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#1 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How old is to old for boys to go into the ladies room with their moms?
I ask this because over the weekend it was my DS and I, he is 5, and when he had to go, or I had to go, I took him into the ladies room with me. He comes into the stall and stays with me, never intrudes on other women in there etc.
However this time we got some funny looks and one woman was even bold enough to tell me he didn't belong in there. I really don't feel comfortable sending him into the mens room alone and DH isn't always with us. Thoughts?
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#2 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 06:03 PM
 
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I'm with you. My DS is 4, and I can't imagine sending him into the men's room alone for a few more years. I see it as other people's problem, as he and I are also in the same stall together, and its not like he's opening other women's stalls to look at them.
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#3 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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huh?

I think you are well within your rights to take your son into the bathroom with you if you don't feel secure. Some five year olds still need help, and it's probably a lot simpler in a busy place to just bring him along. I've seen 8 year old boys in the ladies' room at the mall. Nothing inappropriate about it. Some people are just stuck in grade school.

Has he expressed any desire to go by himself? If you set up expectations with him ahead of time, (don't talk to anyone, come straight out, etc.) and waited outside, could you grow comfortable with his using the men's room? I don't really know when most parents allow that, as a girl I just always went with my mother, no big deal. Just wondered.
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#4 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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My son is 6 and I take him in with me. If dh's with us, they go, but otherwise he stays with me. I am so not comfortable with him going in a men's restroom by himself at this point.

He would be fine by himself and he isn't real thrilled about going with me, but the thought of some creepy person in there with him all by himself freaks me out.
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#5 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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I take my 4yo and 6yo boys in to the ladies room with me still, i don't think its a problem at all. I'm not comfortable with them going alone to the men's room and neither are they.

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#6 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel better about this now. He has not expressed a desire to go in the mens room by himself. He goes with DH when he is with us though. I do have to say though he is bigger than his age and I am sure that doesn't help the ladies who expressed their concern this past weekend.
I think if it was someplace that wasn't real crowded I could think about sending him in alone with instructions, but not busy places like this past weekend.
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#7 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 07:00 PM
 
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My son is almost 5 and we have started to encounter this. I think there are women in the locker room at the Y who are uncomfortable with it but I don't know what they expect a mama to do. He's way too young to send into the men's room on his own. I actually don't change him in the locker room for this reason, we come and go with him already in his suit, but if he needs to use the toilet the only place to take him is the women's locker room.

Now, this women's locker room does have individual shower stalls with curtains, and then changing stalls with curtains in the dry area. My feeling is that if women are uncomfortable with who else might be in the locker room, they should wrap themselves in a towel, go from the shower stall to a changing stall, and change there. That IS an option. I however do not have an option to take my son to a different toilet, unless I want to lead him dripping wet to the other damn side of the building. Or maybe they'd prefer he just pee in the pool (fortunately it has apparently never occurred to him to do this).
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#8 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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I have a 7 yo who is tall for his age. He comes in the women's room with me. I've asked him if he wants to use the men's room, and he says no. I'm glad, because I don't think he's ready yet. I don't really understand the issue in a women's bathroom, since everyone is using a stall anyway. What's a boy going to see? Someone washing their hands? Combing their hair?

At the rec center for swimming, they have a notice posted asking that boys over 5 not use the women's dressing room. They don't have areas where women can dress in privacy, and the showers are all communal. They DO have a family dressing room, and that's what we use (though there are only 2, and they're often busy - we've been known to go home in our suits because of it). I think it's a little silly to make the cut off at 5, since many 5-6 year olds I know aren't ready for dressing on their own. Oh they could do it, but it would be 3 hours later when they emerged!

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#9 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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My sister JUST started letting her 8yo go into public bathrooms by herself. I would think that the same "rule" will apply when her son reaches that age.

My son is only 3, but I don't anticipate letting him go into a public bathroom alone until he's a lot older ... 8 sounds about right, but we'll see when he gets to that age. There are a lot of family bathrooms around here, so I don't think it'll ever be a big issue. But if it did become a problem for other people, that's on them. It's not like women are walking around naked in public bathrooms ... what difference does it make if he accompanies you into the stall?

