S/O 5 year old boy into men's room alone?

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by Gabe+2more, May 5, 2009.

  1. Gabe+2more

    Gabe+2more Well-Known Member

    I haven't been around in a while, but I'm back now!!

    I was just reading Snitten's post about leaving your child with strangers and it made me wonder what you guys would think about allowing a 5 year old boy to go to the bathroom alone in Wal-Mart or similar store.

    I try to tell myself that I'm being paranoid, but I would rather Gabe go into the women's room with me when he has to go.

    I have been in a situation where I had both girls with me and a basket full of groceries when he's said he had to go. I finally relented and allowed him to go into the men's room alone, but I was almost hyperventilating when he came back out because I was so nervous. He wasn't gone very long, and if he'd been gone any longer, I'd have gone in after him.


    What do you do??

    Thanks!
     
  2. HRE

    HRE Well-Known Member

    Only one time have I let Will go alone into the men's room...and I was on pins and needles the entire time. I always take all the boys in with me to go. And I will let the girls go (if they are together)...but only if I've opened the door and seen if anyone was in there first. Fortunately, most stores around here have "family restrooms"...they are just one big room with a toilet and we can all fit in there. And it is almost always open, I'm not sure most people know about them.
     
  3. rubyturquoise

    rubyturquoise Well-Known Member

    At 5 I would allow them alone in single-user restrooms. I think my younger son was probably about 5 for WM-type because I would send him and his brother (2.5 yrs older) in together. In my experience, boys are not enthusiastic about the ladies room once they figure out the difference. I did try to plan out outings to allow either single-user restrooms or short enough to get home before anyone needed to go again. I come from a "take a last pee" family. ;)

    I was much more leery of any restroom, such as in airports, with more than one entry/exit. I was glad when airports started putting in family restrooms.
     
  4. MrsBQ02

    MrsBQ02 Well-Known Member

    This is one of those topics that totally freaks me out when I think further down the line... I'll be interested to hear everyone's take on it. But I think if I am able, as time progresses, I'll be very anxious to find single user/family type bathrooms when we're out and about. Otherwise, I think the boys will be going with me for good while.... It does make me a little more confident that I have two boys and not one of each, so if all else fails, I'll make them go together. I think there's less of a chance for something to happen to them if they're not alone. But still.... definitely a topic that can give a mom nightmares!
     
  5. Lisa R

    Lisa R Well-Known Member

    Right now I take Aidan in with me if DH isn't with us.

    At 5, I may or may not let him go by himself depending on the circumstances. If we're in a WalMart, I would probably take him with me to the women's room unless it was a small bathroom with only one exit or it was a slow time and I felt comfortable that he wouldn't have any issues.
     
  6. Gabe+2more

    Gabe+2more Well-Known Member

    QUOTE
    But still.... definitely a topic that can give a mom nightmares


    Exactly! I do tend to look for the family rest rooms, but Wal-Mart (here anyway) doens't have them. I'm just so nervous sending him in alone. He's my baby and I don't think twice about taking him in with me if I don't have the girls and merchandise in the cart. He just thinks he's so big and wants to be independent.

    He has even asked to go to the bathroom by himself from across the store. That I absolutely said no to. I walked with him to the nearest bathroom and waited.
     
  7. twinmuffin

    twinmuffin Well-Known Member

    My son is 6.5 and I've never sent him alone to the Men's room. 2 nights ago we were at Arby's trying to get everyone settled, and he had to go. DH said, "He's probably old enough to go by himself since it's not very big here" and I agreed, but DH ended up going with him. I usually do the family restrooms, but if none is available I usually take him with me, although I see the end to that coming soon. I will probably be ok with it, because I will stand outside the door and wait for him... assuming there is only one entrance to the bathroom. Hmmm, maybe when he's 7.
     
  8. twin_trip_mommy

    twin_trip_mommy Well-Known Member

    Still at age 8 I will not allow my son to go into the bathroom alone. My girls are 10 and neither of them can go in alone. If one has to pee and for some reason I cannot go in (Like I am on line at Walmart) I send two or three in together and tell them none can come out until all can come out together. I only do this if I can see the door to the bathroom from my line. If I am not on line I will just leave my groceries or whatever else I am buying in the carriage and go in with them.
     
  9. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I've let Timothy do it a little, but he honestly has no desire to go to the boys room. I've sent him at the zoo when I could see the mens room was empty and the ladies room had a line way out the door. We have a ton of bathrooms around the zoo, but they each only have about 2 stalls and one entrance. I would feel comfortable during the day when we're at places like the zoo or museum, where it's mainly mom's and kids. At WalMart or McD's, he comes with me.

    Marissa
     
  10. Ellen Barr

    Ellen Barr Well-Known Member

    I usually make them come in the womens room with me. There have been occasions where if my boys go in together, I'll just hold the door open with my foot and talk to them while they are in there. I don't care if it bugs any men in there -- I can't see anything, but I want them to know I'm there for my kids. Now that my boys are almost 8, I'll let them go in a small restaurant, but am happier if they go together. If nothing else, to up the chances that ONE of them will remember to wash his hands and remind his brother.
     
