I took a shower with my mom

What Happened When My Boyfriend’s Mum Caught Us In The Shower

So there we were, two twentysomethings just hanging out on a Friday afternoon doing what regular twentysomethings do. You know, “talking” and enjoying each other’s company. So far, so good. Then my boyfriend turns to me and says, “I’m about to hop in the shower, come with me.” After a quick glance at the clock, I declined his offer because I knew his mum and younger sister would be home any minute. “It’s okay,” he said. “They won’t be home for another two hours.” I paused and figured surely he knows his mother’s schedule better than I do, so why the hell not? I stripped off all my clothes, left them in the living room (rookie mistake), and decided to join him.

The hot water began flowing; drenching everything from my shower cap down to my toes. After we were both warm, we decided we’d be sweet and thoughtful adults, and lather each other up. It was a “you wash my back, I wash yours” kind of situation. There wasn’t anything remotely sexual going on, aside from the fact that we were naked within the same space.
As we’re rinsing off, the front door opens and I hear his mum and sister talking. I just about shat myself and died. Let me tell you, nothing in life quite prepares you for the moment your significant other’s parents come home and find the two of you in a very compromising position. Nothing. No matter how old you are, it’s always a jolting experience. You’re sort of just thrown to the wolves and have to hope and pray you’ll be alright. I was not going to be alright.

A full-on panic attack was four five seconds away from going down, and he was standing there remarkably calm. I mean, of course he was. He’s her son. I, on the other hand, was the Freak of the Week harlot leading him astray. FML!
I had to think quick. I thought maybe I could get dressed and just pretend I was using the bathroom while he was showering. But my clothes! My clothes were haphazardly thrown about in the living room and there was literally no way I could retrieve them without being noticed. I then thought about jumping out the window in a towel. But guess what? There was no window! I was trapped and knew I had to face his mom and sister like the little shameful sinner I was.

My boyfriend, bless his soul, dried off and headed out before me. He really had no choice, because there was no way in hell I was going to go out there in a towel; as if I wasn’t already clinging to life support. But here’s the kicker. He began ironing his clothes like everything was normal, and sent his sister into the bathroom to hand me my clothes. Yeah. In case you’re wondering, that definitely made the entire experience all the more horrifying.

After taking my precious time getting dressed, I emerged from the den of bad behaviour and took a seat in the living room, barely getting out a “Hi.” I can’t tell you if his mother responded to me, I was too focused on keeping my breathing normal to care. I do remember fidgeting, waiting for her to say something passive aggressive (that’s always been her M.O.) But she remained silent, clearly thinking of the perfect concoction of words that would annihilate me. Oh, and where was my boyfriend during this cold war you ask? Still ironing the wrinkles out of his shirt and practically whistling while doing so, obviously.

An eternity later, he finished getting himself together as a friend of his mum’s rang the bell. That was a good thing! She would be too busy laughing it up with her gal pal to say anything as we quietly made our getaway. Right? Not exactly. As soon as we were about to get into the elevator she paused her conversation and warned, “Don’t you ever let that happen again” I smiled the most nervous smile and told her it wouldn’t. I was relieved I was getting off that easy, though I’m sure she gave her friend all the tea on what just happened after we were out of sight. But oh well! Ignorance was bliss in that situation, and let me tell you I was on cloud freaking nine.
Several years later, I’m glad to report that we were never caught in a sticky situation again. Not even close. Lesson learned, studied, and mastered.

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This article was written by Cliché. Follow her @CalamityCliche.

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Courtesy of Deirdre Goodwin

My son Noah is “all boy” — he loves sports and was in gymnastics for four years. He’s always showing off his flips and being Mr. Center of Attention, which he usually gets to be anyway because he’s my only child and the only grandchild in my extended family. Still, he loves our “cuggle” time, which is what he’s called cuddling since he was a baby.

Back then and often now, we take baths together. It started out mostly as a matter of convenience and saving time, but he still prefers to take showers with me.

