A mother revealed that she does not allow her 7-year-old son to use a men’s washroom anywhere because she thinks it’s risky.
Taking to the British parenting site, Mumsnet, the mother sparked a debate among users by sharing her story.
“I’m sure this has been discussed before. When we’re out, and my boy needs the toilet, I make him come into the Ladies with me,” she wrote on Mumsnet’s AM I Being Unreasonable platform.
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“Problem is,” she continued. “He’s starting to complain about it and wants to go in the Gents on his own. I have let him do this in one particular place where there’s never anyone about, so I knew he wouldn’t encounter anyone at the urinals.”
The mom added that she only lets him use the men’s restroom in one particular place where she knows nobody suspicious lurks around. However, she always makes him use the ladies’ restroom in most public places like swimming pools and gyms.
“I’m always honest with him, but I don’t quite know how to explain why I’m not letting him do this anywhere else, like at the swimming pool/gym toilets,” she penned.
She said her son knows about personal space and consent as she taught him everything, but she still worries for his safety and avoids taking risks because she fears someone dodgy might approach him in public toilets.
“He knows about the Pants rules and personal space and consent, but I don’t exactly want to spell out what I’m worried about. What do you tell your kids?” she asked.
“He has just turned 7. Obviously, he’s perfectly able to use a toilet himself, but the idea of him seeing grown men using urinals, or – even if it’s a small chance – someone dodgy approaching him, worries me. We all know there are flashers and worse about, I saw them when I was a kid and so did most women I know.”
“At some point, he just won’t agree to go in the ladies, hopefully by then he’ll be ready to handle any bad situations,” she concluded.
The comment section was filled with many comments where some people empathized with the woman and said she was worried for the right reasons. However, several people called her paranoid and over-protective for not letting his son use the men’s toilet.
“You’re going to have to get comfortable with it sooner than later. He won’t be able to go into the ladies for that much longer,” one wrote.
“My son went to the gents as by that age, I did not think it was fair on other people using the ladies, another added. “Sure, if there was genuine need/disability or whatever.”
“I tell them they can go in the toilets based on the sex of the parent or adult they are with until they are either uncomfortable with that idea OR around 6-8 years old. I’d be starting them off with easier-to-navigate places at the younger end and ready for them to go into all loos and changing rooms alone/ with only adults of the same sex by their 8th birthday at the latest.”
“So I’d be sending them to the gents if out with you same as if out with a male adult,” a third commented.
“Let him go to the gents and you stand outside. Tell him to scream if somebody stops him from leaving. Otherwise, continue with your stranger danger teachings. He’s got to learn to go by himself at some point,” someone suggested.
“I understand that you’re worried, but why worry at the thought of him seeing grown men using urinals? That seems odd,” said someone else.