Having a family of our own is the biggest personal goal in ones’ life. And parenthood is the most magical moment of it. We learn each day. From giving birth to the baby to raising them, parents take equal responsibility. And why wouldn’t they? They are the natural guardians of their kids, be it a girl or a boy.
For a parent, a child is a child. They don’t see them as a girl or a boy. Their kids are just an extension of their beings. So, gender discrimination is impossible for a real parent.
But there is a point in time where this gender thing overtakes the kids-parents relationship. To understand this changing scenario of growing up years of our kids, let’s understand this first.
Right v/s Wrong
That said, we know there are instances in which a dad is deemed too old to see her daughter in her bare body. This is where there arises the need to test a parent for being right or wrong.
A father seeing her daughter and feeling aroused is a wrong thought. And the same holds in a mother-son relationship. And it is not a moral judgment. It is abusing the trust of a dependent by his caretaker.
That forces us to think about the right time when a line should be drawn to keep the child’s trust in a parent from breaking. Just a few thoughts and personal practices of many parents have been discussed here to lend perspective to all the parents who are keen to know when a father should stop or avoid seeing her daughter in her bare body.
When the daughter has some disability
A human caring for another human has nothing shameful or embarrassing about it. When your girl child is differently-abled to do her things, all you want as a father is to care for her and make her life easier by helping her in her routine and that includes bathing her and changing her clothes. Do not succumb to any societal or cultural ideologies. Your priority should be your child’s safety.
The only reason a father should stop seeing her disabled daughter should be when the daughter feels a bit uncomfortable that way with her father. Do not panic accepting the fact even if your daughter has a disability, she still is growing up and might need privacy when she hits puberty. Just stay focused on the comfort of your daughter.
When the daughter is healthy
Every father has bathed her daughter and changed her diapers when she was a baby. But nature takes its course and our kids grow up. And a natural want for privacy is very much normal. All fathers experience this at some point or the other and based on their experiences, here are a few scenarios and the ways they have been dealt with:
When the father gets uncomfortable
Kids grow fast these days and time flies faster. While our kids will always be those little bundles of joy for us, but the truth is, they do change as they mature. There is no specific age when a father could get uncomfortable seeing her daughter. For some fathers, they might feel their 3-year-old daughter is too big now and for others, their 9-year-old is still their baby girl. This just comes from within and is subjective.
When the daughter gets uncomfortable
Kids grow up fast these days and the girls mature faster than boys. And as we still think of them as our babies, they might already be a teenager in their heads. When your daughter asks you directly to give her privacy while bathing or changing clothes, take it as a cue of her discomfort there, of daddy’s presence.
When both are comfortable
There might be a situation where both father and daughter are comfortable in the general care and help extended in the routine. But then, our child needs to take care of herself one day and that should be taught rather sooner to make them disciplined.
- To teach her not to be dependent: When you want your daughter not to be dependent on you for her routine anymore, stop bathing her, changing her clothes and even assisting her in readying herself. This should be done at an age a father or both the parents think is appropriate.
- To teach her cleanliness: When you want your daughter to learn the washing technique and changing clothes, stop entering her bathroom but do not withdraw from your duties at once. Let her learn this first under your supervision for the first few days. When you are confident enough that she can keep her hygiene without hurting herself, you can hold yourself back completely.
- To teach her privacy: Teaching your daughter to safeguard her modesty and protect her privacy is an important lesson. But be careful for not making it an issue. Go slow with the lesson. Don't make her feel self-humiliation and keep her confident about body image.
When they hit puberty
Puberty is a stage that demarcates our life in two parts. We become conscious of our changing body shapes. The same happens with our baby girls. And when that stage comes, a natural sense of being private and being shy about the body will take over your daughter. As a father, take those cues and adjust, just the way your daughter is adjusting herself to her hormonal changes.
These all are the various situations which many parents have dealt with. And if they can, you can deal with it too. Just listen to your child’s subtle actions. But be careful not to make her conscious of her body. The early covering up the pressure, cultural or societal, could embed deep in her mind. And the result? Insecurities about body image, low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy in a relationship.
Do not hurry up to teach her gender differentiation as she might get matured way before the apt age. Let her live her childhood by not taking her innocence away.