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At what age should a parent stop bathing with their child?

We have a 5year old son. I want to know at what age should a parent of the opposite sex stop bathing with his/her child? My wife and I constantly argue about this, I think itís not natural for her to bathe with him. When he was a newborn, I didnít mind so much but now it just seems awkward. My wife thinks it's a natural part of the mother child bond.... Sheís turning our son into a mamaís boy, I donít want him getting laughed at or picked on at school, because he bathes with his mother.


Whitby, On

Dear CW,

There's no firm age at which parents should stop bathing with their children. It's largely a matter of your culture. However in North America, most 5 year olds are aware of privacy and of sexual differences and may become uncomfortable sharing a bath with a person of the opposite sex. Also, I wonder who really wants the shared bath. If it's your wife, that's not really appropriate. If itís your son, there are things you can do to help him cope, like adding toys to the bath. A child his age should be able to bathe himself under supervision and with help shampooing. So it's probably a good time for him to start bathing on his own. Make him proud of that accomplishment by giving lots of praise. To nurture the mother-child bond, your wife can always cuddle with him on dry land.

Mrs. willow
Parent Tree Panel

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