Around 4 or 5 years old, he started noticing things and asking questions. I tried to address them in an age-appropriate, non-judgmental manner: “These are the parts mommies and girls have, and those are the parts daddies and boys have.” We also talked about who is allowed to touch our private parts. I’d gently remind him, “This is Mommy’s private area, only for me to touch.” I never want him to be ashamed or embarrassed of naked bodies.

Now that he’s older, the questions have slowed down, but I still try not to make a huge deal out of anything. I see him naked when I help him get dressed, and if I’m changing, I don’t jump and cover myself if he walks in my room. He knows Mommy wears clothes when we have company, and I expect him to be modest around others because his private parts aren’t their business.

Around his fifth birthday, we started to run out of room in the shower and got more into the habit of bathing separately, but he still loves when I allow him to shower with me. It happens most often if I’m exhausted after work and want to go to sleep at the same time he does. But usually Noah bathes alone, at night. He just loves the water and can stay in the shower until the water runs cold or in the bath for an hour.

Teaching my son about all bodies is very important to me, but especially women’s bodies. We are in a grave age where bullying and unrealistic body images are increasingly prevalent. I want my son to know what a real body looks like — with fat, bumps, lumps, rolls, stretch marks and all types of “imperfections” — so that he will respect women and never body shame anyone. I don’t want Noah’s images of women coming from Victoria Secret catalogs, movies or even, when he gets older, pornography. Hopefully, this will also help him become secure in himself and in his own body.

Noah’s paternal grandmother has been an example for me when it comes to body image and creating a positive, comfortable environment. She is often naked around family — including her four sons and grandchildren. She bathed with his cousins and Noah when he was younger, and I am perfectly fine with that.

I want my son to know what a real body looks like — with stretch marks and all types of imperfections.

My mom, however, is still freaked out about how open Noah and I are with being naked. She raised two boys and she would never let them see her without clothes on, only me. Some of my friends don’t agree, but they know I don’t really care what they think about my parenting styles so they don’t say too much. On Facebook, I’ve connected with some other moms of boys who also want their sons to have a realistic, positive view of women’s bodies. The topic is really close to my heart.

I don’t sugarcoat life for my son. For example, we went to a new pediatric dentist recently, and Noah asked if it would hurt. I said, “Probably, and it might bleed some, too, but you will be okay.” The dental assistant freaked out and said they don’t call it blood at the office; they call it “tomato juice.” Are you kidding me? The last thing I want is for Noah to be hurt and call 911 and say, “I have tomato juice coming out of my body.”

Deirdre Goodwin

Instead, I try to have age-appropriate but honest conversations about life with my son. If he asks me a question, I answer it. I use “big words” and then we pause so I can explain them. I probably overdo it, but I’d rather him be flooded with knowledge on a consistent basis, as opposed to me dismissively answering that something is too complicated or by saying, “It’s magic.” As a single mother, I desire to prepare my son for life as much as I can, because I never know when my time is up.

I’m Noah’s mom first, but he’s also my “go-to” guy. I never want him to feel uncomfortable or ashamed of telling me or asking me anything, especially when it comes to his body and sexuality. As a parent, I should be his “go-to” and not his peers, who have no clue about anything. We are connected with glue, and I feel that having zero unnecessary limitations has made us so much closer.

Bathing With Your Baby

It can be more than okay to bathe with your baby! For starters, what better way to shower your little one with love and boost bonding than to cuddle skin-to-skin? Bathing your baby in a tub of warm water can also soothe a crying jag: Your baby will probably calm down as she feels your body against hers, along with the warm water and change of scenery. Another plus to bathing with your baby? You’re bound to get a sense of well-being, and that’s sure to wash over her. Some moms enjoy breastfeeding in the bath since the warm water can help with the letdown of milk. And taking a bath with your baby can even be a time-saver: After you’ve washed her (and snuck in a snuggle or two), hand her off to your partner and finish up with a little private tub-time.

