Steel Advice: When should a mother stop showering with young son?
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DEAR MARY ANN: I was wondering at which age a mother should stop showering with a normal 61/2-year-old boy. My son's mother thinks this is OK and I totally disagree. The pediatrician thinks this is OK until my son reaches puberty. What do you think?
-- CONCERNED DAD
DEAR CONCERNED DAD: A mom showering with her 6 1/2-year-old is considered normal and acceptable in one family or culture and frowned on in others. Attitudes on modesty and nudity have a wide variance. For some little boys and their moms taking a shower together is the most natural thing in the world. As the boy gets older and becomes more mature, showering with Mom gradually stops. Other moms would never shower with their son: even the idea of taking a shower with a 6 1/2-year-old son would be, to them, unthinkable and weird.
In many families, the mom or the dad bathes the child in a bathtub for the first four or five years. As the child becomes more independent, he or she graduates to a supervised shower. The parent is clothed, stands outside the shower to adjust the water temperature, offers words of encouragement and reminders to rinse out the shampoo while making sure no one slips and falls. At first, it is almost like bathing a puppy; water everywhere. After several lessons and some soap in the eyes, voila! The child can now shower independently. If there are older siblings the process may start at a younger age.
It is a tough call when parents disagree on any subject. When nudity and modesty involving the opposite sex are at the core of the discord it can become especially painful. You each know you are "right" when in reality you may be coming from very different backgrounds. Fundamentally, there is no absolute "right" or "wrong" on this subject.
A shower takes 10 minutes; you dry off, get dressed and move on. Try to move on as well on this one.
DEAR MARY ANN: A friend recently asked if I were attending a party for two friends. At first I didn't recognize the context, so I "played dumb" and said I wasn't sure what she was talking about. A party was being hosted for a major event. I politely replied that I hadn't heard but that I was very happy for them. Would it be appropriate for me to send a gift, a card or even a simple note of congratulations? I probably would not have known about the activity, and I certainly wouldn't want to mention that I heard a party was being held. What would be the best approach?
-- UNWRAPPED IN PITTSBURGH
DEAR UNWRAPPED IN PITTSBURGH: Do what you would normally do if you knew your friends were celebrating a major event. A card or note recognizing their milestone would be very appropriate; a gift may be a little too much. Quite possibly the party is being given on your friends' behalf by someone you don't know; there may be any number of reasons the guest list is limited. On or off the invitation list, acknowledge your friends' achievement. Thoughtfulness is never out of style.
First Published July 10, 2012 12:00 am