Is it accepted for a seven year old to change infant diapers/bathe infant?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by SomewhereOutThere, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is my grandson who told my son he has to do this at mom's home. Although son was outraged, I wasn't because I do know some kids take care of younger sibs at early ages (although his mom is perfectly free and able to do it herself...she is very lazy. Junior also cleans her cat's litter box, although grandson doesn't like the cat and it is not his). I digress...

    In my family of origin, we were very dysfunctional. None of us had chores at any age and we did not look after one another so it's impossible for me to know if this is "out there" or acceptably normal. I am curious about your opinions though.j

    Personally, I know myself and I would have been afraid my infant would drown or get hurt with a seven year old doing the chore. But I'm an admitted big worrier and can be overprotective. So where do you stand? There is no right or wrong answer to me. I am just curious since the issue came up. Thank you in advace.

    Want to add seven year old is neurotypical and very bright, but medium in maturity. These two boys are her only children. She has a husband who seems to be out of town a lot and mom does work full time.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Changing diapers - maybe, depending on how old the baby is, and assuming he is not the baby's sole caregiver at ANY point - i.e. the parent is around but occupied (such as cooking supper). Leaving an infant with anyone under the age of 12 is not considered "responsible" on the part of the parent.

    Bathe an infant? In my opinion, no. Help a three-year-old, maybe. There is simply too much that can go wrong with bathing.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    He is five months old.
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I agree with InsaneCdn. I think diapers could be okay, but I can't imagine letting any 7 year old bathe an infant by himself. Maybe help, but not do the job themselves. Even if there's a little seat for the baby, at 5 mo, the baby is too active and could easily slip off. It's hard for an adult to hold onto a wet, soapy baby.

    Chores? Sure. My son was scooping the cat box and pooper scooping the back yard at quite an early age. We actually gave him these nasty jobs because he was so squeamish and we wanted to try to get him to loosen up a bit about "dirt". Didn't work, incidentally.
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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, guys.

    Actually, I just got off the phone with Bart and the infant is nine or ten months.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Still too young for a 7 year old to be bathing, in my opinion.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Me too. I'm not sure I'd ever make a seven year old change diapers either. Depended on how careful/careless and hygenic he was.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Also depends on whether diaper is wet or dirty. Changing a wet diaper on an almost-toddler isn't the same as changing a dirty one on a newborn.
  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    At least a 10 month old is sitting up with stability. That makes the bathing a little safer...but I still can't imagine allowing that unless I'm keeping my eye on him.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    He's changing dirty diapers. It's his before bedtime chore. I should say, it is dirty if the baby pooped. If he just peed, I suppose he does it wet.
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree with Insane and Junior. I think it is outrageous, both the diapering and the bathing.

    When I was about 11, I babysat a friend's baby sister. Everything was fine. The baby turned up with a wound from a pin (that was before disposable diapers). The mother accused me.

    Even without the risk of pins, I think this is borderline abusive, unless Junior is specifically asking to do it. Personally, I think Junior should always be supervised with the baby. Not because he is suspect. But to protect him. To put him into a position where he is responsible for a life, is not right. An adult should always be responsible. That is what I think. Until pre-teen years, and then selectively.

    The cat box is another issue. This is a task he could do. But should he? I do not think so. I think the Mom is taking advantage. She is using him to do work that she finds disgusting. I resent this for Junior. What must he feel about himself, being forced by his mother to do her dirty work?

    The sooner that Bart gets custody, the better, in my view. This Mom is too much. She lacks empathy for both of her children, I think.

    I am sorry Serenity you have to worry about this. How are you?

  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is Bart's ex making him do it. I assure you, I've seen her parent when they were together and when Bart was not there she'd make him do chores I personally felt were too advanced for his age and she'd never supervise him. The mother has always been very lazy and dirty and Junior hates doing it. What if he gets some poop on his hands and smears it on the floor instead of washing it off...ick! She doesn't help groom Junior either. He looks great when he's with Bart and his clothes don't match or are too small or his hair is not combed when he is with ex (teachers have commented to Bart off to the side).