People are wierd.
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#10 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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I think I'd start to be uncomfortable with a male child in the women's room (bathroom, locker, dressing room) around age 10, though if I saw a child that old in there with a guardian and he was respectful I wouldn't fret about it. But that is the age I'd at least probably notice. Before that I can't see even paying attention to it. What are you supposed to do in a busy crowded place, even if you are comfortable sending them in to go to the bathroom themselves, you might not be comfortable leaving them outside while YOU have to go.

What about girls in the men's room? Situations like this are why family rest rooms make so much sense.
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#11 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 07:21 PM
 
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My ds is 5.5 and doesn't want to go into the ladies room! Basically I will let him go alone into a men's room in certain situations (at the dentist office etc) and I stay right outside the door to listen and talk to him. Usually he is the only one in there (I've had him wait until it was empty). Busy shopping mall or highway rest area - no way - he comes with me! I remember recently coming out of a busy restroom to find a worried dad who was waiting for his 6 year old dd.
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#12 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 07:21 PM
 
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I would never have a problem with a child of the opposite sex in the restroom with their mother. If you would not leave the child home alone, why would you send them alone into a restroom with strangers to fend for themselves?

I would have said something to the woman who remarked, like, "he is 5! im not going to leave him alone in a crowded place just for your comfort! I cannot believe you would actual say something to me! why are you opposed to children in a public restroom?"

let her feel shamed, not you.

geez.

people are so uptight.

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#13 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 08:08 PM
 
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My oldest started to insist when he was 7 and in first grade. He uses the boys restroom at school and became aware of the stigma of using the "girls". It sometimes makes me nervous, but he does fine and knows he can just yell and I will hear him.

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#14 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 08:10 PM
 
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A 5-year-old boy should absolutely use the women's room with his mother rather than use the men's room alone. I'm guessing whoever complained was older and from a generation where people weren't as aware of restroom sexual assaults.
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#15 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 08:16 PM
 
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My kids used the accompanying parent's gender restroom until they started elementary school. At that point they were both so "indoctrinated" by the absolute rule at their school about going into the other gender restroom that I couldn't make them use it outside of school either. And, for me, that was about the point where I was comfortable with them using the restroom on their own. Though I still stand outside of the men's room and holler "How are you doing" every 30 seconds when my son (8 1/2) is in there. DH does the same now that DD (5 1/2) is going into the ladies room on her own.

But, this is definitely one of the areas where parents and kids have to work with their own comfort levels. And anyone objecting gets a polite "Thank you for your concern" response.
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#16 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 08:17 PM
 
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If I don't have DH with me, DS absolutely uses the women's room with me, NO exceptions. I won't endanger my son's safety because some uppity prude doesn't want him in there. I do take him in the stall with me.

Thankfully, the only place we really go a lot w/o DH is the YMCA and they have the fam. restrooms. At the mall, you can ask a security guard and they'll direct you to the nearest family restrooms also.

A 6 y/o boy was molested in the men's bathrooom at a Chuck E. Cheese's (not that I go there, but it could happen anywhere) a few months back. NO WAY!

He'll be 8 in November, btw.

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#17 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 08:33 PM
 
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I would point out to them that my son still can't always reach the sink/soap/paper towels by himself, therefore he is coming in with me where he can get help if he needs it. :

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#18 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 08:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inchijen View Post
I would never have a problem with a child of the opposite sex in the restroom with their mother. If you would not leave the child home alone, why would you send them alone into a restroom with strangers to fend for themselves?

I would have said something to the woman who remarked, like, "he is 5! im not going to leave him alone in a crowded place just for your comfort! I cannot believe you would actual say something to me! why are you opposed to children in a public restroom?"

let her feel shamed, not you.

geez.

people are so uptight.

Great post! I hope I have the backbone to say exactly that if this happens to us. My bigger boys are 6 1/2, 5 and 5 and I take them with me except for when my oldest goes to speech or t-ball. In both situations, I tell them they can go in together, but they go to the bathroom and come right back out and stay together. This is only as of June of this year. At a mall or restaurant or something like that, no way!
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#19 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 08:55 PM
 
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Every toilet has a seperate stall so what is the big deal? I would have told that woman to mind her own bussiness.

