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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Lets It All Hang Out In Front Of Grown Sons

DEAR ABBY: I am 30 and my husband, "Brent," is 35. We have had some financial troubles lately and recently had to move in with my mother-in-law.

My question is, how old should a child be before his mother quits walking around naked in front of him? My mother-in-law still walks around completely nude in front of Brent and his 39-year-old brother. Although she is in good health, she always seems to need Brent's help getting in and out of the shower.

She also parades nude in front of me, and it makes me very uncomfortable. I have talked to Brent about it a few times, and he said she's been this way his whole life.

Is this normal behavior? Am I overreacting? I have a daughter, and I don't get naked in front of her. How do I approach this without causing hurt feelings? -- COVERED UP IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR COVERED UP: Obviously, in the household that your husband was raised, this behavior was normal. I am puzzled, however, that your mother-in-law needs help getting in and out of the shower. What are the "boys" supposed to do -- scrub her back?

Because her nudity makes you uncomfortable, the most tactful way to approach this would be for Brent to explain to his mother that you were not raised this way, and that you both would appreciate it if she'd wear a robe when you're around. It's worth a try.

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