Dear Grandparenting: We raised our little ones with a firm hand. Small children absolutely have to learn what’s good from bad and right from wrong, etc. My youngest daughter obviously went in the opposite direction when it came to raising my grandchildren. She is way too permissive and hands-off to my way of thinking.
One of her tricks is allowing her children to run around nude. She calls it “running free and natural.” I call it inappropriate. My wife almost lost it watching our two-year-old granddaughter marching around the patio naked to the world. My daughter was clueless. “If they can’t do it when they’re kids, Mom, when can they?”
Don’t you think little girls should have their clothes on unless they’re taking a bath? What if some weirdo happens by? Maybe my daughter thought it was OK because we’re all family, but I’m going to tell her it’s a bad idea whenever guests come calling. Don’t you agree? Ed Newsom, Tampa, Florida
Dear Ed: Running around naked at home can seem like the essence of a carefree childhood, but you’re asking for trouble if company arrives.
The sight of unclad bodies produces a predictable set of reactions. Observers tend to be affronted, discomforted or titillated. Not only will nudity violate generational, social and cultural norms, but it also invites other unsavory developments. Small children tend to answer nature’s call wherever it beckons. Suppose some weirdo happens by?
According to most experts, children begin to distinguish between what’s private and what’s public around age three or four, and become more modest soon after.
For children to cavort in their birthday suits in the privacy of their homes under parental supervision is one thing. But nudity is simply too emotionally loaded to be on display. The sooner grandchildren acquire appropriate situational behavior is all for the better.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Katarina Mullins from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, bought granddaughter, Katy, a comb and brush set for her eighth birthday.
Driving home, Katy informed her grandmother that cosmetics were the next thing on her shopping list. “My sister says I’m a beautiful person inside,” said Katy. “But if you want to be loved by someone besides your family, it doesn’t hurt to be beautiful on the outside too.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.