Of course, bathing with a baby is a whole different ball game from sudsing up solo. Some things to keep in mind:

Wait until she’s old enough. Don’t submerge your baby in water until her umbilical cord drops off and her navel has healed. Stick to sponge baths and turn to other bonding tactics, such as kangaroo care (holding your baby’s bare body against your bare chest) until then.

Make sure the water is just right. It should be body temperature or a tiny bit warmer (use a thermometer if you’re not sure) and no deeper than two or three inches.

Gather everything you’ll need before you get into the tub, including any items you’ll use to bathe your baby (body wash, shampoo, washcloths, towels). If you forget something, skip it or take your baby with you if you must have it now. Never, never leave your child alone in the tub, not even for a second.

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Step into the water sans baby. Do not try to climb into the (slippery) tub while holding your (slippery) little one. Place her in her bouncy seat or car seat beside the bath, get in yourself, and then reach over for her. Better yet, have your partner hand her to you.

Get a grip. If your tub doesn’t have a nonslip mat, lay one down now so that you don’t slide around: Even if you’re sitting, your baby could easily take a nosedive if you slip. And when you’re taking a bath with your baby, keep both hands on her at all times. Try bending your knees and letting your little one recline against your thighs facing you.

Keep her wet and warm. Use a plastic cup to pour water over your baby’s body from time to time — that’ll keep her from getting chilly.

Make a safe exit. When baby bath time is over, reverse the steps you followed to get into the tub: Place your baby into her bouncy or car seat and tuck a towel around her, or hand her to someone else before you get out.

The real beauty of bathing with your baby is that it’s an experience you can share for months to come. Of course, by then, taking a bath with your little one will be more about water play than snuggling, but that’s okay.

Have a splash!

Mother and Son Bath Sex

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How to Take a Bath or Shower With Children and Not Make It Weird

Parents shower in front of and bathe with their children all the time. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, a shared bath or open shower is often a necessity for a parent struggling to get free time or caregiving alone. Done right, the family shower can provide an effective forum for a child to wash independently and learn a bit about anatomy while becoming comfortable with their own body. That’s all for the better right up until the point at which it becomes very, very uncomfortable and it’s best for washing to become a closed-door, solo endeavor. When that happens depends largely on how parents feel about nudity and what message they want to send.

“The general rule of thumb is by the time children reach school age, around five years old, they shouldn’t be showering with you,” says Dr. Richard Beyer, a licensed psychologist in Arcadia, California. “That’s the conventional wisdom, the general cutoff line.”

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Beyer is quick to add that the bathroom provides a lot of teachable moments and can be a place where basic hygiene is learned in a hands-on way through demonstration and mimicry. It’s where kids see how to use the toilet properly and discover about how their bodies work in general. He further adds that parents should feel comfortable in front of their children. Should, though, is the operative word. Most Americans probably don’t. Compared to Europeans, we’re a decidedly prudish bunch.

While the “conventional” wisdom is that age five is the general time a child should be experiencing autonomy in the bathroom, it’s more than likely that the child will indicate that they’re ready to be alone without prompting. It could be as simple as a little girl telling her parents she wants to take a bath alone, or suddenly showing reservations about nudity and avoiding it. Some kids, though, tend to treat being naked in front of others with the lax attitude of a hedonist at a nude beach. When that’s the case, Beyer recommends gradually getting children used to showering, bathing, and using the toilet alone by implementing encouraging verbal cues before they enter schools.

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How to Shower With Your Kid and Not Make it Weird

  • Showering with their kids allows parents to model comfort in their bodies for their kids, teaching them to be okay with themselves and their imperfections.
  • Parents may want to stop showering with kids around the age of five when it becomes likely kids can be independent and when it also becomes likely that the behavior will be misinterpreted.
  • Even once parents stop showering with kids, because they or the kids became uncomfortable, they should be careful not to stigmatize nudity. Nudity happens. It’s best that kids not see it as a big deal.

