Question about locker rooms for single moms of boys - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 64 Old 02-14-2010, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The kids and I often go to family swim times at the rec center on campus on the weekends. DS is 6, and is on the tall side for his age. There is no family locker room there so I've always just brought both kids with me in the women's locker room and it's never been a problem. Today we were done swimming and were showering off in the locker room. Another woman came into the locker room. She pointed at my DS and said "is he going to be in here for a while?" And I said yes, we had just started with the shower, and I pointed out that there were 2 other showers available. And she said "this is the women's locker room." And I said my son is only 6 and I'm not comfortable with him in the men's locker room by himself. And she kind of scoffed and then went into a bathroom stall and changed her clothes without showering. It really irritated me. I guess I shouldn't worry about it. Am I being too protective not allowing him in the men's locker room on his own? What else can I do?
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#2 of 64 Old 02-14-2010, 09:03 PM
 
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I wouldnt let my 6 yo go to the mens locker room alone. Way out of my comfort zone. It was her issue and I almost bet she hasnt had to deal with having a boy and sending him off to the mens room alone.

 
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#3 of 64 Old 02-14-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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I found this on "new posts" so I apologize for crashing your forum

But what else are you supposed to do? I agree that a 6 year old is too young to be in a locker room alone. Maybe you could suggest that they have a family locker room, although it probably wont be possible, you never know

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#4 of 64 Old 02-14-2010, 09:18 PM
 
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No way would I let a 6 yr old go into a locker room on his own. I don't even let my 10yr old go to a public restroom on his own unless I am outside it.
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#5 of 64 Old 02-14-2010, 09:33 PM
 
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You're not being too protective! My DS is only 3 but I can't imagine letting him go into a locker room alone in three years.
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#6 of 64 Old 02-14-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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Not a single mom, but one mom in a two mom family, so I understand the situation.

For several years we changed in the bathroom and skipped showers completely because of this issue. We ended up trying to always bring a friend of his with us when we swam. Two 7 or 8 year olds doing it together felt better than just one kid alone. Of course the first time my son did use the locker room alone was when the high school swim team was going in. Crowded, noisy, etc. Poor son couldn't find his locker. Then dropped his towel in a puddle. Put his clothes on while soaking wet and then sliced his toe on a locker corner. He came out to us so sad and bloody. (On a side note I was impressed with several hs boys who came out to make sure he was okay.)

My son still thinks nothing of talking to me while I'm in the shower, etc but he is too old for the women's locker room, but he wasn't at 6 (or even 7, irc.)

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#7 of 64 Old 02-14-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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I wouldn't let him go to the mens room alone either. At the same time I'd feel uncomfortable with a boy that age in the locker room while I showered naked and changed and was totally naked. I often shower in my suit anyway unless I can get into a shower stall with a curtain. Does your locker room have a few private shower stalls with doors or curtains? If I saw your son in there unless he looked old enough to be in the mens room alone I wouldn't be angry to see him the ladies room.
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#8 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 07:29 AM
 
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six is borderline, for sure Here, the sign on the door says no boy over 6. I wold not WANT a boy older han that there, as in I wouldn't be comfortable with it for my son. Actually, I don't want boys older than that changing around my daughter tyvm. We do have family change rooms, thankfully.

If there are washrooms other than in the locker rooms, you need to change there.

I'd have questioned you to. i'm sorry, i'm sure it is tough, but I have to protect my daughter. I get you also want to protect your son,hence the washoom suggestion, But, I also know firsthand how young and not so young boys often are arond little girls, and I have to protect my daughter. Now I am more concerned with boys 7-8 and up,so in your specific case, with no family room, I'd likely be ok once you said your son was 6.
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#9 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 08:05 AM
 
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Does your Y have family changing rooms?

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#10 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 08:24 AM
 
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But, I also know firsthand how young and not so young boys often are arond little girls, and I have to protect my daughter. Now I am more concerned with boys 7-8 and up,so in your specific case, with no family room, I'd likely be ok once you said your son was 6.
May I ask what you are protecting your daughter from? The boy is in the locker room with his mother.

