Picture this: Lucy O’Brien is at swimming lessons with her dad.
She’s only five-years-old and after a full day of learning, playing and having to fend for herself at Big School, she’s ready to drop.
The lesson is over. Lucy is cold, tired and fed up.
But Lucy is five now, and the world worries about five-year-olds being around grown men alone. So instead of Lucy being allowed to go into the showers with her loving dad, she’s sent to the women’s change room and left to fend for herself.
Lucy can hardly write her name. She can’t read yet as she has only started school. She has trouble opening her lunch box, and at night she still wears a pull-up nappy, “just in case”. She can’t tie her own shoe laces.
But society tells her, “you are five now, Lucy, it’s time to grow up.” In a world of overparenting of the “marshmallow generation” the latest installment is playing itself out right before our eyes.
A Sydney swim school is under fire from parents for its ban on primary school-aged kids being in the same change room as the opposite sex.
Let’s be clear: “primary school children” in NSW can mean anyone from four-and-a-half to 12 years old.
That’s four-and-a-half year-olds being sent away from their parents, as there are concerns they may be sexually aware of the bodies of others in the dressing rooms.
The sign at the Aquabliss Swim School on the upper North Shore of Sydney was prompted by the complaints of parents about opposite sex youngsters being present whilst they were trying to shower and change.
A local Facebook group has taken up the cause, and the reaction of the parents was generally one of shock.
“My six-year-old son could hardly dress himself at the start of the year,” says one Mum discussing the ban. “How the hell is he going to have a shower, dry off and dress himself without me there?”
Another asks, “are they prepared to provide same-gender police-checked parent-approved registered nurses to supervise said children in getting showered and dressed?”