A common concern among many fathers is whether or not they should shower or bathe with their daughter once she reaches a certain age. Many dads fear that there may be psychological repercussions, accompanied by many “curious questions” that arise once she understands that dads look different than moms. By all accounts, dads have a ligitimate concern.
Children’s behavior regarding sex and gender stems from culture rather than from scientific fact. It’s entirely normal for some families to be open with the issue of nudity and sexuality while others prefer to remain completely covered. So, whether or not you choose to shower or bathe with your daughter is typically a cultural issue, rather than a psychological one.
What’s a daddy to do? Use these general guidelines (broken down by developmental age) to determine if you should continue bathing with your daughter or drop it altogether. Remember that the most important factor in your decision should be your child. If you sense that she’s uncomfortable bathing with you, then it’s time to drop this item from your daily routine.
To Bathe or Not to Bathe?
Baby Pink (up to age 2). It’s usually very “safe” to bathe with you daughter if she falls into this age range. Most children do not understand the concept of seperate genders (knowing a girl is a girl and a boy is a boy) until they are at least 2 years old. So, bathing with your baby can provide good bonding opportunities and fun for you both.
Toddler/Big Pink (3-6). Girls this age typically understand the difference between boys and girls. They grasp the concept that they are girls and have “girl parts” as opposed to “boy parts.” Girls this age may also begin to develop modesty or shyness about being naked in front of others. Use your daughter’s feelings as a guide as to whether or not you should shower with her. Ask her directly if she feels comfortable and go with what she says.
Tween Pink (7-10). Preteen girls can fully grasp the concept of privacy, body image, and gender, so this is probably a good age to stop showering with her. By this age, most girls have stopped showering with parents. They prefer privacy in the shower as well as in other areas of their life. In American culture, it’s typically very rare that preteens and father’s bathe together.