We all know that giving our babies baths can be a fun time. It can be a different issue for many when it comes to us joining them in shower or bath time. So, is it normal to shower or bathe with your son? If it is, at what age should sons not be showering with their fathers or even mothers?
It is perfectly acceptable to shower with your son up to 1 year old. For mothers, fathers, and sons it can be a practical solution to bathing. After this it is important to display modesty and respect for parent versus child roles by keeping nakedness of the parents between them alone.
There is more to the issue than simple bath time. Decency, relationship boundaries, and even in extreme cases abuse are considerations. Let’s look at some of the tension between bonding and appropriateness that bathing with your son can cause.
- Is It OK To Shower With My Son?
- The Practicality Of Showering With Sons
- Should A Father Shower With His Son?
- Can A Mother Shower With Her Son?
- What Age should A Father Stop Showering With His Son?
- What Age Should A Mother Stop Showering With Her Son?
- The Bathing With Sons Takeaway…
Is It OK To Shower With My Son?
Here I would like to dive into the moral side of bathing with sons. Of course it is possible and you can do it in your own homes, but is it ethical or even practical? Is it really okay to shower with sons?
It is perfectly fine for fathers or mothers to shower or bathe with their sons while they are infants. At this point, babies don’t understand that there are boundaries of acceptable levels of nakedness and modesy for adults and older children. Infant sons will not be adversely affected.
We as parents have the responsibility of teaching our sons to respect their own bodies, privacy, and to do so for others as well. Modesty plays a major role in this. If modesty is not taught in its proper place, malformed views of nakedness and overfamiliarity with it can be the results.
As teachers both in education and in the martial arts, we have hundreds of thousands of times had to tell children to lower their shirts or skirts, pull up their pants, take their hands out of their underpants, etc. This is teaching kids decency and modesty when others are around.
These boundaries are not always enforced by parents that allow their children to play naked or in their undergarments with other children and in front of adults.
This is taken to a whole other level when adults are in their underwear or worse, naked in front of children. Children solidify their view of the world in their first few years of life. Their personalities are mostly set and their actions later in life spring from these. We need to be careful what we cause them to see as normal.
Let’s look more closely at both the practicality and appropriateness.
The Practicality Of Showering With Sons
When our children were infants I would sometimes pass them to my husband while he was in the shower to save time filling up the baby tub, cleaning up the mess, etc. He had no problem with it, even with our daughter. This changed once they hit a certain age, but more on that later.
I on the other hand did not like to have them in the shower with me for practical reasons of another kind. The once or twice I tried it with our babies I always felt on the verge of dropping them. They became slippery with the water and soap and it was a concern of mine that kept me from doing it.
There can be pros and cons on the practical and hygienic level to both sides.
Some reasons showering with infant sons could be good…
- Some babies have a fear of water and showering with a parent can help comfort them.
- Showering with sons can save time since baby bath time can take more setup and cleanup.
- If environmental concerns are an issue, bathing babies when you shower can save water.
Some reasons showering with infant sons can be a problem…
- When showering holding infants combined with soap and water, it can be a struggle to hold them.
- Babies tend to release their bowels when the feeling hits them and this could be during shower time.
- The best temperatures for water in a shower for a baby boy will be different than for adults.
Unlike issue of modesty and appropriateness, these practical issues are going to be different depending on the parents and the children. What may be an issue for some will not be for others. There is room for devising your own practices.
Doctors for over a century have disagreed on many things surrounding the bathing of children and the role of parents. This can be seen even in health matters like atopic dermatitis.
In research conducted by a team of doctors and published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, it was found that 75% of parents are caught in the middle between conflicting instructions. Primary care physicians disagree regularly with allergists and pediatric dermatologists.
Primary care physicians advise infrequent bathing while allergists and pediatric dermatologists suggest frequent bathing.
We as parents need to realize that unless the issue is life threatening, much less study has been done on the condition. This leads to much conjecture and educated guessing on the part of even the most well meaning and experienced doctors if the issues are not overly serious.
We should take the advice for what it is and do our own experimentation with our children for everything from atopic dermatitis to the practicality of bathing with our infant sons. This is a parental right of choice.
Here are some other articles you will find interesting from us at LittleNinjaParenting.com…
- What To Know About Sons Who Can’t Keep A Job
- Are Sons Better than Daughters? Parent Preferences Explained
- Do Sons Become Like Their Fathers? (Solved!)
- Are sons more affectionate than daughters? (Revealed!)
Should A Father Shower With His Son?
Now we will look at the appropriateness side of the issue. Is there a best practice when it comes to a father showering with his son? Should a father bathe with his son?
Fathers can shower with their sons when they are in the infant stages of development. This can be done for practical reasons to save on time, water, and cleanup. Showering with older sons past the first year or more can become about modesty and cause boundary issues.
There is a reason we have codes of dress and conduct in public. These need to be first taught in the home and these boundaries respected. This starts with delineating the role of fathers and sons with lines drawn that foster respect.
