YNA Guide: How To Raise Naturist Kids and Introduce Naturism
When parents decide to raise naturist kids or introduce their children to naturism, there are some common questions and concerns that tend to arise.
Since we occasionally get emails from parents looking for answers and guidance, we decided the best way to address this is to ask naturist parents from our community! This will be a 3-part series addressing different questions. This article, part one, introduces the families I interviewed and also addresses the question of how to teach young kids about naturism and dress code rules.
So let’s meet the amazing families who were gracious enough to take the time to answer most of my questions.
I will include their names (the * indicates their names have been changed to respect their request for privacy), kids’ genders, ages and their answers.
Interview with naturist parents about kids and naturism:
Question 1: At what age and where did you introduce your kid(s) to naturism? How did that go?
Karen and Robert*, three kids: girl age 7 ½, boy age 6 and girl age 4 ½
“We went to Sunny Rest four summers ago (they were 3 ½, 2 and 5 months) for the first experience. A few weeks later we found Rock Lodge in NJ and have never left. Since they were so young and enjoyed being naked anyway, they didn’t really seem to react at all. The oldest doesn’t even remember Sunny Rest.”
Michael and Laurie, two girls ages 8 and 6
“Both the girls have been raised in a nudist environment since birth, it’s all they’ve ever known. We are very active with nudism as a family. We are definitely nude at home most of the time. We visit clothing optional beaches like Gunnison in Sandy Hook, NJ regularly. We find the nudist / clothing optional beaches when we are away on vacations or in the Caribbean. We also visit resorts like PineTree Associates in Maryland on a regular basis.”
Tom and Soraya*, two girls age 12 and 7
“Mostly the family / house pool. But I am not sure you could call what we do ‘naturism.’ I have long believed that naturism is a non-thing — the absence of shame. My wife and I agreed that the best course of action was to simply never teach our kids to be ashamed of their bodies, and to see how things turn out.”
Aviva*, girl age 13 and boy age 9
“I discovered Rock Lodge when I was pregnant with my oldest. I felt that Rock Lodge is a great place for kids. It is safe, everyone is friendly, and the nature is just phenomenal. It seemed very natural to want to continue to go there with the kids, and my kids just love to go there.”
Question 2: How do you explain to your kids that they can only be naked in a naturist setting or certain situations (like at home when there are no guests)? Do they have any trouble understanding this?
Based on my research, this actually turns out to be a non-issue for most parents. People tend to think their kids will be confused, but then find that’s not the case. My own parents don’t recall it ever being a problem for my family and I.
I asked all the families if they ever had any trouble explaining the rules to their kids and if they had any problems or confusion. Here’s what they said.
Karen and Robert: “Inside the house is clothing optional as long as no one else is around (we have a part-time nanny and I also have employees that come to the house for my home-based business, so they cannot be naked when anyone else but the five of us are in the house). They have no problem following those rules and often don’t need reminders more than the occasional ‘so-and-so is coming, put some clothes on.’”
Any questions / confusion from the kids as to when / where they can be naked?
Karen and Robert: “Actually, no, they never really asked. Early on we established the ‘you can be naked in the house and only at the lake’ rule and they have never questioned it. I always thought it would lead to confusion, but it hasn’t!”
Aviva: “There is absolutely no confusion. They would NOT want to be naked in a non-nudist place, since they understand it is unacceptable. I had many conversations with my daughter about the topic. She feels very passionate about nudism and thinks this should be the norm at least at the beach / in nature. But, she is also very well aware that this is not the norm.
On one occasion when she was a bit younger (age 10) she said she wants to walk in the streets of New York shirtless. We had a discussion about that, and I explained to her that it is actually legal to do that in NY, but she can expect that she will attract attention. After some deliberation, she decided to not do it.”
Tom: “Oddly enough, they seem to instinctively understand that it is not ok to be nude elsewhere.”
Michael & Laurie: “We remember only one time when Lilly was about 4 years old she got upset and cried because she didn’t what to wear a wet bathing suit at a pool we were visiting. Other than that, they have not asked too many questions. They just tend to go with the flow. I think when the question comes up we will try to explain it to them in the simplest terms. There are different rules for different beaches / pools. The rules at this beach / pool are etc….”
I also came across a Q & A article on the Bare Platypus blog that further confirms this question as a non-issue. It’s titled, “We Raised 4 Kids As Nudists.” When these parents are asked if their kids “ever embarrass you by being naked at an inappropriate time?” They replied, “… Not once. From an early age our children grasped the concept of context easily. They understood that we put on dressier clothes to go to church, that we got dressed to go outside for shopping, etc. Appropriate nudity comes down to time and place. If you have kids who understand when they can go about in their underwear and when they shouldn’t, they will grasp when it’s okay to be au naturel.”
In discussing this topic with different people, I did hear one story of parents whose pre-school aged kid was undressing in school whenever nap time started. Apparently she would sleep naked at home, so it seemed like the proper thing to do at school, too. The parents got a call from the teacher, and that ends my knowledge of it but hopefully they sorted it all out!
What we can learn from this is that it’s best to explain to kids in simple terms where / when they can be naked and address any questions that might come up.
That concludes Part 1…Now check out part 2, where we discuss the issue of asking kids not to tell other people about family naturism and part 3 which addresses the issue of bullying!
To my readers who are parents – do you have anything to add on the topic of naturist kids and dress code rules? Did your kids ask any questions as they were growing up? Share in the comments!