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#389420 - 03/15/12 10:11 PM bathing boundaries?
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3302
Loc: back in the USA
What are the appropriate boundaries?
I need some help with understanding this… at what age or stage of development should parents stop bathing their children?

I don’t know if I’ve ever been aware of a discussion about this but just seem to sense that at some point in my childhood some lines were crossed. I know I was very careful to excuse myself from both my daughters’ and son’s bath times well before they entered puberty. I think they must have been no more than 8-9 at the time.

But when I was a boy, I remember being bathed with a brother. First with my next younger brother who was not quite 3 years younger. Then later with a baby brother. That means I must have been at least 10 ½ or maybe as old as 11 or 12 1/2. And I know that I was an “early bloomer” that looked pretty fully mature by the age of 11… so that leads me to believe that it was probably past the time that my parents should have had a “hands-off” policy. And of course this was well after the step-father started messing with me at 5 ½ and right in the thick of the bullying and abuse at middle school and scouts.

I remember the baby’s tiny slippery body between my legs and being told to hold him securely so he wouldn’t slide down in the water. And it felt weird – like nothing I’d ever remembered. And the water wasn’t deep enough to cover me up... And I can’t remember if anything else happened more than them being in the same room and seeing me but I know I was embarrassed and now my panic symptoms start to kick in when I think about it. I’m guessing that I probably got an erection and was yelled at and punished for that… (actually, I’m pretty sure that’s what happened!)

I am pretty sure that I never touched any of my little brothers inappropriately but that may have been what it looked like at that time... I was way too scared and guilt-ridden to have done anything of my own volition. I know that by the time we moved when I was 13, the parents were out of the picture when it came to my bathing – but I don’t remember if I kicked up a fuss or they just backed down on their own… but major emotional conflict about it!

lee

_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#389423 - 03/15/12 11:12 PM Re: bathing boundaries? [Re: traveler]
Avery46 Offline


Registered: 09/23/10
Posts: 1243
Loc: USA
Lee,

I took lots of courage to write what you wrote. I believe millions of men experienced what you wrote about.

I was the oldest so, I experienced this as well. I was the main caregiver for my own children and any contact with them sexually was very "odd" which I believe is ok. I think the "oddness" was a good thing - a feeling that I paid attention to. This "odd" feeling, I believe is our natural God given sense to be careful.

I believe parents need to be parents for all of their children and NOT have their older children take care of the younger children. I believe this makes for messy boundaries.

I am not sure there is an exact "age" for stopping bathing but, age 8 is a good marker.

Anyway, I relate to what your saying.

Peace,
Avery

_________________________
aka DJsport

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#389425 - 03/15/12 11:33 PM Re: bathing boundaries? [Re: traveler]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3599
Loc: South-East Europe
Hey Lee,
probably age 8-9 is right as you've already stated. We as children used to talk that time for self bathing begins at latest since first glimpse of body hair. I as kid used to bath sometimes together with brother and with sister too, and we enjoy it. But around 6 or 7 we as kids didn't want to be bathed anymore by our parents not because of some shame but more because we like to felt in-dependable and capable of doing it on our own. And my parents didn't cross the line and they let us free. They supported us and talked to us openly about our bodies without any shame, and we were always comfortable. Actually mum was extremely warm person and she did that almost by herself.
For me it is more question of developing mutual understanding and support than artificially making boundaries. For example when I've had very aching erection at 7 and I was confused I talked to mum and I've felt comfortable to ask her for help and she would explained me what happened.
Till today I've felt that my dad was too absent in teaching us let say important things and I would never asked him same thing as kid because he seems always uncomfortable...

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#389426 - 03/15/12 11:45 PM Re: bathing boundaries? [Re: traveler]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6810
Loc: USA
Lee,

I remember that my mother still bathed me for a couple of weeks after the terribly abusive experience in the scout camp. I was 12. She called my penis "Your thing" or "IT". I guess the word "penis" was dirty. After the terrible abuse, she told me that IT was blue. She wondered why IT was blue*. I told her I didn't know. I had experienced some terrible things. I was shocked and I guess she was too. That was the last time she ever bathed me. Of course she didn't know anything about what had happened.

Anyway, IT worked well enough to be married and have 2 kids. IT didn't remain blue.

It wasn't until 2 years after the bathing incident that I experienced puberty. She had some very wrong ideas about my sexuality. She said: "You'll be my boy until IT gets down to your knees". I have to admit that IT's still not there. frown By her definition I would still be "her boy". Perhaps she was referring to my height at that time. I was probably 5 feet tall. come to think of it, IT's still a good way off.

Isn't it astonishing how parents can be so blind?

Puffer

* In retrospect it seems that temporary blueness in an organ might have been an indication that I endured some stuff that had temporarily cut off circulation to my "thing".






Edited by pufferfish (03/15/12 11:50 PM)

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#389468 - 03/16/12 09:50 AM Re: bathing boundaries? [Re: pufferfish]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3302
Loc: back in the USA
Yeah, Allen,
i am constantly amazed at how determinedly blind some parents can be. that was my mom. step-father, on the other hand, probly knew why i was primed to respond - and had to blame it on me being a little queer pervert so as not to let mom in on his little secret - which i am beginning to think he even kept secret from himself...

i read your story and can't even imagine how you could grow up, marry and have kids after that... Isn't it astonishing how resilient some kids/survivors can be? Glad you made it!
and thanks for the reply,
lee

_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#389469 - 03/16/12 09:52 AM Re: bathing boundaries? [Re: traveler]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
We stopped bathing our kids as soon as they were old enough to do it themselves.

Prime example, my daughter is 4. She's now able to do most of it herself. Sure not as thorough as us, but we let her do as much for herself as we can now. Same with my son. He's been bathing and showering himself since about 4 or 5.


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#389494 - 03/16/12 01:30 PM Re: bathing boundaries? [Re: JustScott]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1166
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/16/13 05:14 PM)
_________________________
Depression Feels Like Home, and Happiness is Just a Place I Visit

It will get better....

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#389567 - 03/17/12 06:17 AM Re: bathing boundaries? [Re: lapchinj]
mike13 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/02/11
Posts: 419
Loc: California USA
I like how you put that Jeff, let your wife ask LOL. Much safer that way. Congrads on being a great father Mike


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#389627 - 03/17/12 09:35 PM Re: bathing boundaries? [Re: mike13]
Anomalous Offline
Greeter Coordinator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 1339
Hi Lee,

I am sorry to hear that your boundaries were violated in that way.

Kids typically prefer to start bathing wihtout any parent intervention somewhere between 6-9. Usually by age nine, kids do not want their parents in the bathroom, even for a "safety check." They prefer just a knock on the door and a brief "are you ok?"

To have a parent force you to bathe wiht your younger sibling and then punish you for something that was not under your control (erection) is heinous. It sends many mixed messages and has the potential to cause you to be afraid of your own body or, worse, to be afraid around your younger sibling.

YOU DID NOTHING WRONG!!!!!!!

I hope you know that you did nothing wrong and that you were not interested in your younger sibling.

But your parents were very wrong for not only putting you in that position, but for yelling at you and for punishing you.


Be gentle and kind to yourself.




Anomalous

_________________________
Acceptance on someone else's terms is worse than rejection.

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#389634 - 03/17/12 11:13 PM Re: bathing boundaries? [Re: Anomalous]
lapchinj Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1166
Loc: New York
Peace,Rainbows & Healing


Edited by lapchinj (03/16/13 05:14 PM)
_________________________
Depression Feels Like Home, and Happiness is Just a Place I Visit

It will get better....

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