Is it ever ok for inlaws to let my niece sit in on ds bath time

(122 Posts)
ChocoNutter Sun 30-Jun-13 03:03:59

My DCs stayed the night at inlaws as they have done so on countless occasions. When we arrived to pick them up I was told by my FIL my ds(8) was still in the bath and to go and say hello. The bathroom door was open wide and my MIL was looking in. I thought she was keeping an eye on him. When I looked in the bathroom I saw my niece(19) sat on the toilet laughing and pointing and ds lying on his back (no longer in the bath) with his legs up and apart, spreading himself apart and showing her everything! (sorry TMI)

AIBU to feel very uncomfortable and upset about this? Why didn't MIL tell him to stop or her to get out? she just stood there and watched.

Please don't judge, I'm after ideas on how to gently address this with her as I think it's inappropriate to allow my niece in the bathroom in the first place, she didn't need to be there.

Vijac Sun 30-Jun-13 03:07:17

I wasn't there to see the situation/hear the laughter but it sounds pretty innocent and fine to me.

AgentZigzag Sun 30-Jun-13 03:17:30

Are they just so used to your DS being 'little' that they've not noticed (or have but don't want to think about it) he's got to an age where the boundaries of privacy might be changing?

It doesn't sound sinister in any way (and I know you haven't insinuated any such thing) but the way they were made it seem a natural situation with nobody feeling uncomfortable or as though something was going on.

My DD1 was 7/8 when she first started bathing herself completely (I'd be around when she had a bath just before that time) so it's not as though he's 12/13 and it's like Piccadilly Circus when he's having a dip.

I would ask him about it I think, not in a way that plants anything in his mind, but just a gentle question about whether he'd prefer to have a peaceful bath to himself rather than the world and his wife passing through?

Swallowingmywords Sun 30-Jun-13 03:23:17

I think agentzigzag has got it, often families forget that their 'babies' are growing up, 8 is still very little and I think they were just laughing and joking together. It sounds innocent and natural

ChocoNutter Sun 30-Jun-13 03:26:30

Normally at home hes quite competent in washing and drying himself and wants privacy... That's why this has surprised me as its out of character. But I do think you might have hit the nail on the head when you said they might not have realised hes growing up. I just don't think my 19yo niece needed to be there just watching...that's all, bit uncomfortable with that part.

AgentZigzag Sun 30-Jun-13 03:41:35

If you did want to bring it up with them (because they're the adults and in control of the situation) could you go in with a lighthearted/incredulous 'I can't believe he let you in the bathroom while he was in there! We have to wait hours now he wants to bath on his own grin'?

Kind of a bit of a <tsk> <exaggerated eye roll> at what they can be like staking their claim on their independence/privacy.

On the other hand though, I tried to let DD guide how she wanted to play stuff like this out. If she'd said she was uncomfortable in a similar situation, I wouldn't have thought twice about saying something to MIL/SIL on her behalf, as I'm sure you wouldn't.

Do you think he'd tell them he didn't want the door open if he really wanted it shut (given that he could still seem OK with the situation even if he felt uncomfortable with it) what kind of relationships are going on?

ravenAK Sun 30-Jun-13 04:12:26

If your niece is 19, it's not so much your PIL you need to speak to, as your niece, if anyone. I'd imagine she's just got in to the habit when he was much younger & not realised he's growing up.

Although to be fair I have an 8yo ds. There are days when he'd freak at me walking in on him in the bath/shower, & days when he'd find it hilarious to have his bum webcammed to the main stage at Glasto.

I think I'd have a chat with ds about being able to ask for privacy ('You do know you can ask people to leave you to it in the bathroom? Grandma needs you to leave the door ajar in case you bang your head or get kidnapped by aliens, but if you'd rather not have people actually in the room, it's fine to tell them that.')

Beyond that, I wouldn't worry.

jendot Sun 30-Jun-13 08:03:43

I have 2ds. My 11yr ds is now very private. My 8yr ds will still strip off naked at a family BBQ to run about in a sprinkler or on a beach...he is not bothered in the slightest.
I let my kids decide for themselves if they are comfortable or not with nakedness. They set the boundaries and have been equipped to ask for privacy if required.
I don't lock the door when I'm in the bathroom and the kids can come and go as they please. The kids are allowed to lock the door if they choose or can leave it wide open.
If your ds was happy and performing in the bath he was obviously comfortable having your niece in the room.... So what is the problem? If he has been cowering and covering his bits with a flannel then I would view it as unsuitable.

