When Should Parents Stop Taking Baths with Their Children?

At what age does it start to become weird for children to take baths with their parents?

A few days ago, 23-year-old Japanese television presenter Naomi Kitami (北見直美) trended when she revealed on a variety show that she still takes baths with her father and three older brothers. She even allowed the program to film their bathing process at their home.

Naomi Kitami

Naomi first bathed with her 26-year-old older brother for an hour. The siblings chatted and watched videos on their phone. About an hour later, Naomi’s brother left and her father joined. There was no awkwardness in the transition, and the father-daughter duo comfortably chatted. Naomi admitted that even her friends found it weird, but she explained that she is very close with her family, and that bathing together would save time and money. Bathing with her family is a time for her to relax and spend time with them.

Of course, Naomi’s bathing habits have garnered mixed responses from netizens, leading to interesting debates. This news has also made it over to Hong Kong, where celebrities gave in their two cents.

Former TVB actress June Chan (陳琪), who has two daughters and one son with actor Jack Wu (胡諾言), called Naomi Kitami “unbelievable,” expressing that she believes the Japanese star was trying to create news.

Bob Lam (林盛斌) had similar thoughts, expressing that he has never showered with his three daughters, even when they were toddlers. “My wife and I would always tell them that we need to protect our bodies.” Candy Law (羅霖), who has three sons, said, “I’d take baths with them even up to four years old, but as they grow older, they have to understand the difference.”

Wayne Lai (黎耀祥) was more open-minded. “It’s a difference in culture,” he said. “There are mixed gender onsen in Japan, and that is a culture that was built overtime. We don’t have something like that, which is why we probably think it’s very weird.”

Interestingly, some Hong Kong celebrities have also gotten into similar “bathing controversies.”

Last year, Kay Tse (謝安琪) revealed that she and her 11-year-old son James Cheung (張瞻) would sometimes shower together, in which she would use that opportunity to teach her son the difference between a male and a female, and how to respect each other’s bodies. Some netizens believe that Kay’s ways of teaching as too extreme, and that many kids as young as 6 years old have already learned to take their own showers.

In 2014, Michelle Reis (李嘉欣) uploaded a photo on social media of her taking a bath with her then 3-year-old son Jayden. Michelle was wearing a bikini in the photo. Netizens wondered why Michelle had to wear clothes in the shower, to which Michelle replied that it is important for her son to understand the difference between male and female, and that she does not want to negatively impact her son’s psychological health.

Though not a bathing scandal, TVB actor Joseph Lee (李國麟) had been under fire for acting too intimate with his daughter. In 2017, on his daughter’s 15th birthday, he shared a picture of him kissing his daughter on the lips. Netizens left behind comments of disgust, but Joseph reasoned, “My daughter is kissing her father. In my eyes, it is filled with a father’s love.”

Source: (1, 2)

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

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  1. It’s only similar to sharing a jacuzzi unless she had taken all her clothes off. If she had taken her clothes then that seems sick in any culture…

    1. @jimmyszeto but in Japan, they are used to it? Like they have done it for ages, so to them, it’s a norm? Overtime, that practice will possibly die out due to the current trend in viewing such matter, but currently, that’s just their culture?

  2. I can’t imagine how to be so close to your parents that this is normal. Well, that reflects more on me and my upbringing than what’s ‘normal.’ I don’t have that close of a relationship with my parents and I don’t have the same relationship with my sisters either (& I pretty much helped raise them.)

    1. @coralie I have a friend who watched cat 3 movies with her parents. Those you know, bed action cat 3 movies. Needless to say I was ok. But that was before game of thrones so anyway, cultural differences.

  3. Ignorance. The culture in Japan is completely different from HK or China. The concept of mixed public bath (sentou) in Japan has existed since the Edo period. Granted that it may seem weird in the eyes of a Chinese or Westerner that Kitami bathes with her family, it is a pretty normal thing for Japanese families to bathe in an onsen or sentou together.

      1. @littlefish At least Wayne Lai gets the cultural difference. The rest are just using their personal benchmarks to criticize another nationality’s culture.

