Locker room etiquette: must we use the changing rooms? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-29-2009, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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At the YMCA there are dressing rooms with basically shower curtains in the locker room.

Kind of like the whole "nursing room" debate - are they there for OUR comfort, or are we expected to use them?

I'm not a nudist or anything but I find those dressing rooms kind of claustrophobic. On the other hand, I'm not shy either, but don't want to shock people.

I was in it last night and right when I was debating this question I saw boy about 8 years old in there with his mother. I figured his mother would be unhappy with me if I stripped in front of her son, but jeez lady, this is a ladies' locker room and I think 8 is old enough to go in the men's by himself. (I'm not the mother of an 8 year old, so maybe I don't know though). But the other thing was, the YMCA does offer a family changing room. I've never been in it (never needed to, just me and DD) so maybe it's only big enough for 1 family at a time though.

So, anyway, I'm curious not only about what you think for yourself, but also what you think others think. I mean, you might say "hey, I don't care, it's a ladies' locker room, go for it - but I also think most people expect you to use the dressing rooms provided."

It is kind of weird to me that we have to be so private among all women/girls in a locker room. Maybe I am a nudist after all, lol.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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There was a discussion awhile back, but I can't recall which forum it was in. It was interesting how many moms thought it was okay to bring older boys (8, 9 even 10 y.o.) into the women's locker room. Most places I've been in have an age limit of 6 y.o.

Personally, I think the WOMEN'S locker room should be a safe area for all women, including those who are uncomfortable changing in front of boys. Especially if there is a family locker room available. There are women and girls who have very good reasons for wanting to protect their privacy. Some are cultural, some may be recovering from assault, some may just have a strong personal preference. I think their privacy should be respected, particularly when the only reason it's being violated is someone else's convenience.

As for not using the shower-curtained areas if you AREN'T concerned about your privacy - I don't have a problem with that. I think most women would expect to encounter a naked woman in the women's locker room.

I've been in some clothes shops that have a communal fitting room to try on clothes. Now that can be traumatic, lol!
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, good point about the cultural or trauma-related need for privacy in some cases. Personally I didn't even care about the 8 year old boy myself, but it just occurred to me that his mother might be mad if I stripped.

Sorry if this topic has already been beaten to death, I didn't realize.

I almost forgot another big thing though. We were walking to the locker rooms and in front of us a woman and a child went into one of the doors. I actually pushed open the same door until DH stopped me and pointed out it was the men's. I was confused for a second since I saw the woman go in. So I went on to the ladies'.

I wondered briefly if the woman made a mistake and didn't read and would come right out but DH confirmed that she was in the men's with her son. Now I find that extra confusing. I think the boy was around 6-ish. And remember, there's a family locker room somewhere. I think our society is much more comfortable having a 6 year old boy with his mother in the ladies' then having a woman in the men's. DH said he was a bit uncomfortable himself, and while I didn't care about the boy (even older boy) I would have been a little uncomfortable with an adult man in the ladies'.

Maybe I'm damning everyone if they do and if they don't.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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Oh, I don't think it's beaten to death at all. I just wanted to let you know there was an interesting, previously-very-active thread somewhere if you wanted to look at it, in case you didn't get much response here. I think it's one of those issues that will come up frequently.

The lady in the men's room is a little odd. Was she changing in there too, or just her son?

As for the 8 y.o. - if that mom brought her son into the women's locker room, I don't think she's entitled to be upset if he sees a naked woman, even if there are still-more private areas to change. If you're comfortable changing in front of him, go ahead.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:21 PM
 
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but jeez lady, this is a ladies' locker room and I think 8 is old enough to go in the men's by himself. (I'm not the mother of an 8 year old, so maybe I don't know though). But the other thing was, the YMCA does offer a family changing room. I've never been in it (never needed to, just me and DD) so maybe it's only big enough for 1 family at a time though
My son is 6. At age 8 he most likely will not be able to go to the men's room alone, nor will he be able to wait outside the woman's room while I go. He has autism and there are huge safety issues that go with him being unattended (which is why he has an aide at school, and why we have alarms on all our doors at home, etc). However, when we go to the YMCA we always use the family/disabled locker rooms. In our YMCA there are like 6 dressing rooms inside of the main room (the main room having lockers and benches). Each individual dressing room has a toilet, sink, shower, small bench and (the best part) a DOOR with a LOCK. LOL! Something to slow my little one down when he decides to run just as I'm getting out of my wet suit. LOL!

