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Is it ok for my kid to run around naked?

Question

We have three young children who love to play dress-up and run naked around the house. This seems totally natural to me and my husband. A good friend who visited me when the kids were playing told me I was setting my children up to be sexually abused. Should I be concerned?

Answer

Parental and cultural views about kids and nudity vary tremendously. This is a great opportunity for you to have a frank discussion with your kids about the boundaries of such behavior. Tell them that others should not touch them in private places, and explain specifically what that means. You should also alert them to the fact that what might be acceptable at your house is not allowed when they are playing with others.

Finally, consider that friends who visit you may be uncomfortable around naked children so you may want to limit such play when you have company.

Question

My teen desperately needs help and is asking to speak with a counselor. My husband adamantly refuses to attend, but will allow me to bring her if I want. Can therapy be effective without my husband’s participation?

Answer

Therapy typically begins with an assessment of your daughter and her family. The success of therapy depends upon lots of factors, but parental support and engagement by both parents are critical.

When I encounter this problem, I call the parent who is reluctant to participate and tell them that I really need their help to be successful in assisting their child. I ask them to attend a limited number of sessions, typically around three to five, and then make their own decision about whether they want to participate any further.

When approached in such a manner, I’ve rarely had a parent refuse to attend therapy. Parental love for their child trumps whatever skepticism they have about psychotherapy.

Question

My adopted son had a horrific early childhood with unspeakable traumas inflicted by his biological mom.  He is now 10 years old, and I wake up every day wondering if he will ever grow up to be a normal adult. Can you offer me any reassurance?

Answer

Your son’s dreadful past does not doom him to a terrible future. I tell kids that their lives are like chapters in a book. They can’t rewrite previous chapters, but they are in control of the rest of the story because they get to write it. The most important advice I’ve learned from parents in such situations is to stay positive and balanced. This means acknowledging the past, but not allowing yourself or your child to use past events to excuse current bad behavior.

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