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#11 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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May I ask what you are protecting your daughter from? The boy is in the locker room with his mother.
I think the boy has eyes whether his mother is there or not. After a certain age, many, probably most, girls are uncomfortable dressed and undressing in front of boys. And I don't think that discomfort is a bad thing to encourage, personally. And after a certain age a boy's (natural) curiosity about what girls' bodies look like should not be met with full displays by total strangers their age.

I think that her concern is well placed, and I don't think that she was suggesting a physical attack.

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#12 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, there is no family changing room. This is a Rec Center on a college campus, mainly intended for students. On weekend afternoons they have family swim times and students and staff can bring their kids in.

This is part of the reason I am uncomfortable having my DS in the mens room on his own. The vast majority of people in there are 18-22 year olds. I feel like if my son was in the mens room on his own and had a problem he wouldn't find a lot of help. But perhaps I am misjudging 18-22 year old males?
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#13 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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No, there is no family changing room. This is a Rec Center on a college campus, mainly intended for students. On weekend afternoons they have family swim times and students and staff can bring their kids in.

This is part of the reason I am uncomfortable having my DS in the mens room on his own. The vast majority of people in there are 18-22 year olds. I feel like if my son was in the mens room on his own and had a problem he wouldn't find a lot of help. But perhaps I am misjudging 18-22 year old males?
The chances of anything happening are soooo small... but all that it takes is one psycho, right?

I think that if not now, then soon, he'll probably have to go in alone. Maybe you can make a rule that he goes directly to a toilet stall, changes, and comes directly back out? In all honestly, 18-22 year old boys probably literally aren't even going to notice him. It's kind of a self-absorbed age and they're hanging out with their friends and joking about the awesome party last night. But I don't think that there's anything wrong with taking lots of precautions too, KWIM?

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#14 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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I think the boy has eyes whether his mother is there or not. After a certain age, many, probably most, girls are uncomfortable dressed and undressing in front of boys. And I don't think that discomfort is a bad thing to encourage, personally. And after a certain age a boy's (natural) curiosity about what girls' bodies look like should not be met with full displays by total strangers their age.

I think that her concern is well placed, and I don't think that she was suggesting a physical attack.
Thank you. You said it better than I could.
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#15 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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That's such a tough one. I wouldn't let my 6 year old go to the men's room alone. Fortunately the gym/pool we go to has adult men's locker rooms, adult women's locker rooms, family men's locker rooms, family women's locker rooms, and special needs locker rooms (this is the one ds and I use most often).

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#16 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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I know it's the women's locker room and all, but if for any reason my DD was uncomfortable changing in front of someone, I'd bring HER into the bathroom to change. Were these open - communal showers? Where both you and your son were naked, or like an individual stall? I'm pretty open about nudity so I know I have a minority opinion.

I will say that my DH no longer takes our 6 year old into the men's locker room or the men's bathrooms at sporting events. He has football season tickets so they go a lot.

I'm kind of like - what else are you going to do?

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#17 of 64 Old 02-15-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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The chances of anything happening are soooo small... but all that it takes is one psycho, right?
Remember though, that that psycho is MUCH more likely to be someone you already know and trust who has a relationship with the kid. Not a random person in a locker room.

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#18 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 04:41 AM
 
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I know it's the women's locker room and all, but if for any reason my DD was uncomfortable changing in front of someone, I'd bring HER into the bathroom to change. Were these open - communal showers? Where both you and your son were naked, or like an individual stall? I'm pretty open about nudity so I know I have a minority opinion.

I will say that my DH no longer takes our 6 year old into the men's locker room or the men's bathrooms at sporting events. He has football season tickets so they go a lot.

I'm kind of like - what else are you going to do?
If this is directed at me, in the situation at our local rec centre, um no way. The bathroom stalls do NOT have space to change, and i'm not crowding in there to accomodate someone breaking the rules. No way,no how. They can go use the family rooms.
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#19 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 10:57 AM
 
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If this is directed at me, in the situation at our local rec centre, um no way. The bathroom stalls do NOT have space to change, and i'm not crowding in there to accomodate someone breaking the rules. No way,no how. They can go use the family rooms.

But in the OPs situation there is no family room, so that's not an option for her.

