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Well, that was unexpected. Please pass the brain bleach.


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I called my mother this afternoon because I was in the middle of an acute panic attack, and just needed some reassurance that it would pass. Somewhere in the conversation, I began discussing my in-laws, and how crazy I think it is that they really believe Covid is nothing but a cold. (MIL was a nurse. She should know better. I have nothing but pity for any of her patients!) My mother then says I should cut SIL (17 years younger than dh, and one of the rudest individuals I have ever met) some slack because she had a very difficult upbringing. I commented that she was always a  mouthy, mean-spirited child- very rude and sassy to everyone, adults and children alike- and I never once heard of saw MIL correct her for any of her behaviors. Ok, normal conversation so far, but then my mother says, “You don’t know everything about her childhood.” And then the conversation took a turn I would never have expected in a million years. 
 

Apparently, several years ago, MIL (then 66) told my mother that she and FIL are regulars at nudist/naturist campsites and beaches. 😳And they took SIL with them when she was little, about to the age of 6-7. ICK. Just ICK. Maybe she was telling my mother this to see if she and my father were interested in going with them? IDK. We get -well, we did until I blocked MIL's phone/email address- emails every 6-8 weeks saying that they would probably be out of cell phone range because they were going camping. I guess this explains how passionate they are about camping! I'm not sure whether to be shocked, outraged, or just confused. This is a couple who attends church as my grandmother would have put it, “every time the lights are on.”  FIL is a deacon, and just about got himself kicked out of my house the last time he was here for ranting about how horrible and sinful the LGBTQ community is. (I bit my tongue and left the room because it was Thanksgiving - 2019 if anyone is wondering- and I didn’t want to cause a scene.) 

 

I have no idea if they did this with dh and his brother, or if dh is even aware of it. I consider that to be abuse, but I know that there is a different vibe about the human body in that particular community. I guess I’m just shocked and trying to process the info. Anyway, the good news is that the panic attack did pass, and I now have a bit of a greater understanding of SIL's general disagreeable nature, as my mother intended. I still think they are bat guano crazy for not believing Covid is a thing though.

Edit for clarification: SIL is now in her 30s and no longer a child. I’m not sure if I made that clear.

Edited by I talk to the trees
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So, no excuse for the covid stuff, but while I've never personally been interested in a nudist colony, I don't see anything inherently awful or wrong with it, or with taking a young child.  In college I studied them for a sociology class, and the strictures around behavior at nudist colonies are very, very strict about not being sexualized.  

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3 minutes ago, Terabith said:

So, no excuse for the covid stuff, but while I've never personally been interested in a nudist colony, I don't see anything inherently awful or wrong with it, or with taking a young child.  In college I studied them for a sociology class, and the strictures around behavior at nudist colonies are very, very strict about not being sexualized.  

Agree.  Except the studying them in college, I didn't do that.  I have never been interested in going to one, but I don't see anything wrong about people being nude.   We went to a lot of beaches in different countries in Europe and while nobody was nude that we saw, it was really common to she kids and women topless and in thongs.  

Edited by mommyoffive
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7 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I can definitely see how it would be surprising to realize or imagine your inlaws frequently frequenting one though!  It would be surprising!

Yeah, surprising is putting it mildly. We are talking about 70-something, hyper-evangelicals who are very verbal about condemning all the “sinners” around them.

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I don't think a child experiencing human nudity in a context in which nudity is socially normative is abuse. Many human cultures would be inherently abusive if that were true. Not just the occasional tribe here and there; there are many cultures with traditions of communal bathing, saunas, unclothed swimming, etc.

Edited by maize
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There is nothing about the words "nude camping" that appeals to me, but I don't think it's horrible or abusive to take a child to such a place. It doesn't make for a difficult childhood in and of itself. And I certainly don't think you can blame her disagreeable nature on it, lol. 

I do, however, have the greatest sympathy for the mental picture that the words 'my in-laws go to nude beaches' inevitably conjured up.

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1 minute ago, maize said:

I don't think a child experiencing human nudity in a context in which nudity is socially normative is abuse. Many human cultures would be inherently abusive if that were true. Not just the occasional tribe here and there; there are many cultures with traditions of communal bathing, saunas, unclothed swimming, etc.

