We are definitely at a crossroads. My son is starting to enjoy more independence, and so am I. He can do most things on his own. And lately, he’s been asking if he can go into the men’s room by himself when we’re out in public. He’s 7, which is too old to go in the ladies room with me! But he’s still young enough to not be totally safe in a men’s room by himself. So every time we go into a public restroom, I’m faced with a choice.
I’ve started to let him go in the men’s room, on his own, if we are in a super safe place, and it has one stall, no back exit, and he is in my eyeline the whole time. But sometimes, (like in a crowded mall or airport) I take him into the ladies’ room, where he’s starting to get uncomfortable, especially because three kids and a mom in even the biggest stall is uncomfortable! If there’s a family bathroom, I’m all over that of course, but sometimes that’s not an option.
Additionally, at home we practice privacy, and I don’t enter the bathroom unless he asks for help, and he gives me privacy as well. So for him to go into a public restroom stall is a bit weird at this stage.
So, I’m starting to give him a little more freedom, if I feel safe to do so.
Bottom line: Your child’s safety is more important than an adult’s comfort, so if there’s no option, take your child into the bathroom where you can make sure they’re safe!