Showering and the Shock Factor

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Many well meaning moms (and even dads) shower with their kids without thinking about it.  Some do it out of convenience.  It’s easy peazy to pop the kids in with you when they are toddlers and save time and energy. Some moms take baths with their infants for bonding and relaxation.  Others shower with their elementary age kids with the intention of letting them see that all body types are beautiful, big or small, round or thin. Thinking that she may curb some future self esteem issues, a mom might shower with her daughter to let her see that there is no such thing as a perfect body.  I would like to propose some thoughts on why I think it’s better not to shower with your kids after they are about one.

We live in a sexual culture where our kids are bombarded with sexual innuendos, commercials, advertising, and pornography that is just a click away. The world is waiting to squeeze your kids into its mold of fantasy of every kind. Each time your kids see you naked, the shock factor of nudity goes down.  For example, let’s say that your 7 year old son has been showering with you from birth. He gets exposed to soft porn, who does he compare the image to? You.  Do you want your son’s brain to imprint on your naked body? He may look at the image of the woman in her bra and panties and think, “That just looks like my mom.”  There is a de-sensitation that takes place in their brain.  Soon, seeing something nude doesn’t shock them anymore and it becomes “normal”.  The sexual exploitation of women in the porn industry is never “normal”. When your son gets exposed to porn for the first time, you want him to be shocked by it, even repulsed, not compare it to your body. There is no need for boys to shower with their dads either.  It invites an unnecessary comparison and curiosity to dad’s private parts.  Showering with your kids isn’t educating your kids on their sexuality.  I want my son’s brain to imprint on his future wife’s body, not mine.

A mom came up to me at one of my talks and said that her daughter had an infatuation of looking at herself naked in the mirror and even doing little dances.  I asked the mom if she showered with her daughter, and the mom said yes.  That mom is certainly not alone.  Many well meaning moms shower with their daughters.  Sometimes showering with your kids gives them an over-infatuation with their bodies, a mini obsession.  They want to check out all their private parts regularly and they nearly become obsessed with their naked bodies. They might want to play naked games with friends or siblings and in our own “well meaning” intention, we invite our kids to become nearly obsessed. Teach your kids modesty and start by having private bath times.  Once kids are about 4, they shouldn’t bathe with same gender siblings either.  My daughter took baths with her brother till he was about one.  She was three.  Another biggie for me with the showering thing is predators.  Remember, people who prey on your kids are not strangers.  They have done their homework on your family.  The perpetrator may use showering as a ploy to get to your kids.  Indiscreetly, they may say something like, “Don’t you shower with your mom or dad?  This will be just like that.” Believe me, it happens, more often than we would like to think. Don’t let nudity become so familiar in your home, that there is no shock factor.

What is the conversation to have with your kids? Maybe you have showered with your kids and now you understand some good logic why not to shower with them.  Here is what you can say, “Mom and Dad have learned some new information and we have decided that because you are older now, it is time to stop showering with us.  Bath time is good time to practice modesty and privacy.  Now that you are older, it’s time for you to have your own private shower time.”  That’s it.  Keep it simple. Remind them to ask you if they have questions.  Kids understand the whole learning new information too..they are always learning new things so they will be relieved that you learned something new too!!

TIP- Maintain the shock factor in your home. Don’t let nudity become so familiar in your home that your kids become de-sensitized.

Posted by Amy in Sex Education

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