VinegarDrinker Sun 30-Jun-13 08:08:17

Can you articulate exactly what you are worried about?
Would it be different if they were siblings?
What about a babysitter?
Sounds entirely innocent to me.
Surely at 8 he is old enough to make his wishes for privacy (if appropriate) known.
Laughing and giggling with his cousin doesn't sound like he was distressed by the situation.
I'd be pleased he feels at ease with his cousin.

VinegarDrinker Sun 30-Jun-13 08:10:31

Meant to say, I was 19 when my youngest brothers were 8 and 10.. sounds like exactly the kind of high jinx they would have got up to if I was keeping an eye on them at bath time.

Fakebook Sun 30-Jun-13 08:11:22

Ridiculous. I don't even understand what you're worried about confused

HooverFairy Sun 30-Jun-13 08:19:02

I'm not sure I agree with you about saying something - your son is 8 (a child), your niece is 19 and unless you suspect her of child abuse I don't understand what the problem is. If your son was shy about her being there I doubt he'd have been doing what you described, your niece wasn't alone with him and they were laughing. It's nice that your family are close, surely if you aren't comfortable with other people bathing your child then don't let them?

You do realise the implications of what you are about to do, don't you? Your poor niece.

heidihole Sun 30-Jun-13 08:23:24

I think it's nice that your DS is comfortable around his family (and 19 is an adult I'm sure she isn't going to be shocked to find that little boys have willys)

When he gets closer to puberty he will naturally require privacy and I have no doubt he will let you know when that is!

LucilleBluth Sun 30-Jun-13 08:33:15

I don't see the issue either and I have two DSs aged 9 and 11. My 9 yo just spent nearly the entirety of our holiday naked around the pool (private pool) my 11yo wouldn't but to DS2 being naked is hilarious.

MoominsYonisAreScary Sun 30-Jun-13 08:41:58

I'm with fakebook, what on earth are you concerned
About? So she saw an 8 year olds willy and bum hole, really! If you are not comfortable with it maybe speak to your son about modesty but at that age willys and bums are funny. He will grow out of it

MoominsYonisAreScary Sun 30-Jun-13 08:45:15

As for her being in there perhaps they thunk he still needs supervision, it's easy to forget they are growing up and don't need it anymore, especially when they are not your own.

My mum for example was still wiping ds1s bum for him at 8, because he didn't do it properly and would be sore! No he's just lazy

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Sun 30-Jun-13 08:47:31

I think your niece would be mortified if she read this

MoominsYonisAreScary Sun 30-Jun-13 08:48:05

And ds1 is 18 now and would probably have found one of the little ones doing that funny, although I suspect he would have also told them to pack it in after a while.

WitchOfEndor Sun 30-Jun-13 08:48:48

I think it depends on whether or not he is comfortable with it. And I would ask them not to on that basis.

NicknameIncomplete Sun 30-Jun-13 08:49:07

I dont see what the problem is. Your son seemed happy enough.

It just sounds like your niece was watching her cousin being silly & maybe showing off a little.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 30-Jun-13 08:51:34

I know that it is double standards but I would object if it was my BIL but not if it was my SIL.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 30-Jun-13 08:54:10

what was she laughing and pointing at?

Being in the bathroom, not necessarily a problem but I would want to know what the laughing and pointing was about.

Maybe you walked in in the middle of them mucking about, perhaps your son had just done something daft/funny and she was laughing at that?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 30-Jun-13 08:56:03

You're right on the double standards, I have just had a horrible realisation that if it was a 19yr old nephew watching an 8 yr old girl in the bath and pointing and laughing (or even not) I would say no, he should not be in there, she's old enough at 8 to not need supervision and I wouldn't be comfortable with it.

WaitingIsWhatIDo Sun 30-Jun-13 09:00:21

I wouldn't have thought anything of it. I was a teenager when most of my nieces n nephews were born so still living at home when my mum babysat. They used to wake me up at silly o clock when I had been out he night before lol I think that's why I waited til my 30s to have my own kids! I think you could cause offence really and make your mil or niece feel v uncomfortable.

FredFredGeorge Sun 30-Jun-13 09:03:32

He's 8, it's up to him if he wants privacy, there's nothing wrong with his cousin or grandmother seeing him naked.

YABU and a bit odd the way you've written it?

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