If I were to take my ds into the womans dressing room then I fully expect him to see naked women and I wouldn't be upset about it. However, I avoid that 99% of the time because the filter between his brain and mouth doesn't always work right and we've had some embarrassing situations before He once saw a larger, older woman (in a swimsuit). His eyes got really large and he blurted out "WOW! You have big boobies!" I could have died of embarrassment! Fortunately she laughed it off and said she would have a funny story to tell her son at dinner that night.

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Old 10-29-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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Our YMCA doesn't allow any boys over the age of 4 in the women's locker room. The family changing room doesn't have showers and doesn't lead into the the pool. The only way to get to the pool is the other locker rooms. So we are battling with the appropriate place for my child to change and meet us right now. He doesn't know his way through the boys youth locker room as our YMCA is kinda a maze and honestly I wouldn't know where to meet him if he did make his way through.

I'm right now working with the YMCA to try and come up with a solution I'm happy with. I admit that my husband could just help him through the youth locker room the first couple of times or could take him through the mens with him. But what if I didn't have a husband available. Plus I think that the current situation is just ripe for problems if I met him on the pool side of the youth locker room. If he doesn't show up on the other side in what I feel is a reasonable time period what exactly are my options to figure out what happened? He could be out the door on his own steam or someone elses long before I figure out he's even really missing and not just messing around in there.

Right now the aqutic director is trying to claim that I could take my 6 year old son and my 3 year old daughter through the girls youth locker room with me. But I'm more uncomforatable with my 6yo son in the girls youth locker room than I am with him in the Women's locker room.

Personally I think they should just let me use the family changing room and then allow me to buzz into the outside door of the pool. But right now they are adamantly opposed to that idea.

As for the chaning in the curtained area or not. I don't use them. I too find them claustrophobic.

As for the 8 year old boy in the locker room - I actually would be happier with that than with my Ys policy of no boys over 4. As for the woman in the men's that is a little strange. However, perhaps she was trying to show her son his way through the locker room and where to meet her on the other side.

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Old 10-29-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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i would say they're for people who want additional privacy. you don't have to use them. in fact, i would be thinking, "i'm not going to take up the changing rooms in case some awkward tweens come in and really (emotionally) need the privacy."

i can't imagine sending my boys into a locker room or even a public restroom alone at age 8 (again probably because i don't know what it's like to have an 8yo) but that's why there's another option, right? it seems like that's exactly what the family changing rooms are for.

eta: jolly, what?! that is crazy! i would be throwing a fit.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:32 PM
 
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No children over 5 of the opposite sex are allowed in the locker rooms at our YMCA.

I always used the changing area because I am extremely self-conscious. But most other women were happy to bare it all. (And truly kudos to them!)

I do get a little skived out about naked, sweaty butts on the wooden benches especially since the women who did that never wiped the bench afterwards. But that is just my OCD germ phobia.

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Old 10-29-2009, 01:45 PM
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Fortunately the pool we use now has a big family changing area with some small rooms off of it. I really don't know what I'd do with DS, age 6, if they didn't have a family changing room. I do think he's a little old to be in the women's changing room, yet there's no way I could send him into the men's by himself. He flat out would not go for one thing. For another, even though he can dress himself just fine under ordinary circumstances, he still seems to need my help to deal the the wet bathing suit and tugging clothes up damp legs, etc.

Anyway, I say if the kid is in the women's locker room, you're fine to undress in front of him. I would expect that to happen if I had DS in a women's locker room.

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Old 10-29-2009, 02:09 PM
 
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A little off topic…..