      2. @rika
        My opinion won’t do it alone on any issue.Society’s mass opinions can change laws and cultures. Why do we now ban capital punishment in many countries? Why is it illegal not to have fire alarm in house? Why is it against the law for kids to not wear seat belts? Not saying that the Japanese culture is wrong yet in this case but my initial opinion based on the article is that it is very uncomfortable.Maybe your mind needs to open up a little bit and accept change if it comes rather than use the argument ‘it’s culture so it’s right’. Is burning women at stake for being accused of witchcraft right? Once upon a time,it was a tradition…

  4. It’s mentally abnormal I think. My husband stop giving my daughters a bath when they were around 4-5. I taught them how to bath themselves around 6/7. But once in a while if we’re home late then I would give them a quick bath & put them to bed.

  5. When do you stop breast feeding? Same question with this one. If it is innocent, purely bathing, no nudity, why not? Anyway some families are ok with nudity as part of the skin, no sexual whatever. Weird but could happen.

  6. What does the Japanese culture think of this interview? If they are not disturbed, I guess I should not be either.

    But over an hour is a long time to spend in a bath. Couldn’t they bond over dinner or at a pool? I have seen fathers abuse their own children and siblings abuse each other. Therefore, I know my life experience makes me view this through the unnatural lens.

    For Kay Tse, 11 years old is a bit too old to shower together naked. There are fabulous books that teach kids about puberty, development, and respect. This should be a talk that parents have frequently and consistently with children as young as 3 years old.

    1. @potatochip well, if the kids are ok and want to shower with their parents, that’s fine, right? If the kids see no problems, what other people see is really does not matter. We use our perception of what’s good and bad, when we should think what the children think. If my son is later on show discomfort in having the same shower with me, I would stop, but if he want to join in, because me and my husband are having a shower together, I would not say no?

      1. @littlefish I admit I have my biases because I have 3 boys and my oldest is 8 years old. Around 4-5 years old, I taught him male and female body differences, pubertal changes, sperm and egg, and to love and respect our bodies. This was important to teach him private areas and to speak up if anyone makes him uncomfortable or touches him without his consent. Also, he needs to learn to listen and not touch anyone without their consent.

        For him, he prefers to dress and shower privately. It is okay when I am in the room, but he does not want his other siblings seeing him. He is aware to give me privacy. Because he is this way, I can’t imagine him at 11 still showering with me.

        I agree if the child and parent views it as innocent, then there should be no concern from others. Since many kids are starting puberty at 11 already, for me and my kids, it is too late for showering together.

      2. @potatochip I would do the same as you, I would teach my kids to acknowledge the difference between male and female, and aware of such danger. And yea, I’m just gonna let my child lead me, if he turns out to be like your child, that’s fine, too 🙂 all kids are different, most important is not making them feel ashamed and alienated just because they are growing up 🙂

  7. This reminds me of when I used to bath with my sister. We always bathe together until I was in 6th grade. When I moved to the US, our cousin was disgusted that we were bathing together and for some reason that created a wedge between us. We never bathe together again and our relationship is never as good as before.

    If they’re comfortable with what they’re doing and it’s not hurting anyone we shouldn’t really judge.

      1. @jimmyszeto lol I’m not saying that not bathing together has made our relationship worse. It’s just that we used to be really comfortable around each other and shared everything; it was our culture. But someone from a different culture find it weird and comment rudely on it and that just makes us feel like we’re different and and as kids that’s really damaging. We just never could go back to how close we were before because of that experience and eventually we become distant.

        I really like Wayne Lai’s reply – our culture is different so we really shouldn’t judge everyone else with the same standard.

      2. @iciel were you and your sister going through puberty at 6th grade? it does give a shameful feeling when others make it known that your behavior is gross. i think that contributes a lot to alienation. but, if you didn’t know better, you would’ve been fine. kids don’t think about that stuff when young. they just see everything as harmless.

        a few yrs ago, my older guy cousins and i went on a cross-country trip. one of my cousin’s parents flipped out on my parents saying that they need to keep an eye on us, because if they don’t, it can lead us to incestuous behavior. first of all, that thought has never crossed my mind. secondly. when they brought that up, it really grossed me out. ever since then, i stay away from that cousin. just don’t need that kind of thought process in my life.

