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When should parents stop bathing with their children?

Q: I am a divorced female, mother of a 6 years old son. Once my son told me that he takes shower with his father at times and asked me when can he take a bath with me? Although I believe he is innocent, I am concerned about his curiosities. I had stopped bathing with him when he was around 4 years old because I felt that he should learn about his and my privacy. Is there any documentation regarding when should parents stop bathing with their kids?

A:There are no strict rules to be followed and there is no documentation that I am aware of. Common sense and practicality should govern all decisions. If you feel that you would not like to share a shower with your six years old son, tell him so. It’s as simple as that. He may have a natural curiosity about how a woman's body looks and it may be his way of asking. You have to decide what should be done and then be firm about it. As an alternative method, you could show him a children book of Physiology and talk about sex differences and the social conventions of modesty. There are large variations in these matters. In many families in India, for example, bathing together would not even be considered a possibility. But in some parts of the world, there are nudist colonies, where nobody wears any clothes. Or there used to be such colonies, from what I have read. So every individual has the right to do things in his own way, provided no human rights are violated and no harm is done.


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