What is the right age?

I love controversial comments/topics that bring up debates and discussions. The great thing about living in this wonderful country I call home is that we are all entitled to our opinions. I may not agree with your opinion but I love that we disagree and we can still be friends ūüôā

Recently a comment that I read on Facebook stirred up quite the debate and surprisingly really got me all riled up. This issue at hand was not even something that I had ever questioned before but in reading the comment and some of the replies my blood began to boil.

The comment was in regards to mothers bringing their sons into women’s bathrooms. The basic message being¬†sent was that¬†Mothers should not¬†bring their sons into women’s bathrooms after a certain age. Now I agree to a certain extent, in that there is an age where a boy becomes too old for this however what is that magical age? The commenter mentioned after age 4 a mother should “let go” and let their child go into a public washroom on their own.

Now I say reaaaaaalllyyyyy???? 4????? That to me seems awfully young for me to send Mr. T. alone into a public washroom where I can’t see him and don’t know who else is in there.

I regularly¬†bring Mr. T. into the women’s washroom with me.¬†In fact¬†I did it this afternoon in a¬†Walmart, walking by at least 2 women who smiled at him and myself as we walked¬†by. Didn’t seem like they had an issue with it.¬†To be perfectly honest, given the fact that Mr. T is not yet 4, ¬†it has never crossed my mind to send him into a public men’s washroom alone.¬†To further add to my honesty, ¬†I think it will be a long while before I send him into a public washroom alone.

Now I never really thought this would ever be an issue. I did not realize that some women may be uncomfortable with my 3.5 year old son sharing their bathroom. The poster mentioned being “leered” at by young boys. This puzzled me, because I wondered firstly, what kind of bathroom it is where you all pee openly to enable the child to leer at you in a way that would make you uncomfortable. Secondly, why would a young child staring out of curiosity¬†ever be more than just a passing moment of awkwardness. If I caught a 4 year old¬†staring at me I’m pretty sure I would know that it was curiosity¬†and nothing more. Furthermore if you are uncomfortable with the possibility¬†of ¬†my 4 year old¬†sexualizing you, then you must not think much of men so why on earth should I then send him into a bathroom full of these men, alone???

The truth of the matter is that the majority of child predators are male. Do I really want to send my three year old into a public bathroom with only men where I can’t see him? What would Mr. T. do if he was approached by a predator in a public bathroom. Why would I ever put him in that kind of situation, where at his age he is obviously not equipped to handle? I think there have been enough cases of child predators lurking in these types of places for us, as parents, to be a little cautious.

The other truth, regardless of what you want to believe, is that there are bad people out there. I have a family member who works in the crimes against children department and the one lesson he has brought to me is that you can never be too safe. We, as the general, public have no idea what really goes on out there. There are people who will wait in a public bathroom just because he knows there are mothers who will send their 4 year old in there alone. There are people who will do the unimaginable to children and it happens more often than we think.¬†¬†So if I am “too safe” oh well. There are just certain risks I am not willing to take.

Plus, is this really such a big deal??? He is walking into a bathroom, into a closed in stall, using the washroom, washing his hands and leaving. Is there really anything he will see that will harm either him or a woman who is using the washroom?

Now I¬† wonder, what is the right age for me to start sending Mr. T. alone into the men’s washroom? I’m not 100% sure at this point. I know it’s not now. Probably not within the next year either. After that, not sure if I can really say at this point. I will say that I won’t send him into a men’s washroom alone if I don’t feel he is safe. I will also not be sending him into a situation that neither of us are ready for, for fear of offending someone. It will not be you who will be left to deal with the fallout if heaven forbid something happen to my son.

Any thoughts? What age did you send your child into a public bathroom alone? Do you treat your son differently than your daughter? I’m really very curious as I had not given it much thought.

I think what got my blood boiling is yet another instance where Mother’s are being judged for their parenting decisions. I really don’t owe any explanation as to why I am not comfortable sending Mr. T. (who I will say hasn’t even started school yet) into a public bathroom alone. I’m just not so I won’t. Why is it that as a society we feel like we have the right to judge another’s¬†parenting decisions??? Perhaps it makes us feel like the better parents for pointing out what we feel is a wrong parenting decision. The fact of the matter is you may do things that I don’t agree with, but I know in my heart that the decisions you make for your child is made with his/her best interest at heart. Please know that I am doing the same. So the next time you see a frazzled mother dragging her son into a women’s washroom, know it is not in fact so that her young boy can ogle you, it’s just cause he has to pee!


2 thoughts on “What is the right age?

  1. I agree with you Natalie. My almost 6 year old foster son comes in the bathroom with me. It’s not even an option at this point. There are some things to keep in mind when making the decision besides age. The big one for me is maturity/ability to handle himself. My son is not ready for that and I won’t apologize for it regardless of how big he seems to others. When they start to get older I say use the buddy system. There’s safety in numbers but again you have to consider the maturity of the “buddies” you’re sending in there. I say start by sending the boys into the men’s bathrooms with their dads first and let the dads start educating them on how to be safe. If all those options aren’t possible then I have no problem taking him with me even if he is eight. Let the ladies complain if they want. I want my boy safe……

    • Susan, I agree with you 100%. I think it’s going to be a long time yet before I let Mr. T. go into a bathroom by himself. The more that I have thought about it the more I realize how he is not ready at all. He can’t even reach the taps to turn them on in most bathrooms so I’m not sure how it would even logisticaly be possible, putting aside the safety concerns. Regardless the safety of my children is my top concern and I think it will be a few more years before I think my children are safe enough to head in to a bathroom by themselves. Their safety is more important to me than making others comfortable.

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