I understand that, and I honestly don’t have any problem with a child being raised in that type of setting. However, I think my ick-factor comes from them doing this quite covertly, while raising a child in the Southern Baptist tradition. I can’t imagine the sort of cognitive dissonance that would cause in a child. 

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8 minutes ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I don’t see anything inherently wrong or immoral about nudist spaces.  But I’d be worried about getting pieces of nature, like grass and pebbles, places on me they don’t belong.  Nudity just seems uncomfortable when mixed with nature.

And I would be cold too

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21 minutes ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I don’t see anything inherently wrong or immoral about nudist spaces.  But I’d be worried about getting pieces of nature, like grass and pebbles, places on me they don’t belong.  Nudity just seems uncomfortable when mixed with nature.

I believe experienced nudists always carry something to sit on, like a towel.   If somebody had told me that before I went outside naked, I may have enjoyed it more than I did 😞 

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I agree that I don't see anything inherently wrong with it, except that it's certainly not the norm for our culture here so it feels uncomfortable.  Also, the mix of strict Southern Baptist plus nudist camp does seems odd!  Are you going to ask your dh about it?  

Possibly it's the whole mix of everything -- nudist camp, conservative church, non-believers of Covid, unhappy dd -- that makes it seem like something's a little off.

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30 minutes ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I don’t see anything inherently wrong or immoral about nudist spaces.  But I’d be worried about getting pieces of nature, like grass and pebbles, places on me they don’t belong.  Nudity just seems uncomfortable when mixed with nature.

it's the discrepancy of going to a nudist colony - with their child - during the week, and attending a "completely cover up to be modest' church on Sunday.  it's the contradictions the child is having to deal with.   

(my mother went around her apartment in the nude.  seeing your parent like that is just -  ick.  - they're they ones that teach you to wear clothes - so yes, it's a contradiction.  yeah - I learned to always knock, and pay attention to where I sat.)

 

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3 minutes ago, rebcoola said:

I don't see what being southern baptist has to do with anything.  Their is nothing sinful about being nude.  

I don't think it's wrong or sinful, just a very unusual combination! 

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1 minute ago, gardenmom5 said:

it's the discrepancy of going to a nudist colony - with their child - during the week, and attending a "completely cover up to be modest' church on Sunday.  it's the contradictions the child is having to deal with.   

Yes, I wonder about that too.

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I guess they may be those kind of southern Baptist but the churches have actually a pretty wide range on this being a loose network rather than being a true denomination.  I attend a southern baptist church and am quite free wheeling about nudity. Though going camping nude doesn't sound appealing.

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1 hour ago, I talk to the trees said:

I understand that, and I honestly don’t have any problem with a child being raised in that type of setting. However, I think my ick-factor comes from them doing this quite covertly, while raising a child in the Southern Baptist tradition. I can’t imagine the sort of cognitive dissonance that would cause in a child. 

That makes more sense. The disconnect between the two environments and the two sets of rules, both with the same set of parents, must have been jarring.

But it probably has nothing to do with why she is the way she is today.

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1 hour ago, I talk to the trees said:

I understand that, and I honestly don’t have any problem with a child being raised in that type of setting. However, I think my ick-factor comes from them doing this quite covertly, while raising a child in the Southern Baptist tradition. I can’t imagine the sort of cognitive dissonance that would cause in a child. 

That could be confusing for a child.  They're going nude camping on the weekends, but in church they're bombarded with messages about how they should dress modestly for God.  If it came with a big dose of Don't Tell it could be problematic.

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I agree that there's a disconnect there between a conservative, modesty-pushing religion and a nudist colony, but I doubt it's confusing to a kid. Kids learn to code switch pretty easily. And I don't think it's abusive either. I mean, of course it could always become abusive, but just in and of itself. A few times I've talked to people I know who have been to nudist spaces and it always sounds incredibly unsexual. I mean, the Korean spa isn't very sexual. Once you normalize it, it's just normal. Years ago someone told me about their parents who were nudists and they were also slightly conservative, not super tolerant types. I wonder if it's sort of a type.

I do think it's unusual and a lot to process. 

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Adding that I really wanted my kids to go to the Korean spa at one point to experience the normality of nudity and of the plethora of human body types. They were so not on board with that. Oh well.

