Magazine article Work & Family Life

Why the Sudden Modesty in an 8-Year-Old?

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Why the Sudden Modesty in an 8-Year-Old?

Article excerpt

Q Our 8-year-old is demanding privacy in her bedroom while she's changing cloches and also in the bathroom. The other day she tried to shoo me out of a dressing room at a store. My husband says I should be more sensitive about her self-consciousness, but I feel like saying "Who do you think changed your diapers?"

-R. K., Los Angeles

A The quest for privacy usually occurs in stages, and this is normal for an 8-year-old, says Justin Richardson, M.D., coauthor of Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask). The first sign is often embarrassment at undressing in front of someone such as a doctor. Next may come more modest behavior at home.

These changes are a natural step on the pathway toward independence, adds Gayle Peterson, Ph.D., author of Making Healthy Families. She suggests establishing some family rules such as "knock before you enter a bedroom" and "don't interrupt someone in the bathroom. …

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