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When can you offer a child you hardly know a ride home?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I had a great conundrum today and thought of MDC right away. My DC is on an under 13 softball team. We got a weird rain delay/cancellation and there was a girl there who was planning on waiting until the scheduled end-time to get picked up, which may have meant waiting in the park, in the rain, with few people around. 

 

I wanted to offer her a ride home but it occurred to me that driving a child who I had never even met is weird or taboo...or something?  

 

I ended up calling her mom, who wasn't home. The girl's brother answered and I asked if he could give me permission to bring her home. He said no. 

 

So... 

 

I'm not so much interested in hearing how you would have handled this (I found a parent who knew her better to give her a ride) but I am curious to know when a child is old enough to consent to a ride from an acquaintance. At 11 I would be pretty freaked out if my DC came home with someone I had never met.  

 

But, I do think that at some point I will need to trust her to take rides from her friend/teammates parents and I know there is some point where I will feel fine with offering a ride to my DC's friend who I don't know well. 

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Thanks! 

post #2 of 32

You were probably right not to give her a lift. I suppose a passive plan B would be best - perhaps waiting around until her mom comes.

I know that puts you out, but that seems like the best balance in such a situation.

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RachM View Post

You were probably right not to give her a lift. I suppose a passive plan B would be best - perhaps waiting around until her mom comes.

I know that puts you out, but that seems like the best balance in such a situation.

I did find a good plan B, which was to ask a parent who knew her better to give her a ride. What I'm more interested in is when do we think a child can consent to ride, or, further, be independent enough to stay at the park and wait for her/his ride?  

 

The other thing that prompts me to ask this question is that, honestly, I don't know how well the parent who gave her a ride actually knew the girl. Part of me wonders if maybe this parent was just less hung up on the issue and was happy to give a kid a ride home - minus all the fear mongering that was going on in my head. redface.gif

post #4 of 32

I'd be fine with a 13 year old asking for, and receiving, a ride home. As for staying at the park alone, it would depend on the child.

post #5 of 32

My 10 YO is allowed to ride home with whatever adult is driving someone she has had a playdate with.  My 13 YO is allowed to ride home with any of his classmates or teammates parents/drivers.  Both carry phones and both as supposed to text me when they get a ride with anyone.  Both normally walk home from school alone, so they get rides occasionally when it rains or something.  They have also participated in carpools to/from activities with parents that I don't know very well but have at least met/talked to and arranged the carpool with, but these are never a surprise and they know who's parent they are riding with.

post #6 of 32

First, the coaches should have never left her.  My dh is a coach and he would never leave a kid until the parents got there, that's not ok.

 

I've given kids I have never met a ride home.  Ds's friends seem to have a ton of freedom for 12 year olds.

 

Ds has been offered rides by many people he knows, he's always refused, preferring to walk.  I trust his judgement on who's parent he would get in a car with.  We live in a tight knit community, anyone that would offer him a ride we know pretty well.

post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post

My 10 YO is allowed to ride home with whatever adult is driving someone she has had a playdate with.  My 13 YO is allowed to ride home with any of his classmates or teammates parents/drivers.  Both carry phones and both as supposed to text me when they get a ride with anyone.  

Ok, great to know.  I do think I'm on the cusp of changing how I feel about some of this stuff but it's one of those things were I know there will be a bit of grey area for a while.  This child (and mine) don't have cell phones, which complicated things a bit.  Because my child is old for her grade, she is 11 and still in elementary school. Maybe come middle school we'll be more comfortable with these new ways. ;-)  

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

First, the coaches should have never left her.  My dh is a coach and he would never leave a kid until the parents got there, that's not ok.

 

 

The coaches didn't leave her but this is a rec league and, IMO, the coaches already do quite enough - I wanted to help, yk?  
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

I've given kids I have never met a ride home.  Ds's friends seem to have a ton of freedom for 12 year olds.

 

And in your town, that's considered fine?  

 

For those of you who have given children under, say 13 a ride, was that at their request or do you offer?  What is the feeling about telling children to "never get in the car with a stranger" and...getting in the car with a stranger who happens to be you. ;-)  Or, is that not a message that is discusses as universally as I think?  

 

Maybe it's my major anti-hitchhiking childhood. At some point when I was a child, hitchhiking became this super taboo thing and I feel like it was just driven into me that I should never get into the car with someone I don't know. 

