6 yr old boy, girl babysitter, bath

Trisha - posted on 03/18/2015 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I have 6 and a 5 yr old sons. We use an 18 yr old babysitter who is very good. So far my boys have always been ready for bed when the baby sitter comes, so baths have never been an issue. However, in a few weeks my husband will be out of town and I will be away from home from noon until late at night. My boys will be with some friends on a farm, the baby sitter will take them from there to home after supper and put them to bed. I know that they will be playing and getting dirty, and probably need a bath.
A friend said that boys of that age should not be seen naked except by their mother. I don't know if I agree or not. What do others think? I am mainly worried about the aspect of nudity with the opposite gender. Other aspects of the afternoon I am OK with. The baby sitter is very experienced, and they have been with the other family at their farm many times.

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Marybeth - posted on 03/20/2015

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I don't see any problem with a female babysitter bathing a 6 yr. old boy. At that age boys should not be embarrassed about their bodies. In fact, many kids that age will often strip to nothing when you want them to be clothed. It certainly will not do him any harm, and he should get used to the idea that women will see him naked.
When I was young I often baby sat, and sometimes that meant bathing or dressing boys of that age. I never had a problem. He may in the future, if not already, have a female doctor and certainly a female nurse. His private parts will be seen, while he is a child and when he is an adult, by women.
Of course, you should talk to your sons about when it is and is not appropriate to be naked around others, and about why there are separate men's and women's rooms. But, as others have said, when it appropriate to be seen naked, gender should not matter.

Ginger - posted on 03/18/2015

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I see absolutely no problem concerning the gender of the baby sitter. I assume that your sons have no objection, and you don't mention girls so I assume that they do not have sisters.

Boys should get used to the fact that they will be seen undressed by women (and, to a 6 year old, an 18 year old baby sitter is a woman). For the rest of their lives they will be seen undressed by female nurses and now female doctors. Many pediatricians are women, and young boys will sometime be taken care of my other women, such as friends' moms. Of course, the "friends' moms" part is while they are young; the nurses and doctors is for the rest of their lives.

If they get more use to it now while they are young, there will be less of a problem when they are older. I would worry about an older boy not reporting a problem that he thinks might cause a nurse or his doctor (if female) to examine his genitals. Of course, you, and their father, should talk to your son's about appropriate and inappropriate touch and exposure, as well as privacy. Perverts and abuse are something to be concerned about. But I think that there is far less of a chance that the boys would be abused by a female than by a male. They should be no more concerned about a female than a male seeing their private parts. Appropriateness matters; gender does not.

Of course, if they have sisters they are used to being seen by the other gender (I would hope).

Jeff - posted on 03/19/2015

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This is about respecting children’s personal space/dignity and the trust they have in you and your husband. By the age of 5 or 6, or earlier, most children are aware of their personal space. For that space and/or trust to be breached against their wishes, however well-intentioned, is an abuse.

I speak from experience. I was bathed at three/four years of age in front of a late teenaged girl (not related to me) while she held a conversation with my mother. I was acutely embarrassed, protested, was totally aware my privacy was being invaded and was really unhappy. Later I was similarly abused by a female school doctor examining me intimately at age 9 without prior parental consent or involvement, and with me being obliged to strip in an area where older girls were able to and did observe me undressed. These experiences contributed to my excessive caution and hesitancy around females. In short such experiences damaged my psychological well-being.

I cannot help wonder why some other posters on this thread apparently ignore these aspects for boys, and state/assume that all boys should be ok with nudity in front of unrelated females – and therefore presumably they believe that in turn girls should also be ok being nude in front of unrelated males? I doubt if these posters would agree, however, that it would be ok for girls of five/six to be bathed by a man of 18 if the genders in your situation were reversed.

Any person who is placed in charge of another with delegated parental authority is in a position of power. With power comes responsibility and their delegated power is limited both by parental consent, and by respect for the personal space and dignity of the person being cared for. This applies whether the caregiver is male or female and regardless of how young or old they are. It is child abuse not to respect the privacy and personal space of self-aware children of either sex. Their nakedness on that evening either bathing or getting into pyjamas may seem to be of little importance to some posters on this thread, but it may be a huge issue for one or both of your boys.

Only you and your husband know your children well enough to jointly make this call. If neither of you can be present, nor a close relative available that your boys know and trust, then paid help may be the only option. If a stranger (of whatever age or sex) giving personal care is unavoidable, and if you all – you, your husband and especially both your boys understand and are happy with the situation and what is to happen, then you need to communicate these expectations and limitations to the care giver and see that he or she sticks to them. Your boys are old enough to report.

