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The great cover-up

There are a lot of parents in the world.

I don’t know the exact number or percentage but it’s a lot. We can all agree there are a lot of parents. And with parents come opinions. You’ll receive parenting advice whether you seek it out or not. Some of it is solid advice, some unsolicited. There are no right or wrong answers. Even the “parenting experts” don’t always get everything right.

Only you can decide how to raise your kids. Most parents are doing their best and doing an awesome job. You decide how to discipline a level 10 meltdown in the middle of the grocery store.

You know what is also your decision? When to cover up that wienie, pee-pee, hoo-ha, va-jay, vagina, boobs, woo-ha, penis, breasts, saggy pillows, whatever you decide to call the body parts not acceptable for the public. You decide when it’s time to grab a towel to cover yourself up in front of your kids.

Or maybe you don’t grab a towel.

I don’t.

I have two girls, ages 13 and 10. I have never covered myself up in their presence. I’ve never screamed, “Get out! I’m naked!” while taking a shower. They know what a female body looks like and it’s not a big deal. Their father on the other hand, has been covering himself since the girls came home from the hospital. Newborns can’t see more than a few inches in front of their face and they definitely can’t comprehend what they’re seeing. Yet, some parents feel they have to cover themselves up from that day forward.

How do Kansas City parents handle the great cover-up? Glad you asked.

“I started covering up when my 3-year-old boy said, “Mommy, yur boobs are wucky!”

– Liz, Louisburg, Kan.

“I started covering up when I was getting undressed to get in the shower and my 8-year-old son said, ‘Mom! Look at that those lady parts!’ He had a different look in his eye. It was time to cover up!”

– Laura, Overland Park, Kan.

“Never did cover up in front of either sexes. My ex and I are vastly different on the openness and modesty scale. I wanted my kiddos to be free and accepting in their bodily expression. Now that my children are older teens, they know better than to walk into my bedroom if they’re not interested in seeing ALL of dear ‘ole dad.”

– David, Lee’s Summit, Mo.

“We have two little boys, ages 5 and 1, and so far, there's no covering up. They see my body and their dad's, and if we get questions, we answer them. It's quite possible our behavior will change in the next few years as our preschooler grows up, but we have laid a foundation to talk about bodies with no embarrassment. My husband and I can both demand privacy when we want it. I hope our sons are learning to do the same.”

– Abby, Prairie Village, Kan.

“We are not modest at all at our house. My husband started covering himself when our daughter was 3 – just because she would stare.”

– Elizabeth, Overland Park, Kan.

“I have three girls and do not cover up in front of them. They ask questions, some sting a little more than others. ‘Mom, when will I have boobs down here too (motioning around her belly button)?’”

– Brittany, Olathe, Kan.

“We have a teen boy, teen girl, and a 9-year-old girl. They have all had to endure learning about sexuality in a classroom with their parents as the teachers, and with friends and other kids present, so there was some embarrassment with that, but they survived with positive attitudes about sexuality and their own bodies.”

– Chip, Olathe, Kan.

“Our oldest is almost 4 and she still showers with me three to four times a week. It’s only odd when I see her staring at ‘it’.”

– Chris, Kansas City, Mo.

“Someone said when they stop walking in on you, you should stop. I’m 35 and my mom is still naked in front of me if I show up at her house.”

– Bailey, Prairie Village, Kan.

“Funny story – when I was around 5 years old, I walked in on grandfather, naked, getting out of the shower. My eyes got really wide and I said, ‘Grandpa, you look so scary without your glasses on!’”

– Marianne, Olathe, Kan.

As you can see, there are is a huge assortment of how parents handle this sort of thing. Every parent is different, and every family is different. There may never be a perfect time for “the big cover-up” but, being mindful of what’s harmful, appropriate and best for your family is a good start for the conversation.

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Guest Writer