So DD 1 is 10 years old. Her friends all stay home alone and can ride bikes and hang out inn town. We live in a VERY small town, BUT, I don't agree with it. She is always saying well this ones mom let's them do this and that ones mom lets them do that. I don't know. I only let her walk more than 4 houses down either way, she HAS to have her helmet on when riding her bike. She is not allowed to be home alone. Am I TOO protective? When I see kids her age out and about alone it sends chills up my spine. She is starting to really resent me. All her friends have cell phone, I wont let her have one, there is NO need. So when do I start letting her out on her own per say? I admit that I am a very "overreactive" parent when something happens to my kids. I want them to be strong productive adults, so what steps should I be taking ???
- topicPre Teenstagged by System, 12/17/11
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How much rein would you give a 10 y/o????post #1 of 1512/17/11 at 7:53amThread Starterpost #2 of 1512/17/11 at 8:25am
I think it should all happen in increments. IMO (and it's only my opinion - so take it for what it's worth, could be worth nothing :-) ) you don't want her first taste of freedom to be when she gets behind the wheel of a car or goes off to college. I've seen too many of those kids go a little too wild with the freedom. Can you leave her alone while you run to the grocery store for an hour? Then in the summer ride your bikes to her friends' house as a group with the knowledge that she is your baby and it's hard for you to let go but you're trying and by the end of the summer she is doing it on her own?
My son started riding his bike to soccer practice about a mile and a half away when he was 8. He didn't know it but his dad was in the car behind him the first few times. Now at 15 he rides his bike all over our city of about 8 square miles, 126,000 people and a state university in the middle.
My dd rode 3 busses to get home from band camp when she was going into 7th grade. Kids ride the bus free here and adults are only $2 so we made an adventure of it for a couple of weeks before she did it on her own. But now she rides the bus all the time.
Even my newly 13 year old home body rides his bike into town periodically. He likes to shop for presents on his own. When he first started doing it I would pop up and make sure he was ok but now both he and I are more confident.
And none of them got cell phones until they were in 7th grade. That's the year that they got out of school before I got out of work and they needed to check in with me right before they left school (on bike) and when they got home. Prior to that we had a family pay as you go phone for them. Whoever was going to be on their own got it for that need.post #3 of 1512/17/11 at 8:57am
I do feel parenting takes constant re-evaluation. There are some things you said that make perfect sense. Of course she has to wear a helmet when riding a bike. It's law in our state. If there is no use for her having a cell phone in your family than you shouldn't feel badly not getting her one. Not letting her walk more than 4 doors down? That's a bit extreme to me.
Personally, I've found cell phones our best friends. My kids are very active in after school activities. We have a pretty crazy schedule. Both got phones at 10 because it made MY life easier (at that age, the had no texting and could only call family... that's pretty easy to keep tabs on.) I had no problem popping down to the store while they stayed home at that age. They were responsible, knew all the emergency procedure, ect. We live in a rural suburb. There are only a handful of houses on our hill but the kids were taking long nature walks with the dog at that point. Prior to their cell phones, they took our camping radios which work have a mile radius. I felt comfortable. At Target, they could go off to the "fun" sections while I shopped for other things... at that age, they certainly didn't need to hang on to the cart. You don't really see kids alone or with friends in town until middle school (usually 11/12) but that has more to do with the terrain than anything.
10 is a good age to start loosening up the apron strings a bit. Kids should have low-risk opportunities to show they are responsible. I don't know what that means to your family and in your area but it might be time to give her "something" to show that you trust her and recognize that she's growing up.post #4 of 1512/17/11 at 9:02am
I agree with the above poster. Do it in incriments. Leaving her home alone for half hour shopping excursions is a good start. Thats exactly what we did when our oldest were 10 (they are twins). At 11 they start secondary school here and they started walking to/from school on their own at that point. With your first its always hardest, imho. Since my girls started secondary school last year, their younger brother (who is now 11) begged me to allow him to walk to school on his own, I was sad that he didnt need me to walk him to school anymore, but he's fine. Its very close, less than a 10 min walk. He definately gets a bit more freedom than my girls did at his age. My girls are in town today shopping for presents, they took the bus. Im still a bit wary of letting them go on their own on the bus tho. ... but I let them do it. Im in constant contact via mobile phone and they are pretty street smart.
