Every week PJ Parenting writers weigh in on parenting issues large and small and you have the opportunity to share your insights in the comments section below. We’d love it if you’d join us for a cup of coffee and some great conversation!
Question: Gossip columnist Perez Hilton made news recently (and received considerable backlash) when he posted pictures of himself bathing with his 2-year-old son. Is it appropriate for parents to bathe with their kids? What about posting bath selfies?
Michael T. Hamilton: No. (You may quote me in full.)
Megan Fox: What??? Who would post a photo of themselves bathing with a child? That is inappropriate. I posted a video once of my son in the tub, butt cheeks only slightly visible because it was hilarious and I don’t have an issue with babies in the tub. But pictures with an adult in the tub, too? Just no.
I get very annoyed when people suggest that it’s not okay for kids and parents to bathe or shower together. Clearly, there is an age cutoff for opposite sex, but when you share a bathroom and you have all sisters, you are going to end up bathing, changing, and being naked together–a lot. There is nothing sexual about bathing with a parent or sibling, so why would it be wrong? I can’t say I enjoy sitting in a tub with my kids, so I haven’t really done that since they were babies. But if we’re late and need showers, one or both will definitely jump in to get scrubbed up. I’d say my daughters stopped showering with dad when they were about three. I think it’s different for each family.
When I was growing up, my friends used to say I had a “naked family” because one or the other sister would always be in some state of undress, going to or from the bathroom or barging in while I was in there. But we were all girls. My dad was never running around naked (although I laugh every time the dad on “The Goldbergs” TV show watches television in his underwear…a common sight in my house growing up). I guess our part of the house was like a ladies locker room and none of us cared one way or the other who was wearing clothes or showering or peeing. There just wasn’t any privacy. A locked door would quickly be banged on. A shower curtain would be thrown back to demand an answer to some question that just couldn’t wait. Was it weird? Not for us. And maybe that’s the answer. Each family is different. My best friend growing up never saw her sister undressed. I find that weird. But everyone is different.
Grace L. Williams: I think when children are small, it’s acceptable for parents to bathe with them–it’s also safer than putting them in water and hoping they can sit up/manage in a huge tub on their own. What’s not perfectly fine is to bathe with your kids, put it on social media, and not expect backlash galore. You could be fully clothed and trying to get your fully clothed kid to stop having a fit in the grocery store and all it takes is an observer with too much time on her hands, a smartphone, and presto! CPS is at your door and you’re all over YouTube. Why go willingly into that lion’s den? This is the era of parents parenting parents. Bear that in mind and post accordingly.
Jamie Wilson: Right, Grace — social media seems to encourage people to make what should be private, public. It’s breaking down that wall, and that is NOT a good thing.
I’m not comfortable, honestly, with a dude bathing with a child of any age — even my husband, who is such a boy scout it’s not even funny. (Or maybe it is.) So maybe I am a little sexist, since I don’t have the same issue with moms bathing with little children. That’s likely because, especially with breastfeeding moms, questions about anatomical protrusions are likely to happen less.
But here’s the question: is it really anyone’s business how you raise your children so long as you don’t abuse them in any way? It shouldn’t be, UNLESS you make it everyone’s business. That is precisely what Perez Hilton did when he posted that image. Any backlash he gets is entirely his own fault for inappropriately sharing.
Julie Prince: I personally never bathed with my children, and my parents never bathed with us girls. I guess for every family it’s different. I think it is inappropriate when they get older than, say, two and I can’t understand the need for it.
Making a spectacle over it and posting something private for the entire world to see like Perez Hilton did, was in very poor taste, in my opinion, and I am not surprised by the backlash he received. It makes me cringe when I see parents posting naked pics of their kids on social media. There are pedos out there who look for that kind of thing.
Let us know what you think in the comments below!
See previous PJ Parenting Roundtables: