Kelly Wallace, CNN. Kelly Wallace is CNN's digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. She is a mom of two girls. CNN Let me say at the start that there is no way around the topic of nakedness in front of your children without getting personal and slightly uncomfortable.
I'm already feeling somewhat tense as I type this. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. More Videos Should your kids see you naked? Story highlights In "Brutally Honest" video series, Kelly Wallace tackles provocative parenting questions There is no one size fits all answer to whether it's OK to be naked in front of your kids, parents say Studies show conflicting findings on the impact of parental nudity on kids.
I joke that the only person who should have to see me naked is my husband. He signed up for it, right? My kids certainly didn't. A lifetime of body image issues means I'm not one to walk around naked at home. But I don't cover up around my daughters, 7 and 8, when I'm getting dressed or in the bathroom, either. I don't want them to think there is anything wrong with my body or theirs. And when they ask hilarious questions such as "Mom, why do your boobs hang? In conversations over email with mothers and fathers across the country and in Canada, it's clear there is no "one size fits all'" approach to the questions of whether it's OK to be naked in front of your kids and if there's an age when it's no longer OK.
Rhonda Woods, a mother of three, says ever since her children, now 20, 13 and 13, were little, she and her husband have been teaching them not to be ashamed of their bodies. They have also never hidden their bodies from their kids, she said. Not because we are uncomfortable, but because they may be," said Woods, a real estate agent in New Milford, Connecticut. A common theme I heard from parents is comfort. If both you and your children are comfortable with you being naked in front of them, there isn't anything "inherently wrong with that at all," said Avital Norman Nathman, who says her 8-year-old son is used to seeing her and her husband naked on occasion when they are getting dressed or in the shower.
Nancy Friedman, a New York City mom of two middle schoolers, said while every child is different, most kids make it clear when their mom or dad's nudity no longer works for them. As children age, they certainly develop their own sense of modesty around others, said Micky Morrison, a mom of two in Islamorada, Florida, and founder of BabyWeightTV.
I figure that he will one day, and that's OK," said Morrison. And that's OK, too. Amanda Rodriguez, a mom of three boys in Frederick, Maryland, said she reached a point with each of her sons, usually no later than age 5, when she thought it was no longer OK to be nude around them. Terry Greenwald, a divorced father of three, puts himself solidly in the no-being-naked-in-front-of-kids' camp.
Read: 28 Web abbreviations every parent should know. It also would bring up questions and conversations they might not be ready to handle," he said. A few months back, a post by blogger Rita Templeton about why she wants her four sons -- ages 2, 5, 6 and 9 -- to see her naked, was republished on The Huffington Post and went viral. Templeton said she wanted her sons to see what "real" women look like before they are bombarded with an ideal in the media that doesn't match reality.
Mine," wrote Templeton, who blogs at Fighting Off Frumpy. Her words led to an onslaught of hate mail, nasty tweets and accusations she's sexualizing her sons, she said. Buzz Bishop, a father of two boys in Calgary, wrote a blog post of his own in part as a response to all the outrage. He says he has been playing games called "naked baby" and "naked daddy" at bath time since his children were little while at the same time he teaches his kids not to stare when they are in the open shower in the men's bathroom at their neighborhood pool.
Read: Chances are, your teen has sexted. I'm doing what works for me. You're doing what works for you. And we're all just trying to teach our kids a little respect for each other, and themselves," said Bishop, who writes about parenting on his blog Dad Camp. There doesn't seem to be much science to help guide us on whether it's better or worse for your child, or it makes no difference at all, if they see you naked.
I couldn't find many studies when I searched for them, and those I found had conflicting findings. For instance, one study found no negative impact on adolescents who regularly saw their parents naked at ages 3 and 6, but another study found that parental nudity when kids were ages 6 to 11 resulted in more permissive attitudes about sex and increased sexual frequency.
For some parents, like Maryellen, a mom of two young girls on Long Island, who only wanted to use her first name, it's all about convenience. Sometimes it's easier and faster just to pull them into the shower with me," she said. A year from now I may not be doing it any longer. By then, they may be showering by themselves dare to hope? Do you think it's OK to be naked in front of your kids?