rub our butts together." I did see them doing this while changing clothes to go swimming. They were standing up and danced back to back and laughed. I just told them they were silly and diverted them to the pool. I asked her why she wanted to do that and she said " 'cause it's fun and it feels good." The last thing I want is to make her feel dirty or suggest that she is bad for doing this. But I don't want her to disrespect her body, either. Should I forbid this? Simply discourage it? While I was never abused, I do feel like I was sexualized much too young, and wish my mom had taught me to cherish my body. Unfortunately, she didn't, so I'm not sure how to teach my daughters this.

    —Worried Mom

    Dear Worried,
    " 'Cause it's fun and it feels good" is such a wonderful response as to why two 4-year-old girls would like to dance naked with each other. Now that she's given you an irrefutable answer to your question, let this pair of cousins play around and skinny-dip in their grandmother's pool. Given your childhood, it's understandable you want your daughter to keep her innocence about her body longer than you kept yours. That's good, but the key for you is not to crush her natural, normal childhood sexual impulses by way of trying not to sexualize her too early. I'll re-recommend the book Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask). It takes a relaxed, reassuring approach to the subject, which should help you be relaxed and reassuring about your daughter's body. And since the opportunity has presented itself, a word about the word butt. It's probably way too late to roll this back, but I hate that this has become the acceptable way for children to refer to their backsides. It sounds so crude coming out of those little mouths. Can't we tell them it's called a behind, a rear end, a keister, a tushie, anything but a butt?

    —Prudie

    The implication from worried mom is that private parts must always be covered to preserve modesty, and nudity and skinny dipping lead to immorality, sexualization of the body, and sexual behavior.

  • #2
    Dear Prudence: Advice on manners and morals.

    We Can Dance If We Want To

    Should I try to stop my children from frolicking naked with others?

    Dear Prudie,
    I am the mother of two girls, ages 2 and 4. I also have two nieces who are 3 and 4. They play together often and are typical, energetic little girls. I am concerned about something my 4-year-old said to me recently. We have discussed modesty and she understands that we keep our private parts covered, but I've tried not to make it an overly big deal. I recently allowed her to skinny-dip in her grandmother's swimming pool. The next day, she asked me if she could skinny-dip again with her cousins next time we're at Grammy's. Then she said she and her 4-year-old cousin like to "rub our butts together." I did see them doing this while changing clothes to go swimming. They were standing up and danced back to back and laughed. I just told them they were silly and diverted them to the pool. I asked her why she wanted to do that and she said " 'cause it's fun and it feels good." The last thing I want is to make her feel dirty or suggest that she is bad for doing this. But I don't want her to disrespect her body, either. Should I forbid this? Simply discourage it? While I was never abused, I do feel like I was sexualized much too young, and wish my mom had taught me to cherish my body. Unfortunately, she didn't, so I'm not sure how to teach my daughters this.

    —Worried Mom

    Dear Worried,
    " 'Cause it's fun and it feels good" is such a wonderful response as to why two 4-year-old girls would like to dance naked with each other. Now that she's given you an irrefutable answer to your question, let this pair of cousins play around and skinny-dip in their grandmother's pool. Given your childhood, it's understandable you want your daughter to keep her innocence about her body longer than you kept yours. That's good, but the key for you is not to crush her natural, normal childhood sexual impulses by way of trying not to sexualize her too early. I'll re-recommend the book Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask). It takes a relaxed, reassuring approach to the subject, which should help you be relaxed and reassuring about your daughter's body. And since the opportunity has presented itself, a word about the word butt. It's probably way too late to roll this back, but I hate that this has become the acceptable way for children to refer to their backsides. It sounds so crude coming out of those little mouths. Can't we tell them it's called a behind, a rear end, a keister, a tushie, anything but a butt?

    —Prudie

    The implication from worried mom is that private parts must always be covered to preserve modesty, and nudity and skinny dipping lead to immorality, sexualization of the body, and sexual behavior.

    Comment


    • #3
      In this case while I would certainly encourage the nudity. I am not so certain that I would encourage the "Rub our butt's together because it feels good" part of the story

      Comment


      • #4
        Mom, really has no cause for worry, it is just as children have done from the beginning.
        Also the 'butt rubbing' thing if I am not mistaken is one of the 'dances' they have seen on Disney Channel, etc., like my grandchildren and are just copying it. Being nude at the time they are doing it doesn't enter their minds and nothing untoward is going on unless they have seen mom doing the same type of 'butt rubbing' while having sex herself and are copying that, and that as they say is another story.

        Comment

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