  11. allgood2000

    allgood2000 Well-Known Member

    I am SO THANKFUL for my big group of boys! I seldom have just one with me, so when they go into a restroom, there's a bunch of them. Best case scenario is when my oldest son is with me (he's almost 11). I fell very comfortable allowing him to take younger brother's into the men's room. I will also let my almost 8 year old take a younger brother. I HATE sending any of them - regardless of age - into the mens room alone. However, both my older boys would seriously mutiny if I tried to take them in the women's! And, the women in there would be offended, as well - so it's a lose/lose situation. If I am out with just my younger boys (5 yo twins), I still make them come in the women's with me. Every once in a while, I will let them go together into the men's, but usually I insist they come with me. Again, if it were only one of them, I would have them pee on the tire of our car in the parking lot before I would let them go into the men's room alone.......
     
  12. Lisadgogo

    Lisadgogo Well-Known Member

    I still drag my three (8,8,6) into the ladies room with me. I do not feel safe any other way. I did have to explain what the "napkin" box was last time we were there - ekk..."extra toliet paper" was my response - lol
     
  13. jenn-

    jenn- Well-Known Member

    I only let the boys go into the boys bathroom at the gym where we do gymnastics. It is a center geared towards children so there is very rarely a grown man there (the male coaches have their own bathroom). The boys have not expressed interest in going in any other men's room alone. I think their fear of self flushing potties has to go before they can think of independent potty trips (mommy has to cover the sensor for them still :rolleyes: ).
     
  14. Gabe+2more

    Gabe+2more Well-Known Member

    QUOTE
    I'll just hold the door open with my foot and talk to them while they are in there. I don't care if it bugs any men in there -- I can't see anything, but I want them to know I'm there for my kids.


    Oh gosh, I've done this!!! I've only let Gabe go in alone twice now and the first time, I held the door open with my foot and my ear was pressed to the opening. I didn't do this the second time, but I wanted to.

    QUOTE
    I still drag my three (8,8,6) into the ladies room with me. I do not feel safe any other way. I did have to explain what the "napkin" box was last time we were there - ekk..."extra toliet paper" was my response - lol


    LOL...Gabe has a little info about this subject as he has busted in on me in the bathroom. He knows about "bleeds" as he calls them. Thankfully, he hasn't gone more in depth with his questions...yet!
     
  15. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Honestly, it depends where we are. For instance, at Citi Field last week, Jonathan knew there was no way he was going into the men's room, and didn't even question going into the women's room with me. But, at Friendly's, and other local restaurants, they go in either together or on their own. Marcus, actually, will only stay if the Men's room is empty anyway. We started around 5 1/2 letting them go into men's rooms that are small and contained. They are pretty good, and actually know where it is OK, and where they will either have to go with Daddy or go into the women's room.
     
  16. Ella

    Ella Well-Known Member

    I don't understand what you all are afraid of? Are you all seriously afraid that your kids are going to be molested in a public bathroom? I'm not a parent but it seems a little unlikely to me. I have to say I'm sick of women dragging their freakin' 10 year olds into the ladies room, it's weird.
     
  17. Becca34

    Becca34 Well-Known Member

    My DS is too little to worry about this yet, so I'm not sure at what age I'll be comfortable sending him into the men's room alone.

    I'm not yet comfortable sending Nadia into a public restroom alone, at age 5. And this poses a dilemma, because my DH often takes her places, while I stay home with K&K. He loves to take her to baseball games, but I really don't want her to walk into a men's bathroom and see a whole row of men peeing. Can you believe that at our nice, posh baseball stadium in Atlanta, there is ONE family bathroom? It's on a level where the expensive seats are, and we had to call ahead to ask about it. They claimed no one had inquired about it before. (Do no other dads take their young daughters to games?)

    It's also an issue at the pool where Nadia goes for swim lessons -- past age 5, boys and girls are not allowed in the opposite sex's bathrooms/locker rooms. DH often takes Nadia, and she still needs a bit of help to wring out her hair, take off the wet suit, get completely dry and dressed. (I'm working on getting her fully self-sufficient before she's 6, and finally figured out that a one-piece bathing suit that doesn't cross in the back is the easiest to get on and off. Right now she is wearing swim shorts and a tankini top, but the top is too hard for her to take off when it's wet.)

    I think family bathrooms are a great solution to all this. Our mall recently put in some nice new ones.

    Ella, I agree that it's a little uncomfortable having older boys in the women's bathroom -- but, it's a little nerve-wracking having your kids out of your sight for any period of time, especially when you don't know who is around. Even if a kid is unlikely to be kidnapped, molested, whatever -- sometimes it's better to err on the side of caution.
     
  18. jxnsmama

    jxnsmama Well-Known Member

    Yes, I let my boys go into the men's room alone at age 5. I stood right outside the door and waited for them. If they took longer than I expected, I called in and asked how they were doing.

    If I couldn't be right at the door, I sent their older brother in with them and told them to enter/exit at the same time.

    If I had to use the restroom at the same time, they had to come with me.

