DEAR AMY: Is there a particular age that a child should stop showering with a sibling of the opposite sex?
I have a 9-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy. The majority of the time, probably 85 percent to 90 percent, they shower or bathe separately. However, there are times when I just want to get showers done and I have them shower together in my larger shower.
Other times they may ask to shower/bathe together, although this is probably only every few months. When together, they tend to just act silly or play with random bath toys while shampooing and washing up. They don't grab at each other, nor do they talk about their body parts.
My thought is that showering together will just naturally stop, most likely when my daughter hits puberty or when she feels her body is changing. My husband, however, is vehemently opposed to the kids continuing to shower together because they are of the opposite gender, and he thinks it is inappropriate.
My husband thinks I should defer to him on this issue since it is important to him, but I am having a hard time seeing his side of things.
What do you think? — Tired Mom
DEAR MOM: My instinct about showering/bathing is aligned with yours: It will naturally stop when your daughter hits puberty and starts feeling strongly about body privacy.
However, I agree with your husband that because this is important to him, you should defer to him.
He has instincts, too, and they should be respected. After all, he is the only person in the room who used to be a little boy.
DEAR AMY: I have another suggestion for the granddaughter of "Too Much Contact," who is bothered by her parents' daily phone calls.
Back in the olden days of the 1980s and '90s, my mother would speak to her parents at a set day and time each week. Every Sunday evening at 9 p.m. (after we kids were in bed), the phone would ring, and my mother would have a nice long chat with her folks for 30 or 40 minutes.
I found out later that my grandmother would keep a notepad by the phone and jot down topics that she wanted to cover during their conversations to make sure nothing was left out. This system worked for them for more than 20 years. — Eavesdropping Granddaughter
DEAR EAVESDROPPING: Scheduling calls is a great idea because everyone involved can count on it.
Sunday was the day I always spoke with my mother. We talked at other times, too, but I hold special memories of our Sunday calls because they were long, lingering and meandered from topic to topic (I should have had a notepad on hand).
I also love the image of a young girl eavesdropping on her mother's chats with her own parents. I think it's a great opportunity for a kid to witness this loving generational dynamic.
DEAR AMY: I'm responding to "Carpool Mom," whose 14-year-old son's childhood friend now seems to ignore him during their carpool rides to school.
This was so familiar for me. I met my best friend in third grade. She was new to school; our teacher got us together, and we were inseparable for about four years.
Once we were in junior high, she wanted to be different from me. She wanted to start smoking and hung out with a different crowd. We carpooled for about the first half of the year but then decided to get to school on our own.
I was lucky because my parents let me make that decision and never questioned it.
Years later we reconnected through social media, and I am happy that she is doing well. It just goes to show that people do grow and change. — Former Carpool Kid
DEAR FORMER: It can be quite painful for a parent to watch her child be ignored or treated badly by a friend, but childhood friendships do have a natural course and they do break down, often when kids reach middle school age and start to move in separate social circles.