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I might sound like a controlling parent, but who on earth would let their 6-year-old boy go to a place without been supervised by a trusted person? When I saw a sign from a Texas Mall saying boys 6 years and older could not go in the women's restroom, I was definitely outraged.
As parents, we are constantly thrown advice and feedback about our methods. We deal with those who approve and those who dislike what we do. But who has the right to say when is OK for me to leave my children unsupervised? There are many things wrong with this sign, and it scares me to think the consequences of spreading such messages. Letting a 6-year-old go into a public restroom by himself sends the idea that is OK for parents to leave their small children alone for short periods of time.
Does this mean if I go to the post office I can leave my kid alone in the car? I'm sure the police and social services would differ, and that is because is not OK!
Kids at that age are still developing their protective instincts and understanding of their surroundings. They still don't fully understand that engaging with a stranger can bring awful consequences to their safety, or that jumping on top of a sink to grab the soap could lead to a serious fall.
Another thing is hygiene: yes, we teach our kids to wash their hands properly. But how can be sure that the facility is in proper condition if we don't inspect it first? How can we know for sure the stalls are clean or the floor is not dirty if we don't see it for ourselves?
What about when you have to deal with not only a 6-year-old, but another minor? Maybe a baby who needs a diaper change or a little girl who also needs to use the restroom? What do we do then? Leave the 6-year-old boy outside by himself? The logistics do no match the actual needs.
Some people might argue that little boys are curious, and some even look around at the women. But isn't that a normal thing for developing kids to be curious about, the human body? Whoever puts a sexual connotation to a small boy going under a bathroom door seriously needs a mental check.
There was a time when my husband had to go into the women's bathroom to change our infant daughter, because the men's restroom did not have a changing table, and the sink was too dirty to place her on top of. These are the kind of things that parents have to struggle with in public places. These are things that should be taken into consideration by companies when building spaces like malls, airports and even restaurants.