NUDE AWAKENING Body positive mum even opens the front door naked and her teenage kids HATE it… so when are children too old to see their parents nude?

Former teacher Deborah Hodge, 44, from Sidcup, admits her 11 and 15-year-old find her love of being nude embarrassing, but she has no intention of stopping

28 February 2018 - 15:17

IT'S a dilemma every mum has faced when their child wanders into the bedroom just after they've got out of the shower - to cover up, or not cover up?

For Marina Hunt, wife of TV presenter Ben Fogle, grabbing a towel is not an option.

Last week we reported how their family are bringing up son Ludo, eight, and daughter Iona, six, in a "naked house" where they all take baths together and "talk openly about sex".

Their outlook is shared by Peter Andre’s wife Emily - though not Peter - but it's not a view shared by everybody.

CBB and Apprentice star Jessica Cunningham went so far as to accuse Marina of leaving her kids vulnerable to paedophiles on Good Morning Britain.

So, should parents walk around naked in front of their children? And when are kids too old to see their parents nude?

 Peter Andre’s wife Emily revealed she's comfortable with their children seeing her naked so they don’t feel the need to ‘hide their bodies’
 
GC Images
Peter Andre’s wife Emily revealed she's comfortable with their children seeing her naked so they don’t feel the need to ‘hide their bodies’

Mum-of-four Deborah Hodge, 44, from Sidcup, Kent, says she regularly walks around naked in front of her kids - including her 15-year-old daughter - as she reckons it teaches them to be proud of their bodies.

The former teacher and head of department cooks, cleans and has even opened the front door in the buff.

She said she is committed to letting son Felix 21, and daughters Ella, 15, Issy, 11 and Amelia, four, see her "wobbly bits" to ensure they grow up comfortable in their own skin - even if they find it embarrassing.

 Deborah Hodge, right, regularly walks around naked in front of her kids including daughter Ella, 15, pictured far left with sister Amelia, brother Felix and sister Issy, but Ella reckons her mum should understand there is such thing as too much nakedness
 
DEBORAH HODGE
Deborah Hodge, right, regularly walks around naked in front of her kids including daughter Ella, 15, pictured far left with sister Amelia, brother Felix and sister Issy, but Ella reckons her mum should understand there is such thing as too much nakedness
 Deborah says her being naked around the home has a positive impact on her kids
 
Olivia West
Deborah says her being naked around the home has a positive impact on her kids

"I saw firsthand the devastating effect poor body image and low self-esteem had on boys and girls at school," she explained.

"Many kids are ashamed of their bodies because they are not 'model perfect', and the impact of social media means many of our young people today have ridiculous expectations of body perfection.

"If a parent is too ashamed of their own body to walk around naked, then they should expect their child to end up with possible body issues and low self-esteem."

She admitted her daughters find it mortifying when their friends come over to the house – and has walked in on a lounge full of kids while starkers on the odd occasion.

 Despite daughter Issy, pictured, and Ella, 15, finding it embarrassing and calling her their 'mad mum', Deborah reckons it promotes positive body image
 
Olivia West
Despite daughter Issy, pictured, and Ella, 15, finding it embarrassing and calling her their 'mad mum', Deborah reckons it promotes positive body image

"My eldest Ella likes to make a big announcement at the front door for my benefit," Deborah said.

"'Mum if you are starkers put on a sarong or some clothes on - my mates don’t want to see your floppy boobs!'

Deborah told how she has always been open with her body, which is currently a size 16.

"In between leaving the shower and getting to the towel, I will be picking up toys, helping with homework, making myself a cuppa and occasionally opening the door," she said.

"I get so hot and bothered cleaning, so I’ll hoover, sweep, do the washing, clean the kitchen and tidy the bedroom naked.

"The kids are used to it and the older ones roll their eyes with embarrassment and tell me to put on some clothes."

Issy, 11, said she wishes Deborah would cover up more often, arguing she's "always finding an excuse to be naked or get her boobs out".

What the experts think...

Dr Rebecca Chicot, co-founder of Essential Parent and author of The Calm and Happy Toddler, says research proves there's no harm in parents being nude...

