"A child who has never been allowed to see his parents and brothers and sisters naked sees nudity as something shocking. --Dr. Helga Fleishhauer Hardt, SHOW ME (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1975)
"Being natural and matter-of-fact about nudity prevents your children from developing an attitude of shame or disgust about the human body. If parents are very secretive about their bodies and go to great lengths to prevent their children from ever seeing a buttock or breast, children will wonder what is so unusual, and even alarming, about human nudity." --Dr. Lee Salk, Psychiatrist (from an article in McCall's Magazine, June, 1976)
"Ideally, parents will unostentatiously allow their children to become acquainted, from infancy on, with the nude appearance of family members, juvenile and adult, in the normal course of dressing, undressing, and bathing." -- Margaret Mead
(Recreational facilities where clothing is optional) "provide an ideal environment for families whose policy is to give their children a healthy regard for the body and a chance at normal, wholesome psychosexual development." -- John Money, Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Is this OK for our kids? Imagine two young boys. One has visited a nudist club many times with his family, the other may have only rarely seen a parent unclothed, and they may have seemed embarrassed when that happened. The non-nudist boy says to his friend, "Look what I've found!" as he shows the nudist kid a copy of Playboy or some similar magazine, which he found somewhere.
As they look at the pictures of scantily clothed, erotically posed women, the boy who has seen hundreds of people of all ages and body types, will probably think, "I've seen lots of naked people before. Why does he want to sneak looks at this?" He might also think, "This isn't even what most people look like."
Growing up without shame: Puberty can be a very difficult time for adolescents; their bodies are growing rapidly, their genitals are changing, body hair is developing. Some kids feel clumsy. Many are embarrassed by the changes that are taking place. They can become VERY body-conscious. At that time, a wise parent will try to keep lines of honest communication open but still give them privacy and time to be alone in their room or with their friends. Most adolescents would rather be ANYWHERE except where their parents are.
All these things happen to nudist kids, too. The one big difference for kids who were lucky enough to grow up in a nudist environment is that those kids have literally seen those changes take place, as their older friends and/or siblings went through that difficult time. Because of that experience, they are better prepared for it themselves.
Safety: We read in the papers almost daily of some teacher, youth leader, church official or some other trusted individual who took advantage of a child in a sexual way. With hundreds of nudist clubs in North America, that problem almost never takes place at our nudists facilities. A family which is open enough to have experienced nudism, just like a healthy non-nudist family, is also open enough to have discussed sex abuse with their children. These children know that they can tell their parents immediately if they ever suspect that something is wrong.
Been told by authorities that the reason nudist clubs have a very low incidence of sex offenders is that we have the reputation of prosecuting those individuals, while until recent years, many other organizations have "swept those problems under a rug", more concerned with their public image than with the safety of the people they should have been protecting.
Historically, sex abusers have felt much safer committing their misdeeds within organizations which have tried to cover up their problems with molesters.
You may find it encouraging to know that many nudist clubs, have a very good relationship with law enforcement agencies. Some of their officers are members of our club. You can be certain that if nudist clubs were doing anything illegal or immoral, they wouldn't join. Instead, they would very quickly close the club down!
Another fact to ponder: Almost all sex offenders are males. At a nudist club, it would be very easy to tell if a man were to become sexually excited.
Some other interesting facts: Surveys show that overall, adults who were reared as nudists think of their childhoods as having been stable. They also find that nudists tend to be very slightly better educated than their non-nudist peers.
The divorce rate is lower among nudist families, and their children tend to make better grades than similar children in non-nudist families. I don't think that this is BECAUSE the families are nudists; it's more likely that the marriages are more stable AND their kids make good grades AND the families are nudists because the family members tend to communicate a little more openly with each other in their daily lives.
Learning to accept and respect all bodies: In spite of what Madison Avenue would have us think, human bodies really do come in all sizes, shapes, and conditions. Few are "beautiful" using Hollywood's standards. We think it's helpful for kids to learn this early on; you may be aware that in those parts of the world where nudity is acceptable at places like the beach and public saunas, there is a much lower rate of eating disorders and suicides among youth.
In those cultures, where kids see all types and ages unclothed, they learn acceptance of the maturing and aging processes; they don't think they have to have face lifts, boob jobs and collagen injections to become socially acceptable; they don't grow up thinking "You are what you wear".
They've probably never had a case of a kid being killed for his tennis shoes or his Eddie Bauer jacket!
I think that when Americans learn to accept the body as natural and wholesome, many of our social problems which stem from body acceptance will decline.