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by Abigail Van Buren

Dad's Role in Daughters' Bath Time Surprises Neighbor

DEAR ABBY: I was visiting a neighbor whose son and daughter-in-law were also visiting. They have two daughters, ages 9 and 7. While I was there her son took the girls into the bathroom and gave them baths. I was shocked. The mom said, "That's his job!"

Abby, I could understand if they were toddlers, but by that age, they should be able to bathe themselves. When I asked her why, she said, "They play too much." Is this unusual? The grandmother -- my neighbor -- confided later that it made her uncomfortable, too, and said she has hinted to them both that the girls need privacy. What should we do or say, or is it none of our business? -- CONFUSED IN ALABAMA

DEAR CONFUSED: By the ages of 7 and 9, the girls should not only be capable of bathing themselves, but also be able to comprehend when either parent says, "You're splashing around too much. Cut out the funny business!" The parents should act only as monitors. While I don't think it's your place to say anything, I do think the grandmother should.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Friends & Neighbors