April 7, 2010
NAKED 9-YEAR-OLD MAKES HIS SISTER'S LIFE DIFFICULT
DEAR ABBY: My brother is 9 and still walks around naked. I have asked "Josh" repeatedly to put on some clothes, but he blows me off and flaunts himself around the house. My mother is no help. When I ask her to talk to him, she laughs and says, "Boys will be boys." Abby, I'm 13 and it is starting to freak me out. Am I being paranoid, or am I right to want him to put on a pair of boxers or something?
-- OLDER SISTER IN MCALLEN, TEXAS
DEAR OLDER SISTER: Your mother is right about one thing: Boys WILL be boys. Your brother is acting like an immature child who's enjoying teasing his sister. On the other hand, she's wrong to laugh off your discomfort. One reason children have parents is so someone can teach them respect for the feelings of others. At 9, Josh is too big to ignore, and at 13, you are no longer a little girl. If he wants to be naked in his bedroom, fine and dandy. But when he's in the rooms shared by everyone, he should cover up. And if he doesn't, there should be consequences.
What do you think? Should a 9-year-old be allowed to run around naked if he feels so moved? Should he be forced to cover up? Is the mother allowing the kid to grow up without respecting the needs of others? Is the girl too uptight? Is our society too uptight that she would be upset at the sight of a 9-year-old's body? Or is this just sibling silliness?
Here are my friend's thoughts on the matter:
Hi Susan,Please feel free to add to the discussion if you have further thoughts on the matter...
I read the "Dear Abby" article this morning, and it struck a chord. The one I highlighted below (re: nakedness) caught my eye. I can't decide how I feel about it - either about the 13 year old girl who complained, or about Abby's answer. I haven't raised children of my own, so I haven't experienced this situation in real life.
Prior to reading your explorations and thoughts regarding nakedness in our society, I would have agreed completely with Abby's reply. I would have moved on, without a second thought. But now... a part of me wonders if the 13 year old is having a normal human response, or if she is being badgered by society's morals and views on nakedness. I had a little brother, too. I do well remember giggling when he used to (as a little boy) escape from my mom when she was drying him off after a bath - and run around the house. It was a game to him, and my sister and I were not disturbed by it. I don't think he was 9 yet, though.
Anyway, I am forwarding it to you since it may spark a discussion with your friends/fans as well. I'm still not sure what my own thoughts are, except that I am a bit disturbed that the 13 year old is uncomfortable with her little brother goofing off. What is going through her mind? Is she feeling that his playing around is sexual in some manner? Maybe that is what bothers me. Hmm.