When Do Children Feel Modesty?
An important responsibility that parents have is teaching their children about their bodies and to protect their privacy. When children feel modesty, it’s important to respect these feelings.
Modesty in children is an indicator that they’re becoming aware of their body. In addition, they’re noticing the differences between sexes.
It also shows that children want to have control and make their own decisions. There may be a mixture of autonomy and shame. It starts to appear when children are around three or four years old.
Parents’ reaction to these feelings should be natural, spontaneous, and in response to what their children are expressing. In fact, it’s important that both parents are able to explain these feelings to their children.
Around this age, children start to understand what their bodies are like. Parents have one of the most important tasks to help their children with their future.
Knowing the differences between bodies and showing them limits will teach them to take care of themselves. In addition, they’ll learn to respect themselves and increase their self-esteem.
Independence when children feel modesty
When children feel modesty, it also helps them learn independence. They start building autonomy when they realize they can do well in certain situations on their own.
One of the first things might be allowing children to go to the bathroom alone, but make sure to still be supervising close by. If they know they can clean themselves on their own, they get a boost of confidence.
When taking a shower, you shouldn’t leave young children alone. You can leave the curtain open a little, and let them wash and dry themselves if they can do that on their own.
Kids can also dress themselves, as long as you supervise them. Wearing underwear while doing other tasks in the room is very helpful for their independence. At the pool or the beach, you must respect your child’s desire to change in closed places or covered with a towel.
Children feel modesty with the family or at school
When children go to relatives’ houses and want privacy to go to the bathroom, shower or get dressed, you have to give it to them. It’s a good idea to talk with their grandparents, uncles or cousins about the stage they’re going through.
As always, the priority is to take measures to protect them, trying not to affect their privacy. You can talk to the people who will be temporarily in charge of them to explain what they feel and what you do at home.
Additionally, you’ll need to take action at home with siblings or school friends. Your child may want to be alone when he changes. If that’s not possible, at least try to make sure that everyone in the room is of the same sex.
When they start to feel this way, it’s not a good idea to look at the areas they want to hide. We recommend handling this naturally so that your child knows that this is a normal process.
One process, several stages
Kids’ curiosity about sexology begins around age two. At this point, children normally ask where they come from. However, children don’t feel modesty just yet.
Around age three, they’ll start to wonder about the differences between boys and girls. They’ll also realize that boys and girls have different bodies. Then, they’ll start to identify with their same-sex parent and can name genitals.
Respecting modesty in children
Children feel modesty by age four. They start to experience shame, and this mixes with their desire for autonomy. In addition, they don’t want strangers to look at them. Also, they don’t like physical exams or questions about their bodies.
If you bathe your children at home, this is the time to stop. The goal is to establish limits and preserve their privacy. Otherwise, they can get confused about what’s normal and not normal.
After six years, children won’t allow their parents to be in the bathroom with them. They already understand the roles that men and women have. Around age nine, children generally have friends of the same sex and start to become interested in those of the opposite sex.
When children feel modesty, it’s a completely normal process. It progresses according to age, and it goes through different stages. Finally, the important thing to keep little ones calm is to show that this is completely natural, and that they have your full support.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Adolfo León Ruiz. La sexualidad. Extraído de: http://www.udea.edu.co/wps/wcm/connect/udea/6eadb036-02b9-44ec-a72e-c8cf785bfc02/120+Desarrollo+sexual+y+de+identidad+de+g%C3%A9nero+en+ni%C3%B1os%2C+ni%C3%B1as+y+adolescentes.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
- Corina A. García-Piña. (2016). Sexualidad infantil. Instituto de Pediatría, México. Extraído de: http://www.scielo.org.mx/pdf/apm/v37n1/2395-8235-apm-37-01-00047.pdf
- Dalia Santa Cruz Vera. Universidad Católica de Colombia. La importancia de la educación en el pudor. Extraído de: http://www.fuesp.com/pdfs_revistas/cp/27/cpe27art8.pdf
- Banerjee, R. (2000). The development of an understanding of modesty. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18(4), 499-517. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1348/026151000165823
- Watling, D., & Banerjee, R. (2007). Children’s understanding of modesty in front of peer and adult audiences. Infant and Child Development: An International Journal of Research and Practice, 16(3), 227-236. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/icd.450