        *off-topic: these days i try to stay as far away from my relatives as possible. my parents think i’m being disrespectful since i don’t try interacting with them and display hostility with all of them. but i rather they know i don’t like them than fake niceties and act cordial. this way they bother me less. hopefully when i do this for another decade, they know better than to try interacting with me.

      3. @coralie
        I understand parent worries. That’s why parents usually freak out or at least hint of boy and girl relative get even slight contact. They think that feelings can develop…

      4. @coralie I wonder if it’s because of too much ancient drama lol, you know how they always portray your first crush as your cousin >_>? Because you grow up together, and always so close. And yes, only asians think like that I swear. And this is why I stop this Chinese mom, when she keeps going on about how 2 (less than 2 years old) toddlers should then be matched later on >_> since they play so well together now. I’m like uh, most kids play well with each other, this kind of thinking is what kill the innocence, and brought up unnecessary things when it shouldn’t have >_> and yes, I told her lol.

      5. I@littlefish it is totally ignorance. a lot of older generations don’t have a lot of education, so don’t even know that if kids grow up together, they have zero sexual attraction to each other. it’s our genes at work, familial repulsion. on the other hand, if they’ve never met their family members, they can develop sexual feelings, familial attraction. There’s specific term for this, but I’m on my phone at the moment so can’t look it up. in any case, it kinda kills the romantic vibe of childhood sweethearts in dramas for me lol (like autumn in my heart) knowing what I know. that’s just one example off the tip of the iceberg thing my relatives do. they’re insane. and perhaps they meant well by making my parents paranoid for my safety, but at my age then, I have to question her sanity if she thinks we have no control over our sexual faculties. or that I would find my cousins (who feel like my brothers) attractive in that sense *shudder*

      6. @coralie yup lol. I’m ok about this whole cousin love in ancient drama, because it tends to be crush, and it’s not true love/they grow out of it so fast, it’s not even funny. And that kinda ok with me, everyone entitle for a bit of crush. But the kind of love suggested in autumn in my heart is just yikes lol, that’s why I never seen it, despite knowing how popular it is xD same with I don’t watch city of bones >_> or whatever that series is

      7. @littlefish
        There are plenty of cousin couples in the older ancient series though I’m not sure how blood related they are. At least they have now cooled down in this area…

      8. @jimmyszeto I think they are cooling that area down is because currently it’s wrong lol. I’m pretty sure if the Chinese can have it, they would censor it lawl!

        The famous Louis Cha’s novel always have cousin as your first crush, heck my favourite Demi god and semi devil is like incest fest lol (but with a twist lol!). However, they are all crushes, and the main hero/heroine always move on. And yes, you don’t know how close in term of the bloodline they are really. Even currently, I think it’s ok if it’s like twice remove or something like that?

      9. @littlefish
        Not sure how true it is but older generation say if a couple has similar genetics then they baby they have likely to have problems genetically. Cousins who are not blood cousins obviously fine. In ‘looking back in Anger’ it was ok with Kathy and Felix since they weren’t blood related since Felix was an orphan. However, so many ancient series ended up with cousins matchmaking. My parents know i think direct cousins who fell in love and married with kids. The parents seem to be borderline low level of intelligence type. At least one set of parents have disowned them due to this relationship which I can’t deduce as overly harsh or not….

      10. @jimmyszeto A chinese friends told me, it’s not incest even if you married your first cousin, providing that the cousins are not children of brothers. For example, the children of two sisters, children of a brother and sister, but not children of two brothers … because they would have the same surname. In her case, she told me if one of her sons wants to marry one of her sisters’ children, it’s ok, but it’s not ok for him to get involve with his father’s brother’s children.

        I had just google .. and found this practice banned in 1981 …


      11. @winnie
        Having children with first cousin many researches say have increased chances of coming up with birth defects. Whether it is brother or sister, genetics will be similar. I don’t think the surname is the most important. Maybe a stubborn Chinese will only think about surname when the grand scale of things is much more serious….

      12. @jimmyszeto Oh! My mum still thinks I should date her sister’s son since we don’t share the same surname! I talked to her about how the baby gets the same number of chromosomes from each parent but she still thinks that the sperm will carry more genes than the ova because it has a tail. I have given up explaining the reproductive process to her.

        I think it is the luck fo the draw whether the baby gets genetic defects when cousins marry, but it is not a risk I want to take.

