Sexuality and U


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Child loves to take clothes off

Your 4 year old daugher loves to take her clothes off when she goes in the backyard wading pool on a hot summer day. The yard is enclosed and you are comfortable letting her do this. You are in the back yard today. Your mother is going to drop in sometime this afternoon and you know that she feels strongly that children should never run around without clothes on.

Before deciding what you want to do, first - check out your feelings. Parents who have experienced this situation report different feelings which might include anger at mother, anxiety, confusion, determination to do what they believe is right.

Here is some INFORMATION that may be helpful.

Some children love to take their clothes off, some children do not like this. Children need to know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour. Sometimes ideas change from one generation to the next about what is and is not harmful or acceptable. Many adults are uncomfortable seeing sexual body parts, answering questions or hearing proper terms for sexual parts. Usually, family members are trying to do what they believe is the best for their child or grandchild.

Here are some SUGGESTIONS to help you decide what to do.

You might decide to call your mother before her visit. Explain how you feel. “Mom, I know that you love your granddaughter and just want the best for her. I understand that you are uncomfortable when you see her playing in the pool without her bathing suit. I believe that there is no harm in this because it is a private space. She knows that she would not take her clothes off at the public pool or on the street. If it makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you could visit later when she won’t be in the pool.”

You might talk to your daughter. “I know how nice it is to play in the water without your clothes on. You know that it is okay to do here and that when we go where there are other people we wear our bathing suits. Grandma feels uncomfortable when she sees children without their bathing suits. Because we love Grandma and don’t want to make her feel bad, let’s put on your suit when we hear her car.” You are teaching your child that people can have different ideas about things and that there are ways to accommodate these differences.

QUESTIONS you might want to think about might include:
  • Is there any harm in letting my daughter go without her bathing suit in the backyard?
  • If I tell her that she has to wear her bathing suit from now on will she think that her body is bad?
  • Should I try to change my mother’s ideas? Will we end up fighting if I do this?