 

I fact, I was visiting with an old highschool friend's mom recently and she was reminiscing about how her daughter got a ride with me and some strangers (to her...and almost to me) and how that was just her biggest nightmare as parent. She joked that she was finally able to forgive me after 20 years. ;-)  

 

I think some of this may stem from that for me. So, for me, it's fine to walk home, fine to take the bus, fine to take a ride from someone you know...but not yet fine to take a ride from someone you don't know. According to my childhood, the answer would be 'never'. Ha!  

 

So...I'm trying to figure out what the norms are in my area, I guess. Maybe I'll have to ask a few local parents. 

post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 

And sorry for the typos galore! 

post #9 of 32

My kid getting a ride home from a parent who has a child on the team wouldn't bother me one bit.

post #10 of 32

^^ Yep. Mine came home with team/drama parents and vice-versa. No big.

post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 

Ok, great!! This is so interesting to me and, perhaps a big adjustment I'll have to make in my mindset as my child gets older. I know that, for now, I would not be OK with my 11 year old coming home with someone I didn't know. I had been wondering if it was regional but Phatiu5, I know that you lived in this area so... 

 

There does seem to be a great deal of variety in terms of early-teen freedom in my area. Certainly many, many elementary school kids walk to school, some take cabs alone and I know that many take the city bus by 12, I'm sure. .Most of my friends still drive their kids everywhere. eyesroll.gif

post #12 of 32

The "stranger danger" concept doesn't really use the same definition of "stranger" that you'll find in the dictionary. Most of the people who agree with that idea will also tell their kids to find a woman with kids to help them if they get lost/stranded somewhere, so I think you're safe according to those people. Then again, you are fairly vulnerable when you're in someone's car, so it makes sense to have stricter standards of trust.

 

Ya know, once when I was walking home in the rain as a kid, some lady I didn't recognize pulled up to offer me a ride. I declined. I was kind of surprised/disturbed that she asked, so I may have made a face or something. (Besides worrying that she'd kidnap and murder me or something, I also had to worry about getting in trouble with my parents for the horrible crime of accepting a ride. Also, I was enjoying rain.) A few days later, my mom mentioned it, because she'd been talking to the lady, and she wanted to let me know it was safe to ride with her. It turned out the lady and my mom both believed that the reason I'd decline a ride was because the lady had been in a car accident a few months ago, like the fact I'd never seen her before in my life had nothing to do with it! (She was the mom of an older kid who lived two houses down, so I might've encountered he a few times without remembering her. Definitely not a close family friend or anything.) This is despite the fact that my mom was really big on stranger danger. I was forbidden to make polite conversation with a friendly old man who lived in our neighborhood, in the middle of the afternoon, in my front yard, while my parents were home. (To this day, I tear up when I remember telling that guy, "My parents said I'm not allowed to talk to you," because he thought I didn't hear him when I didn't respond at all. How horrible.)

post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 

Yea, it's an interesting contradiction for me in that we don't do the whole "stranger danger" thing a la Gavin DeBeckam but I'm still attached to the "don't get in the car with a stranger". That's probably because my parents weren't into stranger danger either...and, yet, had these rules about taking rides. AND...also because I certainly am not afraid of strangers as an adult and, yet, when I look back on the times that I've taken rides from strangers, I think of that as a sort of stupid decision (despite the fact that they all turned out fine). For me, I guess, there is something unique about car-rides. Now it's up to me to figure out what's based in sound decision making and legitimate risk and what's based on irrational fear. 

 

Also, as my child (a girl) gets older, I suppose I am starting to get aware of some of the other risks she'll face as a young woman and I suppose that has something to do with this as well...

post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

The "stranger danger" concept doesn't really use the same definition of "stranger" that you'll find in the dictionary. Most of the people who agree with that idea will also tell their kids to find a woman with kids to help them if they get lost/stranded somewhere, so I think you're safe according to those people.

Yes, except, I'm not sure they would advise the child to get into a car with that woman...? 

post #15 of 32

Coming in late but just want to say that I don't offer rides to the under high school set unless I actually talk to a parent about it. I have sat and waited with kids whose parents were late but there are other factors.... like giving a ride home to a kid only to have mom show up 5 minutes later freaking out because their kid is gone. I'd hate to get in an accident with a child when that parent didn't even know they were with me. Stuff like that.

