Does your child go into a public restroom alone? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does your preteen or teenager go into a public restroom alone?

If they go alone, what measures does your family take to make sure they are safe?

If they do not go in alone, how does your family handle it as your child gets older? At what age will you allow them to go alone?

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#2 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 11:18 AM
 
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My ds is only 7 and I struggle with this each time we're out. He's wanting to use the men's restroom and I really want to respect that but the momma instinct in my wants him in the ladies room with me. I just tell him that when his dad is out with us, he can use the men's room but until then, it's best that we all stay together because I don't want him to get lost or scared if he can't find me. So far it's working.

I am comforted to know I'm not the only momma out there struggling with the restroom issue. I realize my ds is much younger than yours but still it's comforting to see. Sorry I don't have more suggestions for your preteen/teen question but I would think if they are wanting to use the gender specific restroom then as a teen they would be okay. For my own comfort I would just need to give him/her a safety briefing before each restroom visit that was unaccompanied by me.
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#3 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is only 6 and not going in alone yet.
I was reading somewhere else where a mother didn't allow her 14 year old son to go in alone and it made me wonder what the parents of older children do.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#4 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 12:23 PM
 
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my son's been using the restroom in public since age 8 or so. even now I get heebie jeebies but he wont tolerate the women's room at this point, anyways. (tried at the airport last time, he was not amused :/ )

I'v no advice at all though for an opposite sex child. I let him start going in alone when I started to feel like a paranoic.
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#5 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 12:58 PM
 
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My eleven year old and eight year old sons go in together. I have let my eight year old go in alone, but with instructions to not talk with anyone and to go into a stall and lock the door. I usually stand right outside the door leaning against the doorframe. My eight year old rarely uses public restrooms in general b/c he is very germphobic.

My nine year old daughter has gone in alone when with my hubby, but again isn't to talk with anyone. My five year old has gone with my eleven year old, but never alone. I typically take him in with me b/c he has yet to complain about it.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#6 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 01:37 PM
 
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Our 9, 10 and 13 year olds have been going in restrooms alone (either together or by themselves) for several years now. The 2 year old does not. **grin**

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#7 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 01:51 PM
 
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Our local swimming pool does not allow children age 6 and up to change clothes/use the restroom of the opposite sex. Personally, I found that too young. My son started using the men's room by himself by age 8.

We know a family whose 14 year old son was still accompanied by his mother in the woman's restroom. My son said he would rather die, explode, pee on himself than be that kid.
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#8 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 02:03 PM
 
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my ds started going along around age 6 or 7. He refused to go in the woman's.
That said, he went to boy scout camp at that age and they were actually talking about unappropriate touching and people that could make them uncomfortable. They also talked about what to do in each case. Then they gave a booklet and he had to fill up the homework. I felt strange and way too early - at 6! - but then I realized that I am feeling better when he is going to the man's room - at least he knows what is appropriate and what is not and how to deal with it.
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#9 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 02:09 PM
 
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My DD goes alone. She is 12. My son, only occassionally. Was this started because of the assualt in a bathroom in CA? Pretty scary stuff.

Cristina - "If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." Maya Angelou
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#10 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 02:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetfiend
Our local swimming pool does not allow children age 6 and up to change clothes/use the restroom of the opposite sex. Personally, I found that too young. My son started using the men's room by himself by age 8.

We know a family whose 14 year old son was still accompanied by his mother in the woman's restroom. My son said he would rather die, explode, pee on himself than be that kid.
Assuming this is not some sort of differently-abled 14 year old...that's, well, GROSS.. I'm sorry , but at 14...that's too old. personally, if a 14 year old boy came into the women's room, I'd be protesting right and left. That would have to be horrible for the child, ...frankly, I'd consider that twisted, on the mom's part, to the point of emotional abuse....
And in terms of the rights of the other ladies using the LADIES room, I think it is also wrong.
6-8, sure, thats a greay area...but 14? That is a TEENAGED BOY...he does not need to be in a ladies room for any reason(outside of some crazy emergency or something).


eeewww.

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#11 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 02:56 PM
 
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My kids (15 and almost 13) have been using the restroom alone for some time now. Ds is a big guy, as big as an adult, so while I worry about him out and about anyway I know he can probably handle a trip to the bathroom. Honestly, other teens males are the biggest problem, and he doesnt run into a ton of them in the bathroom at the grocery store.

Dd can go by herself, but often her and I go together or she is with her best friend.

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#12 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 04:17 PM
 
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I also thought that six was too young, although it did depend on where the restroom was. A swimming pool changing room or a small and reasonably nice restaurant was one thing, but K-Mart or the public restrooms downtown were another story altogether!

