May 21, 2008,
K.B. asks from Spring, TX on May 17, 2008
When to Stop Bringing My Son into the Women's Restroom?
This question is being asked simply to satisfy my curiosity.
My son is 6 years old and when we are out in public I still take him into the ladies' room with me unless there is a "family" restroom available. My question is, at what age would you be comfortable allowing your son to go into the men's room alone? Also when mom needs to use the restroom, at what age did you have the kids wait for you outside the restroom?
This question was prompted by a recent trip to Target. There was a lady in the restroom who had left her son right outside the restroom door (by my estimate he was a little younger than my son, maybe 5 years old). Every 30 seconds or so she would shout, "Bobby, are you still there?" and the boy would yell back. I just thought it was odd that she did not bring him in to the restroom with her, but then I began to think that perhaps I'm the one who is wrong to bring a 6 year old into the ladies' room with me.
Just curious what everyone's opinion on this one is. Thanks!
So What Happened?™
Thanks to all of you! I'm so glad that I am not the only one who struggles with this. Also, I now feel more confident that at least most moms in the ladies room will understand when I bring my son in with me and aren't quietly thinking I'm crazy. Thanks again!
J.A. answers from Houston on May 18, 2008
I have an almost 5 year old son, and I have every intention of having him use the women's for at LEAST one more year, or so. I know that might seem a little old to some, but I would rather have him in there with ME (except when my husband is with us) than have him alone in the men's with a stranger or two. Luckily, this isnt much of an issue, since he seems to be like me, in that he doesn't have to go very often when we are in public. Either way, whatever you decide, you should do what you feel comfortable with.
S.D. answers from Houston on May 18, 2008
We too live in The Woodlands and I still bring my almost 6 yr old in public restroms with me. I see no reason not to. The issue my older children have is needing to go to the bathroom and want to go without ME. So I let them go solo in the ladies room only, I figure that they ahve a much lower chance of being molested in there. I have started letting my 11 yr old take his younger brothers (9, 5) in the mens room when thye are around, but only if he stays with them all the time. I see no reason to risk my child being abducted or molested (even in our perfect city where nothing bad ever happens) and since there is nothing inappropriate going on in a rest room, I will continue to keep my little ones with me. They simply stand outside of the stall with their hand on the door so I can see their feet, it makes me feel safe knowing that we wont be the 1 that the unthinkable happens to.
Best of luck
D.M. answers from Houston on May 18, 2008
As the mother of two son's and a daughter, (22, 20, and daughter 10)I understand your confussion and remember those day's. It seems to me what I did if my husband was not with me, if my son's started asking questions and being aware of their surroundings then they seemed ready for their own restroom experience...I believe they were around six when this happened. I would give them instructions and send them inside while I waited patiently outside. If nothing else, this made for some REALLY funny stories!!! If they seemed too young for this, or it was not possible, I would cover their eyes and walk them in with me. If I had to go and they didn't, I would bring them in the door, stand them at the sink and let them play there while I went. Of course you have to give "threats" and direction so they don't leave the sink and wander around - this will freak people out! Good luck with this and try to remember...every day is an experience with kids...look for the humor ~ and good luck!
K.K. answers from Houston on May 18, 2008
I'm glad you asked this - my sons are 8 and 6 and I also struggle with what to do. My 8 year old especially does not want to go in the ladies room - but there are times when I have to go myself and I am somewhere w/o a family restroom and I don't feel comfortable leaving him outside alone, that I "drag" him in with me. I have recently realized that some people don't agree w/ this - but I don't see how they can be offended by an embarrassed kid who is by no means "taking a peek" - he is too busy trying to act like he doesn't exist over the embarrassment himself! I have to take safety over embarrassment or offending someone - there are rare times when you "have to go," and I'm not leaving my boys in a busy place unattended. I think calling out to them while they wait at the doorway is a good idea if you are somewhere small enough that you can hear each other. If they have to go I have taught them to check and make sure the bathroom has no adult or teen men and if so to leave and come out - and they have learned this well! I also watch the door closely so I know who is coming in and out and also try to make sure they see me watching them.
You are right in being careful and I think some people just look for things to get offended about - and I'm aware that my older son is getting too old to get away with this much longer - but safety first! I'll feel more comfortable once they are 10 or so and a little more capable of fending for themselves, I agree they need to be self sufficient as possible but there are tons of predators ou there so people have to realize that and I'll tell them so if anyone ever gives me a problem about it. Good luck!
A.S. answers from Houston on May 18, 2008
Hi. To answer your question, I don't have a particular age in mind for my boys. Right now they are ages 7 and 5, and believe it or not, the issue doesn't arise that much. For me, it depends more on where we are. If the restroom is small (ie, at a grocery store or fast food restaurant), I let him/them go in the men's room after they check that it is empty. If we are in a large, busy place (movie theater, etc), or we are traveling and my husband is not with us, they must stay with me in the ladies. 95% of the time it seems like a family restroom is available. Hope that helps!
A.R. answers from Houston on May 18, 2008
I love the Family Restroom. I also tell my boys if they don't want to go in the Ladies room with me they need to make sure to use the bathroom before we leave the house. I will let them use a single stall by themselves. If we are in a place that is a very public bathroom, we wait for it to empty out then they go quickly and I stand guard by the door. Most men will wait a minute if you ask them to. I never let them use bathrooms in parks, the library, kids zones etc. Only if Dad is with them.
Hope this helps... Good for you for being a MOTHER BEAR!
D.T. answers from Houston on May 18, 2008
This is what happened to me when I sent my 6 yr old to the restroom and I waited at the door for him. I trusted him to go take care of his business and come out immediately. After five minutes and seeing men entering, then leaving. I was the one yelling in the restroom, "Are you OK?" and did not get a response. Finally a man said "Are you wanting the little boy to come out who is in there playing with the towel machine?" I said, "What! Yes could you please bring him to me?" I was worried about what have I subjected him to. So really think about what is a good age. Mine continued to go to the restroom with me until he was almost 8 yrs old. I always reminded him of what he put me through when he begged to go to the mens room. Also, in and around Houston Never Let Them out of your site. We always made a line outside of a stall door and took turns, but never (like Bobby's Mom) outside of the restroom. Don't worry about what others may think, just think Safe. DT
E.E. answers from Houston on May 21, 2008
Hi K. B. I also have a six year old son and this question has crossed my mind also. I still take my son into the restroom with me. If we both have to go, he comes in with me into the ladies restroom with me. If he only has to go, I still take him into the ladies restroom. Even if I have to go and he dosn't, I still take him into the ladies restroom with me. I surely dont trust sending him into the mens restroom alone. I have heard too many horrible stories! Maybe by the time my son is 8, I will trust sending him into the mens restroom alone, and then I will still be standing right by the door.
C.M. answers from Houston on May 18, 2008
My son is 5 he will be 6 in July. Sometimes I let him go by himself. I would think it would depend on the childs maturity and place. I always scoop out who walks in or out of the restroom. I would take him with you untill he is so depentant that he does not want to go with you. This world is crazy. I would also inform him of the rules and what is right or wrong.