Violence or nudity? Questioning parenting priorities.
Today I witnessed a mother spank her child for undressing at a playground. This girl of no more than two was not misbehaving in any way other than to remove her pants. I'm no expert in child psychology, but as a parent, all I expect this spanking will achieve is negativity; instilling a sense of body shame in this young girl and teaching that it is okay to use violence to correct behaviour.
How wrong are our priorities as a society when we accept violence against our children to "correct" wanting to be as natural as the day we were born. My wife and I raise our child in a body positive environment, or more correctly, he raises us in one. Anyone who has children will know of their fondness for spontaneous nudism. Which is why I find the phrase "What about the children?" so offensive as an excuse to control body exposure. Our "rudie nudie" time is one of the more playful and innocent times we have as a family, and yes, the whole of the family must join in at the insistence of our son. It's even converted his mother, ever the "textile" to a home nudist.
Observing this spanking situation has brought to the surface an ongoing question I have of societies' priorities when it comes to teaching children what is right and wrong, especially in regards to exposing children to violence. We have found that our son reacts quite strongly to even the simplest of cartoon violence, turning a generally well behaved three-year old into a "banging and kicking" little so and so. Rescue Bots, PJ Masks, in fact, anything with a protagonist and we spend the next few days on terror child detox, with that show suddenly "not working anymore" on the platform of choice. However, the children's media networks and rating systems fail to inform parents of this "low key" violence. It is only through sites such as commonsensemedia.org that parents can be fully educated.
We don't have the same issues when it comes to nudity. Our son will happily spend the day nude at home, and understands that the expected behaviour is that he will stay clothed in public - same as not picking his nose in public (although that one he struggles with!). Even if he didn't, we certainly wouldn't shame him or physically punish him.
While violence can frequently be found in children's media, what is missing, is a balance in non-sexual body positivity and nudity. For us body positive parents, our choices are limited. There are a few books we have found that promote body positivity including the delightful "Rudie Nudie" by Emma Quay and the fun lift-the-flap "Nuddy Ned" series by Kes Gray. Doll choices are limited when it comes to anatomical correctness, and we are yet to come across any children's show that contains the same nudity our children would see at home or educates about the "whole" body in the same way the rest of the body parts are.
Do you have anything to add on this subject or recommendations on body positive children's media? Leave your comments or consider being a contributor.