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Children and Public Bathrooms

Lil Community: When Is It Age Appropriate to Use the Men's Room?

Motherhood can be a mind-boggler! LilSugar reader amandachalynn is looking for some advice in The Mommy Club.

My son is turning 5, and is very picky. He has started to insist on using the men's room instead of going into the women's with me. If it is a single toilet, I have no problem with it. I am still uncomfortable with him going into a room with multiple stalls. My husband thinks I'm being ridiculous, and says that even in the off chance of there being one shady character in the men's room, nothing will happen because other men would stop it. He also pointed out that I'll be standing right next to the door and can hear any crying/screaming. What are your opinions on this?

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luvbnmomof2 luvbnmomof2 5 years
In the late nineties, there was a case where a teenager killed a little boy in a restroom at a beach in CA, the aunt or mother was standing outside, I think the case left a dent in my safety armor, so depending on where I am at and type of people there determines if I will let my boys go to the restroom by themselves. And at a courthouse I would make my boys go together or use the women's and just so people know, my son has high functioning autism and if you see older children in restrooms of the opposite sex you shouldn't judge, what do you know about someone in two minutes of seeing them in a restroom.
luvbnmomof2 luvbnmomof2 5 years
A number of years ago I saw a case in Ca, where a young boy was killed by a teenager in a public restroom at a beach while his aunt or mom waited outside, that horrified me and too top it off there was a man arrested for touching young girls at a local fast food place where I grew up. So depending on where we are such as public parks and rest areas when traveling, I take my boys to the women's restrooms. At a courthouse I would do the something or make them go in pairs and just so people know before they judge others, my oldest is seven and as high functioning autism and when he is 10 or 11 he maybe in a women's restroom, it's hard to know about everyone's situation in 2 minutes at a public restroom.
foxyymomma foxyymomma 5 years
I grew up with a single father who had two little girls. Luckily for him I was able to take my lil sister when she was still learning the ropes, but when he was on his own he felt it was better to be embarassed himself and politely enter a ladies room than expose my sister to "men parts" as he called them.Five is old enough in my opinion to go to the bathroom on your own, with a parent or older sibling waiting outside of course.If it was possible my Dad would ask a lady entering the ladies to escort my sister and myself, you could possibly do the same depending on the situation.It is important to respect our childrens growth and independence, but your reservations are totally understandable.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 5 years
That's a tough call, Amanda, I'm glad I've got a little girl so I don't have to make that decision. The likelihood of something bad happening is very slim; my girl and I have a rule, if something funny happens, scream. We even practice screaming every once in a while. Maybe you could practice letting him go alone at some smaller restaurants or stores, even at your library. You'll probably feel better about it after you've seen him do it on his own enough times.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 5 years
That's a tough call, Amanda, I'm glad I've got a little girl so I don't have to make that decision.The likelihood of something bad happening is very slim; my girl and I have a rule, if something funny happens, scream. We even practice screaming every once in a while.Maybe you could practice letting him go alone at some smaller restaurants or stores, even at your library. You'll probably feel better about it after you've seen him do it on his own enough times.
amber512 amber512 5 years
I just dealt with this last week with my nephew. He is 4 and was insistent on using the men's restroom. I kept my foot in the door. A guy walked by and started to go to the women's restroom. He then looked back at me, truly confused. I said I was waiting for my nephew, let him in, and then stuck my foot back in the door. The whole thing made me really uncomfortable! I think he's young enough I'll just say he has to come with me next time.
amber512 amber512 5 years
I just dealt with this last week with my nephew. He is 4 and was insistent on using the men's restroom. I kept my foot in the door. A guy walked by and started to go to the women's restroom. He then looked back at me, truly confused. I said I was waiting for my nephew, let him in, and then stuck my foot back in the door. The whole thing made me really uncomfortable! I think he's young enough I'll just say he has to come with me next time.
psterling psterling 5 years
I'm expecting my first child (a son) in January so I suppose I'll be dealing with this at some point in the future and who knows how my POV might change between now and then, but from where I am right now, as long as he knows what to do if he needs help, he should be more than able to use the men's restroom by himself if he wants to! Of course, I would probably be standing by the door but forcing him to go with you to the women's restroom sounds a little over-protective to me.
skigurl skigurl 5 years
Mommy of the 2As, your kids are precious!and i agree with what you said - there's no harm in barging into the men's room if you felt for any reason your children needed your attention. of course there are some restrooms which have long halls and they are big and you wouldnt be able to hear everything, but usually if you're right by the door, the place isn't super big and not a lot could go on in there that you wouldn't know from the hallway
skigurl skigurl 5 years
Mommy of the 2As, your kids are precious! and i agree with what you said - there's no harm in barging into the men's room if you felt for any reason your children needed your attention. of course there are some restrooms which have long halls and they are big and you wouldnt be able to hear everything, but usually if you're right by the door, the place isn't super big and not a lot could go on in there that you wouldn't know from the hallway
Mommyof-the2As Mommyof-the2As 5 years
I'm a single mother of 2 boys, and they are at this age that they don't want to go into the women's bathroom anymore. They have told me numerous times that they are boys and they need to go into the big boys restroom...and As a mom we worry about letting go and knowing that in this world there people out there wanting to hurt our children. But no matter the age or the situation, we have to let go and let them experience there curiosity. So what I do is stand by the men's restroom and explain to them that they need to handle there business, wash hands, and come straight out and don't talk to strangers. And so far everything has been no worries. And your husband is right there will be other men in there in case there should be a situation like that. But if not, were mothers we know when something is wrong and if i was feeling something was wrong i wouldn't not think twice about barging in a mans restroom to insure my son's were okay.
runningesq runningesq 5 years
I work in a courthouse, and the other day I saw a 10-12 year old boy in the women's room. That, my friends, is too old !
skigurl skigurl 5 years
your husband does have a good point (that if you're right there, it's not like someone can run out with him) and if he does know the "rules" of what to do while in there, he is sure to be safe. what are the chances of something awful happening?but that said, I'm always insanely cautious and also a worrier, so I wouldn't like this as well. I would say that in circumstances where you feel it's okay (like somewhere where the bathroom is likely empty) then let him try it out, but if you're somewhere with a huge line and lots of people are around (like for example, at a concert or a ball game), you can sit him down and INSIST he come in the women's bathroom with you and not give him the choice.Furthermore, certain times, you may be able to choose a less populated bathroom. For example, in a mall, the food court bathroom is always packed, but if you use a bathroom in a department store attached to the mall, they are almost always empty.
skigurl skigurl 5 years
your husband does have a good point (that if you're right there, it's not like someone can run out with him) and if he does know the "rules" of what to do while in there, he is sure to be safe. what are the chances of something awful happening? but that said, I'm always insanely cautious and also a worrier, so I wouldn't like this as well. I would say that in circumstances where you feel it's okay (like somewhere where the bathroom is likely empty) then let him try it out, but if you're somewhere with a huge line and lots of people are around (like for example, at a concert or a ball game), you can sit him down and INSIST he come in the women's bathroom with you and not give him the choice. Furthermore, certain times, you may be able to choose a less populated bathroom. For example, in a mall, the food court bathroom is always packed, but if you use a bathroom in a department store attached to the mall, they are almost always empty.
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