Why does my child undress in public?
Why does my child like to take off her clothes in public?
Submitted by Parents Team

If your once-modest little girl is now tearing her clothes off every chance she gets (even in public), don't fret. This is just another case of typical -- but parent-humiliating -- toddler behavior. Undressing is often one of a child's first big-kid accomplishments, and it's natural that they're eager to attempt it often, regardless of the location. Not surprisingly, public embarrassment often doesn't register with toddlers; getting Mom's undivided attention in a public place, however, is highly desirable. Put these elements together, and you've got the perfect recipe for a toddler striptease. To avoid it, teach your child the concept of appropriateness. Allow her to let it all hang out at home, but draw the line when it happens anywhere else. If your toddler defies you and starts a striptease at the mall, resist the urge to make a big deal about it, as this just encourages her. Instead remind her that it's fine to undress off at home but not anyplace else. If she pitches a fit (a likely response), calmly take her out of the situation. Eventually, she'll learn that stripping in public won't get her what she wants. --Susanna Schrobsdorff

Copyright 2004. Reprinted with permission from the 2000 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009

Answered by Parents Team