What Age Should Sitting on Laps Stop?

Updated on February 22, 2011
N.S. asks from Buffalo Grove, IL
15 answers

My husband and I are just curious at what age is it not appropriate for a daughter to sit on her daddy's lap? Our almost 9-year old wants to sit on Daddy's lap in public and we both think that she's too old. At home we encourage her to sit next to daddy. Plus she's getting too heavy.

I think that it's okay in public still for a little while, but at what age will eyebrows be raised??

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answers from Santa Barbara on

My 11 yo still lays in my arms. HAHAHAHAHA Actually he sits on my lap and I scrunch him all up and tell him he'll always be my little baby. We're big into snuggling. I have no problem with older kids being affectionate with their parents, including lap sitting. I think it shows a good relationship.

I did tell my 11 yo that it was inappropriate to have pillow fights and wrestle with his 17 yo female babysitter.

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answers from Portland on

I think you're being WAY to over analytical about this. She's still his little girl and she obviously loves her daddy!
Why not let her stop when SHE feels uncomfortable? The last thing I would ever do to my children is tell them "You can't sit on daddy's lap anymore because maybe a stranger will think it's weird". That in itself is weird.
My young children will be raised with openness and love, and showing affection in public or in our own home is something to be celebrated, not embarrassed by.

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answers from Seattle on

My hope is that my son will still sit on my lap (or at least the arm of my chair) well into adulthood. All the mom's I know who have killer relationships with their boys, they will come and at least perch on their chair with them... pull them out on the field or court and throw their arms around them... come up and rub their shoulders... give them a kiss on their way out the door with their friends. This is the kind of open and caring relationship I hope to have with my son. One with no embarrassment. I can only cross my fingers.

I was 6 feet tall by the time I was 14... so I couldn't still sit on my dad's lap, but I'd throw a leg over or he'd throw an arm over or I'd lie down with him on the couch. Nothing sexual about it (eeeew). So if there's nothing sexual about it... why create artificial distance? I've guess I've just never understood the concept of pushing your kids away.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I don't think that it's a problem at home. I still sit on my dad's lap sometimes and I'm 18! Of course with me it's more of a 'daddy can I...' kinda thing. Lol ;)

I don't really know when it would become inappropriate in public. Whenever she becomes uncomfortable with it, I assume.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

How weird, I guess I never really thought about it. I don't think shes needs to stop. I would never tell my girls they can't sit on thier daddy's lap.

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answers from Chicago on

Honestly and as much as I hate to say it, but I think now is probably well past the time that she should be sitting on his lap...at least in public. Sadly, I say this because we live in a society where everything is scrutinized and everyone is on guard about that "one" incident, "one" situation, one "bad" man. For both of your sakes, I think it should probably stop.

This being said, I wish things were different. Maybe allow for it at home. I mean, what a wonderful thing to have a close relationship between your hubby and his daughter. Maybe, just maybe, because of it, she will grow up feeling more secure with herself and more loved and want make bad decisions because Daddy didn't give her the attention that she needed. Then again, there are always other ways but I say, if you are home, and she wants to do it...then let her be a Daddy's girl for as long as she can.

Good luck.

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answers from San Antonio on

I think you should stop when it no longer feels good for you, or she hits puberty. :)

I had a girlfriend in college who still sat on her dad's lap. So I guess not everyone feels like I do.

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answers from Chicago on

Eh. Teens sit on their boyfriends' laps. I think lap sitting should stop by the age of, oh maybe 97. By then the bones are so brittle it might be a health hazard. I think your kid's fine. Just follow your gut and if YOU don't like it, stop it, but otherwise don't worry about it.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

I say if the child is OK with it then hold your child as long as possible. They grow up way too fast and are gone before you know it. My oldest son is 14 and he sits on my lap from time to time and I love it cause I love him. He has a bony butt so it hurts and I pick at him but as long as he is comfortable with sitting on my lap then I will let him. Who cares what other people think? I don't. My boys hug me still in public and people give that look but I think it is shock cause not many kids do that anymore. It is always on their terms though not mine. The boys are 14, 12 and 8.



answers from Chicago on

I think you are right to think about this. I also think you are right on target about 9 reaching the age that she needs to start realizing she is a little older and should begin to act it.

I think it's fair to say that in public she should sit next to dad.



answers from Minneapolis on

In public, I would say 9 is getting to the point where she can sit next to dad and he puts his arm around her. At home, he should let her for as long as humanly possible :) My oldest daughters are 21 and 20, still sit on my lap at home occasionally and I would not be the least bit surprised if they sat on their dad's lap still (we have been divorced for years). Of course, they are hopping on for a hug and kiss and then getting off - they are too big for a "long term sit" :)

Good luck and remind dad that it won't be long before she hates everybody including him - those darn teenage years!



answers from Jacksonville on

My mom told me when I was 9yrs old not to sit on a man's lap not because I was young and didn't know better, but because men start having reactions when rubbed, so not sure if this happens with your husband in his mind when your daughter sits on him, but I would let your husband subtly tell her not to sit on him or re-direct her to sit beside him since he knows the deal. You the mom telling her might seem different versus dad doing it. PS. This has nothing to do with your husband being "bad", just the nature of being a man. To this day my dad doesn't hug forward facing with me, he hugs to the side.



answers from Portland on

There is really not one right answer for this sort of situation.

I make a point of ignoring other people's eyebrows unless I think I might conceivably be wrong about something and really need real-life feedback.

But I'd say that if your daughter is too heavy, you can get her to graduate to an occasional on-the-lap snuggle or hug, maybe just at bedtime, and settle for sitting close with dad's arm around her, especially in public.

My grandson is only 4.5, and he's already getting too tall and heavy for my lap. So as precious as that contact is for both of us, I need to keep the snuggles brief. He seems satisfied with that, knowing that I get uncomfortable quickly.



answers from Los Angeles on

Wow, I'm surprised that this is raising concern for you as many people find it sooo acceptable. Growing up we didn't sit on Daddy's lap or anyone else's for that matter. My Dad would not make an issue of it or make it obvious but he would give us a hug and pick us up to sit next to him. This is something he even did with his neices. I think now is a good time to stop.



answers from Tallahassee on

I wonder if the parents writing these comments realize that many little
girls are entering puberty and beginning their menstrual cycles at ages
8 and 9. Do you mothers REALLY want your menstruating daughters
sitting on their fathers' and grandfathers' laps? Think about it! When
you were 12, or 13 or 14 and starting your period, do you even remember
the beginnings of sexual feelings? Do you parents of 9 year olds want
those types of feelings to even come up while your daughter is sitting
on her father's lap??? Can you imagine what psychological turmoil this
could cause in your daughter's first real sexual relationship?? Why risk
putting your daughter through that? The appropriate age for a girl to stop
sitting on her father's and grandfather's lap is first grade.

Next question: Appropriate Age for Daughter to Sit on Father's/Grandfathers' Laps?