Buck-naked grandparents: bad or good?

Dear Grandparenting: Mom and Dad are the world’s greatest grandparents. When my husband died suddenly, I was left with two infant children and lots of bills. My parents were there for me and the kids 100 percent, and they still are every single day. We would never have made it back to normal without their love and support.

Both my children remain very attached to Mom and Dad and enjoy staying with them for overnights at their cottage near the ocean in Cape May, New Jersey. Here’s my problem. Mom and Dad are in the habit of occasionally walking around buck-naked, like getting in and out of their outdoor shower or sunbathing on the second-story deck outside their bedroom.

We’ve come a long way from the time when nudity was the big hush-hush deal. Porn is everywhere and people walk around in public with a lot more skin hanging out than I can ever remember seeing. My children think nothing of catching their grandparents in the flesh, but my best friend thinks it’s just asking for trouble. Where do you come down on this? Billie Jean Johnson, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania

Dear Billie Jean: We’ve heard of families where small grandchildren are allowed to roam around naked, but grandparents? The ones we know are of the persuasion that their spouses are the only people who should ever see them naked, bar none.

The prevailing body of opinion in America’s psychological community takes an increasingly dim view of such behavior. But the public is more divided say researchers, who cite regional and cultural differences. Americans, for instance, place a higher value on conjugal privacy than other nations, where children commonly sleep beside their parents or other family members.

Child psychologists say such behaviors can readily be misconstrued when taken out of context. Fair enough, but we prefer to establish firm behavioral boundaries and avoid ambiguous situations. Why wait until someone is made to feel uncomfortable? That’s our policy, and we’re sticking to it. In our house, nudity is a no-no.


Taylor Best, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, weighed in to say that her 11 grandchildren bring “different blessings” when they come to visit.

“My grandchildren who know how to behave themselves bring me happiness when they arrive,” said Taylor. “The ones who are loud and bratty bring me happiness when they depart.”

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By Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

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.