When my son was an infant a 9 year old boy was assaulted in the men’s locker room by a level 3 sex offender who was also a member of Y. The whole thing was horrible, with lots of "I never thought it could happen *here*" meaning in our town or at the Y.

I am anti stranger danger, but since then I have listened to my gut and always use the family locker room.

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Old 10-29-2009, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The lady in the men's room is a little odd. Was she changing in there too, or just her son?
Just her son, according to DH.

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As for the 8 y.o. - if that mom brought her son into the women's locker room, I don't think she's entitled to be upset if he sees a naked woman, even if there are still-more private areas to change. If you're comfortable changing in front of him, go ahead.
This is just a tough issue for everybody, it seems. Other than the family changing room, there is just no consensus for how to act. I personally would be fine changing in front of a boy up to prepubescent years, but that's my own preference and I know other people have theirs. And I was just thinking that if I changed in front of him, his mother would have a point if she felt like - hey, lady, there are changing rooms, use them!

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My son is 6. At age 8 he most likely will not be able to go to the men's room alone, nor will he be able to wait outside the woman's room while I go. He has autism and there are huge safety issues that go with him being unattended (which is why he has an aide at school, and why we have alarms on all our doors at home, etc). However, when we go to the YMCA we always use the family/disabled locker rooms. In our YMCA there are like 6 dressing rooms inside of the main room (the main room having lockers and benches). Each individual dressing room has a toilet, sink, shower, small bench and (the best part) a DOOR with a LOCK. LOL! Something to slow my little one down when he decides to run just as I'm getting out of my wet suit. LOL!
Another good point and another situation where our society just doesn't have a consensus. As far as I can know such a thing (i.e.: I can't) I don't think this boy had any special needs including autism. He seemed a bit amused to be in there, and I actually initially thought he was 10 but then decided he might have just been large for his age. Thank goodness for the family rooms, and I am curious to know why it wasn't used in either of the two cases I noticed last night. (Again, like I said, I haven't seen it so maybe it's too small or something).

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If I were to take my ds into the womans dressing room then I fully expect him to see naked women and I wouldn't be upset about it. However, I avoid that 99% of the time because the filter between his brain and mouth doesn't always work right and we've had some embarrassing situations before He once saw a larger, older woman (in a swimsuit). His eyes got really large and he blurted out "WOW! You have big boobies!" I could have died of embarrassment! Fortunately she laughed it off and said she would have a funny story to tell her son at dinner that night.
I guess the main thing for me is that I'm not uncomfortable with the BOY as much as uncomfortable with a lack of consensus on how to proceed. If I felt confident that the woman felt as you do (and that a naked woman is part and parcel of a locker room) then it wouldn't have bothered me at all. And for all I know, that's exactly how she felt. But I could just as easily imagine a different scenario.

BTW, DD frequently comments on the size of my mother's boobs

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Our YMCA doesn't allow any boys over the age of 4 in the women's locker room.
Yikes, now that seems to young imho. My kid is 4 and I'm not at all sure that within a year I could just send her in by herself. In fact I'm quite sure I wouldn't be able to.

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The family changing room doesn't have showers and doesn't lead into the the pool. The only way to get to the pool is the other locker rooms. So we are battling with the appropriate place for my child to change and meet us right now. He doesn't know his way through the boys youth locker room as our YMCA is kinda a maze and honestly I wouldn't know where to meet him if he did make his way through.
That could be the case with the locker room at ours too. And the ladies' is definitely a maze; in fact, the first time I was in there I could not find my way to the pool.

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As for the 8 year old boy in the locker room - I actually would be happier with that than with my Ys policy of no boys over 4. As for the woman in the men's that is a little strange. However, perhaps she was trying to show her son his way through the locker room and where to meet her on the other side.
I'm sorry you have to deal with all these frustrations. I hope you find a solution soon. I too am fine with the 8 year old, just unclear on the expectations. The woman in the men's apparently was in there while her son changed and not just showing him the way in.

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A little off topic…..