Sigh. I miss the K Spa. I can't imagine when that particular experience could possibly feel safe again though.

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How is it abuse to camp naked with young children?  Unless there was exposure to sexual activity, naked camping is neither abuse nor neglect. 

There is nothing wrong with the human body.  I find the attitude that something is wrong with nakedness to be problematic.  Perhaps exposing children to naked bodies as a normal matter of course - in a matter of fact way - would cut down on their own curiosity and/or shame.  Making a big deal about being naked is more of a problem than actually seeing or being...

I also don't see how this fact about your in-laws has anything to do with them also raising your SIL to be rude?

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28 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I agree that there's a disconnect there between a conservative, modesty-pushing religion and a nudist colony, but I doubt it's confusing to a kid. Kids learn to code switch pretty easily.  

I learned to not trust adults who sent me mixed messages like that.

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1 hour ago, gardenmom5 said:

(my mother went around her apartment in the nude.  seeing your parent like that is just -  ick.  - they're they ones that teach you to wear clothes - so yes, it's a contradiction.  yeah - I learned to always knock, and pay attention to where I sat.)

 

My inlaws walk around in the nude, not recreationally, but like if the clothes they want are in the basement laundry room or to and from the shower and what not.  It's not a big deal for any of us, or my teen kids.  

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34 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I agree that there's a disconnect there between a conservative, modesty-pushing religion and a nudist colony, but I doubt it's confusing to a kid. Kids learn to code switch pretty easily. And I don't think it's abusive either. I mean, of course it could always become abusive, but just in and of itself. A few times I've talked to people I know who have been to nudist spaces and it always sounds incredibly unsexual. I mean, the Korean spa isn't very sexual. Once you normalize it, it's just normal. Years ago someone told me about their parents who were nudists and they were also slightly conservative, not super tolerant types. I wonder if it's sort of a type.

I do think it's unusual and a lot to process. 

Somehow I see a significant difference between a Korean spa and a nudist camp. It makes sense why people don’t wear clothes in a communal bathing environment, and I agree that seems like a healthy experience for kids to normalize nudity. I could never understand the reason for nudist colonies/camps though. Why go somewhere to be naked with a lot of people for activities that have no logical reason to be done naked? Rather than seeming to normalize nudity and make it no big deal, it makes it seem like nudity is a very big interest of people who are into that. I’ve always wondered what the reason is, since I’ve always heard it’s not sexual in any way. 

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4 minutes ago, Terabith said:

My inlaws walk around in the nude, not recreationally, but like if the clothes they want are in the basement laundry room or to and from the shower and what not.  It's not a big deal for any of us, or my teen kids.  

she was nude because she didn't like clothes.

it was one more thing, it wasn't the only thing.

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Just now, gardenmom5 said:

she was nude because she didn't like clothes.

it was one more thing, it wasn't the only thing.

I agree, it sounds like there are real issues.  

I'm the only person who regularly wears pants in our house.  Wearing clothes of any sort on a regular basis took years of indoctrination.  Some people just don't like clothes.  

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8 minutes ago, kand said:

Somehow I see a significant difference between a Korean spa and a nudist camp. It makes sense why people don’t wear clothes in a communal bathing environment, and I agree that seems like a healthy experience for kids to normalize nudity. I could never understand the reason for nudist colonies/camps though. Why go somewhere to be naked with a lot of people for activities that have no logical reason to be done naked? Rather than seeming to normalize nudity and make it no big deal, it makes it seem like nudity is a very big interest of people who are into that. I’ve always wondered what the reason is, since I’ve always heard it’s not sexual in any way. 

I have the sense that it doesn't feel all that different from people I've talked to. I mean, at the K Spa, you see people naked in the in between room sitting around chatting and stuff. I don't know... 

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19 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

I learned to not trust adults who sent me mixed messages like that.