Baby steps, it can sometimes be more about mama then it is about the kids, lol.post #5 of 1512/17/11 at 9:12amThread Starter
Just reading this makes me realize how very annoying I must be to dd. I do have a bit of an issue with x (the girls dad) I am always a little afraid of what he will do when I try different things....ie letting her stay home for a bit. He recently was furious that I let them stay in the car while I paid for gas, which is ridiculous. Our town is like a town from a movie where everyone knows everyone. Our school is k-12, her class size being only about 60 kids. I think I will try this week to let her stay home for a bit alone and see how that goes, like you said baby steps. I really am not trying to make her life hell. Now that I see how your dc do in a much bigger town/city I should let the reins out more. I have this anxiety about, what could happen if I let dd do this or that. That is my issue not hers.post #6 of 1512/17/11 at 9:31amThread Starterpost #7 of 1512/18/11 at 10:05ampost #8 of 1512/18/11 at 9:51pm
Here's what our 10 year old can do (for the record, he's a very cautious kid, and so won't do more than this, usually):
Walk 2-3 blocks to see a friend.
Ride his bike 3 blocks to the park to play, as long as he's with friends.
Stay home for 1 - 2 hours by himself. The key here is by himself. He cannot have friends over. He can't go out in the neighborhood. He doesn't answer the door.
Next year, when he's 11, I'll let him ride his bike to school, about 1/2 mile, but across a rather busy street. I'd let him ride more, but we live in suburbia and to get anywhere, he'd have to go on some pretty busy roads, and I'm not ready for that. The drivers just don't see bikers.
Right now, I do not let him have a cell phone. He has no need.
OP, I think you are a bit too protective. It's better, as others have said, to loosen the reins slowly than to have your daughter break out of the traces altogether. If she does that, you'll have no control at all.
Ds took a class from the Red Cross called "When I'm in charge" specifically designed for kids staying home alone. He took it when he was newly 10. He'd been staying home for short periods of time (under 30 minutes) by himself. As time has gone on, we're more comfortable letting him stay home longer times. Right now, 2 hours is about the limit of my comfort level, but I could see letting him stay home for a morning, perhaps, if I were desperate.
If you want your kids to be strong adults, you need to let them learn in situations where it's not a big deal if they fail. In fact, you have to let them fail when the consequences aren't great. For example: Ds was playing with a friend about 2 (very short) blocks away. We had told him to be home by 7:45. At 7:55 we called the friend's house to have them send ds home, because he wasn't home. He's forgotten what time he was supposed to be back. When he arrived, ds got a reminder that he was supposed to be home at 7:45, and a small lecture that if he was late again, then we wouldn't be able to trust him to come home on his own. We reminded him that he'd have to earn our trust back. "How could I do that?" was his response. So then we had a little discussion about how trust is very hard to earn back. The consequences for him being late were minimal. I'm expecting to have to revoke the privilege of going over to his friend's house at least once before the lesson of coming home when he's supposed to sinks in.post #9 of 1512/18/11 at 10:24pm
My son is 11, I'm a single quasi- WOHM mom. He has a cell phone and stays home alone while I work. (yes you read that correctly) I homeschool him so he does 'school' if it's a day I am working. He takes some classes online and he has other work to do as well. He can also stay home alone if I need to run errands or after dark. I started 'training' him to stay home while I did short errands and things when he turned 9.
*The key to cell phones for me is they are a way to stay in touch. IMO he needs the phone to contact me if he is out walking or going somewhere and something happens. Not all houses/apts have landlines and I want/need him to be able to call me or me to call him.
