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#1 of 29 Old 07-11-2002, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When do you begin to let kids (of the opposite gender), go to public restrooms by themselves?

I still insist that my ds comes w/me (his is 6 yo). Public restrooms, whether its a library, movie theatre or restaurant, still makes me nervous.

Thanks for your input.

Warmly~

Lisa

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#2 of 29 Old 07-11-2002, 04:19 PM
 
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Lisa my son is also 6 and he als uses the women's restroom with me. Occasionally if we are in a very empty public place and I can see for sure there is nobody in the men's room I allow him to use it- but he usually ends up wanting help or not being able to reach the towels, etc. I was wondering what ages most people let their kids do this also so I am glad you asked.
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#3 of 29 Old 07-11-2002, 09:41 PM
 
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My older son is almost 7 and he still comes into the women's restroom with me. I have just noticed that he is beginning to get a bit uncomfortable about it - he has said "in the girls room?!?" a few times recently. I will keep bringing him in with me until he insists on using the 'boy's room' by himself. He is afraid to go in any public bathroom by himself at this point, but I am not sure how long this will last. I don't worry about what the other women/girls using the restroom think when we walk in...do you guys?
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#4 of 29 Old 07-12-2002, 12:31 AM
 
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No I don't worry about them- there are always closed stalls in there and I figure someones minor discomfort is worth my son's safety.
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#5 of 29 Old 07-12-2002, 12:55 AM
 
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I don't have a son but my dh would check the mens room to see if anyone was using the urinal and try and wait until it was empty. He would then take dd into the stall for her to use.

I've taken little girls into the ladies room before when the dads didn't want to come in but also didn't want to take their dd into the mens room. Usually it was a sitation where they looked like they were planning on letting her go alone but looked confused as to what to do. I would offer to take her of they wanted. I just waited outside the door for her to go and then walked her back out to her dad.

I don't mind men bringing little girls into the ladies rooms and helping their daughters. I would rather that than little girls going into a mens room with public urinals. Although I do think the best option is a "parents room" with all the things a parent of either sex would need.
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#6 of 29 Old 07-12-2002, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Although I do think the best option is a "parents room" with all the things a parent of either sex would need.

Arduinna~I love that idea!!! I know some places offer that option, but not many

LEmama~I don't worry what other people think either. My ds still wants to be with me when he goes potty.

Its good to hear from all of you!!!

Warmly~

Lisa

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#7 of 29 Old 07-12-2002, 01:35 AM
 
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Love that parents' room idea ...

DS#1 is only 4, but I can't imagine letting him go alone in to a public men's room until ... well, a long time. A very long time.
Like maybe 'til he's 10. At least.

Call me neurotic, but too much stuff happens in them for me to be comfortable with it.

- Amy
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#8 of 29 Old 07-12-2002, 12:03 PM
 
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You know I don't have a problem with dd going into the men's room. DD takes her in there regularly, and I never thoughht about it. I don't know, she watched her dad pee so I don''t have a problem with her seeing other men pee. Pee is pee to me LOL
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#9 of 29 Old 07-12-2002, 12:48 PM
 
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Agreed with Krisday, no problem with little ones accompanying whichever parent into whichever-gendered bathroom is appropriate for the parent.

The key, though, is the parent accompanying. Public bathrooms are unfortunately targets for rather unsavory stuff, and children need protection from said unsavory stuff.

- Amy
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#10 of 29 Old 07-12-2002, 01:06 PM
 
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Another 6yo DS here! He still goes into the women's restroom with me. I take all 3 of my kids in with me, and if there is one of the large stalls available, then I use that. He doesn't flinch at doing this, as it's what he's always done. He also goes into the men's room if he's with his dad. I don't ever worry what others think, and I've never had any negative reactions. I don't know when I plan on him using the men's room alone. I guess I'll wait until he asks and then reevaluate. I'll be watching to see what others are saying on this matter.
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#11 of 29 Old 07-12-2002, 02:08 PM
 
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My dad used to take me into men's rooms when necessary. Because I had often seen him pee, it didn't seem strange to me at all. I do remember him telling me that it's not polite to stare at people using urinals. (MrBecca remembers his dad telling him that, too--it's a crucial rule of men's room etiquette! ) One time we went into a restroom in a mall and a man at the urinal yelled, "Hey, there's a girl in here!" and was so startled he lost his aim and peed all over the wall. I struggled not to laugh at him but succeeded, and my dad and I had a good laugh over it later! :LOL