I think 6 years old is way too young to be expected to go into a men's locker room alone. Personally, I'm not one to get naked in a public shower anyway, we would keep our swimsuits on for that. And even when I change, I always like to find a private corner, and if the room were crowded I would probably keep a towel over my shoulders to 'cover' me. If I had a daughter who was uncomfortable with a little boy being in the room I would shield her with a towel or find a more private area (washroom, or just an area away from the boy). I DEFINITELY wouldn't expect the mother to send her little boy off alone, it's unnecessary.

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#20 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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Saw this in new posts and thought I'd answer as someone who used to use the public pool and the locker rooms a lot.

Not only would it not bother me, if I overheard the lady complain I would prolly' butt in and remind her that at 6 this boy is only recently in school all day and is a prime age for being harmed or snatched in a mens locker room alone. It's not worth a kids wellbeing, even if that wellbeing is the boy soon hating the pool because it's scary to change alone with, potentially, a bunch of older (a 6 year old will see the 20 year old kid as a 40 year old IMO) men. I wouldn't want my boy unsupervised in a group like that for sooooo many reasons, bad language, who knows what they are going to say to my kid, etc.

My personal experience is that boys see the other women like... Like moms. Our boobs and bodies either look simmilar to his moms so it's nothing new or they don't and the kid gets told by mom to stop staring at people (which my mom had to tell me as a kiddo in the locker when a lady with the Barbie body came in and I was amazed she didn't have saggy boobs and butt dimples like all the other naked ladies I'd seen!).

I have no issue with it. I do have an issue with sexualizing kids.

Op, you're in the right. s

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#21 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 11:40 AM
 
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Our boobs and bodies either look simmilar to his moms so it's nothing new or they don't and the kid gets told by mom to stop staring at people
Or, more often in my experience unfortunately, the kids DOESN'T get told to stop staring by his mother, and makes everyone uncomfortable.
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#22 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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Saw this in new posts and thought I'd answer as someone who used to use the public pool and the locker rooms a lot.

Not only would it not bother me, if I overheard the lady complain I would prolly' butt in and remind her that at 6 this boy is only recently in school all day and is a prime age for being harmed or snatched in a mens locker room alone. It's not worth a kids wellbeing, even if that wellbeing is the boy soon hating the pool because it's scary to change alone with, potentially, a bunch of older (a 6 year old will see the 20 year old kid as a 40 year old IMO) men. I wouldn't want my boy unsupervised in a group like that for sooooo many reasons, bad language, who knows what they are going to say to my kid, etc.

My personal experience is that boys see the other women like... Like moms. Our boobs and bodies either look simmilar to his moms so it's nothing new or they don't and the kid gets told by mom to stop staring at people (which my mom had to tell me as a kiddo in the locker when a lady with the Barbie body came in and I was amazed she didn't have saggy boobs and butt dimples like all the other naked ladies I'd seen!).

I have no issue with it. I do have an issue with sexualizing kids.

Op, you're in the right. s
You contradict yourself here. Either the 20 year old college students look like moms, or they look like perky barbies compared to the moms and he will want to stare. (And I'm not going to disagree with you there, at least when it comes to me). It's also been my experience that children in locker rooms are not told not to stare. I've actually never seen a mother tell her child not to stare, and I've never seen a child not stare.

This also doesn't answer the argument earlier about if there are little girls in the room too. They do not have bodies like adult women, and are far more likely to be of interest to a little boy.

I don't disagree with you that 6 is young/borderline for going into a locker room alone. I do disagree that a 6 year old wouldn't stare (and I think you disagree with yourself too, evidenced by your example) and that parents will tend to do something about it.

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#23 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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Well...my son has been going into the locker room for swimming lessons since he was 5. At first I was uncomfortable with it, but now I'm completely fine. It helped that he has gone many times with my husband into the locker room. Honestly, I don't see the big deal. He's perfectly capable of showering and getting dressed and coming out on his own. Often he's with other boys from the class. Would you think it's safe to let him in the female locker room on his own? If so, why not the male? The place we go to is connected with a university, and there are many young males there, but also some families and older men too. Everyone is always very nice..so to the pp who suggested that maybe 18-22 yo's wouldn't be..my experience has shown that you are underestimating them.