“Three to six months before they enter kindergarten, start transitioning. ‘You’re a big girl. Now it’s time to teach you how to do this on your own,’” says Beymer. “A lot of it is in the teaching, in the setup. It’s how you approach it.”

Ideally, parents can make the transition without stigmatizing nudity. After all, children will will likely see their parents naked from time to time no matter what. Locker rooms, for example, still largely utilize group showers, and no one locks every door all the time. Nudity happens.

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Besides which, Parents want children to feel confident and normal in their bodies, and demonstrating that confidence is a key to instilling that value. The bathroom is the most logical place to do that (the only acceptable place if one lives with the in-laws). Still, even bathroom nudity is uncomfortable for many, many parents, and a lot of that discomfort is rooted in values and mores passed down over generations. When it comes to bathroom time, a parent who treats nudity as a natural part of the day is likely to raise a child with a similar attitude, while a parent who spends shower time hiding their body at all costs is going to likely raise a child who views nudity as shameful or wrong, even if dad tells the child that everything is normal.

“Kids get taught two ways: verbally and nonverbally. Your nonverbal actions are stronger than verbal actions,” says Beyer, stressing that parents shouldn’t tell a child to be comfortable while displaying visible discomfort.

A parent can still normalize nudity in front of their child without making them uncomfortable. But it’s also a matter of teaching them independence and autonomy, and allowing them to shower and bathe can help bolster confidence when the parent finally steps out at a safe time. Parents who instituted a closed-door policy before their child expresses embarrassment about the situation can turn the transition from an awkward change into something of a milestone of independence, and if there’s anything children value and respond to, it’s increased parental trust and independence.All that said and all permissiveness aside, it’s also important to understand that people outside of a family may react aggressively to hearing about habits they deem bizarre or potentially abusive. A big part of the reason for the cut off at five years old is that 5-year-old kids talk and no one wants to go to jail.

“If a 5-year-old girl goes into kindergarten and says ‘I shower with my father’ I can guarantee you, at least here in California, the teacher’s going to call child protective services, and they’re going get a knock on the door from a social worker within 24 hours,” says Beyer. “That will happen even if the girl never says, ‘My father touched me.’ It raises a red flag once they’re at that age.”

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Why you shouldn’t be ashamed of bathing with your kids, despite the Perez Hilton controversy


(Credit: iStock) By Mary Widdicks October 16, 2015

Social media icon Perez Hilton has been called everything from a bad father to a child abuser since posting a photo of himself and his son showering together. The photo appeared on Instagram and showed Hilton from the waist up and his son’s head poking over his shoulder. The boy was completely covered below the neck.

The negative backlash has spurred debates about whether it’s okay for a parent to be naked in the shower with their toddler in the first place, and if so, what images of children are appropriate to share on social media. One mother claimed that Hilton’s image of his son’s naked body, even when obscured, could trigger victims of sexual abuse and even elicit attention from pedophiles.

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I go in-depth into #Showergate on the latest episode of my podcast. It gets intense! Listen at http://Play.it/Perez and subscribe on iTunes to The PHP: Perez Hilton Podcast

A post shared by Perez Hilton (@theperezhilton) on Oct 7, 2015 at 8:37am PDT

I think it’s time we stop and consider the message that statements like these are sending to our children.

I am the mother of three children: two boys, ages 5 and 2; and a little girl, eight months. I bathe with all three of them every day. What started out as the only way to keep my first born son from screaming while I tried to wipe the poop smears off his infant body turned into a cherished family ritual that has brought us all closer together. It has also taught my children some important lessons about life. Contrary to the opinions of many, human beings are capable of distinguishing between anatomical nudity and sexually explicit nudity.

Sexuality is something that everyone eventually discovers, but the world would be a better place if people understood that it is supposed to have a context. Breasts exist to nourish and comfort babies. There is nothing sexual about a mom exposing part of her breast while feeding her child. Yet when that same woman straps on an industrial-strength push-up bra and a low-cut dress in an attempt to distract her husband from Monday Night Football, he might become aroused. Otherwise, doctor’s offices, nude beaches, art studios and lactation consultants would be very uncomfortable environments. Children will never learn to make these distinctions if we do not give them the tools and experiences to do so.

