Mother of four shares why she showers with her kids, sparking a debate among parents

How old is too old to bathe with children?

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A mom of four sparked a debate after sharing that she still showers with her kids.

Seems like few things take up more debates than showers these days. When to do it, how often to do it, which snacks are best while doing it (yes, that last one is real).

But when you add parenting into the mix, there’s even more potential for controversy.

Take for instance, Australia-based mom of four, Bronte Towns, who recently went viral after sharing why she showers with her children, all of whom are under seven years old.

In her video’s caption, Towns explained that she was a proponent of family showering because it’s a “natural way” to teach her kids about their own bodies, as well as “bodily autonomy, personal boundaries & consent.”

For one thing, Towns says that the “safe environment” of the shared shower invites her children to ask “innocent, curious questions” they might not otherwise feel comfortable asking.

“So many questions pop up naturally when you shower together. We normalize open conversations in the shower, there’s no silly questions, nothing too awkward to ask, etc.,” she wrote.

Plus, it gives her the opportunity to “role model & monitor body hygiene practices,” along with offering a view of a normal, everyday body, rather than the “stigmatised version most of our kids see all over advertising or online,” she added.

Though Town never specified which of her children she shared showers with (a seemingly intentional move, as it was also written in her caption), some viewers shared concerns over whether or not this was age appropriate behavior, especially for her eldest son.

“Your son is way too old to be seeing you naked,” one viewer wrote.

Others seem to take umbrage with Town’s opinion, regardless of which kid she may or may not be showering with."

"Nope…totally inappropriate."

“You can have literally all these conversations without taking a shower with your kids.”

“I’m sorry but this is very strange once the child is past the age of like 3 or 4.”

“Some things are just meant to be private. No one, and I mean NO ONE outside the walls of your home needed to know this. The amount of oversharing is insane & inappropriate.”

“I’m so glad I never saw my mom naked 🤮 that would have made for a very awkward disturbing relationship. I would never ever ever want to see either of my parents naked, nor would I want my 2 daughters to see me naked. Please don’t normalize this.”

Still, others found this completely normal. Healthy, even. One person commented, “I showered with my mom growing up and was often in the same room as she changed up until I was a teen, I never had the thought of it being ‘weird’ or ‘gross’ until I saw post like these with people being judgmental in the comments, it’s so normal! and knowing what cellulite, stretch marks and sagging skin looked like at a young age made me feel so much more comfortable in my body when I started to see these things. Mom had this and she’s still beautiful and so am I!”

Another added, “My daughter is almost two and takes a shower with Dad almost every night since she was a newborn. Gives mom a break and it’s a great bonding experience. When will we stop? When our daughter wants to.”

It’s worth noting that attitudes about nudity differ among cultures. For example, it’s completely customary in Finland for families to go to the sauna together, naked. For many Finnish families, it’s a Christmas Eve tradition. In Germany, there are not only nude beaches, but nude, or “naturist,” parks. Even in Asia, where views about nudity tend to lean more conservative, Thailand has nude hotels. So it’s worth noting that being unable to separate nudity from sexuality is in some aspects purely an American characteristic, forged by centuries of puritanism.

But still, challenges of Western society aside, there are notable boundaries that parents should probably stick to. So what do the experts have to say about it?

In an interview with Fatherly, Dr. Richard Beyer, a licensed psychologist in Arcadia, California, said that the”general rule of thumb” would be when they reach school age, or around 5 or 6 years old.

Dr. Wendy Lane, a child abuse pediatrician at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, added that children will will most likely naturally transition, and, in the name of respecting boundaries parents “should always stop if the child asks to stop.” Basically, if they’re uncomfortable, don’t force them. Also a good general rule of thumb.

Parents may not all stand behind Towns' relaxed rules around nudity, but it’s hard not to agree that teaching kids consent, autonomy and boundaries is important.

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