I just started in the last year letting dd go into the restroom alone she is 7. I do stand right outside the main door though still just in case. I would not be comfortable letting ds go in the mens room alone for a long time yet. I dont want anything bad to happen to him and unfortunatly the risk of a boy being molested in a rest room is more than it happening to a girl

 
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#20 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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Ds1 used the men's room alone for the first time a couple months ago. Until then, he always came in with me. I stood right outside (very busy restroom & no doors, just hall with a curve). I got some funny looks/comments from a few men, but I just said I was waiting for my son. Ds took awhile, though probably not longer than usual...he's slow in the bathroom, & I did get nervous, but it was fine.

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#21 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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My five year old daughter often uses restrooms alone, but I have no problem with opposite sex children (or adults, for that matter) in the bathroom with me. She also likes to go to the men's room given the option, so when we are in crowded places as a family, she usually goes with him. I think she's used the men's a few times on her own, too (and she can read the signs just fine)!

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#22 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 10:35 PM
 
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I just ran into this today for the first time. We were at the town pool and I had my 5 1/2 yo and almost 3 yo with us. When we walked in a young girl said "Oh! Boys in the changing room!" Her friend said - don't worry they are babies with their mom.

I actually thought "hey, I'll post about this on mothering and see what other people do" and here is a whole thread. I mothering

I hate that there is no family option here. And I don't want him to be uncomfortable. Oh well. Rather someone get a little uncomfortable than have him in a situation that he is not ready for.
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#23 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 10:46 PM
 
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I really don't understand why women get all worked up about little boys being in the restroom with them? What do they see? Ladies washing their hands? *GASP* the HORROR!
5 is way too young IMO to go into the mens room on their own. So is 6.
I heard somewhere that 7 was the cut off. Still seems young to me.
I'm sorry you had to deal with an opinionated busy body. I would have gone off on her.
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#24 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 10:50 PM
 
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I'm really relieved that all of you guys are on the same page about this as I am. I don't have a son, yet, but if I did you can bet he'd be in the rest room with me and the girls if DH wasn't around.
What's more...if DH ever took the girls out (this is all theoretical since NOT once has he left the house with either of them, and they are not yet PT) he'd have to take them in the Men's Room with him if they needed to potty! I don't trust the strangers anywhere, male or female. I love our family bathroom at the mall!
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#25 of 75 Old 07-16-2008, 10:59 PM
 
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I'd tell the woman he belongs with you and ignore her.

I would not let a 5 year old go into the men's room alone. If you are in a place with a family restroom I'd use that, but I think it's no problem for a boy to go in the women's restroom as long as there are private stalls for everyone.
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#26 of 75 Old 07-17-2008, 07:22 AM
 
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IDK puberty? When they ask?
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#27 of 75 Old 07-17-2008, 08:05 AM
 
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Nope, if I had a son until I felt he could look after himself in the men's room, he would be in a stall with me. 5 is too young to send him in the men's room on his own.
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#28 of 75 Old 07-17-2008, 10:16 AM
 
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I think we encountered this once with my 4.5yo ds. I choose to ignore it since he's not ready to go on his own. He's not comfortable around strangers w/out me, and his hormones aren't raging.

With all the publicity about missing children, I think this should be a non-issue.
My ds isn't looking under stall walls, he's going to the bathroom and washing his hands.

News flash: Our bathroom at home is co-ed!
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#29 of 75 Old 07-17-2008, 10:33 AM
 
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Dd stopped letting dh take her into the men's room about six months ago, about when she turned 4. She prefers to have him stand outside the woman's room and wait for her.

It's probably child dependent. Men's bathrooms are certainly more treachorous than woman's rooms, since male child molesters are multiples more common than female.

I think it works both ways. If you bring an older boy into the locker room you can't really expect other women to alter their behavior. So I probably would still drop my towel and change like always rather than packing up my stuff to take it into a bathroom stall somewhere. If your 5, 6, 7 year old is okay with viewing adult women strangers naked, then so be it, I guess.

I wonder about communitites in which people know each other? For instance, I have friends with young boys who frequent the same gym we do. Are they okay with their 6 yo boy who lives down the street and plays at our house seeing me nude?
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#30 of 75 Old 07-17-2008, 10:53 AM
 
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I would never send my 5 and a half year old into a mens restroom alone. I don't know when I'd feel comfortable with it. Ten maybe?
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