There have been protests and arguments on social media sites about the increasingly limiting dress codes being implemented in schools across the United States. Girls are being told that their bodies are too distracting to their male counterparts so they must cover up or face suspension. Why are we blaming the girls for the boys’ inability to contextualize their sexuality? Where does the slut-shaming end? If it’s the girl’s fault that the boy next to her failed chemistry because he was too busy staring at her exposed collarbone, then is it also her fault when he drugs and rapes her at a party because she was wearing a short skirt?

No matter the evolutionary implications of mankind’s obsessive need to spread his seed at every opportunity, humans have developed a wonderful adaptation called a frontal lobe in their brain which allows them to keep their primal urges in check. When the captain of the football team forfeits his starting position to a more talented rookie, we do not condone him urinating all over the new kid’s locker in an evolutionarily-relevant display of territorial showboating. We expect him to conduct himself with poise and restraint, and we should expect the same of him when his female lab partner leans across the table and flashes a hint of cleavage.

It’s a slippery slope to teach children that it is their responsibility to cover their bodies in order to protect themselves from predators. If photos of children in the bath, obscured from the camera below the shoulders, are too sexually explicit to post on the internet, then perhaps we should also require them to wear long pants or floor-length skirts at all times. Of course, we should also force them to cover their arms, shoulders, and necks. Maybe even their hair and faces as well, just in case anyone extrapolates from the tiniest patch of exposed skin that they are (gasp!) naked underneath their clothes, and begins to fantasize. In other cultures, we call this female oppression, but here in the U.S., we are coming dangerously close to returning to our puritanical roots.

I’m as disgusted as the the next person at the idea of people sexualizing young children, but the fact is, people are aroused by all sorts of weird things. It could be an image of your child’s foot, their left eyeball, or a stuffed unicorn that sparks a stranger’s fancy. If the idea that someone, somewhere, might look at your child in an inappropriate way, do not post photos of them on the internet AT ALL. That is your choice. However, it is not a form of child abuse or irresponsible parenting to choose not to think about what goes on in the privacy of some wacko’s mind.

Rather than concentrate on shaming our children for their bodies in a desperate attempt to shield them from the sins of the internet, it would be healthier to teach our children that their bodies are natural, beautiful, and universal: that the sight of another human being’s thigh, hip, neck, or breasts is not cause for remark or leering. They are simply appendages like a hand or a foot, and the sooner our kids get used to seeing them, the better. Otherwise, we might as well lock our children away in a gilded tower until they come of age and can be revealed to the dirty world.

Modern psychology recognizes that making something taboo or forbidden often leads to a fixation called the forbidden fruit effect. By hiding our bodies from our children as if they are something shameful and elicit reinforces for them that all bodies are dirty and thus subject to dirty thoughts. Instead, we should use bath time as an opportunity to show our children that bodies come in different shapes and sizes, some wrinklier and saggier than others, and that there is nothing strange about noticing some obvious differences in the genders.

My boys are drawn to my breasts and will compulsively poke them while in the tub. However, instead of panicking, covering my body, and turning away in shame, I use the opportunity to have an open dialogue with them about respecting other people’s bodies and space. I explain that everyone’s body is their own property and that it is not okay to touch any part of it until they give you permission. Because we live in a society that does not look kindly on exposing one’s privates in a public place, I also explain to them that certain body parts are considered private and should stay covered unless they are at home.

There will come a time when my boys will choose to shower alone rather than splash around in the bath tub with me and their baby sister, and I will respect their decision. No matter how comfortable they are around me and my body, they will still start to see other women differently as they go through puberty and adolescence, and they will need space to explore that side of themselves.