    They're almost 7 now, and we still do things this way, although if we're at a restaurant and seated near the restrooms, I let them go alone and I watch the door.
     
  19. Gabe+2more

    Gabe+2more Well-Known Member

    I understand not wanting older boys in the women's restroom, but y'all aren't in there peeing where everyone can see. ALL of the women's bathrooms I've been in have stalls. Men's rooms may have a couple of stalls, but most have a row of urinals where there really isn't any privacy.

    I've been molested, not by a stranger or someone in a public restroom, but I know the damage that was done and how it continues to affect me. I was 5 years old, the abuse didn't last long, but the memories are there as well as how it makes me feel.

    I know that I'm going to have to let go a little eventually, but I think for now I'll either keep him coming with me or stake out the men's room to make sure no one is in there and standing guard until he's done.
     
  20. Haley'sHope

    Haley'sHope Well-Known Member

    i started letting them go in men's restrooms around 5 1/2. they knew the difference because there were separate bathrooms at preschool & would throw a fit about going into the ladies room. i would stand right outside of the door until they came out & more than once when they had been gone too long yelled into the restroom to see if anyone was in there or asked a passing man to go in & check if anyone was in there then marched myself in to get my kids.

    trickier for me was going to the restroom myself where there were only family restrooms that consisted of 1 toilet & no stall. by 3 i felt i shouldn't go to the bathroom in front of them & my solution ended up being making them play "hide & seek" by facing the wall with their eyes covered & counting to 25. at 3 or 4 that took a really long time! in places with stalls i would have them go in the adjoining stall & lock themselves in until i was done, mostly because i worried they would wander out of the restroom if they didn't.
     
  21. jxnsmama

    jxnsmama Well-Known Member

    QUOTE
    rickier for me was going to the restroom myself where there were only family restrooms that consisted of 1 toilet & no stall.


    That happens to me a lot, too. I just tell them not to look so I can have privacy, and they're really good about it.
     
  22. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    QUOTE(Ella @ May 5 2009, 10:55 PM) [snapback]1302181[/snapback]
    I don't understand what you all are afraid of? Are you all seriously afraid that your kids are going to be molested in a public bathroom? I'm not a parent but it seems a little unlikely to me. I have to say I'm sick of women dragging their freakin' 10 year olds into the ladies room, it's weird.



    There is an element of being aware of what could happen in mostly keeping Timothy with me. There is also the element of noticing how many different ways that you can flush a toilet (handles, sensors, pushing a flat panel, pushing a button) that we've seen and knowing that he can't always figure them out. There is an element of knowing that in some bathrooms, the soap is ridiculously high and he can't reach it, and it's better if I can help. There is also knowing that Timothy freaks if something is unexpected, so if the paper towels were to run out, he would likely be in there by himself melting down. He also is still learning about picking a clean stall to use. Also, dh hasn't been out with him much in bathrooms and Timothy has always sat, so quite frankly I'm not sure that Timothy would know how to use a urinal. We're going on a roadtrip in a few days and I plan on having dh take him and hopefully get him more comfortable with the men's room. It's not all about stranger danger.

    Marissa
     
  23. Snittens

    Snittens Well-Known Member

    QUOTE(Haley @ May 6 2009, 11:37 AM) [snapback]1302886[/snapback]
    i started letting them go in men's restrooms around 5 1/2. they knew the difference because there were separate bathrooms at preschool & would throw a fit about going into the ladies room. i would stand right outside of the door until they came out & more than once when they had been gone too long yelled into the restroom to see if anyone was in there or asked a passing man to go in & check if anyone was in there then marched myself in to get my kids.

    trickier for me was going to the restroom myself where there were only family restrooms that consisted of 1 toilet & no stall. by 3 i felt i shouldn't go to the bathroom in front of them & my solution ended up being making them play "hide & seek" by facing the wall with their eyes covered & counting to 25. at 3 or 4 that took a really long time! in places with stalls i would have them go in the adjoining stall & lock themselves in until i was done, mostly because i worried they would wander out of the restroom if they didn't.

    I guess you have a totally different perspective, I actually prefer the family restrooms so I can bring the whole brood in, plus the stroller. In regular restrooms, I try to get the handicap stall so we'll all fit. I would prefer to go to the bathroom in private, but I don't care if they see me. What's to see anyway, I'm sitting down. :unsure:
    I do think the girls going out with Daddy is more of an issue. It's more acceptable for a little boy to be in the ladies' room than a girl in the mens' room. Fortunately, a lot of places have the family restrooms. We do still keep a little potty in the car if worst came to worst. I'll have to ask DH how he handles it when he's out alone with the girls.
    I'm not sure when I'll let Caleb go to the restroom by himself. It will probably depend on when/where, what the situation is, etc. It will be nice whenever I can stop bringing the whole family in the restroom just because one of us has to go. I did stand in front of the family restroom and let one go because I had Caleb sitting in the shopping cart, and I didn't want to hold a squirmy baby in the restroom.

    ETA - Wanted to second what Marissa said. It's not all stranger danger, at least for me. It is also just being able to use the restroom. The soap is often too high, they don't know how to turn the sink on, etc.
     
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