Boys, Independence, and Public Restrooms

Mothers of boys have a common concern that bonds them together. It isn't sports injuries, dating, or peer pressure. It's when to let them use the men's room in public places. When should moms stop taking their sons into the ladies' room? Parent Soup recently asked members this question. Of the 349 total votes, 42.40 percent said older than six. Another 22.34 percent said five, 19.19 percent said six, 10.60 percent said four, and 5.44 percent said three or under.

What are some of the main fears? Read on:

• "Unfortunately, most molesters are men, so sending a boy to the men's room alone is actually much more dangerous than if a dad sends his daughter to the ladies' room alone. Too bad we have to worry about these things." --people5

• "I feel that a young boy should not go into a public restroom by himself until he is at least eight years old. There have been incidents in the past where young boys were molested in the bathroom by men, and I for one do not want to take that risk with my sons. And since the stalls in the women's room have doors, then my boys are not being exposed to anyone else using the bathroom." --heatherlaurel

• "A large mall near us has designated family bathrooms. It's a great idea for families -- dads out with daughters, too. More places should make them available." --valday99

• "The problem (for me, as a father) is not so much the fear of molesters, but the bathrooms are not built for small children. My five-year-old sometimes needs help getting off the toilet. What if she were alone and slipped? My seven-year-old can only now reach most faucet handles to wash her hands."


• "Definitely older than six. My oldest is eight (almost nine) and I still make him go into the ladies' room." --Dao663

At some point, every parent will be faced with the decision of whether or not to let their child use the public restroom by themselves. Most parents agree, that time shouldn't come until the child is older than six. Even then, a lot of fear will go with that little boy (or girl) into the bathroom as they finally venture in alone.

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