My hope is that the contrast between the two types of nudity and their experiences with them will guide them as they start distinguishing for themselves between what is sexy and what is functional. I hope they never feel compelled to shame a celebrity for sharing a happy, healthy moment with his son just because they are scared of the bodies off camera. I hope they never say they failed a test because a girl wears a short skirt. I hope they never blame a victim of sexual violence for dressing evocatively and “asking for it.” I hope they grow up feeling confident about their bodies and respectful of those around them, no matter what the context.

If I can teach them these things while washing behind their ears, scrubbing the bottoms of their feet, and squirting them with bath toys, then I will. And maybe you should, too.

Mary Widdicks is mom to two boys and a baby girl and freelance writer. She blogs at OutmannedMommy.com. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Like On Parenting on Facebook for more essays, advice and news. You can sign up here for our newsletter. You can find us at washingtonpost.com/onparenting.

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At what age does it become inappropriate to shower or bathe with your child? Two, five, seven . . . never?
While many parents say showering with their young child, even of the opposite gender, is perfectly fine up to a certain point in time, there’s little consensus on when exactly that moment is. But here are the four common reasons parents give for stopping and their thoughts on how to recognize when that moment arrives.

Stop When You Become Uncomfortable

Numerous readers say that showering with your children is fine until either you or your child begins feeling uncomfortable. But when does that happen? In some cases, parents are never comfortable with the idea of bathing with a child of the opposite sex. Others say they start feeling less at ease when children become more aware, curious, and questioning about physical differences, often at around age 2 or 3.

As Megan T. recalls: “We always did family showers but our little girl is approaching 2 and my husband is no longer comfortable with it since she points and asks questions. So he stopped but she still showers with me.” Similarly, Rebekkah G. shares, “I quit showering/bathing with my son (around age 2) when the shower became more about our different parts than getting clean.”

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Stop When Your Child Wants Privacy

Many readers that their child’s interest in privacy was the cue to stop coshowering. In addition to bluntly asking to to bathe alone, children may begin signaling a desire for privacy by closing the door when using the bathroom or changing clothes. As Valerie K. shared of her 3-year-old son, “He has begun wanting privacy and shutting the door sometimes when he goes potty.”

Stop by a Certain Age, No Matter What

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the opposite sex or not, one day showering with my daughter will feel inappropriate,” shares Julianne M., one of many readers who argue that regardless of whether both parents and children feel comfortable, at a certain age children should begin showering independently. As Tanya H. expresses, “Honestly at 5 I think they are perfectly capable of showering themselves! If they can do it with a little assistance, why not give them some personal responsibility?” And Randie N. agrees: “I do think that older children that are able to clean themselves should not be showering/bathing with anyone but themselves . . . just because normally people shower alone.”

Moms like Rebecca D. also note that school-age children could be mocked by peers for showering with parents: “The reason to shower with them might not outweigh the teasing they might get at school when they accidentally drop that they still shower with Mom.”

When You Want Your Shower to Be “Me Time”

For many moms, showering alone has nothing to do with whether they’re comfortable being naked around their children. Summer S. explains: “The real issue here: If all I get is 15 minutes alone anyway, why would I want a toddler squealing in there with me??? It’s not an issue of wrong or right, it’s an issue of having 10 minutes to myself!!!” Marina G. agrees: “It is the only ME time I get . . . completely alone . . . me me me ME!”

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GETTY Is there a certain age kids should shower alone and stop seeing their parents naked?

When should parents stop showering with their children? Is there a certain age kids should shower alone and stop seeing their parents naked; if so, what is it?

Discussing family nudity in an Essential Kids forum, a mum asked, “What age should kids stop seeing their parents naked… when having a shower?”

The member added that her six-year-old son still sees her naked, but he doesn’t seem to be “worried about it.”

The mum explains that her family is quite liberal with nudity but wonders “what happens in other people’s houses in regard to nudity, and hoping we weren’t doing anything wrong.”

* Facebook removes photo of father comforting sick son in the shower
* Is it OK to have sex when your children are in the same room?

