A mother who bathes with her 10- and 11-year-old sons has sparked debate after a life coach said her nudity could “confuse” the boys.
Ben Edwards, who is also a parent, appeared on U.K. breakfast program “This Morning” insisting that boys in the early stages of puberty tend to “fantasize about their mothers.”
His comments came in response to journalist Lauren Libbert, who said she continues to bath with her adolescent sons — describing it as a “normal” and “enjoyable” part of her week.
Show host and mother-of-three, Holly Willoughby, agreed, suggesting Edwards was “over-sexualizing” the matter — but viewers seemed to side with Edwards, tweeting that Libbert’s choice to be naked in front of her boys was “weird.”
“Why is she bathing with her 10 and 11 year old sons? It’s not normal,” said one viewer.
“Bathing with your 10 and 11 year old sons in my opinion is strange. I don’t find anything wrong in being naked around your children but bathing WITH them at that age nah not for me. But who am I to judge anyone’s parenting?” said another.
“Totally agree with everything Ben is saying! Bathing with your parents when you’re at the age of when puberty is starting is just weird,” added a third.
Libbert explained that her own childhood shaped how she acts as a parent, and said bath-time was an opportunity for her and her mother to bond.
“We have a bath together at least once a week,” she said of her current family routine. “It isn’t a big issue in our house, it’s something we have been doing for years and it is something that is really enjoyable.”
“My boys are very comfortable with me being naked and them being naked, it’s something we do in the house that is very normal,” she added.
She added that she believes being naked is “nothing to be ashamed of,” and said that she felt doing so actually offered her sons “more clarity.”
Edwards disagreed, highlighting that Libberts’ experience was “very different” to bathing with two boys who are just about to enter secondary school – and puberty.
“It opens up to a lot of confusion. It’s not about hiding it, it’s just not about openly flaunting it,” he added.
“When Sigmund Freud did his research he got to six to eleven and when puberty starts, boys naturally have tendencies to fantasize about their mothers.”
“Being naked so openly, it’s more about the confusion that could lead on from that.”
Presenter, Holly Willoughby, intervened: “Aren’t you just over-sexualizing this?”
“Aren’t you taking away the innocence of the mother-child relationship regardless of whether they are male and female?” she asked.
Edwards then asked viewers a question: “Where does the line drop?”
Libbert responded: “It’s interesting to hear all that as my boys have definitely become more intrigued with my body as they’ve grown older; there’s more pointing and sniggering and they ask lots more questions.”
“I answer in a matter-of-fact [way]. One thing I will say, is if they start to have issues with being naked, I will take their lead.
“If my oldest son doesn’t want to be naked around me I will take his lead. We’re all comfortable about this.”
“I grew up in this environment and I was doing this past puberty but I think it’s made me more comfortable in my own skin, and isn’t that an amazing gift to be able to give to your children if one can be?”