I think it really depends on the context. Adults that moralize about modesty and then take you to a nudist colony are, indeed, not trustworthy. Adults who make it clear that we behave in one way in some places and another in other places because we respect the expectations and sensitivities of those around us or because it's safe to behave a certain way in one space but unsafe in another... I don't think that's untrustworthy at all. The world asks everyone to do that in various ways all the time. I don't think it's inherently confusing or bad for kids to realize that you act one way at home and another at school. Or that you can act one way at fun Aunt Jane's but another at dour Grandma Smith's. In this particular situation, my guess is that it wasn't confusing to a young child, but probably would become a source of resentment of parental hypocrisy later in the tween and teen years.

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2 minutes ago, Farrar said:

 Adults who make it clear that we behave in one way in some places and another in other places because we respect the expectations and sensitivities of those around us 

I will agree with this.   behaving appropriately for your location.  you jump on the trampoline - not the furniture.

but it's also - you say thank you to aunt june for doing something for you, and leave it there.   you DON'T tell her to her face how she didn't need to, then rip into her behind her back about how she *owed* it to you and she should have given you more.    

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10 hours ago, I talk to the trees said:

I understand that, and I honestly don’t have any problem with a child being raised in that type of setting. However, I think my ick-factor comes from them doing this quite covertly, while raising a child in the Southern Baptist tradition. I can’t imagine the sort of cognitive dissonance that would cause in a child. 

Edited the original post because I wasn’t quite clear. But here it is again: SIL is in her 30s now. 

Quoting myself because I now know why it bothers me so much. I was raised in a similar church to the one in-laws attend and took their children to. There is a very strong “the naked body is a thing to be viewed only by one's spouse” vibe, and a strong emphasis on modesty- especially for women, because you don’t want to be the cause of someone else's lustful thoughts. Being told that naked is bad every Wednesday and Sunday, while participating with your parents in something that has to be hidden and not spoken of at church (or, let’s be honest here, at school or anywhere else. Not saying that’s right, but in my particular part of the country, that sort of thing is pearl-clutchingly scandalous.) would have to be difficult. 
 

To be clear, I don’t have any real issues with the idea of naturists. I wish I could be a more body-positive person. I look in the bathroom mirror and see everything that’s sagging, not everything that works exactly as nature intended. It just came as a real humdinger of a shock. You’d think that if they really embraced the culture, in the over quarter of a century that I have known them, they would have said something, even just a discreet little mention. But they really are the “the Lord only wants your spouse to see your body” sort of Christians. There are other things that now make me lean toward feeling like IL's behavior was abusive (like my SIL's refusal to ever come home for a visit, not even when MIL had a very serious and dangerous surgery, and SIL's recent hospitalization for what was supposedly an accidental drug combination reaction.)

Also, I should acknowledge here that I do understand that Baptist churches vary, but there are exactly zero that I know of in this neck of the woods that would be accepting of such activities. 

Edited by I talk to the trees
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36 minutes ago, I talk to the trees said:

Also, I should acknowledge here that I do understand that Baptist churches vary, but there are exactly zero that I know of in this neck of the woods that would be accepting of such activities. 

I totally grew up in a Baptist church that would have been chill with the nudists and still would. But definitely not the norm for Baptist churches!

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2 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Gonna also put out there that the SIL may not have had a choice in whether she had to attend the nudist camp. 

Nudity without consent is icky. 

Well, no, children who are too young to be left alone unsupervised generally have to go with their parents if their parents can't afford a sitter.

It's my understanding that even in naturalist settings that generally require everybody be naked (to avoid voyeurs) they often waive that rule for kids.

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9 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

Well, no, children who are too young to be left alone unsupervised generally have to go with their parents if their parents can't afford a sitter.

It's my understanding that even in naturalist settings that generally require everybody be naked (to avoid voyeurs) they often waive that rule for kids.

There is no way to decline to see everyone else that is naked if she was stuck going on the trips. Isn't part of the community vibe that people are there voluntarily? 

Obviously, I don't know the exact situation that SIL experienced. Maybe she didn't feel one way or the other about going. Thinking of how *I* felt as a young kid, I would not have been ok going, and someone saying "Oh, that's ok, you can keep your clothes on!" wouldn't have made it ok, either.

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1 hour ago, Tanaqui said:

Well, no, children who are too young to be left alone unsupervised generally have to go with their parents if their parents can't afford a sitter.

It's my understanding that even in naturalist settings that generally require everybody be naked (to avoid voyeurs) they often waive that rule for kids.

