The New York Times, always looking for a story, decided to report on the seemingly GROWING TREND OF 3-to-5-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN RUNNING AROUND NAKED.
Apparently, stripping off ones clothes and running around the house before bath time has expanded into more of an “anywhere, anytime” thing, especially in the pre-school set.
And it doesn’t seem to matter if the child in question is a boy or a girl (although girls tend to grow out of the naked phase earlier). The question that the NYTimes is asking is whether there is an appropriate cut-off age that parents should insist that their children wear clothes.
It may be that the NYTimes is using a small survey sample. In their article, they talk about a 5-year-old who likes to watch SpongeBob SquarePants after school and eat crackers, sans pants, while reclining on his stuffed animal chair.
Web Watch really doesn’t seem anything amiss with that.
The article continues, talking about how this same child stripped down during a playdate and insisted that his friends draw on his naked torso with nail polish.
This, on the other hand, is a bit more unusual.
Other parents are more permissive. If the children want to run naked through a sprinkler or go skinny-dipping, the parental response is more of a “if they can’t do it when they’re a kid, when are they going to do so?” attitude.
Sharon Lamb, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, says that “clothes can be uncomfortable… some kids, getting dressed gets associated with something they don’t want to do, like eating their vegetables.”
Web Watch will not interpret Professor Lamb’s comment to mean that children who don’t eat their vegetables grow up to be naked. Nope.
Psychologists interviewed for the article agree that parents do need to teach their children the right and wrong times to be naked, such as if guests are present. Being naked by oneself? That’s okay. An 8-year-old being naked at their own birthday party? That’s less appropriate, if only because it’s unexpected.