5 Tips for Dealing with Childhood Nudity

1. Set boundaries with your child. Teach him that when he is out in public he must keep his clothes on.
2. Show your child examples of appropriate behavior. Children learn by social referencing — they want to follow social and cultural norms. Take them to public places where there are lots of kids so they learn that in our world people keep their clothes on.
3. Teach children other ways for self-expression that are more appropriate. Give them opportunities to play dress up, to learn new games and skills, to pretend and interact with other children.
4. Give children more choices. Let them choose their own outfits, meals or activities. Children have less of a need to act out or rebel when they are given choices.
5. Watch for trouble signs. Although it’s uncommon, if your child’s behavior does seem sexualized, talk to your pediatrician. There is no reason for behavior to have sexual innuendo.

If your child needs behavioral health services, contact Presbyterian Behavioral Health Services’ 24-hour ACCESS line at 704-384-4255.

Nicolle Napier-Ionascu, Psy.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist at Presbyterian Hospital Rehabilitation Center and part of the adjunct faculty at Queens University of Charlotte.