When my son was an infant a 9 year old boy was assaulted in the men’s locker room by a level 3 sex offender who was also a member of Y. The whole thing was horrible, with lots of "I never thought it could happen *here*" meaning in our town or at the Y.

I am anti stranger danger, but since then I have listened to my gut and always use the family locker room.
Yikes
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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Up here the changing cubicles in a locker room are there incase you don't want to change in front of other people. Most people just change in the main area though. DD tells me it's the same in the ladies locker room. There is also often not very many of the changing rooms in the locker room either. Our public pool only has like four of them per locker room.

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Old 10-29-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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One of the pools dd and I go to doesn't have any curtained areas which forces some people to change in the toilet stalls. Kinda gross and people who need the toilets have to wait. Another one of the pools has some curtained areas and some not. Some of the curtained cubicles are much larger, accommodating several people or a wheelchair etc. I am fine with either open area or curtained cubicles; it's nice to have a choice.

I think people should be able to decide if their opposite sex child can use the locker rooms. Flat out rules based on age are discriminating IMHO.

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Old 10-29-2009, 05:13 PM
 
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I do get a little skived out about naked, sweaty butts on the wooden benches especially since the women who did that never wiped the bench afterwards. But that is just my OCD germ phobia.
That grosses me out too, yuck:Puke

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A little off topic…..

When my son was an infant a 9 year old boy was assaulted in the men’s locker room by a level 3 sex offender who was also a member of Y. The whole thing was horrible, with lots of "I never thought it could happen *here*" meaning in our town or at the Y.

I am anti stranger danger, but since then I have listened to my gut and always use the family locker room.

That's always been my fear that a sex offender could assault a child when given the opportunity in a bathroom or locker room. I know it's not likely to happen, but it scares me

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Old 10-29-2009, 05:22 PM
 
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My gym has two locations. In one, the women's locker room has one curtained changing stall (along with toilet stalls, shower stalls, sauna showers, etc). In the other, there is no separate stall dedicated just to changing.

Both locations have family/accessible changing rooms in a different part of the building (usually on the other side of the pool). They consist of 2-3 lockable rooms which have push/button assist doors, locks, a shower stall, a toilet, a sink, and a changing table. There's also a common area with carpet, a bench, and lockers. And there's a suit spinner in both locations.

When my son turns four, we'll have to use the family rooms. Currently, we only use those if we're all together (DH, me, DS), because it's easier that way. The lockable rooms are all tile and the floor gets pretty wet. Not an ideal place to get dressed. On the other hand, the carpeted area is viewable to the public and open to everyone, so it's not ideal for dressing, either.

In the women's locker room, we go from pool to the showers. Then we go from the showers (naked or with towels) to our locker (in the carpeted area), where we dry off the rest of the way and get dressed. While I'm sure the carpet hosts all manner of creepy things, it's much drier than the tile floors of the other rooms.

Another problem with the lockable changing rooms is the presence of a toilet. I mean, yeah, it's gross from a "spray fecal matter all over the room" standpoint, but the bigger issue for us is that DS is in his "afraid of commercial toilets" phase, which comes complete with screaming and attempts to open the door.

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Old 10-29-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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I don't understand why your son can't go through by himself? My son is 6.5 and has been going through the locker room by himself since he was 5.5. After swimming lessons, he rinses off, changes, and even dries his swimsuit and come out the right door all on his own. As do several other boys ranging from 5-9.

Anyway, at the gym we go to, thier policy is you have to use the correct room if you're over 5. They will send an employee to accompany your child if you wish. My son went through the men's locker room with my husband for a few sessions, and now he can go on his own.


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Our YMCA doesn't allow any boys over the age of 4 in the women's locker room. The family changing room doesn't have showers and doesn't lead into the the pool. The only way to get to the pool is the other locker rooms. So we are battling with the appropriate place for my child to change and meet us right now. He doesn't know his way through the boys youth locker room as our YMCA is kinda a maze and honestly I wouldn't know where to meet him if he did make his way through.

