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Would you be comfortable with this?

post #1 of 120
Thread Starter 

A few months ago my 5 year old asked to take the train by herself. I told her that I wasn't comfortable with that but we could discuss it again after she turned 6. After all, she was never turning 6, right? lol.gif

 

Her 6th birthday is in a few days and I was thinking about her request again and I think I have come up with a solution I am comfortable with. 

 

We live near a train station that is one stop from the end of the line. I thought I could send DH ahead to wait at the other end. I would put her on the train with my cell phone and have DH meet her on the platform at the next town. It is a 3 minute train ride in a safe area. Since it is the end of the line, there is no way she would miss her stop. 

 

Oh and she takes the train with me several times a week so she knows how to behave and what to expect on the train. 

 

Would you be comfortable with that scenario? 

 

eta: I forgot to mention, we live in Switzerland where trains a big part of life. ;) 


Edited by lalaland42 - 3/29/11 at 5:19am
post #2 of 120

I would be concerned about someone calling CPS because a little kid was alone on a train.  I can imagine safety officers waiting at the next station, and when they see your DH having some questions for him and possibly taking this to a higher authority.

post #3 of 120

It doesn't sound like a good idea to me, and frankly, I don't see the point. 

post #4 of 120
Has she brought up the subject again now that her 6th birthday is near, or are you just thinking about it on your own?

I'm an auntie, not a mama, but I think 6 is still too young for this. Would you let her wander around in a store out of your sight at this age?

If she is still asking for this, maybe the two of you could play at her riding the train "alone" by each sitting in a different part of the train car - you could still be watching her every second, but she could pretend she's having! an! adventure!
post #5 of 120

I have a 6yo and I would not be comfortable with her doing that.  BUT I live in Canada, not Switzerland, where it would be very VERY unusual to see a kid that age by themselves on a train, not to mention we never take the train here (besides the Metro which is very crowded and I have run into enough situations that made *me* feel uncomfortable that my kids will not be riding it alone until they are much older).  Where you live do kids often take the train by themselves?

post #6 of 120

I'd feel quite comfortable with that, if I didn't think people would be alarmed to see a 6 year old riding alone.  I don't know what's considered normal in Switzerland.  Here, I think there would be a big risk someone would freak out and yell at the parents, or worse.  But I think that's about the only risk.  It sounds like a pretty safe scenario.

post #7 of 120

I don't think I'd be comfortable with that.  But then, my 6 yo doesn't even like to ride the school bus filled only with kids from school - so it's hard for me to imagine putting him on a train by himself.  For a 3 minute ride, it seems like a hassle just to do for fun (with you at one end and DH at the next stop).  But if it's something she is really looking forward to, I guess I might consider doing it just once.  But then, will she want to take the train for longer amounts of time and more frequently?  How are the other passengers, generally?  Not sure how your train is in Switzerland, but I wouldn't put my kids on the bus downtown w/o me b/c there are drunks and inappropriate things that go on.  I'm totally assuming your train is not like that, but if trains are a huge method of transportation in your city, I guess I am comparing it to busing/subway systems in other places. 

post #8 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post

I would be concerned about someone calling CPS because a little kid was alone on a train.  I can imagine safety officers waiting at the next station, and when they see your DH having some questions for him and possibly taking this to a higher authority.


I really really doubt that safety officers would make it to the destination station within the three minutes of the train ride.

 

I would be comfortable with this for a 6 year old. I've always considered it important that my kids are comfortable using public transportation, I consider it a very important life skill.
 

 

post #9 of 120

I lived in Switzerland I would think you and your daughter would be fine. Trains are such a normal way of life.

 

Do the trains still have actual have conductors? If so maybe check in with them when your daughter boards?  That way if another adult "freaked out" the conductor would know it was ok.  

 

Or maybe she would agree to ride in one car while you rode in another?

post #10 of 120

i think if it's something she wants to do, it would probably be fine. i wouldn't bother bringing it up unless she asks again, but seriously, what could possibly go wrong in that scenario? i might not send my 6 year old solo downtown on a regular basis, but a one-time experience with so many safegaurds, i think she'd appreciate it!

 

post #11 of 120

I can't say I'd be comfortable with putting my kids on the train alone (they're 8 and 11), but you know your child and the safety situation of the trains.

post #12 of 120

We do not have trains here for this to work, but I would do it if we did and my child wanted to.

 

I guess our equivalent is walking to the grocery store a few blocks from our house. My 7 year old likes to go a different way from me for a couple of the block sometimes. That little bit of independence is such a huge confidence builder, and I think it would be the same with your daughter. Also, if you were ever to get separated from her on the train, it would be nice for her to have had some practice going alone, so she can remain calm and get back to her home station (or whatever your plan would be for handling that situation).

post #13 of 120


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post

I lived in Switzerland I would think you and your daughter would be fine. Trains are such a normal way of life.

 


This. I think it is hard for some people who are not used to such a scenario, plus a whole other culture to be able to see the situation clearly. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post

We do not have trains here for this to work, but I would do it if we did and my child wanted to.

 

I guess our equivalent is walking to the grocery store a few blocks from our house. My 7 year old likes to go a different way from me for a couple of the block sometimes. That little bit of independence is such a huge confidence builder, and I think it would be the same with your daughter. Also, if you were ever to get separated from her on the train, it would be nice for her to have had some practice going alone, so she can remain calm and get back to her home station (or whatever your plan would be for handling that situation).