"For much of human history parents and children have lived, bathed and slept in close proximity. Indeed, there is evidence that skin-to-skin contact between parents and babies is important in establishing breastfeeding, regulating a newborn’s body temperature and even colonising their skin with friendly bacteria.

"An 18-year study of a child’s exposure to nudity by their parents found no harmful main affects. The UCLA Family Lifestyles Project concluded that ‘pervasive beliefs in the harmfulness of nudity around children are exaggerated'.

"My family do a lot of outdoor swimming, without access to changing rooms and tend to have a relaxed attitude to getting changed in front of each other.  However, each family is different, and each child is different.  I would recommend keeping conversations open around bodies, including discussions about embarrassing ailments, bodily functions and sex.

"While there is no nationally agreed cut-off time for parental nudity you should listen to what your children say as they get older about their bodies and their preference for privacy."

Milli Hill, author of The Positive Birth Book and expert at The Baby Show, reckons it's about striking the right balance...

“This mum is right - we do model body image, self esteem and confidence to our children, and I think that being naked around them is a great way of normalising the human body and letting them see ‘real’ bodies in an age when many media images are so airbrushed and fake.

"It’s also really important to watch our words in front of our children and to try to make sure we are not constantly saying negative things about our own bodies in front of them.

"However, as parents we also model good boundaries to our children and I think that opening the door naked or being naked around their friends is not modelling these clear boundaries to children. Campaigns such as PANTS from the NSPCC encourage us to teach children that there are parts of our bodies which are private - this is not about shame or lack of confidence, it’s just about clear boundaries and helping our children to understand that ‘privates are private’.

"As parents we need to get the balance right between encouraging body confidence and a spirit of openness in our homes, and modelling good boundaries - because there are times when it is more appropriate to be covered up."

"If I bring friends over I have to make them wait while I go inside and check if mum’s naked or not," Issy said.

"Mum says she’s doing us a favour by making us appreciate our bodies. Well, we do, and can she just out on some clothes now?"

Teenager Ella added: "I think my mum should understand there is such thing as too much nakedness."

But Deborah reckons her "naked mummy" policy has worked as all her kids have a very positive body image and aren't shy about asking awkward questions.

Olivia West
 

Deborah told how she has always been open with her body, which is currently a size 16

 The mum-of-four admitted her daughters find it mortifying when their friends come over to the house - and has walked in on a lounge full of kids while starkers on the odd occasion
 
Olivia West
The mum-of-four admitted her daughters find it mortifying when their friends come over to the house - and has walked in on a lounge full of kids while starkers on the odd occasion

Interestingly son Felix is "more relaxed" about her cheeky habit - Deborah said he claims she's simply "growing old disgracefuly".

Deborah added: "I know I have lumps in the wrong places and my boobs are not as perky as they used to be, but frankly that's life.

"My little one, Amelia, makes me laugh. I will be cooking in the kitchen and she will poke my leg or bum and say, 'What’s that mummy?' and I tell her, 'That's a stretch mark darling.'

 Deborah's kids often have to check to make sure their mum isn't naked when their mates come to visit
 
DEBORAH HODGE
Deborah's kids often have to check to make sure their mum isn't naked when their mates come to visit
 Deborah said it's important to her that her children have seen her naked during all stages of pregnancy, including breastfeeding
 
Olivia West
Deborah said it's important to her that her children have seen her naked during all stages of pregnancy, including breastfeeding
 Deborah, pictured with some clothes on, said grabbing a towel because your four-year-old has walked into the bedroom when you're naked is 'just silly'
 
Olivia West
Deborah, pictured with some clothes on, said grabbing a towel because your four-year-old has walked into the bedroom when you're naked is 'just silly'

"My older girls will snigger and I’ll point out which stretch marks they were responsible for.

"I've been known to take a black marker to my naked body listing the names of the kids next to all my stretch marks.

"It works for our family because we have had quite interesting debates about plastic surgery, getting rid of stretch marks and cellulite as a result of me being naked."

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