I'm right now working with the YMCA to try and come up with a solution I'm happy with. I admit that my husband could just help him through the youth locker room the first couple of times or could take him through the mens with him. But what if I didn't have a husband available. Plus I think that the current situation is just ripe for problems if I met him on the pool side of the youth locker room. If he doesn't show up on the other side in what I feel is a reasonable time period what exactly are my options to figure out what happened? He could be out the door on his own steam or someone elses long before I figure out he's even really missing and not just messing around in there.

Right now the aqutic director is trying to claim that I could take my 6 year old son and my 3 year old daughter through the girls youth locker room with me. But I'm more uncomforatable with my 6yo son in the girls youth locker room than I am with him in the Women's locker room.

Personally I think they should just let me use the family changing room and then allow me to buzz into the outside door of the pool. But right now they are adamantly opposed to that idea.

As for the chaning in the curtained area or not. I don't use them. I too find them claustrophobic.

As for the 8 year old boy in the locker room - I actually would be happier with that than with my Ys policy of no boys over 4. As for the woman in the men's that is a little strange. However, perhaps she was trying to show her son his way through the locker room and where to meet her on the other side.

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Old 10-29-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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I don't understand why your son can't go through by himself? My son is 6.5 and has been going through the locker room by himself since he was 5.5. After swimming lessons, he rinses off, changes, and even dries his swimsuit and come out the right door all on his own. As do several other boys ranging from 5-9.

Anyway, at the gym we go to, thier policy is you have to use the correct room if you're over 5. They will send an employee to accompany your child if you wish. My son went through the men's locker room with my husband for a few sessions, and now he can go on his own.
Well, my son COULD go through by himself at 6.5, however, I don't WANT him to. Men, statistically, are more likely to commit sexual assault. I think it's asking for trouble to send my young boy into a mens restroom alone.

I either take my son through the womens, or, as suggested, ask an employee to bring him through.
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't understand why your son can't go through by himself? My son is 6.5 and has been going through the locker room by himself since he was 5.5.
Well, I'm not JollyGG, and she also explained why her son couldn't go through by himself. But as I mentioned upthread, I'm not sure my DD will be able to do this magically when she is 5 either. Right now she would not at all be able to do this by herself, she would not know where to go, she would not be able to deal with all of the tasks of changing herself, and if anything happened that was out of the ordinary she would not know how to handle it. She's not 5 yet, so maybe they just really mature quickly - but all the same, it seems like a really seriously big stretch to say that just because one 5 year old can do it that somehow all of our 5 year olds including those with special needs must be able to. I would think that age 5 would be the minimum, not the across-the-board, everybody-and-his-dog-can-do-it age.
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:04 PM
 
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I do get a little skived out about naked, sweaty butts on the wooden benches especially since the women who did that never wiped the bench afterwards. But that is just my OCD germ phobia.
I'm not even a germ-a-phobe, but OMG that is disgusting.

I think changing out in the open or not is truly a matter of what you are more comfortable with. I know at my YMCA it is always me and the over 75 crowd changing at the same time, and let me tell you there is something about older women becoming more comfortable in their bodies because these ladies are not only changing but walking around, putting on lotion with one leg up, you name it they're doing it all naked. So needless to say I feel comfortable changing there, but sometimes I worry that I'll give one of the ladies a heart-attack if she sees the giant scorpion I have tattooed on my thigh.

But changing in front of a boy over the age of 5 or 6 would make me use a changing room.

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Old 10-29-2009, 06:14 PM
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My boys aren't special needs, and they did go in the men's locker room when we had a Y membership....they were 5 and 8 when we started there. I figured the 8yo could keep an eye on the 5yo....but you know, they took FOREVER getting cleaned up. I would be waiting for them for a long time while they horsed around, playing with the foamy soap in the dispensers, taking loooooong showers, etc.

