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Bathing with the children It is a habit that some families carry out very naturally, while others do not even consider it. The issue that generates doubts and controversy does not, of course, have to do with the bathroom itself, but with whether it is convenient for children to see their parents naked, if it generates any kind of problem, until what age is appropriate, etc. . Therefore, this time in Guiainfantil.com We talked about this debate that many parents face: Bathing with the children, yes or no?
There are really no right or wrong answers, although it is essential that a balance between postures is maintained. In the end, it is a matter that depends on each family in particular, however, it is worth taking into account the following considerations.
The first consideration that we must take into account when talking about this topic basically has to do with the perspective of the parents: if they see it as something natural and comfortable or how something inappropriate and uncomfortable. That is, we are talking about the level of comfort that each parent has with their own naked body, it is a very important factor in this decision, since the message that they will be sending will depend on it and the naturalness with which the children themselves can live the situation .
Sometimes one of the two parents is not comfortable, and the other does; in this case, it is good to accept the decision of each one.
In any case, for those more conservative parents, the factor to take into account is not to fall into the extreme of overreacting if their children ever see them without clothes, so as not to generate the wrong message in them, a prohibited subject or negative ideas about the body. You can be discreet without being over the top.
Of course another very important variable to consider is the age of the children. When they are very young it can be much more practical and easy to share the bathroom. As they grow older, it is convenient to listen to their questions and respond to their curiosity calmly according to their age.
The phases of psychodevelopment of children established by Freud that allows us to better know how to help them have a healthy evolutionary development are:
- Oral Phase (0-18 months)
It is characterized by the child's need to obtain food and explore the world around him. She discovers sensations through her mouth: she sucks her mother's breast, sucks her finger, tries to put any object in her mouth, bites it ...
- Anal Phase (18-36 months)
The child begins the process of controlling sphincters and from this he obtains a certain sensation of pleasure, so he begins to play to retain his stools, expel them, deposit them in places other than the diaper, touch them ... In addition, the need to explore begins to manifest his own body, so he will frequently touch his genitals.
- Phallic Phase (3-6 years)
Children begin to be curious about the bodies of others and certain processes related to sexuality. The sexual exploration itself begins. They like to touch others and be touched by others, they show themselves naked and try to see others naked, etc. Also, they begin to raise questions about the differences between the male and female genitalia, about pregnancy, etc.
This stage is very important since certain sexual notions and attitudes begin to be assumed from the parents' response to its manifestations. For example, if they tend to touch their genitals in front of people, the behavior can be repressed in various ways, but if it is transmitted that it is bad or that it is something dirty, it is likely that in the future they will inhibit their sexuality in this same sense .
- Latency Phase (6-12 years)
At this stage the notions of modesty, intimacy, shame, privacy arise ... A series of evolutionary changes begin to occur that affect their own image and that lead to certain affective-sexual conflicts. Children have to begin to recognize and assume their own body changes.
- Genital Phase (adolescence)
At the end of the latency phase and already in the genital phase, conscious sexual fantasies, masturbatory activity and genital sexual interest appear.
Taking into account this classification, the age that many psychologists recommend for stop sharing the bathroom would be around the age of six, when the latency phase begins and the child has already obtained the necessary information to know his own body.
In the case of parents who bathe with children over six years of age, it is convenient to bear in mind that while they are young it may be that the bath becomes a very fun time of play and relaxation; However, as they grow older there will come a time when they may start to feel uncomfortable and to ask with words or attitudes for 'privacy'.
Many parents take it for granted that if they bathe with children of the same sex, that is mother with daughter or father with boy, this will not happen, however, both girls and boys reach an age when they need more privacy and it is necessary to provide them.
On the other hand, If the children do not ask for it, it is convenient to stop doing it (especially the baths of parents with children of the opposite sex) when secondary sexual characteristics begin to appear, that is, when pubic hair appears or breasts begin to develop in girls.
Another indicator for ending shared bathrooms is when parents begin to feel uncomfortable that their children begin to show a greater interest in anatomical differences.
In the end there is no established formula, criteria and attitude of parents They will be essential in defining how your children react to the issue of body and privacy. How naturally they see themselves and also how they respect their privacy and that of others will depend on their handling.
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