Should he bath with his sister?
Am I right to feel uneasy about opposite sex siblings sharing a tub? Sipho asks.
As a boy I stopped bathing with my sister at 10. She was 11.

Before that, my older sister, my younger brother and myself would all fit into the bathtub. I suspect our mum came up with this ingenious idea of bundling three us together to save bathing time. At that age we were aware of the difference in our bodies but it wasn’t such a big issue for us.

However, as an adult I find myself a bit uncomfortable allowing opposite sex siblings over the age of 4 to share a bath, especially when unsupervised. But then I might easily be projecting my own self consciousness onto an innocent situation.

Parents I asked gave me varying views. There were those parents who were of the opinion that siblings of different sexes should never be allowed to share the same bath, no matter the age. Yet other parents saw nothing wrong.

It was off to the internet for me, to gather a few expert views. Some experts see no harm in opposite sex siblings sharing a bath together -  up to a certain age. Parents are encouraged to use these bathing sessions to teach their children age appropriate information about the male and female organs. Parents can name the different private parts of each sibling, discouraging the children from touching each other’s organs and letting them know that they are private.

There doesn’t seem to be a definite age suggested when opposite sex siblings should stop bathing together. Some experts suggest that parents should watch out for signs that the children are ready for privacy. This may include reluctance to undress or bath with a sibling of the opposite sex. Another school of thought suggests that by age 6 or 7 most kids are reluctant to share a bath with a sibling of the opposite sex.

To make appropriate decisions, parents may have to take the following considerations into account: how the parents view nudity; the parent's religion and culture; their children’s interest in private parts of the opposite sex; the children’s ages and characters; and the kids’ need for privacy.

In my opinion parents should not be judged when they allow siblings of the opposite sex to share a bath. However those who decide to let siblings of different sexes bath together have to know where to draw the line.

Up to what age is it okay for opposite sex siblings to share a bath?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
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