He was 8 before I completely stopped taking him into ANY women's room at all. He was small as a child so nobody ever said anything negative that I can remember.
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#13 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 06:28 PM
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I let ds go in by himself with instructions not to talk to anyone and to please always use the stall. (I am amazed at how guys just whip it and use the urinals in front of other guys!) DD started to use the bathroom by herself by eight or so. It wigs me out when they go in but I can't go in with ds and he won't go in the women's. DD was not an issue most of the time because I usually had her and would just go in with her.
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#14 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 06:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobandjess99
Assuming this is not some sort of differently-abled 14 year old...that's, well, GROSS.. I'm sorry , but at 14...that's too old. personally, if a 14 year old boy came into the women's room, I'd be protesting right and left. That would have to be horrible for the child, ...frankly, I'd consider that twisted, on the mom's part, to the point of emotional abuse....
And in terms of the rights of the other ladies using the LADIES room, I think it is also wrong.
6-8, sure, thats a greay area...but 14?

eeewww.
It is hard for me to understand the strength of your reaction here and how it would be different if the child was disabled. It isn't unlike you are disrobing in the bathroom, there are stalls with doors, right?
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#15 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 06:38 PM
 
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Our son is 10 and has been using the men's room alone since he was 9. There are some places though where it still makes me nervous. Before he started using the mens' room alone we went over a list of rules - use the stall, it isn't a place to chat, wash your hands, etc. And, he knows if he needs to be in there for longer than what it would typically take to pee quick he needs to let me know ahead of time.
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#16 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 07:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Roar
It is hard for me to understand the strength of your reaction here and how it would be different if the child was disabled. It isn't unlike you are disrobing in the bathroom, there are stalls with doors, right?
14 years old is a MAN in many cultures. Most 14 year olds are sexually active. A disabled child would be different because he would still NEED the help or supervision. It would still make me uncomfortable, but I wouldn't deny him that help.

Edited to add: yes i've frequently seen women do quick clothing changes in restrooms, or major clothing adjustments.

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#17 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 07:14 PM
 
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I did let my oldest who is 6 go in by herself with me standing outside the door till one day when a weird lady sitting on a bench saw dd go in and followed her. I got a really weird feeling and went in to find her staring at dd who was washing her hands. She talked to me a bit and then left.

It creeped me out that she went in to just lean against a wall and stare at dd wash her hands :

Unfortunately dh and I didn't turn her in to the store.
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#18 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moondiapers
14 years old is a MAN in many cultures. Most 14 year olds are sexually active. A disabled child would be different because he would still NEED the help or supervision. It would still make me uncomfortable, but I wouldn't deny him that help.

Edited to add: yes i've frequently seen women do quick clothing changes in restrooms, or major clothing adjustments.
I agree...14 yrs old is too old to accompany your mom into the bathroom unless you need assistance.
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#19 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 07:20 PM
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[QUOTE=moondiapers]14 years old is a MAN in many cultures. Most 14 year olds are sexually active. A disabled child would be different because he would still NEED the help or supervision. It would still make me uncomfortable, but I wouldn't deny him that help.

and :

MOST?!?! Come on. Check your facts PLEASE. Most 14 year olds are not sexually active.

"The percentage of teens 15-19 who had initiated sexual intercourse before age 14 has decreased in recent years, from a high of 8 percent of girls and 11 percent of boys in 1995 to a low of 6 percent of girls and 8 percent of boys in 2002." - Kaiser Foundation

In fact less than half of the students in high school have had sex at 46.8%. - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (June 2006). Surveillance Summaries. MMWR 2006:55(No.SS-5)

I know that had little to do with the op but I could not let that stand uncorrected. I am sorry to come off harsh.
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#20 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 07:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by iamthesmilingone

MOST?!?! Come on. Check your facts PLEASE. Most 14 year olds are not sexually active.

"The percentage of teens 15-19 who had initiated sexual intercourse before age 14 has decreased in recent years, from a high of 8 percent of girls and 11 percent of boys in 1995 to a low of 6 percent of girls and 8 percent of boys in 2002." - Kaiser Foundation

In fact less than half of the students in high school have had sex at 46.8%. - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (June 2006). Surveillance Summaries. MMWR 2006:55(No.SS-5)

I know that had little to do with the op but I could not let that stand uncorrected. I am sorry to come off harsh.
Maybe the better word was sexually aware
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#21 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 07:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moondiapers
14 years old is a MAN in many cultures. Most 14 year olds are sexually active. A disabled child would be different because he would still NEED the help or supervision. It would still make me uncomfortable, but I wouldn't deny him that help.

Edited to add: yes i've frequently seen women do quick clothing changes in restrooms, or major clothing adjustments.

Most 14 year olds are sexually active. ?????????????
Wow! I really hope this is a blantant exaggeration.

DS is almost 8 and he still goes into the restroom with me if its just the kids & I. He goes into a stall by himself & then waits until I come out of a stall to come out & wash hands. Or, he can stand directly outside the door of the stall I am in so I can see his feet the entire time. I am not ready to send him in alone yet & I am not going to leave him alone while I am in the restroom either.