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#12 of 29 Old 07-12-2002, 04:46 PM
 
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My ds is almost 6. He is starting to tell me that he prefers to use the men's room. My answer depends on where we are. Library, YMCA, or church -- I just ask him to look inside and come right back out to tell me if there is anyone in there or not. Mall, grocery store, or very high traffic places, I say "no way." Several places locally have opened "family restrooms" and it is a HUGE help. The policy at the YMCA here is that boys six and under are welcome in the ladies room. And vice versa for the men's room.
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#13 of 29 Old 07-13-2002, 09:04 PM
 
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What this thread really points out is that the idea of separate restrooms for the sexes is very silly!
My daughter is 8 1/2 and I am alert when she uses a restroom alone, and feel silly when I start to worry and then see she's been gone only 3 minutes. So I started noting the time when she goes in there. She's really only been using the restroom alone for, say, a year. If we're in a restaurant, I must say it's nice not to sink when I hear "I have to go to the bathroom," because she can go alone. In stores I try not to be far away from the restroom while she's using it alone.
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#14 of 29 Old 07-14-2002, 03:52 AM
 
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Another 7 1/2 year old son that goes in the women's room with his mom! I like the idea of checking to see if anyone else is in the men's room first. Knowing me if a man tried to go in after my son did I would probably freak out and say "you can't go in there"!

You do want to teach your kids that the world is a safe place but I will keep bringing my son with me as long as he's comfortable. Thanks for the thread Lisamarie!

A funny story-one time I had a real bad stomach ache and had to get to a bathroom fast. We were at a public beach and I just ran in quickly. After I had been in there for a few minutes I heard some little boys talking. They said "I think that a woman just came in here!!!!!" and they proceeded to run out and tell their parents. When I came out there was a crowd of people there staring at me and some mothers that looked pretty rattled.

~Jill
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#15 of 29 Old 07-14-2002, 05:25 AM
 
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My older ds started going to the mens room by himself around age 8, and boy was I nervous about it. I told him that weirdos can be about and not to talk to anyone or come out quickly if he is worried. I would always wait outside close by, but not so much now he is older.

we often all crowded into a disabled toilet rather than send him off alone (I know some disabled people hate this, sorry)

also I have said to my boys that discreetly peeing on a tree can be a better solution (yes I know you can get busted for it)

there are some of the parent-and-child toilets here, they are clearly the best arrangement

never thought about the dilemma of dads with daughters!
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#16 of 29 Old 07-14-2002, 10:49 AM
 
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When dad is around my dd usually prefers to go with him, but many times the mens room is abismally nasty. People probably think we're nuts when they see 3 yr old dd heading into the men's room with dad and 6 yr old ds going into the ladies room with me, but oh well. I'm not going to make more bathroom issues than we already have.
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#17 of 29 Old 07-14-2002, 11:00 AM
 
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I still bring my almost 8yr old son in with me too! As mamaduck said sometimes when we are somewhere I know is safe like the library I don't worry as much. I think he is starting to feel less comfortable with it though.
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#18 of 29 Old 07-14-2002, 07:05 PM
 
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I bring my ds#1 who's 8 in the ladies room but only in places where I don;t feel comfortable for him to go alone. He HATES it. He'd rather go in the Men's rm. alone. I am big beleiver in "peeing on a tree" if you can't find suitable restroom. I have no idea what parents of little girls do.
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#19 of 29 Old 07-14-2002, 10:51 PM
 
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My ds is 6 and beginning to want to use the restroom himself. I, like some of the other posters, make the determination based on where we are and how comfortable I feel letting him go alone. It is so sad that we have to worry about perverts!!
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#20 of 29 Old 07-14-2002, 11:02 PM
 
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I do worry about "perverts." I also worry about the fact that ds is absent-minded, and tends to wander in circles singing, usually half dressed, forgetting what he is supposed to be doing, dawdling, playing in the water, coming out soaking wet (leaving me to wonder, is it pee or water on his shirt?) --- well, you get the picture!
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#21 of 29 Old 07-14-2002, 11:18 PM
 
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My three year old dd has peed (and pooped) in the bushes on outdoor excursions!