WHEN CHILDREN FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE

Most parents agree that taking cues from your children is a good place to start.

“I think it’s when they start commenting and getting uncomfortable around you when you’re naked,” one commenter wrote.

Another mum shared her experience, saying her son became uncomfortable from about the age of ten. “I found they didn’t like it from around ten,” the mum said. “My youngest was old-fashioned and prudish from six-years-old – both for him and others. My older son still is okay with me in my undies.”

Things are a little different for her daughter, though. “My daughter sees me nude – she’s okay with that, but hasn’t wanted to see her dad nude since she was about 10-years-old.”

WHEN PARENTS FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE

Of course, feeling comfortable naked in front of your family works both ways and parents must feel the same too.

“My husband stopped being naked in front of my daughter when she was about two-years-old,” one member shared. “He just didn’t feel right about it.”

Another shared a similar experience, saying: “My stopped getting dressed in front of the girls years ago; he said he felt uncomfortable doing it, so fair enough.”

WHEN THEY START ASKING QUESTIONS

“I have since stopped showering with my son who is six. He gets the giggles and is silly about it all which is a shame, so I don’t do it anymore,” one mum wrote.

Having a similar situation, another mum said her five-year-old daughter “isn’t uncomfortable, but she has started making comments and kind of staring so I’m thinking the time is near for us to put a stop to it.”

PARENTS SHOULD NEVER LET THEIR CHILDREN SEE THEM NAKED

On the other hand, a member in a similar thread says she never lets her children see her naked.

“Wow, I flat out refuse any of my children to see me naked and they range in age from 3 1/2 to 14. I don’t let the younger children of opposite sex bathe together, and get dressed in the bathroom or their room.”

Another argument for never showering with your kids, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with nudity but, instead, wanting 15 minutes, alone, showering sans kids.

What do you think? When should parents stop showering with their children? Let us know in the comments section below.

essentialkids.com.au

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After my five-year-old son spent an entire long weekend with me, I was somewhat reprimanded by his Daddy who said, ‘I know you’re a great parent. I just wish you would bathe him more often when you have him on your weekends.’

Yes, I did the deplorable! I sent my kid to his father’s house unbathed. Sort of. My son was bathed Friday evening, but that was it for the rest of the long weekend. Sure, my son may have been a little, um, sticky, and yes, he may have had marker all over his arm, but he didn’t stink. It’s not like I sent him back to his father’s looking like an extra playing the role of an orphan in Annie.

Because I sleep with my son and I’m all about smelling fresh and sleeping in clean sheets, I just kind of know when the little dude absolutely needs a bath, and likewise, when he can get away without one for a couple of days.

I gave him mini sponge baths here and there using diaper wipes to clean his sticky hands and face. But I don’t even know how often I’m supposed to shower, let alone how often my almost-six-year-old should be bathing or showering. Is there some kind of rule?

Am I wrong to assume my son really just needs to be bathed if he’s super dirty and stinky?

Bath time for kids (and parents) can either be super fun or super annoying, depending on whether they love baths or not.

Most toddlers and little ones are clean, thanks to the nightly baths, not just to get the grime of the day off their skin, but in hopes the bath relaxes them before bed, so they can fall asleep quicker. My son, however, is still a ball of energy after a bath, wanting to jump on our trampoline for hours before bedtime. He does get sweaty, but it’s not the kind of sweat that smells at all. He smells like nothing really.

How often do you bathe your children? Turns out, a little dirt doesn’t hurt!

Because his father showers twice a day I think he believes that our son should be bathed every day, where I’m more laid-back when it comes to nightly bathing. At least when it comes to my son. When it comes to me, I’m inherently NOT a morning person, and I can’t get moving unless I take a full-on shower, which includes daily shampoo and conditioner. (Yes, I can hear hair stylists all over the country gasping!)