 

Frankly, I think middle schoolers are the most at risk of making poor decisions in this regard. The elementary set will want to connect with someone they trust and most likely to call mom first. They still take to heart all the assemblies lol. Middle schoolers can be quite impulsive and less likely to think a thing through.They often see themselves as the exception to the rule. Plus, they are more a target. Twice a year we get a note home that a local middle school girl was approached by a stranger on the way home offering a ride....not by a mom and a kid and possibly a well-meaning man but it can be easier to have black and white rules with the tween/early teen set and save the gray for when they are little more mature (14ish-18.)

 

As for my kids, I don't know that they've ever been in the situation of needing a ride from a stranger. We live on the outskirts of the county. Every activity is at least 20 minutes in the wrong direction from everyone else. We have a lot of family willing to drop anything to grab a kid if they call. We have a lot of friends in the same activities that feel like family that are on the approved pick-up list. Sure, the kids call once in awhile and ask if they can go home with a friend (and their parent) or now that my eldest is a teen, call about driving with a friend someplace after an activity. That is generally fine (as long as the kid can legally do so.) 

post #16 of 32
I never want my DD accepting a ride from someone without knowing the person. I did this twice with very bad consequences when I was twelve. I also don't offer rides and don't plan to.
post #17 of 32
This is what I think, too. My kids are six and almost nine. I haven't done drop off like that, yet, but I don't exactly see the parents of teammates as "strangers."
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

My kid getting a ride home from a parent who has a child on the team wouldn't bother me one bit.
post #18 of 32

To your question about at what age a child/teen can consent to a ride is going to have a different answer in every family, and the age I would be fine with my own child accepting a ride may be completely different than the age that her friend's parent feels is OK. Many children are instructed to not ride with anyone except for mom and dad and a very short list of other people.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

Coming in late but just want to say that I don't offer rides to the under high school set unless I actually talk to a parent about it. I have sat and waited with kids whose parents were late but there are other factors.... like giving a ride home to a kid only to have mom show up 5 minutes later freaking out because their kid is gone. I'd hate to get in an accident with a child when that parent didn't even know they were with me. Stuff like that.

 

Agreed. I think it is really a bad idea to give a kid a ride without communicating with a parent, though I have waited with children and TEENS! when their parent was late.

 

I also think that the coach is the key person if a parent is late, not another parent. The parents all know the coach, but often they don't all know each other. 

 

For us, the age at which I felt fine with my kids being places without me was the exact same age I became OK with them having cell phones.

post #19 of 32

I would be okay with my child riding home with a teammate or school class mate and that child's parent. Not so sure how I would feel if it was just the parent and no other kid involved.

 

However, I do think this is completely the coach's responsibility. I would expect that there would have been plans made for what to do in the event of a game cancellation and who was on the approved list to pick up kids. Did you not have to fill out something like this when you signed up? Seems like I have to fill it out for everything we do. I would also be concerned that the parent would be on the way (the brother or coach could have called the parents and told them) and we would pass or if you hadn't called first you and gotten the brother you could run into a situation where you took the kid home, but no one else was home. The coach should have a list of contact numbers with land lines and cell phones for emergencies and it should all go through the coach. At the minimum he/she should place the call to the parent and say, "I have another parent here willing to give your child a ride. Would you like to talk to them about it?"

 

My kid doesn't play softball, but she does dance and I imagine like with dance class there are lots of parents who go run errands while the kid is doing their thing. If another parent were to bring my child home from dance while I was out running errands I would be very much annoyed. My kids (12 and 9) don't usually carry their keys so they would have no way to get into the house. If they called and reached me at home I would be fine with it, but otherwise I would need to know that the schedule had changed and then I could leave the grocery store or wherever and pick her up at dance or meet her at home.

post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

Ok, great to know.  I do think I'm on the cusp of changing how I feel about some of this stuff but it's one of those things were I know there will be a bit of grey area for a while.  This child (and mine) don't have cell phones, which complicated things a bit.  Because my child is old for her grade, she is 11 and still in elementary school. Maybe come middle school we'll be more comfortable with these new ways. ;-)  

 

And in your town, that's considered fine?  

 

 

It's a pretty small town, I'd say out of the 200ish  kids in the 6th grade, I know 75% of the parents in some way or another.  If one random kid I've never met before shows up with my ds and 3 kids I do know, I feel ok giving him a ride to the other side of town.  If it's someone I've never heard about I do make him call his parents though. Ds has a really big social circle, between all the sports he plays he probably has contact with every boy in school in one way or another.  Small towns are good like that :D

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