I will say that the gym we go to has a policy of over 5 in the correct locker room, but they also offer to have a member of the staff of the same sex accompany your child into the locker room. I can't say I would be comfortable with a bunch of boys over the age of 6 in the locker room either...and even if not for my comfort, for the comfort of young girls. There are girls who are 6-11 who are often in the locker room, and while they don't mind the young boys, I can easily see a 9 year old girl being uncomfortable showering with a 6 or 7 yo boy.

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#24 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 04:10 PM
 
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I don't think it matters if others are comfortable sending their 6 year old into a locker room alone or not. You are not. Therefore you shouldn't. I think you should respect your gut and intuition as a parent. Every kid is different, every parent is different, and every setting is different.
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#25 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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I second trusting your intuition. Really, yeah it can be difficult to cover and shield everyone and make everyone happy, but your kid's safety and your peace of mind are more important.
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#26 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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I don't think it matters if others are comfortable sending their 6 year old into a locker room alone or not. You are not. Therefore you shouldn't. I think you should respect your gut and intuition as a parent. Every kid is different, every parent is different, and every setting is different.
ita!

i also think that, while it's nice when a parent is aware that their child's behavior is making someone else uncomfortable, we just aren't always. like my guys might be doing something that somebody finds annoying - if i realize, i'll tell them to stop, but if i don't realize . . . hello! it's up to that person to either say, "please stop staring at me," or find another way to make themselves comfortable.

it's normal for kids to check each other out and to look at adults. boys, girls, whatever, they all do it. if someone has a need for more privacy, then they can get that privacy. imo, there are more reasonable ways to get it than to expect a 6yo to fend for himself in an unfamiliar place. it sounds like that's really what the op is concerned about - not pervs, but just the fact that going in there, showering, getting dressed and keeping track of his stuff all on his own is just a little beyond his skills as of yet. i think it's reasonable for him to be with mom.

i sent a 6yo boy into the men's bathroom alone at mcdonald's once (as a teenage summer nanny). he wouldn't go into the ladies' room, and he was pretty independent but it still made me nervous. he wasn't able to reach the soap or pull the heavy door open from the inside when he was done. so i get that there are practical reasons, not just the creepy reasons.
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#27 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 05:11 PM
 
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I will say that the gym we go to has a policy of over 5 in the correct locker room, but they also offer to have a member of the staff of the same sex accompany your child into the locker room.
That sound like an excellent policy where a family locker room is not available.
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#28 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 05:13 PM
 
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ita!

i also think that, while it's nice when a parent is aware that their child's behavior is making someone else uncomfortable, we just aren't always. like my guys might be doing something that somebody finds annoying - if i realize, i'll tell them to stop, but if i don't realize . . . hello! it's up to that person to either say, "please stop staring at me," or find another way to make themselves comfortable.

it's normal for kids to check each other out and to look at adults. boys, girls, whatever, they all do it. if someone has a need for more privacy, then they can get that privacy. imo, there are more reasonable ways to get it than to expect a 6yo to fend for himself in an unfamiliar place.
I don't think a 6 year old should have to be able to fend for himself. I disagree, though, that he should not be able to keep his eyes to himself. Anyone who is bringing a child into an opposite sex locker room should be laying down expectations of behaviour to the child before doing so.
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#29 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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I think the boy has eyes whether his mother is there or not. After a certain age, many, probably most, girls are uncomfortable dressed and undressing in front of boys. And I don't think that discomfort is a bad thing to encourage, personally. And after a certain age a boy's (natural) curiosity about what girls' bodies look like should not be met with full displays by total strangers their age.
While I agree that this is a valid concern, and that family changing rooms should be used if available, in this situation I firmly believe that the emotional safety of young girls does not trump the physical safety of young boys.
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#30 of 64 Old 02-16-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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I don't think it matters if others are comfortable sending their 6 year old into a locker room alone or not. You are not. Therefore you shouldn't.
This. AND it's really not her problem if someone else is uncomfortable with the boy-child being there. Sure, she can be courteous and respectful like DoubleDutch suggeted, but the mom's choices are limited. Agreed that the emotional safety of young girls not trump the emotional safety of young boys.

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