And this. Since it is your DD that wants this, and she brought it up again now that she is turning 6, I would say she is interested and able, and as the pp said, it can be a great confidence booster. I also let my 4 yo and 6 yo go a different way to the park than I do, or run home to get their bikes.... because these small steps now are what allow them to explore their world and grow in confidence, knowing I am right there - in this instance taking a different route, but we will be meeting in 5-10 min. We have trains here and if my 6yo insisted on the scenario, I would do as you are suggesting - let him on stop a and have DH waiting at stop b. And no one is going to be getting mad. They might stop and ask "are you ok or lost" and he would say "no, my dads at the next stop" and they would say "OK" and carry on. In fact this has happened to us. DS bikes ahead of DD and me, but he has to wait at the busy intersection. So while he is waiting he has twice been asked by other people if he wants them to guide them across the street or whatever, and he just points us out, saying he is waiting for us. I tend to think most people are this way, not instantaneously jumping right from assumption to calling the cops. You know your kid, her personality. Go with that info.

 

post #14 of 120

oh! maybe that could be one of her birthday surprises. that would be AWESOME!!! take her to the station on her bday and see if she wants to do it. or maybe ask her on her bday morning and then plan the day accordingly. 

 

i'd be totally fine with dd knowing who she is. i'd also have been ok at 5 since dd has an informed freaker and she would not freak easily. 

post #15 of 120

No way.  I wouldn't do it.  Six years old is too young to be on her own without supervison.  Period.   

post #16 of 120


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by acdmama View Post

No way.  I wouldn't do it.  Six years old is too young to be on her own without supervison.  Period.   


Can you explain why?  6 years old is such an arbitrary number. Why not 6?  Once child maturity level at 6 could be more than another at 7.  I am really curious to understand your POV.

 

post #17 of 120

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by acdmama View Post

No way.  I wouldn't do it.  Six years old is too young to be on her own without supervison.  Period.   


Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post


Can you explain why?  6 years old is such an arbitrary number. Why not 6?  Once child maturity level at 6 could be more than another at 7.  I am really curious to understand your POV.

 

 

Harsh acdmama. I don't think flat blanket statements are useful for anyone. Maybe it depends on the child, the environment, their personality and life experiences...

 

I was a somewhat flaky, impulsive child, so this would not have been an option for me at 6. Then again, my parents didn't give me breathing room to be on my own, so I could develop some maturity. It was a combination of personality and environment. 
 

My DS is 6, is very rule-oriented and mature. And I have given him the environment to explore his world independently, with more freedom of movement and responsibility over time. So he would be ready to do this now. Again, a combination of personality and environment. 

post #18 of 120

I would find out legally what age is allowed and take it from there.

 

 

I know that many states (in the US) have a set age to be left home alone, I would use that as a rough guide and then factor in child maturity and situation (day/night/cost/familiarity, etc).

 

I also would make sure the train staff (if there is one) knew and could keep and eye out.

 

 

Also know that once you do allow her to ride alone, you will face her asking to do it more and more often so make sure you are comfortable with it.

 

 

No, I would not let my child ride our city buses at 5/6 alone- I probably would pick an age around 10 and have set rules/places/times as well and encourage buddy travel until they are older.

 

But in a different culture, it may be the norm and safer than in our area.

post #19 of 120

OF COURSE every child and every situation are different.  It's not a risk I would be willing to take. I don't think it's harsh to suggest that our job as parents is to keep our children safe.  There is a difference between "independent exploration" and young children being completely on their own.  I would not be willing to risk my child's safety and it's naive to think that nothing could happen.  Several of the suggestions DO make sense, letting her pick a different seat on the same car so she has the "adventure" bit while still having a parent with her. IMO, it sends the wrong message, that at 6 years old you don't need a parent with you.

 

post #20 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by acdmama View Post

OF COURSE every child and every situation are different.  It's not a risk I would be willing to take. I don't think it's harsh to suggest that our job as parents is to keep our children safe.  There is a difference between "independent exploration" and young children being completely on their own.  I would not be willing to risk my child's safety and it's naive to think that nothing could happen.  Several of the suggestions DO make sense, letting her pick a different seat on the same car so she has the "adventure" bit while still having a parent with her. IMO, it sends the wrong message, that at 6 years old you don't need a parent with you.

 

But what you said was:

 

 

Quote:
No way.  I wouldn't do it.  Six years old is too young to be on her own without supervison.  Period.

Why 6? Specifically? You weren't saying *my* 6 year old isn't ready. You said 6 years old-period.

 

Also who are you sending a "message" to?  Your child? We are not talking about forcing a child to do something they don't want to do nor are we talking about abandoning her.  We are not talking about leaving a 6 year old in the car so the mom can get her hair done or leaving a 6 year old at home alone for hours at a time. We are not talking about sending a child who isn't it ready and has not shown signs that she is ready.

 

 

We are talking about a 3 minute train ride where her mom puts her on the train and her father picks her up.  This same child has been riding this train already, this train is regular part of her life.  This not a parent forcing her child off to ride a strange train in a strange town alone.

 

The message the OP is trying to send is "how can I empower my child to do what she what she wants to do and yet still be safe".  She wants her daughter to hear "I trust you and have confidence in you but I also want you to be safe". Isn't that a wonderful message for a child whether the OP choose to do it or not?

 

 

 


 

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