Our Y has a policy against opposite-sex children in the locker rooms past 18 mos?! They do have a family restroom, but no family changing area. I hope they rememdy this with the renovations.
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#22 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 09:10 PM
 
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If the 5 of us are out together, Dh goes with the boys (10.5 & 7)into the bathroom, and I go with our daughter...If I am alone with the kids, the boys go in together and I stay outside the door with our daughter and wait. Our daughter never goes in alone. (5)

If just she has to go, I have the boys stand right outside the door, go in and get her situated, and go back and forth between checking on her and checking to make sure the boys are still right by the door.

And honestly if it is somewhere like we are out to eat at our usual pizza place, we sit at the booth right by the bathroom doors, the kids have to go, they usually get up and go alone etc...They are always in and right back out. Now this is obviosuly when is is not crowded (6-10 ppl besides us in the whole place) and we know the bathrooms are cleared out. (We have just been in to check when we get there, have a perfect clear view etc...

Obviously you have to always be careful and have a watchful eye on your kids no matter where you/they are...Teach them the right ways to act and the way to do things when people act and do inapropriate things to them (scream loudly etc...)
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#23 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 09:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by iamthesmilingone
I let ds go in by himself with instructions not to talk to anyone and to please always use the stall. (I am amazed at how guys just whip it and use the urinals in front of other guys!) DD started to use the bathroom by herself by eight or so. It wigs me out when they go in but I can't go in with ds and he won't go in the women's. DD was not an issue most of the time because I usually had her and would just go in with her.
what's wrong with men using urinals? that's what they are there for right? peeing in? just curious.
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#24 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 09:20 PM
 
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My oldest has been lectured on stranger dangers and other things that can happen many times over the years. At the age of 7 he was allowed to go in a bathroom alone but usually we just used the family bathroom if it was at a store that had one. But seriously he hardly ever had to go potty while out running errands so it wasn't really a big deal anyway. I think if our children can go to school on a bus and stay away from us for 7 or more hours per day they can make it through a 60 sec visit to a public restroom once they are taught right from wrong and they seem mature enough. I swear I've worried a lot more about my kids while they are away at school all day or at a day camp more than anywhere else.

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#25 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PGNPORTLAND
what's wrong with men using urinals? that's what they are there for right? peeing in? just curious.

I didn't say anything was wrong with it. Can you see it the other way around? Toilets with no stall doors, no privacy, in the women's? I just don't think we're as comfortable about peeing in front of complete strangers as guys are.
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#26 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 09:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by iamthesmilingone
I didn't say anything was wrong with it. Can you see it the other way around? Toilets with no stall doors, no privacy, in the women's? I just don't think we're as comfortable about peeing in front of complete strangers as guys are.
I have 2 younger brothers. The first time the younger one saw a urinal was at a baseball game with my dad. I think he was around 6 or 7. I guess my dad peed in the urinal and my brother didn't say anything until they got home and my mom asked how was the game? My brother said "Daddy pee'd in the sink!" I always thought that was funny.
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#27 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 09:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PGNPORTLAND
what's wrong with men using urinals? that's what they are there for right? peeing in? just curious.
Personally if my child is going to be in a room with strangers I'd rather his pants not be down in front of them. It would be a nice world if we never had to think about stuff like this, but we do.
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#28 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 09:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Roar
Personally if my child is going to be in a room with strangers I'd rather his pants not be down in front of them. It would be a nice world if we never had to think about stuff like this, but we do.
I didn't mean children. Someone else said it was weird that men "whipped it out in front of each other to pee". that's what I was refering to. I am getting misunderstood alot lately. : I will have to work on that.

If I had a son I would probably encourage him to use the stall as well.
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#29 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 09:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers
14 years old is a MAN in many cultures. Most 14 year olds are sexually active. A disabled child would be different because he would still NEED the help or supervision. It would still make me uncomfortable, but I wouldn't deny him that help.

Edited to add: yes i've frequently seen women do quick clothing changes in restrooms, or major clothing adjustments.
Here's what strikes me about this. This post suggests that somehow even in the nonsexual context of a bathroom that somehow male sexuality is a threat. If male sexuality is such a threat, I wonder then why you are advocating for children to go alone into a men's bathroom? How is it more of a threat for a supervised teenager to be in the bathroom with women than it is for an unsupervised boy to be in the bathroom with strange men?

I have been given dirty looks a few times when my quite tall (and disabled but not in a way that strangers can visually determine) son came into the women's restroom with me when he was certainly past the size when many boys go alone. For me it comes down to one of my rules of parenting - my first job is to protect my child's safety.
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#30 of 110 Old 08-26-2006, 09:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by iamthesmilingone
I didn't say anything was wrong with it. Can you see it the other way around? Toilets with no stall doors, no privacy, in the women's? I just don't think we're as comfortable about peeing in front of complete strangers as guys are.
we're not taught to be. think that's the only real difference.

I've had to use unisex bathrooms and also women's rooms with no stall doors. I didnt mind. but many people do. personally I'd prefer more unisex bathrooms, this would bother me less as far as public restrooms.
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