According to this article, the American Academy of Dermatology advises parents on how often to bathe their little ones based on how ‘dirty’ and ‘smelly’ they get. ‘If they’re not too dirty from playing, the recommendation is a bath at least once or twice a week for kids between six and 11.’ Personally, I think a bath only two times a week, for an almost 6-year-old who likes to kill bugs and who purposely likes to lie on public floors, is definitely not enough. This is not because he smells, but because he’s gross.

But every day? Parents, from the moment they bring their babies home from the hospital, get into a routine of bathing their children every night. But could it be possible that we’re bathing our children too much?

The American Academy of Dermatology, says that a little dirt doesn’t hurt. ‘Their little developing immune systems need some dirt (organisms like bacteria and small doses of viruses and infections) in order to grow up strong.’

So, even science tells us that we don’t necessarily have to bathe our children daily. The AAD also suggests that kids should bathe or shower only if they get dirty, after playing in the mud, after being in a pool, lake or ocean, or when they get sweaty or have body odour.’ Thanks! That’s some genius advice! I will admit, that even if my son has been in a lake or ocean, I don’t necessarily make him bathe after either.

But when kids hit puberty, around 12, there really is no official guideline, basically leaving it to us parents to tell our kids, ‘You stink. Take a shower! And, by the way, you should start using deodorant.’ Dermatologists suggest that once puberty starts, kids should shower or take a bath daily, along with washing their face twice daily to remove oil and dirt, or after playing sports or sweating heavily, all otherwise known as…common sense?

And then, of course, is the question of how often we should shampoo our children’s locks. Like I said, I wash my hair (except on vacation) every single day, because I like my hair to smell a certain way and, also, I need the full body shower, which includes hair, to wake me up.

When it comes to children, there are shampoo guidelines based on hair type and activity level. We found a recommendation for kids between 8 and 11, which likely applies to younger kids as well. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends shampooing kids’ hair only 1 or two times a week, with a few exceptions for dry or curly hair.

As for us adults? Glamour Magazine says that a growing number of people are ‘rejecting the idea that you should lather up regularly,’ arguing that it’s actually better for our skin to be a little dirty.

According to dermatologist David E. Bank, M.D., director of the Center for Dermatology in Mount Kisco, New York, it varies. ‘Depending on your activity level, you may need to shower daily, for instance, if you have a labor-intensive job or if you exercise for over an hour every day,’ he says. Bank says there are perks to skipping the shower since over-showering can lead to dry, flaky skin. ‘By showering every other day you are able to help maintain your skin’s natural oils and make the skin softer and less irritated by hot showers,’ he says, adding that ‘the oils in your skin can help protect it against harmful bacteria.’

While I can inhale my son forever after he has been bathed, I’m not too concerned about not bathing him every single day. Honestly, how often do you bathe your kids?

Next time he hasn’t showered or bathed on one of my weekends, I’ll just lather my son up with some yummy smelling lotion. Just don’t tell his Dad.

Tagged under: shampoo,kids bath toys,bath time,soothing bath for baby,bathing,bedtime routine,bedtime toddler help,bedtime sleep,bathing babies,bathtime,bath routine,bathing baby after birth,killing germs,baby smell,taking care of toddlers

Category: mom-101

When can kids bathe or shower alone?

Q: When should kids be allowed to bathe or shower alone?

A: You can allow your child to shower alone as soon as he expresses an interest in having some privacy and you’re certain that he can get himself thoroughly clean, which includes washing and rinsing his hair and cleaning his private parts. You also have to be sure that he’ll be safe. Some kids ask to be left alone as early as 5 or 6; others enjoy having your company until they start approaching puberty, closer to 9 or 10. Bathing alone, however, can be risky because of drowning dangers, and it can take just a few seconds for even older kids to slip and drown in only a few inches of water. Because of this, many experts suggest waiting until your child is at least 8 before allowing him to dunk in the tub alone. When your kid is ready to bathe or shower solo, buy a nonslip mat and remind your child that this is a grown-up privilege and that goofing around and playing games in there is very dangerous and could cause him to get hurt.

Copyright 2009

Answered by Parents.com-Team