How much touch is appropriate between father and 6/7 year old daughter?
April 15, 2013 1:39 PM Subscribe
My wife and I disagree strongly over how much touch is appropriate between myself and my almost-7 year old daughter.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (98 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I will try and keep my questions free of emotion and bias, and am very open to hearing opinions that are contrary to my own.
Background situation is that my wife, daughter and I all live together in the same house. My wife and I really do not get on, but we/I are staying together because of our daughter.
Firstly, let me be clear, there is no accusation of actual molestation involved. We both agree that I have never touched my daughters genitals or even breasts (in-fact nowhere close).
I will list a serious of situations my wife is upset about, and would really appreciate your opinions of where the line of "appropriate behavior" is crossed (if at all); In all these situations my daughter is wearing clothes, and my hands stay above her clothes;
1. My daughter is sitting next to me on the sofa, the sides of our bodies are touching. I put my arm around my daughter and my hand falls on her hip (my wife might say its on her butt).
2. My daughter sits on my lap while we watch TV (or at the dining table or in my home office; for whatever reason)
3. In the morning, my daughter kneels on our (wife and I) bed and my I reach out and drape my arm across the top of her legs I rub her back with my other hand. When she gets off the bed I give her tummy a rub (always through her pajamas; no skin contact)
4. I am lying on my back in my bed and my daughter comes in in the morning and lies (on top of the bed-sheets) on top of me (stomach to stomach, her head on my chest/neck). I rub her back (through her pajamas).
5. I am lying on my back on the sofa reading and she lies on my chest/stomach while she watches TV (her legs are between mine in this situation; something I think my wife found particularly provocative)
6. My daughter joins my wife and I in bed (say at 2am after she has awoken from her own bed), she is between my wife and I and snuggles up to me with her back to my chest/stomach; both our heads on the same pillow. My arm drapes over her.
7. I am alone in bed (my wife usually goes to bed very late ) when my daughter joins me as in scenario 6.
That's about all I can think of. Is there any reason to consider any of those situations inappropriate. In all these situations my daughter has never given any sign of not liking the contact, and is more likely to initiate the contact than I am (although that is changing as my wife creates a scene about it, and tells my daughter not to do it).
I have tried to discuss this with my wife but do not get very coherent answers. She says I should never touch my daughter anywhere between the neck and the legs, but then she raises no objection when I pick her up and even give her a cuddle (while holding her from a standing position). I have tried to dissuade my daughter from most of these forms of touch on occasion (to try and keep the peace) but it feels very wrong to me to be rejecting my daughter like that.
How would your opinions of what is appropriate change if (while in some of the situations above) I was to gently caress/rub my daughters stomach with my hands **under** her t-shirt/pajamas? (This is something that has happened in the past, but after my wifes objections I have stopped doing this.)
Finally do you have any opinions or any pointers to general information on the subject of loving (non-sexual) touch between family members?