men's room symbol/sign
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
March 17, 2024 ·  4 min read

Mother Gets Mixed Reaction Over Not Allowing Her 7-Year-Old Son To Go To Men’s Toilet By Himself

An anonymous parent turned to a parenting platform to gain some perspective regarding her decision not to let her son use the men’s room on his own. She disclosed that he’s 7 but she still worries about his safety. The concerned mom got several responses, including many that she likely hadn’t expected.

Men’s Room Debate

A concerned mom, shared that she never lets her 7-year-old son use the men’s room for fear that something bad might happen to him. “When we’re out and my boy needs the toilet, I make him come into the ladies’ with me,” she explained. She also shared that he’s started to complain about it, which made her start to question that decision. She wondered if, perhaps, he is old enough to start using the men’s room.

Loving Mom Prohibits Men’s Room

Like most moms, she’s protective of her baby. As a result, it’s understandable that she might always have some concerns when it comes to keeping him safe. In fact, some common concerns include sexual assault or abduction. Both of which are awful for anyone to go through, no matter their age. Therefore, it’s not unusual for a mom to want to keep her kids with her when out in public. Even if that means they can’t use the men’s room and instead have to find the ladies’ room.

Supportive Perspectives

However, most people sided with the little boy but offered some options to help the nervous mom feel most at ease. “Let him go to the men’s room 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.” And another said, “3 boys here. I always told them to use a cubicle, like most of my friends who had boys also did.”

One wise parent disclosed, “Bananas. My boy went in the men’s room from being 5/6. Strong willed little git wouldn’t have settled for anything less. I stood outside glaring at anyone I didn’t like the look of, I timed him. Then, I called out his name or even sent in random men to get him out and would have gone in myself of course if he had been longer than a few minutes. But it was my problem, not his. I’m not creating a fear for him when none existed.”

Siding with the Son

Other commenters considered the perspective of other people when in a social setting. For example, “My son went to the men’s room as by that age I did not think it was fair on other people using the ladies.” She also acknowledged that this may not be avoidable in special cases. “Sure, if there was genuine need/disability or whatever.” She added.

Another user pointed out the inevitable, “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.” Some users gave insight while sympathizing with the anonymous mom as she faces her fears about her son using the men’s room.

“I think 8 is probably the oldest I’d let mine in the Ladies. But I do remember how scary it was to start letting him!”

Some more comical but perhaps less supportive responses included, “At what point will you allow him to go to the gents? A special outing on his 18th birthday?”

Validating the Concerned Mom

Meanwhile, a few parents were on board with the concerned mom’s perspective. “I won’t be sending my sons into a public toilet alone when they are 8. If I had a daughter, I don’t think I’d want her going in the ladies alone either. It’s too young to be in a place with strangers and lockable cubicles.” Another disclosed, “I share your concerns and when my girls were younger, they were always sent to the toilet in pairs. I worked for 10 years as a social worker and it is not hysteria, it is minimizing risk.”

Safety Goes Beyond the Men’s Room

The most important aspect of keeping children safe, happy, and feeling secure is to have an open line of communication. Address safety concerns, including those involving the women’s or men’s room. Ensure they (your children) know they can always come to you with anything. Additionally, getting them into the habit of noting all exits or escapes routes can help keep them safe, from sexual or other forms of assault. Other ideas may include, writing your phone number on their arm so they (or other safe adults) have access to contact you. Furthermore, ensure children know how to spot employees verse civilians, so they know exactly who to ask for help.

A famous American cartoonist, Charles Addams once said, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” Meaning that we all have differing needs. Therefore, “what’s best” differs from person to person. However, most parents would disclose all they really want, is the very best for their kids. Sometimes, this may include turning to an outside influence to gain perspective and although no one likes to be told what to do, keeping an open mind can help both parents and children become more well-rounded individuals. Furthermore, open communication is a must in households to ensure safety and that everyone is on the same page, especially in vulnerable situations like using the women’s or men’s room.

Keep Reading: Should dads take their daughters into the women’s bathroom?


  1. Mother Gets Mixed Reaction Over Not Allowing Her 7-Year-Old Son To Go To Men’s Toilet By Himself.Apost. March 31, 2023.
  2. AIBU not to explain why a 7yr old can’t go in the gents? Mumsnet (2023)
  3. Charles Addams. Goodreads.
  4. Keeping Children Safe. CDC
  5. 6 tips for keeping kids safe in crowded places. TODAY. Allison Slater Tate. June 28, 2016.