      13. @elizabeth
        Yeh. A lot of people also have the dumb idea that anyone with same surnames shouldn’t date. That would be a huge problem in China since there aren’t many surnames. I understand that if it was a village where everyone had same surname then there is a strong possibility of mating with a descendant from the same family. However, surnames get changed and evolve over times so it isn’t important. What is important is the genetics and if there is a bigger risk in marrying a cousin then will be wise not to go down that path…..

      14. @elizabeth Uhm, the problem is that luck of the draw get worse when it comes to cousin marrying because of the potential of the harmful genes being in both male and female, making it very likely to have defects. Whereas if you mate diversely, there is less chance you meet the same harmful genes in your mate. That’s why currently the rate of defect is quite a low percentage of our global population.

      15. @jimmyszeto Oh … Maybe i wasn’t making myself clear when i referenced surname. I meant to say the off springs from the brothers carry the same surname … i guess that proves relations. Obviously, just because you share the same last name do not make you related.

        One of my college roommates was toying with the idea of dating her 1st cousin (his mom and her mom are sisters), alot of us, although Asian, but not Chinese were turn off by it, but she explained it’s acceptable in chinese culture. I thought she was joking (pre-google and internet).

      16. @winnie
        Yeh I know what you mean. Some even thing sane surname means they previously were family many many generations ago but that it not true. We can look so far back and surnames evolve.

        I think it does not feel so bad if marry a cousin that you don’t grow up with and don’t get to see often. In different places in China, the culture might be slightly different. In some areas it might be that any cousins can marry,in some areas certain cousins can marry and then in some areas none. Since some research says there is slight increased risk, I wouldn’t try it. The risk doesn’t sound too big so if struggling to find a good partner then it can be considered….

    1. @iciel hahaha, I had the same experience. However in our case, it was me bathing with my cousins (I’m a lone child and my cousin was a brother and a sister). I was the oldest, then my cousin who is 1 Year younger, and his sister who is 2 yrs younger than him. We would always have fun and up to absolutely no good thing whenever we were put in my maternal grandmother’s house (they always ignored us). So after a fun bathing session, my grandmother pulled me aside and said I need to stop bathing with them as my cousin asked her why my body is a bit weird (I just started puberty) – at least that’s what my grandmother told me, whether he did ask it or not, idk. And that made me feel ashamed, and drove a wedge in between me and my cousins. We are still good in speaking term, and remembered and talked about our fun childhood (with the girl cousin, I barely talked to the boy cousin lol), but my cousin’s question, though valid, her concern and way of dealing with it, kill the innocence of my childhood. I started to feel like I can’t be carefree when I was still less than 10 (I don’t remember how old I was exactly).

      Anyway, I totally get you 🙂

  8. I cringe at this while reading it Japanese culture could be so extreme and diffrerent from other asian how could you bath together with your siblings i even get a lil nervous when my sis walks in on me when im in my bra and panties even tho were both females and no matter how close u are u still have that nerve that make u feel a little uncomfortable!

    1. @sherla1019 ikr! I can’t imagine being that close to my sis that I would feel comfy if she saw me in my undies, much less bathe naked with her. But when I went to the ladies’ changing/shower rooms in Korea and China, I saw young and old women walking around stark naked and they didn’t feel a tinge of shame at all. When i was in school in my teens, I had a friend who thought nothing about changing in front of all of us, even stripping off her undies while the rest of us would try not to look in her direction.

      1. @passingby2
        I think we can be critical of cultures or traditions if we think they don’t seem right or educative towards the young. If we followed everything just because it is part of the tradition then we would still be living in a world where all woman are housewives If it seems incorrect then we can strive for change.

  9. Its neither right nor wrong. Some facets of Japanese culture are just perverted in ways that no one will truly understand.

  10. Im find with parents washing their little ones up till 6 years old, but not ok when they decide to bathe with their kids-even wearing swimsuits. I know a couple who stills sleep with their son and he is in his twenties…he’s a grown up man, but he’s too depending on his mom.

    1. @jessehsuan
      I was telling my mum off when my brother was 11 and still sleeping in same bed as her. Plenty of witnesses too but years later she says it didn’t happen…

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