    I always wanted to groom, care for and bathe my own babies. It was fun for me (well, not the diaper and NOTHING would have gotten me to give up bath time to anybody else. Bathtime is fun. I love to bathe my granddaughter. She's so funny in the bathtub and so playful!

    Junior has to also dress the baby.

    Ex is huge. If you are thinking "Hey, not all of us are skinny!" it's not the same thing. She may be close to 400 lbs. She is HUGE. Not just heavy. But she was lazy before she got this big and she is very tall, probably close to six feet.
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  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hiya, Copie. So happy to be back and doing well on the healing. I have a ways to go, but nobody expected me to get better this fast so...guess I'm lucky and thank you so much for asking and caring.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You know, Serenity, because I brought my son home when he was already 22 months, I loved changing diapers. I did not have him as a tiny infant. I was grateful for the time I had.
    Serenity, my image of her is petite. She acts like a princess. I am so glad that Bart is away from her. Now he just needs to get Junior.

    You are getting better faster than schedule because of your heart and your spirit and your will to live fully. How great!!

  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    My children would help with the baby, not do it. We would all work together, "Honey, please get babies towel, you can get the shampoo", etc." They wanted to help. I would have to make sure to leave something small for each of them to do. They would run to get a diaper and baby wipes, things like that.
    I would never have them clean the baby up or bathe a baby, even assisted. It is pretty meticulous work, getting around and in all the chubby parts, rinsing properly, getting a wet squirming baby out of a tub safely.

    At seven they are so young. I would have to make sure that my son washed himself thoroughly at that age.

    What a thing to worry about. I am right there with you, thinking about my grands and wishing they had a better life.

    I will say a pray for all of them tonight.

  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes. I am here with you, too.

  17. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    7 years old is too young to be responsible of a baby but not too young to help. However one should be rather careful on deciding which one 7 year old is doing based on the word of 7 year old. Child's perspective is different. They may easily think they cooked a dinner, when actually they were helping or a parent was teaching them to do some part of dinner preparations. Same here.

    Also, when parents do not get along, children tell other parents things they 'want' to hear and in the way they want to hear it. If parent is distrustful to other parent, child tells 'bad' things of other parent to please the parent they are with at that moment and 'helping with giving the baby a bath' easily becomes 'bathing the baby' if the other parent is outraged about the possibility.

    However even if Junior actually is changing diapers and giving baths without direct, line of sight parental supervision, I very much doubt they would be considered abusive behaviour even in USA as long as a parent is nearby and in that case it is on parent's hands to decide how to raise their child. Bart and his ex, at this point at least, has joint custody, they are both free to raise their son as they see fit when Junior is in their home. Their fighting does hurt Junior and it would be wise to let things like this go, simply not worth having a new fight.
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree with everything Suzir says except this part:
    While I do not know what the law would say about this particular behavior, I do think there are limits to parental choice about child-rearing.

    Say, if Junior is bathing the baby and Mom is sleeping, this would be clearly out of line.

    But I agree with Suzir. You do not need to get riled up. Bart is moving along towards custody. I would calm him down too, I think.

    Suzir, how is Ache doing?

  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member


    I am not riled up thoigh. Bart is using the courts to try to get legsl/redidential custody and he has sn excrptional lawyer and she already (ex) got yelled at by judge for noncompliance to court.

    There is nothing that can be done but my one worry is that baby could slip into water. The diapers eont hurt anyone. I just personally think hes too young to fo it unless he is helping her and from what ive seen of her, it is unlikely.

    I will taje some solace in telling myself he could be exaggerating as there is nothing anyone can do yet. The court case is still pending. Thsnks all.
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  20. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    My daughter was five when her brother was born and going through her "little mother" stage. When he was still very little she would beg to feed him and I'd let her but with me sitting right there to supervise. She was never allowed to carry him around but by the time he was 5 or 6 months old, she could change a diaper, wet or dirty, as well as I could! But she did this because she wanted to. It was never, ever her "chore" that she was expected to do. And while she did like to help with baths, she "helped" me do it. She never did it on her own. Just too many things that can go wrong.