Washing with your children: right or wrong?

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It will have happened to many parents, for convenience or choice, of wash together with your children. As it happens between siblings, we share a space that will become intimate and private over time: the bathroom. But what does the nudity? How do our children read it? We answered these questions with the help of the psychologist Ambra Filippelli, who deals with parenting support.

1. I take a bath with my son!

For the "grown-ups" to speak of nudity it is always difficult: our maturity leads us to look at these things with malice and modesty, but it is up to us to educate children to live them naturally. Undress and take a shower together it must not be a taboo to one's child, not even between siblings of different ages: «Parents, not showing discomfort but naturalness in the task of washing, remaining on the point of washing themselves, do not cause any kind of psychological consequence in the child. The problem is the lack of naturalness, of spontaneity ».

What do we mean by naturalness? Dr. Filippelli explains to us that the parent's difficulty is to go beyond their own mischievous stimuli and, finding themselves in front of a child, having to read the situation with her own eyes: today I wash with dad / mom, how nice!

«We must bear in mind the different level of relationship: in front of us we have a child who is not ready to receive everything we have in our head. The relationship is asymmetrical, we do not have the same evolutionary, physiological, cognitive level ". This natural attitude makes us experience the situation clearly: the child feels fun in the company of his brother or parent, with curiosity he will observe the physical diversity but will not read the situation with malice.

2. Limits and autonomy

The parent's main purpose is to educate the child in autonomy. In this case, an attempt is made to educate about hygiene. Wash together It can last up to, and not beyond, the age of 6. If the child gives early signs of wanting to do it alone, it is good to let him do it.

"When the child is able to live autonomously the condition of washing independently, it is appropriate and necessary to strengthen autonomy". From the age of 6, our task becomes that of «getting used to confidentiality and modesty». Without inserting malice in the child, the parent is invited to convey the sense of intimacy.

Growing up, it will be normal and right for them to develop a sense of modesty and intimacy. Especially with entering elementary school they will begin to lock themselves in the bathroom, not wanting to be watched when they undress. The naturalness in nudity experienced as a child helps to remove many of the curiosities about one's body: «alle intimate questions he responds with naturalness and truth, using terms suited to his understanding and age. If he insists on one aspect, it simply means that it intrigued him. Follow him in this one curiosity, including through reading books. Accompanying in curiosity is important, because it cannot be left in the hands of one's child: he does not yet have the tools to obtain healthy answers ».

3. When bath time can take a turn for the worse

“Inappropriate stimuli can lead to serious consequences. Signals, for example, that have to do with sexual arousal. " Parents or an older sibling can induce minor upsets in the child with involuntary acts.

As we have said, «if the situation is lived in a natural way, problematic situations are not perceived. But it can happen that the child is involuntarily induced a level of arousal that he is unable to cope with. Remaining in the child as a situation of minor harassment, which can induce a tendency to perverse aspects with respect to sexuality ».

This induction can also take place in the simple washing of the private parts of one's child: by forcing it, the erogenous zones can be stimulated and thus provoke excitement. "You must not provoke stimulations that have to do with thepremature eroticism. The child perceives them as actions that are inappropriate to his level of development. Therefore, let's always keep an extra eye: what for me can be funny or normal, in the child can pass as an erotic push that he is not yet ready to receive ».

The perversion arises right here: from the stimulation of an erogenous part, even if only as a joke, that the child does not know how to read. We can understand when the child is experiencing a moment like this: «he exposes us non-verbal signs of impatience and of discomfort, failing to respond adequately to what we are proposing ». Our purpose is washing, all that is more will be put by the child, with his questions and his curiosities. “The parent's awareness lies in this: to make the experience of nudity live as something natural, not dwelling on what is premature for the child. "Everything is pure for the pure": we must put ourselves in these terms with the mind and behavior ».


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  • bath
  • Parents
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  • sexuality
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