It was seriously annoying. And if I'd had only one small child, I wouldn't have been comfortable sending him in there alone.
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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At the YMCA there are dressing rooms with basically shower curtains in the locker room.
Aren't those for pre-teens and women with scars they care about showing? And 5 year old boys who care?
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by seashells View Post
Yeah, good point about the cultural or trauma-related need for privacy in some cases. Personally I didn't even care about the 8 year old boy myself, but it just occurred to me that his mother might be mad if I stripped.
Yeah, I had that happen at a swimclass, and thinking "should I cover up???" made me so mad at the boys' parents (who didn't come in WITH them ) that I figured I'd just cuss them out and tell them they should've used the family changing rooms if they had a problem.
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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Up here the changing cubicles in a locker room are there incase you don't want to change in front of other people. Most people just change in the main area though. DD tells me it's the same in the ladies locker room. There is also often not very many of the changing rooms in the locker room either. Our public pool only has like four of them per locker room.
this made me think of another situation-
what does a dad do with his small daughter in these situations?

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Old 10-29-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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Oh, and at my Y, it's over 5 for needing to use same-sex locker rooms.
My personal comfort would be to just stand at the door and say "little boy coming in, grab a towel if you care!"
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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The Y in my area has 4 locker rooms, boys, girls, mens and womens. No children under the age of 18 are allowed in the men or women locker rooms. Parents can go in the opposite sex locker room with a child, and children under the age of 6 are allowed in the opposite sex changing room.

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Old 10-29-2009, 06:47 PM
 
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The Y in my area has 4 locker rooms, boys, girls, mens and womens. No children under the age of 18 are allowed in the men or women locker rooms. Parents can go in the opposite sex locker room with a child, and children under the age of 6 are allowed in the opposite sex changing room.
So if a boy is 6, mom goes into the boys' room, but if the boy is 5 he and mom go into the girls' room?
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:00 PM
 
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My DS has Asperger's Syndrome and even at 7 it is a crap shoot as to whether he could handle himself on his own. It depends on how focused he is that day. Fortunately, when he takes swim at the Y, we can use the family restroom.

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Old 10-29-2009, 07:10 PM
 
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Yeah, I had that happen at a swimclass, and thinking "should I cover up???" made me so mad at the boys' parents (who didn't come in WITH them ) that I figured I'd just cuss them out and tell them they should've used the family changing rooms if they had a problem.

Wait a sec, parents sent boys in the WOMENS locker room to change and they stayed outside? That doesn't even make sense! Maybe I'm reading it wrong.

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Old 10-29-2009, 07:15 PM
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I don't understand why your son can't go through by himself? My son is 6.5 and has been going through the locker room by himself since he was 5.5. After swimming lessons, he rinses off, changes, and even dries his swimsuit and come out the right door all on his own. As do several other boys ranging from 5-9.

.
As I posted above, I am postive my 6 year old would not do this. He would refuse to go in by himself. And I'm not at all sure he could deal with the wet bathing suit, etc by himself. At the moment we use the family changing room and he wants me to help him, even though he can easily undress/dress himself when he's dry. I'm glad your son can. But mine can't.

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Old 10-29-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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I'm in the UK. I would change in front of men or women of any age and would be happy for DD to do so too. She doesn't change alone because she's only 3.5 and her swimsuit zips up the back!

Most UK public pools have mixed changing areas but you are required to go into a cubicle - they have family-sized cubicles. Most gyms here don't really have the curtained bit, certainly the 3 or 4 local authority gyms i use don't, though they are seperate sex, we all just change in front of one another. Many times in Europe i have been in mixed-sex no-cubicle changing rooms at gyms and spa's and i have NEVER encountered a weirdo, everyone is just getting changed into or out of their gym/workout/swim gear.

I'm not worried at all about my kids of either sex (i only have a DD just now) seeing a nude adult of either sex. Nudity just doesn't mean very much, in and of itself, to us. DD has seen her father, step-father, gradfather and randoms at the gym in various states of partial or full nudity, and lots of women too (gyms and friends of mine who have changed in front of us).

I really think if you take a child of any age and either sex into a WOMENS' locer room, yu cannot "be mad" if they see a naked or partially naked woman!
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