I’d suggest you and your husband together discuss plans for the evening with your boys and make them feel involved in the decision. It need not be a big fuss but it is important that they are given the chance to say how they feel and set the limits by agreement with you both to the extent that they are able. By doing this not only will their privacy be respected, but their psychological well-being will also be protected. Later on they will remember and build your respect in them into their respect for others,

Tina - posted on 03/21/2015

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I do not think that it good for a 5 or 6 yo boy to be seen by a girl or woman who is not his mother. Boys should learn that males are not seen by females and vice versa.
I know that the 18 yo sitter is an adult according to the law, but her mother should not allow her to be seeing naked boys except for changing babies.
I have a 4 yo girl and a baby boy. My girl does not see the baby without a diaper on, I think that it is best that she not but I do understand that some moms need the help. But certainly after he is out of diapers she will not see him bathing or naked anywhere. She does "help" by next door neighbor change diapers on a baby and bathe a kid, but they are both girls.
I know that many people here approve of nudity. but I do not think that one sex should see the private parts of the other, except changing diapers, medical (doctors and nurses), mothers bathing young boys, and, of course, married people seeing their husbands or wives.
The only male parts that I have seen are my husbands and my baby boys. The only males that have seen me are my doctor, my husband, and maybe my father when I was a baby.

Abby - posted on 03/19/2015

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I see no problem with the gender issue, maybe some advantage.
As long as your sons need to be bathed or watched while in the tub, there should be no problem with a girl babysitter bathing or watching them. Of course, soon your children will be old enough to take baths alone, but until then I think that it is OK for a female babysitter or another woman (e.g. friend's mom) to bath them or to be in the bathroom while they bathe. Gender should not be an issue.
As to the advantage, boys should be used to being seen naked by girls and women. While young there will be babysitters (most are girls). When older, there will be nurses (mostly women) and doctors (growing number of women). It will be much better for them to get used to it at an earlier age rather than when they are older.
You should make sure that they learn that they should be dressed most of the time when around non-family members. When they are just a little older in school there will be separate boys and girls bathrooms and changing rooms (for gym) and that the sexes are normally separate. They should also know about "good touch/bad touch". Moms should worry about abusers.
However, they should non feel embarrassment about people of the opposite sex seeing them unclothed or even examining them when it is appropriate - such as bathing young kids or medical exams and treatments at any age. As someone has pointed out, appropriateness of the situation matters. Gender should not matter. In a situation where it is OK for a person to see a person's private parts, it should be OK regardless of that person's gender.

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Trisha - posted on 03/22/2015

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Yesterday I was out and the babysitter was here and bathed my two boys. Everything went well. I knew my boys had no objection (I only have the 2 boys, no girls). I just talked to the boys over breakfast. They liked having the baby sitter and want her again (she is better at letting them play, I guess).
A few days ago when my husband was home we talked about having a girl bathe the boys. His reaction was “it is about time”. He had begun to worry that the boys would grow up and develop an association with nakedness with sex. and have hangups about being seen naked by females, even when it would be appropriate for males to see them. Of course, at this age they are "innocent", which makes it a good time to get used to females seeing them naked, in appropriate situations.

My husband reminded me that he grew up with two sisters, one several years older who often helped take care of him. When he was young he had a babysitter who bathed him (small world or small town thing – she is a friend of mine now). It was a female nurse who put in and removed a urinary catheter when he had surgery while in college. More relevant, our boy’s pediatrician is about to retire and the boys will be seeing a female doctor who is part of the same practice. I would not want them to have any hangups that prevent them from telling her about any symptoms that they think may cause her to examine their genitals

Michelle - posted on 03/18/2015

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I don't see a problem with it. If you trust your babysitter then let her do her job. I think your friend is over reacting a bit.

Raye - posted on 03/18/2015

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They are probably old enough to bathe together with the babysitter just outside the room listening to make sure they are ok. She can run the water, make sure it's not too deep and is warm enough, get their towels ready for them, make sure they have soap, washcloths, bath toys, or whatever they need so they don't have to call her unless there's a problem. Then she steps out and they undress, bathe, and dry off. They can wrap their towel around themselves and go to their room to get into jammies. Maybe they won't get the cleanest, as they'll probably play around a bit in the tub, but they'll be better off than not having washed at all.

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