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A Mom Says She Refuses To Let Her 7-Year-Old Use The Men's Bathroom Alone & People Think She's Paranoid

Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels
Mom and son on a couch

Surely we’ve all been accompanied by a parent in a public bathroom at one point or another — maybe when we were four or five years old. 

But, at what age does accompanying a parent in an opposite-sex bathroom become too strange? Seven years old? Maybe, eight? 

Written on the parent’s advice website Mumsnet, this mom finds herself deep in criticism after expressing her fears for her son in public bathrooms. 

While her motivation to keep him with her is fueled by a fear of strangers, comments are bewildered that she continues to refuse him the men’s room after he expressed his discomfort with joining his mom. 

With viewers able to vote on whether the mom is being unreasonable or not, she finds herself swamped with over 500 replies that clearly don’t support her parenting style in regard to the bathroom. 

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This fear-stricken mom refuses to allow her 7-year-old son to go into the public men’s bathroom alone. 

“When we’re out and my 7-year-old needs to use the toilet, I make him come to the ladies with me…Am I being unreasonable?” 

In a post from January 25th, this mom seeks advice for her situation with public bathrooms and whether or not she’s being unreasonable for avoiding the conversation with her son. 

Frequenting the gym, swimming pool, and grocery store with her 7-year-old son, she finds it difficult to navigate when her son tells her he has to use the bathroom. 

Typically, as she lays out in her post, she refuses to let him in the men’s room alone — so, instead, she writes about her solution. 

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When her son has to use the bathroom in public, she brings him into the ladies' bathroom with her. 

Terrified by the idea of her son using the bathroom amidst other male strangers, she instead accompanies him to the ladies' room. 

Wary about potentially vulnerable situations, comments grasp at this mom’s reasoning — wondering why exactly she believes the bathroom should be her son’s biggest fear.

“I have let him do this [use the men’s bathroom] in one particular place where there’s never anyone about, so I knew he wouldn’t encounter anyone at the urinals.” 

“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,” she responds. 

“Let him go to the gents,” one commenter says, “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.” 

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Growing into an older child, her son expressed discomfort with joining his mom in the ladies' bathroom. 

Although this mom feels some peace of mind from accompanying her son to the bathroom, he seems to be upset by his lack of independence. 

“Problem is,” she writes, “he’s starting to complain about it and want to go in the gents on his own.” 

Comments seem to wonder if this mom is so worried because she’s too uncomfortable to have an honest conversation about these dangers with her son. 

“Talk to him about how to handle different situations. Be honest with them about your worries and give them the tools to handle any bad situations. It’ll be helpful for them to have for much more than just the restrooms,” one comment advises. 

Parents in the comments think she’s being unreasonable — she needs healthier communication with her son. 

In a sea of confusion and distaste, many comments stray away from advice and go straight to commenting on this mother’s parenting style. 

“Have I missed something? Are you being serious or joking?” one writes. 

“I think he is more capable of using the toilet on his own…He goes to school and uses the toilet when you aren’t anywhere in the vicinity right? Just saying…” another comment points out. 

Others take a different approach, wondering if this mom is focusing too heavily on the wrong perspective — “Should a 7-year-old girl go into a gents’ toilet?” one asks. 

While an important debate about vulnerable situations is critical, comments seem to believe this mom’s perspective is unreasonable at large. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer who focuses on pop culture analysis and human interest stories. Catch up with them on Instagram or TikTok.