When is it too old for the Men’s Locker Room???

Noteworthy Wednesday!

via: Flickr: Heather Poole

I went swimming at the Y.M.C.A. Later, in the men’s locker room, a father walked in with his daughter. Occasionally, this happens with babies or toddlers, but the girl was 7 or 8. He put her in a shower stall while he showered, and left her there while he shaved and flossed. Then he brought her to the lockers, where they changed. I was appalled. What do you make of this?

via Too Old for the Men’s Locker Room – Social Q’s – NYTimes.com.

This question appeared in the Sunday NYTimes and it truly raised questions for me.

I have often thought about this dilemma especially when I see kids out for the day with their dads.

Interestingly, I don’t always think about this when I see kids with their moms!

But  back to dad and the “Y” locker room. This scene raises concerns for me…granted, I have not visited a men’s locker room but the women’s locker room is certainly an experience. Some women walk around naked, others cover-up as best they can…they usually do not spend any unnecessary time in the locker room…shower, change, pack up and leave. When young children are with their moms, from my observations, they get changed and leave in fairly short order most of the time.

For me, it seems this dad took entirely too much time while his daughter was hanging out in the men’s locker room.

My own “yuk” feeling is coming to the surface here. Exposing children to other naked adults, personally, makes me uncomfortable. I would have to think of another way of doing my toilette if I were in a similar situation.

  • What do you do when your opposite-sex child has to use a public restroom?
  • At what age should children be allowed to use the public restroom by themselves?
  • What public restrooms would make you think twice about letting your child use it without accompaniment?
  • More importantly…what do you teach them ahead of time to “protect” them.?
  • Do you teach your boys the same as you teach your girls?
  • Is this more of a “Dad Dilemma” than a “Mom Moment”?

Like I said, I used the “YUK” feeling factor to help me in these situations.

My feeling is by 7 or 8 years of age many kids have been in some type of locker room situation at school but “Y” locker rooms of the opposite sex seem to be an altogether different story.

It would be interesting to hear other responses to this issue and how parents deal with this common life situation.

7 thoughts on “When is it too old for the Men’s Locker Room???

  1. I would not be comfortable with a mom bringing her boy into a locker room where I am. I have girls and I don’t think they would be unhappy with it too. On the other hand when I was little I did go with male relatives into the mens which seemed ok at the time but the other men may have objected

    • You bring up a good point…locker rooms can be a sensitive area…I think that after age three we should think seriously about bringing children into locker rooms of the opposite sex. The kids may be uncomfortable as well…good point. Thanks for reading and commenting..

      • Some of the family rooms don’t accompdate an adult changing. But they are fine if it’s just the kids. I went with my dad till about I was almost 9, but we did it alot more discreetly than the dad you mentioned. I was short and he obscured my identity with a huge beach towel, so i think usually they didn’t notice me and could continue changing or showering in peace.

        • Thanks for your comment….interesting the way your father handled the locker room dilemma of parent with a child of the opposite sex. I did not realize that family locker rooms may not allow the parents to change there…it kind of makes sense now that I think about it. So the dilemma continues…Hope that you keep reading.

  2. I take my daughter in the boys lockerroom,she undresses and showers there.She is 9 and is handicap.Yes, there are boys in there and other dads.I never have a problem,there is no other places else to take her and i have permission from the staff.

    One time we were in there and i just helped get her clothes off and a boy around 10 was in there with his dad and was embarrassed that she was in there,the dad was telling him to get undressed but he refused.My daughter walked over to him and said hi to the dad and his son,and she ask the dad if she could help,and he said it was okay.My daughter did not have anything on at the time,and she sat down next to the boy and told him that it was ok to get undressed and not to ashamed of his body and as long as he did not try to touch other girls or stare that everything will be ok. Well after that the boy got undressed and showered with her and eveything was ok then.

    As for taking her in the mens bathroom she looks down at the floor.

    • As I said I think that this is a sensitive area and situation…you seem to have made a choice that works for you and your daughter who also seems to be sensitive to the locker-room situation that she faces.
      I had a very good friend who raised his daughter alone and he faced this situation all the time….it is a dilemma. The important thing is that we as parents try to handle it appropriately and do not make our children feel awkward and uncomfortable. It sounds like we also need to consider other children’s feelings as well…your daughter seems to have done that quite well on her own.
      Perhaps it is something that health clubs could respond to with “family locker” rooms, making it more comfortable for all concerned.
      Thanks for your comments and sharing your personal experience. Thanks for reading.

  3. I’ve never been in a locker room situation like that but I take my girl, 3, into the restroom with me when we’re out and there’s no family room to be found. No one has ever looked at us weird and any guys that are in there have always been very respectful of the situation. One finishing up once offered to tell any other men coming in that we were in there.

    I did tell her on the ride home once that unlike girls men stand up to pee because it’s easier that way for them and that seemed to satisfy her little girl curiousity.

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