Fatherhood provokes many new puzzles. Touching someone else’s poop, being okay with barf on your shirt, deciding how to manage nighttime feedings, having your kid’s snot all over your shoulder, deciding how firmly you tell your kids not to touch your dress shirt with food all over their hands, etc., the list could go on a very long time. However, I think there is one area that many dads think about, and maybe even some discuss the subject, but I bet a lot of us never bring it up with anyone else. I have three kids, two girls who are 8 and 6, and a boy who is 3. Especially as my girls get older, I have been thinking about at what age it might be inappropriate for them to see me naked.
When kids are little, nakedness is essentially a non-issue. I am sure most dads have taken showers with their kids whether they are girls or boys. The shower is almost as much of a fatherhood right of passage as anything else. There is no doubt, holding your naked baby and washing their body is heartwarming and loving. While I would still take a shower with my 3-year-old son today, there is no way that I would take a shower with my 8 and 6-year-old daughters. I wouldn’t take a shower with the girls because I think it would probably make them and me uncomfortable. No, I wouldn’t take a shower with my girls, but they still see me naked on occasion.
As I have thought about this issues of nakedness in front of my children, I have noticed that my oldest daughter now goes out of her way to avoid my nakedness, she has begun to sense that maybe seeing me nude is not interesting to her anymore. I doubt she has discussed this with kids at school and my wife and I certainly haven’t told her there is anything wrong with seeing my nakedness. It is possible that she has learned about privacy when you are naked from the times I have said to her that I want privacy during a shower or when I am on the toilet. Whatever the case may be, I realized recently; it doesn’t matter when I think she is too old to see my naked body, I need to be aware of what her uncomfortable. Just as with most parenting, being a good parent is about recognizing the difference between your own needs/desires and your child’s needs/desires. My nakedness isn’t about me and my level of comfort, it is about my kids and making sure they are secure, confident, and proud of their bodies.