After a long day running up and down after Daniel, cleaning my home and preparing the evening meal, there is nothing I enjoy more than a hot shower. I've never really been one for baths but on the odd occasion when I decide to have one and bring Daniel in with me you can count on one hand the number of minutes before the pre-teen has stripped off and jumped in with us. After listening to James O'Brien on LBC broach the topic of children's innocence being destroyed through the teaching of sex education in primary school it got me thinking when is a child too old to bath with their mother and does the sex of the child matter?
The pre-teen learned about sex from a very young age. I had no doubt in my mind that I would be the one to teach her as soon as she started asking questions. My mum had taken a stand-offish approach to teaching me about sex. I was an avid reader so my mum provided me with a book entitled 'How We Grow Up' at the time I found it interesting and informative. When I had my own child I knew that I wanted her to learn all the goods and bads of sex and the feelings associated with them.
On a bus ride home from school at the tender age of 6 she began to talk about sex, her exact words were, "Mummy I know what sex is." I was a little shocked at first and nervously giggled whilst strangers looked on at my pretty little 6 year old talking about sex. I proceeded to ask her how she knows that and what she thinks it is. She informed me that two older children in the playground were discussing sex and that it was, "When a man gets on top of a woman and goes uh uh uh." My nervous giggle then turned into fits of laughter which the princess did not at all find amusing.
I took the opportunity that day to explain to my daughter that heterosexual sex (I wasn't about to teach my six year old daughter about homosexual acts) happened in a loving relationship between two adults and explained to her using the correct names for the sexual organs what happens and one of the purposes of sex (to have babies.) My then six year old looked at me in disgust and said, "That means you and daddy, yuk, lets never talk about that again." That of course was the first of many discussions about sex and as the years followed my explanations were extended with details homosexuality, miscarriage, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and hereditary illness such as sickle cell. Some may think that I have risked destroying my daughters innocence but I feel that I have prepared her for life as a sexual active adult which one day in the really distant future she will be.
Besides what 12 year old who doesn't still have a sense of innocence would want to jump in the bath with their mother and brother, I certainly wouldn't have even though my mother still torments me by insisting on walking around the house half dressed no matter who is there.
When I asked the pre-teen when she thinks a child is too old to bath with their mother after her initial response of "If you don't want me in the bath then just say so" and me explaining to her the reason behind my question she then said, "When they have big boobs." She would not want to bath with her father and neither he nor I would approve of that and I'm certain that I wouldn't want Daniel bathing with me at the age of 12.
I'm sure there are lots of opinions on this and I would love to hear them! When did you teach your children about the birds and the bees? And what determines when a child is too old to bathe with their parent?