Nakedness has always been and should always be a line that should not be crossed. If walking around the house is considered disordered without clothing, so too should communal bathing between older siblings and parents. Children act in later years in accordance with how they were shown to act in earlier ones.
Can A Mother Shower With Her Son?
If this is common to how many see sons showering with fathers, what about with mothers? Is it appropriate for mothers to shower with their sons?
In the infant stages it is perfectly normal for mothers to shower with their sons. With the many hats a mother wears around the home, showering with her son can be a time and effort saver. This changes drastically for modesty sake once her son is leaving the baby stages.
It is not an issue with parents being around the children while the kids are without clothing, but an issue for the parents to be naked around them. There are some things that only husbands and wives should share together outside of medical exceptions. Nakedness is one of those things.
Sons older than an infant not only should not be around their mothers nakedness for their own developmental state, but for the instructive nature of educating them in modesty. They need to not only be told, but shown that nakedness is reserved for the committed relationship of marriage.
What Age should A Father Stop Showering With His Son?
Here we need to look at some generally accepted data that most of the medical community agrees upon in the development of children. This can help decide age appropriateness even of things not explicitly defined by most doctors. With this we can determine the age a father should stop showering with his son.
Fathers should stop showering with sons between the ages of 9 months and 1 year old. According to CDC milestone guidelines children at this stage show and understand emotion, distinguish body parts, are self aware, understand hiddenness, and recognize the intent of others.
The key to recognize here from these CDC milestones for infants is understanding intent and hiddenness. It becomes apparent that they are learning what it means for something to be hidden and why.
Instruction in modesty and the reasons why husbands and wives act differently than children begins in these early stages. They are like little sponges and are learning by what we show them day to day. They are watching what you do and by your example learning more than we realize.
Showing them that nakedness is reserved for mommies and daddies when adults is crucial. That is why fathers should begin this type of modeling by at least the 1 year mark.
What Age Should A Mother Stop Showering With Her Son?
When looking at mothers showering with sons, it becomes more evident that instruction and boundaries need to be established. So, at what age is it best for mothers to stop showering with sons?
Mothers should stop showering with sons at the 9 month to 1 year time frame. At this stage infants can fully understand hiddenness and notice the intent of others. This is the optimal time to begin training them in modesty and the differences between their roles and the roles of parents.
Issues like this can be related to others that take on some of the same modesty and role considerations. There are two that are readily applicable when dealing with developing kids.
Showering With Sons And Breastfeeding Are Related
Breastfeeding has been pushed as the best way to feed babies for up to one year old especially by the last generation of medical professionals. Yet, we all feel odd when we hear of a mother still breastfeeding a 4 year old. There is a definite time in which it is both natural and appropriate to stop breastfeeding.
According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, doctors and other researchers investigated the cause of the vast majority of mothers that stopped breastfeeding in the first year. The overwhelming number of them that stopped for natural reasons cited versions of self-weaning.
The majority of these were stopped between the 9th and 12th month. This natural tendency of babies to want to switch from breastmilk to other forms of food shows an awareness and a move from complete dependency to the first steps of independence.
It is during this time that they become self aware, both of their bodies and their individuality. Like mothers showering with their sons, independence and the awareness of a mother’s body parts are good reasons to use this same time frame as a guide.
Bed-Sharing Is Related To Mothers Showering With Sons
What is bed sharing? As defined by the American Psychological Association:
a type of cosleeping in which an infant or young child sleeps with one or both parents in the same bed. Bed-sharing with infants is discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.APA Dictionary Of Psychology
This is more commonly known by the term co-sleeping and is not considered healthy for the child or the parents. It puts a separation between the couple in the marriage bed as well as creates an over dependency of the infant on the mother.
This is not to say that co-sleeping where a mother is in her bed with a bassinette beside her is not a good idea. That can be a help in breastfeeding.
What we are concentrating on here is having children of any age sleep in the bed of their parents. There needs to be a separation of the parental and the child role. That starts in the infant stages for the benefit of both sons and mothers.
The issue is not only about the physical safety of the children either. It has to do with the roles of parents.
After our kids were out of their bassinettes they slept in their own beds. But we went even further. Our kids were not allowed in our bedroom for nearly any reason which even continues to this day with adult children and teens. The marital bed is for husbands and wives. This can even extend to their room as well.
Mothers showering with sons relates to this along the same lines. There is a modesty and role issue here that needs to be taught by action in the early stages and reinforced years later with words.
The Bathing With Sons Takeaway…
Bathing with infant sons below one year old is not only acceptable in most circumstances, but for some it can be a practical alternative to baby bath time.
When children reach the one year mark, they can begin to understand that there are parts of their parent’s lives that they don’t have access to and shouldn’t want. In toddler years, they are watching how you act and learning most of life’s lessons from it.
Showing them that there is a separation between sons and parents is one reason not to shower with older children. The other is modeling modesty for their young minds.
Our sons and daughters are the most important focuses of our lives. Teaching them how to be is our most important job.
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