Author Topic: Not sure if I handled this well.  (Read 4356 times)

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Nemesis

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Not sure if I handled this well.
« on: June 10, 2014, 12:54:47 AM »
Last weekend, I took my girls swimming. After swimming, I had my four year old girl stripped down in the ladies locker room so that I don't have to worry about forgetting her swimwear in the shower. Both my hands were full of her things: dry towel, toiletries, clothes. She was carrying a wet towel (from the pool), but chose not to wrap it around her body because she kept tripping.

The female locker room has a sign on the door that says "Boys over the age of five are strictly prohibited from entering". Just as we were on our way to the shower area, a lady with three kids (presumably her children) entered. One was a girl about 6-7 years old. The other two were boys. The younger boy was still at toddler age. But the third child was a boy who was obviously the eldest child. He was about 10-11 years old. He was standing at the door of the locker (so we cannot walk past him without attracting his attention), and my daughter was completely in the nude. The lady was busy drying her toddler and dressing him while the other two older kids were just standing next to the door, obviously waiting for her.

I took a deep breath and stood there for a moment, wondering if I should say something. I am normally a non-confrontational person, but somehow that was the day that I thought I should say something. So I steeled myself and asked "Excuse me, are those your kids?"

She said "Yes, they are". I said "Your son is too old to be here".

She sighed and said "I know........".

I cut her off before she could continue because (1) the confrontation was making me so uncomfortable that I needed to stop here, (2) my daughter was nude and (3) she was getting cold. I just said "My daughter has a right to her shower without boys being in here". And then I stood between the boy and the door (to block him from view) and ushered my daughter to the showers.

The incident still bothers me. What I did was truly uncharacteristic of me because I have no backbone when it comes to confronting a stranger. I am still wondering if I should have just shut up, put down my things, wrapped the towel around my daughter and left quietly for the showers. Instead, I froze for a couple of minutes, and then confronted her. I even forgot to wrap the towel around my daughter because I was so unnerved by the whole thing. Looking back, I feel that I handled this wrongly.

Any comments and suggestions for my future reference?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 12:57:04 AM by Nemesis »

purple

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2014, 12:58:55 AM »
IMO, the only thing you did wrong was not go quite far enough!  I think you'd have been well within your rights to insist that she removed the older boy from the room immediately!


Ceallach

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 01:03:22 AM »
It's not necessary for a child that age to stand and wait *inside* the changing room.   I could understand if she feels uncomfortable sending him into a men's room alone, but waiting just outside the door, in public view is perfectly ok.    So yes, she was in the wrong, and nothing you said was inappropriate.   

She was probably frazzled trying to get the toddler dried and dressed and organised, but that really is no excuse - it's not hard for her to say "Billy, wait outside while I dress Bobbie".   And that's what she should have done, before actually entering the room in the first place!   Her lack of foresight and consideration for others put you in an awkward position of having to have a (mild) confrontation, and even then she didn't address the situation.   
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cicero

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2014, 02:38:31 AM »
you handled this perfectly.

you were matter of fact about it, without getting angry/yelling etc , without making your daughter feel uncomfortable. you asked if these were her kids and when she confirmed that they were you stated that he is too old to be there. which he is. and you stated that your dd has the right to shower in privacy. which she does.

Her being frazzled, her not being able to handle the situation, her having problems  - these are all very understandable reasons for her son being there, but they are not *your* problem. I would mention this to the receptionist people - perhaps there is a family area or some other place where children who are too old to be in the dressing room but not old enough to be left alone can wait.

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TootsNYC

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2014, 11:48:59 AM »
The whole "what do you do w/ a 10yo boy" is a major, major problem in a situation like this. I wouldn't have been comfortable sending my child alone into the huge swimming-pool locker room at the pool/beach we went to once, and honestly I'd have gotten arrested if I'd left him unattended outside while I went in.

But I personally wouldn't have worried about a 4yo girl being seen by a 10yo boy.

However, you objected, and I think you handled it well.

But I feel for her--what's she supposed to do?

In fact, when *I*, a grownup, ended up being nude in front of a 10-or-so-year-old boy at that pool/beach, I felt for the mom. It wasn't fun, but it didn't damage me. Maybe it damaged him, but that's his mom's problem.

However, there isn't any facility for a kid like that at many of the pools I've been to.

Susiqzer

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2014, 12:35:40 PM »
I think you handled this very well, OP!

The ladies locker room at our YMCA has the same sign, and I still occasionally run into older boys in there. I also say something, because it's uncomfortable for ME to be changing in front of an older boy... and really, he didn't sign up for an anatomy class along with his swim lesson! My DD is also at an age where she's starting to feel uncomfortable, which gave me the courage to speak up.

I actually switched YMCAs after the last one didn't enforce the rule, and I was tired of getting dirty looks from the mothers as I changed in the locker room.

Both facilities have family locker rooms, which is the appropriate choice for parents with older opposite-gender kids.