He can walk around our gated apt complex. He can go outside the gate with permission (a simple call), he can go through the neighborhood (about 1 square mile). After the holiday madness ends I am going to work on letting him go 1.5 miles which will get him to the drugstore area. 1.5 miles would be the distance he would need to go if he was enrolled in the local school. A little over 2 miles(each way) would get him to the park/civic center. I'm not quite ready for that yet because its 4 miles round trip plus 'play time'.
DS has asthma and travels with an inhaler. He knows emergency procedures. He is also welcome at the rental office anytime they are open. I view the rental office like another set of neighbors. Now he has NEVER gone there but if there was an emergency he would.
OP- if you want to see how other single mom's handle the situation, go post on the single mom forum. We are very supportive over there!post #10 of 1512/19/11 at 4:46amThread Starter
Thank you all!!!!! I had a short convo with x, and he wouldn't even listen. I do see that it is time. I don't want her to have fear where fear is unwarrented..ya know?! But I am going to call social services (?) I am assuming they will have the rules and guidelines about age etc in our area. Like greenmami mentioned just so I can't get backlash from x. I am nervous but very excited to see dd "start".post #11 of 1512/19/11 at 5:22am
My daughter is just turning 10. She can walk or ride her bike around basically the whole neighborhood. I haven't left her at home alone but maybe this year - the issue is that I also have a 2-year-old and she isn't old enough to watch the 2-year-old and if I have to bring the litlte one somewhere, I might as well bring both.
I think you could give her quite a bit more freedom but it does sound like your ex is complicating things a lot.post #12 of 1512/21/11 at 8:32pm[quote name="whatsnextmom" url="
10 is a good age to start loosening up the apron strings a bit. Kids should have low-risk opportunities to show they are responsible. I don't know what that means to your family and in your area but it might be time to give her "something" to show that you trust her and recognize that she's growing up.
I agree with the above. OP, I know how hard it is. Our DD will be 9, and I've found that the most important thing is knowing who her friends are. She knows to "stay with the group" and I give her my cell phone to keep in touch. She calls every 30 minutes to check in. Most importantly, I trust her friends. I do NOT allow her to wander alone.post #13 of 1512/22/11 at 4:46amThread StarterQuote:Originally Posted by *bejeweled*
I agree with the above. OP, I know how hard it is. Our DD will be 9, and I've found that the most important thing is knowing who her friends are. She knows to "stay with the group" and I give her my cell phone to keep in touch. She calls every 30 minutes to check in. Most importantly, I trust her friends. I do NOT allow her to wander alone.
This is ONE of the biggest problems, she thinks that this one group of "friends" are her friends, but she gets picked on by them, and she doesn't know it. We have talked to her teacher (whom I went to school with) We have gone over and over what a real friend is. She does have one friend who is such a sweet girl. Outside of school we only "allow" her to hang out with certain kids. I know that sounds bad, but these other girls are FAR from savory. kwim? That is a whole nother post though.
post #14 of 151/9/12 at 2:08pm
oh yeah - the mean "friends" - it's a whole nother post, please start it, as I am desperate on that point too.
My dd is 9 and I am pretty protective too, and trying to train both her and me little by little. We are wildly opposed to cell phones for various reasons so we are against the mainstream in that way also. DD is smart but not that savvy. I have just started letting her walk home from bus alone on occasion; it's one block but around a corner I can't see. That's my starting out. I need to do it because in 2 years she'll be in middle school and will have to be confident enough to do some of this alone. However, i'm not going to give in to things I think aren't safe just because other parents are letting their kids run all over.
I agree, it's really hard to figure out!post #15 of 152/5/12 at 1:18pm
My 10 year old rides her bike around our neighborhood, but she doesn't 'hang out' anywhere. She has to tell me before she goes, and I expect her back within 15 minutes. If a friend asks her to play, she comes back and asks if she may go.
I let her stay home alone with the doors locked for about 30 minutes, and I have a cell phone with me. She's not allowed to answer the door or the phone while she's by herself.
She likes to walk 2 blocks to the store for me when I need something really fast, or when she's allowed to buy herself a treat.
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