Thursday, April 8, 2010

Uncomfortable Nudity

Older Sister in McAllen, Texas writes: 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." 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,

I think your social cues are right on. Is your brother the "baby" of the family? As a studying psychologist I find that birth order plays a huge role into the roles members of a family play. Your brother may be doing this act as a way to hold on to his youth and dismiss "growing up" or he may simply be doing it because he knows it bugs you (you know how younger siblings can be). Of course, your mother is playing a large part in your brothers actions currently. Children learn about social norms primarily from their parents. Because your mother condones his actions, there are no consequences. There is also a cultural aspect to this topic. In some cultures nudity is completely accepted and thought nothing of, all the way through adulthood. Given that you live in Texas, America, your instincts are compliant with your culture's acceptable norms. Here comes the advice for you. As difficult as it is, stop making a big deal out of it. When children learn they can acquire a given reaction which they find pleasurable, they will continue to do it. Your brother gets a kick out of driving you crazy. Go about life as usual without accommodating for your brother's actions. If he doesn't put a stop to his behavior on his own, your mother eventually will. All it will take is one embarrassing moment for him or for her and the problem will be addressed.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds to me like Mom wants to keep the boy a baby. Not good. Not good at all.