Tierrainney

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 12:40:30 PM »
If there is not a family changing room or a safe place to stand outside the locker room, an older boy should be told to stand facing the wall. That way at least he has less change of seeing others in the locker room

I only have girls, so it hasn't been a problem for me and the local pool has a family changing room with separate stalls, so not a local problem for my husband, either.

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Tea Drinker

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2014, 12:54:01 PM »
Yes, you handled it okay. If the pool doesn't have either a family changing room or a place where he can wait for her to come out, then the other family is the one that should be looking for a different pool that does have those facilities.
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rose red

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2014, 01:08:27 PM »
I don't have any children, but I remember being 10-11 and being left by myself often. Have times changed that much? Even for overprotective parents, is there a problem with telling him to sit close to an employee or lifeguard and not to move from that spot? There's no reason for a child that age to be inside a woman's locker room.

Aquamarine

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2014, 01:13:29 PM »
I would have told the boy to leave and it would not have been a request, but rather a demand, he simply does not belong there anymore than a 10 year old girl belongs in the men's changing room.  If the mother doesn't like it, that's really not my problem.  I don't really view this so much as an etiquette issue as one of violating all social norms (and posted rules!) for one's own convenience; to me it's much more egregious what this woman did than just bad manners.  If the mothers is unable to handle her children appropriately by herself then she needs to either get help or stay out of the changing room.  What she doesn't get to do is make her problem into a problem for everyone else.

I think someone in her position is justified in making the staff tell her how to handle this situation.  It's their facility and their problem to deal with situations such as this, not mine to accommodate.  Perhaps she could have used someone's office.  It's OK to inconvenience the facility, after all they are the ones responsible for the changing rooms and make the rules.

As a mandated abuse reporter I would probably feel that this needed to be reported, both the mother and the facility, I feel that the young girl was sexually exploited when this boy walked in the room despite clearly posted rules banning his presence.  This woman put all the adult women that were present in that changing room involved in exposing themselves to a minor - this is serious business.  Women/girls get the choice of who sees them naked, some random bizzzy mother does not get to co-opt the choice for them.

This situation would have me going ballistic if I walked out of the shower and saw this boy standing there.
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Roe

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2014, 01:16:38 PM »
The whole "what do you do w/ a 10yo boy" is a major, major problem in a situation like this. I wouldn't have been comfortable sending my child alone into the huge swimming-pool locker room at the pool/beach we went to once, and honestly I'd have gotten arrested if I'd left him unattended outside while I went in.

But I personally wouldn't have worried about a 4yo girl being seen by a 10yo boy.

However, you objected, and I think you handled it well.

But I feel for her--what's she supposed to do?

In fact, when *I*, a grownup, ended up being nude in front of a 10-or-so-year-old boy at that pool/beach, I felt for the mom. It wasn't fun, but it didn't damage me. Maybe it damaged him, but that's his mom's problem.

However, there isn't any facility for a kid like that at many of the pools I've been to.

Pod to everything Toots said.

Hillia

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2014, 01:22:49 PM »
No one else gets to decide if it's a big deal or not that my 4 year old was nude in front of a 10 year old boy.  Certainly I wouldn't leap to any sexual concerns, but there is the issue of modesty for my daughter.  If other mom doesn't want her son alone in the men's locker room, he can stand outside the door of the women's room while she tends to the other kids, then she can stand outside the door of the men's locker while he changes.  If she's really that worried about the safety of the men's locker room for a 10 year old boy, then bring a big towel or terrycloth bathrobe he can wear over his wet suit on the way home.  There are lots of ways she can manage it - but violating club rules and other patrons' right to privacy are not among them.

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fountainof

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2014, 01:24:55 PM »
I hope that place has family rooms as over the age of five for same gender rooms where there is no family change room is restrictive.  It is age 6 at my YMCA but they have specialty change rooms for the disabled and families with opposite gender children.  I think if these rooms did not exist, the age should at least be 8 or 9 or parents just cannot use the place unless their kids are the same gender as them.

OP I think you were fine.  I do think if you don't want your daughter to be seen you do need to have her use a towel.  I think it is fine to change in change rooms but I am uncomfortable with people just walking around naked.  I think you cover up for the walk from the shower to the lockers.

ETA: I think the claim of the abuse is way over the top though.  The reason the OPs DD was seen naked is she let her walk around in the change room naked.  If she had a towel on she wouldn't have been nude when she met up with the boy.  While that doesn't mean the boy should be there, it still isn't appropriate to saunter around the change room nude either.  I personally don't want to see your kid naked either.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 01:30:41 PM by fountainof »

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2014, 01:28:09 PM »
OP, you did GREAT! Do it again whenever a similar situation occurs.

rose red

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Re: Not sure if I handled this well.
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2014, 01:37:17 PM »
Don't we always say policies should be followed and you don't agree, then vote with your feet? If she ignores the sign, why shouldn't the overprotective mother of a 14 or 15 year old ignore it too? A swimming pool is not a necessity and it's on them to find a solution.