Mom Asks If She’s Wrong For Making Teen Shower After Gym Class

Mom Asks If She’s Wrong For Making Teen Shower After Gym Class

Communal showers after PE (aka gym class) in school may as well have been a torture device. Everyone who experienced that particular flavor of teenage hell remembers how stressful it was to have to disrobe in front of God and literally all your peers on a weekly (or even daily) basis at school. As adults looking back on it, it’s incredible that it was even allowed. And now, a mom on Reddit is asking the internet if she was wrong for forcing her daughter to participate in this awful ritual, even though she was uncomfortable with it.

“I (F45) have a 14-year-old daughter, who I’ll call Mikaela. Mikaela has barely hit puberty and is less developed than the majority of her peers, which I believe is something she is self-conscious about,” the mom wrote. “Last week, my husband and I received an email from Mikaela’s school saying that because it was approaching the summer, it would now be mandatory for all students to shower after PE. I understand the logic; Mikaela does PE before lunch and if she doesn’t shower, she’ll be sweaty for the rest of the day, which I don’t believe is hygienic. The school requested that we pack a towel and any shower gel for the next PE lessons to ensure the students were ready.”

She continued, “When I mentioned this to Mikaela, she said she would refuse to shower. Since the showers are communal, she told me she did not want to be naked in front of everyone else and would just get dressed. I told her she couldn’t do this as the school were enforcing it, plus I felt it was healthy for her to shower. Again, she asked me to email the school to say she wouldn’t be participating, but I refused to do so.”

The mom wrote that despite her daughter’s continued protests, she forced her to take her shower supplies to school for after gym class. 

“I felt like I was doing the right thing,” she added. “However, when Mikaela got home, she’d been crying all day saying how she’d had to get naked in front of everyone to shower and she’d never been so embarrassed because she saw one or two of the girls laughing at her. I told her how sorry I was and that teenage girls are horrible and that she’s beautiful, but for hygiene reasons, she still has to shower. I suggested bringing in a swimming costume to wear to shower in, but she said that would bring even more attention to her. She begged me to email to school to not let her shower, but I said I had no good reason to, and I’m sure all of the other girls feel the same.”

Who could have predicted this outcome? Teenage girls being cruel to one another? That’s never happened before.

“She told me she hated me and has barely spoken to me the rest of this weekend,” the mom finished her post. “My husband feels I should send an email as it doesn’t hurt and Mikaela is clearly bothered, but I don’t think it’s a big deal, she will eventually get over it, and it’s important for hygiene reasons.”

Pretty swiftly, the internet came together to tell this mom that she is, in fact, wrong.

“Perhaps all the other girls do feel the same, but that doesn’t help your under-developed 14 year old daughter,” the top comment reads. “You, F45, ‘don’t think it’s a big deal’. Your distressed daughter DOES. What’s actually stopping you from supporting your child in a highly stressful time in her life? It’s approaching the end of the school year. Meet your child where she’s at, not where you want her to be, and email the school. Or set up a meeting with the teacher(s) involved. But support your child.”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Another highly rated comment adds, “I will never understand how we treat our children with such a lack of basic respect and dignity – imagine if, every week, you were forced to strip off and shower in a communal shower with no privacy, in front of your colleagues, including godawful Sheila from HR. in this particular situation, though, it is your job to listen to your child and do everything in her power to meet her emotional needs, so the way you’re dismissing her absolutely makes yta (you the a**hole).”

Many commenters also left some helpful advice: providing shower wipes for the daughter to clean up after PE class in lieu of a shower. Because it really is that easy to balance hygiene and your child’s comfort! Who knew!

Anyway, this is a reminder to parents that you need to advocate for your children’s comfort and needs, because if you won’t, nobody else will either.

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