I’m an adult who would have another adult arrested for showing me (or my kids) their bits without my (for me or their for them) consent.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bodies or nudist lifestyles as long as I don’t have to take part, but mixing children and not-their-parents in otherwise mainstream America... That’s way outside of my ability to stretch my concept of cultural differences.

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8 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

I’m an adult who would have another adult arrested for showing me (or my kids) their bits without my (for me or their for them) consent.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bodies or nudist lifestyles as long as I don’t have to take part, but mixing children and not-their-parents in otherwise mainstream America... That’s way outside of my ability to stretch my concept of cultural differences.

 

Sure, because if you're just walking down the street and there's a flasher, then there's a sexual component. But what if you're hiking in the woods and you stumble across somebody peeing? The context would be totally different.

Here it's the same - the context is totally different.

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Going to nudist beaches does not traumatize a child and causes them to be a mean-spirited person.
There is nothing inherently sexual about nudity either, unless a culture chooses to make it so. 
My home town has nude beaches. Doesn't turn folks into assholes.

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I get the idea that seeing things that are sexual requires consent - no one should be forced to view sexual content or acts without their consent and especially not children. But nudity in and of itself in a context where all people are nude is not sexual. It's not abusive or scarring for a child to see nude bodies. Like, it wasn't scarring for my kids to see nude people in a pool dressing room as kids. When it becomes a nude beach or a naturist camp, that is the context. 

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Well, I'm gonna be the odd man out here.

I have no issue with "normal" (meaning well-run, typical) nudist colonies, nudity, even for children, and certainly not for adults.

However, I'd like to point out that none of us really know whether or not the 'nudist camps' that the ILs attended with their then-young daughter were actually that (or just something called that, to make it seem legit), and I'm a little surprised that everyone is making the assumption that they were. I do find it concerning that the ILs seem to have a very different public image and set of professed values & "standards" than their attendance at the camps seems to communicate (I'd be curious to know if they ever publicly spoke in their church of their attendance at these camps). It smacks of a double life. Especially since the ILs don't seem to be too well balanced to start with.

Of course, that doesn't make them guilty. But I also can't just assume their innocence, or that their version of "nudist camp" is what everyone seems to be assuming in this thread (no offense intended).

 

 

Edited by Happy2BaMom
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I see, none of the churches I have attended have had a strong message about nakedness or skin showing being sinful.  

But I think a lot of people attend church they don't 100% agree with.   So maybe they simply talked with their kid about the churches stance versus their own conscience.

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2 hours ago, Thatboyofmine said:

Am I the only person who would’ve called my in-laws right then and there and made them tell me all about the nudist colony???    I 100% would have.  

For multiple reasons, I have gone no-contact with the IL's (crazy Covid/political/ conspiracy theory behaviors among them), but I am planning to talk to dh tonight about this. There are so many things that have seemed “off” about his family over the years. You know the feeling you get when something is strange, or doesn’t quite add up, but you can’t put your finger on exactly what it is? Maybe living a secret double life explains some of it. I'm also curious to know if dh was made to participate in these trips when he was young, and how he feels about it. 
 

I think I posted here first because I couldn’t actually call a friend on this one (small town), and I needed a chorus of sane people (thank you hive!) to chime in and help me process this information. 

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Honestly, I don't think most adults follow every thing they are taught in church. People are sinners. If nudity, at a nudist camp, is the worst they do, I think that is pretty low on the sinners measuring bar. They are modest when in modest company, and reserve thier nudity for a place where that is welcome, then I don't really see a problem with the discrepancy. 

Kids are resilient and absolutely adapt rules being location specific. I don't think nudity is a big enough contrast to cause a personality issue. For example...many kids are raised in mixed faith homes, where one parent is teaching one thing and the other is teaching a countering view. I went to a 7th Day Adventist school during the week (fully vegan) growing up. Some of my friends parents were vegan, some vegetarian, some just health conscious and and my parents were avid hunters. I helped to hang and process deer all time.  Many families had different views, on just that one simple rule. As kids we all adapted when we went to each others homes and made sure to accommodate the strictest diets. It didn't create personality issues, just a bit of confusion as we worked out the details and understanding as we got to know each other's families a bit more. 

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