One thing that really bothers me is that there is no way my son (who is 6) could reach most of the sink faucets and soap/towel dispensers. I know these are made for adults, but what about people who are dwarfs or midgits, people in wheelchairs and children???

As for using the disabled restroom- this is always what we do as well, (how else could the three of us fit?) and I don't feel bad about it because never in 6 years have I ever come out of it and seen someone in a wheelchair waiting. Plus my son does have a disability, although it's not physical.
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#22 of 29 Old 07-15-2002, 10:33 AM
 
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One thing that really bothers me is that there is no way my son (who is 6) could reach most of the sink faucets and soap/towel dispensers.
Yes! Ds complains to me about this all the time. Our church and the YMCA got stools for the bathrooms. I wish Borders would too. And the library. Once at a resteraunt that had stools in the bathroom, DS actually went to the hostess and THANKED her for the stools in the bathroom! He said "It is nice when people think of kids."
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#23 of 29 Old 07-15-2002, 02:32 PM
 
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I remember going into a men's bathroom with my dad when I was 3 or 4 and saying, "Daddy, those men are peeing in the sink!!"

LOL I'm scarred for life.
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#24 of 29 Old 08-02-2002, 08:44 PM
 
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My oldest is 10 and still must come with me. Period.
When possible I use a large handicapped stall and we all go in together. If the child is in a separate stall, they are not allowed to leave their stall until I am out of mine.

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#25 of 29 Old 08-08-2002, 07:24 AM
 
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My ds (4) has asked me a couple of times to take him to the men's (of course I didn't) but only so he could see "the waterfall"!!!! At first I didn't know what he was talking about.
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#26 of 29 Old 08-08-2002, 11:37 AM
 
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No, my daughter is eight and I am well past needing her in with me while I am using the toilet. Nor does she need her mother with her every time she pees in public. No more all-in-the-big-stall unless it is crowded, dirty or whatever and this is most efficient time-wise. We meet at the sink unless Dad is outside the restroom. If the restroom is down a hallway with stockrooms or whatever also entering on the hall, I wait outside or in the restroom.

While traveling up and down the country this summer, I kept a slightly closer eye on her. Perhaps she would wait just outside my stall or at the sink directly opposite, and I would wait for her. Gas station restrooms, we'd often use together. At Florida's Turnpike rest stations, where both north and south roads use the rest stop, I would be extra vigilant.

How many of those in this discussion have ever directly experienced something unpleasant or sexually inappropriate in the public restroom involving kids, either you as one or your own? Not heard someone, or your brother or his friend, but directly experienced? This question is not put forth confrontationally but in curiosity. There has never been an actual documented case of razors in Halloween apples, for instance, but everyone knows someone who got one. While no one wants their own child to be among the very small percentage of those abducted and murdered, we also need to be aware of the potential damage of unnecessary and overprotective vigilance.
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#27 of 29 Old 08-08-2002, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Something unpleasent has never happened to anyone in my family. But, in a small town south of us, 2 boys went to a movie theatre restroom together and was abducted by a male sexual pred. He kidnapped them, sexually assulted them and murdered the brothers. He was caught, interviewed and he said that he wan't to be put to death because he knew he would do this again and again. He also talked about who he preyed upon and where. He was a very scarey, sick man. Also, within the past year, within 20 miles of us, a boy went to the restroom (I think he was 7 yo) at the LIBRARY and a man sexually assulted him in there. These cases were in the media quite a bit, especially the first one.

It seems IMHO it doesn't matter where you are, you can't be too careful.

Warmly~

Lisa

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#28 of 29 Old 08-08-2002, 01:28 PM
 
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I have never personally had a bad experience in a public restroom, andn it's a point well taken, but I have had someone attempt to kidnap me on a public street. One other issue for me is the mess- I have peered into a men's restroom and knows that my son wopuld not be able to approariately deal with that filth alone. I would really hate for him to come out with someone else's fecal matter on him, and not even so much as soap or a paper towel in the restroom!! (sorry to be so graphic)
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#29 of 29 Old 08-08-2002, 05:49 PM
 
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Oh, I quite agree public restrooms can be very creepy places. When I worked at Barnes and Noble's original location in New York men would come in on Sunday mornings to have sex in our public restroom; we were forever chasing them out. I also frequently saw a male prostitute at a mall in Atlanta, when I lived there, following men into the public restroom in a quieter corner of the mall. If I had a son I would be at my wit's end, I'm sure.
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