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At what age would you let your child walk the mall alone? - Page 3

post #41 of 100
Just wanted to add that when I was 12 I was allowed to be dropped off at the mall. We didnt' have cell phones and the only way to reach my parents was via a pay phone outside the mall.

I did plenty of drinking, smoking, and getting high at the mall. We'd just go outside and pass stuff around and then go back into the mall to hang out and watch the boys play video games. My parents had no clue or maybe they did but they were in denial.
post #42 of 100
Age 12. With her cell phone. She's almost 14 now and I don't let her go if she doesn't have her cell phone charged. It's more a convenience thing for me than anything else - if I go to pick her up and can't find her I don't want to be spending an hour looking for her.
post #43 of 100
I was dropped off at the mall to hang out when I was 13 years old. I feel that is way too young. At that time ofcourse I thought it was great, lol. But now that I'm a mother and times they have-a-changed there's no way my kids would be dropped off that young. In fact, when I was 18 I knew a girl who was abducted at gun point in the same mall I was left at when I was only 13 years old. That's very scary. The guy raped her and took her back to the mall and dropped her off later. She was alone and that made it easier for the man but still and yet it was scary knowing I had been going out there to hang out at a much, much younger age.

I also had another two friends who would hitch hike a lot when we were teens and they got picked up by a guy they thought they knew and he drove them from the same mall supposedly home but drove them somewhere else. He didn't hurt them but he gave them a very good scare. They trusted him. They were only 15 at the time.

Funny, how when you're a teen you are cool and want to do cool things when mom and dad aren't around. It's sooo easy to say your kid is mature enough in your eyes, but you have no idea what choices they are making while alone without you there. I made some pretty scary choices back then and I'm so surprised I made it through my teenage years alive and untouched. In fact, I was a church going, good grades, perfect little girl at home. Ofcourse I wouldn't make bad choices outside the home while totally alone ha!

I often wonder "what on earth were my parents thinking?" by letting me do things totally unchaperoned at such a young age. I guess as long as they felt "I" was happy and "I" was out of their hair then they didn't care what I was doing. how sad. I can say, without a doubt, it ain't happening with my own children.
post #44 of 100
Quote:
Age 12. With her cell phone.
how can a cell phone help if someone drags her to their car by gunpoint? Just curious.
post #45 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathywiehl View Post
I did plenty of drinking, smoking, and getting high at the mall. We'd just go outside and pass stuff around and then go back into the mall to hang out and watch the boys play video games. My parents had no clue or maybe they did but they were in denial.
exactly. I wonder all the time how much more stupid could my parents have been. I know for a fact my mother was just naive. My dad, well he just didn't care. Times are much, much worse now. Just watch MTV for 10 minutes out of any given time of day and you will see that. Kids think they know it all now and are doing everything at a MUCH younger age. I'm so glad I'm not one of those "naive" moms who think their child is just fine with a cell phone because they are their perfect, can do nothing wrong child. I WAS that child and I know all too well what a kid can do behind their parents back. My kids will thank me one day when they are adults for being such a great parent, and not a naive one.

IMO a kid that wants to go to a mall or anywhere else alone with friends under the age of 16 is up to no good. That's when you don't want them to go (when THEY want to do it). Those kids are smart and know exactly what they are doing.
post #46 of 100
When I was between 7th and 8th grade, two classmates who were 12 and 13 were dropped off at the mall. They got into a car with two 18 year old boys who took them home and raped/killed them then left them on the side of the road in a ditch.

I know I keep replying to this, but I keep remembering reasons to be very very careful with this sort of thing.
post #47 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainyday View Post
Wow. Where do you live? Every place I've lived has had lots of teens at the mall. In fact a good portion of the mall stores are aimed at teens, so if they weren't allowed to be there alone, a lot of those stores would go under!
So that makes it okay? All other parents are trusting their teens to loiter at the local mall, oh well why not. lol. Geez. God I feel sorry for teens that have nothing better to do than loiter and hang out and waste the most precious time in their lives.
post #48 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
exactly. I wonder all the time how much more stupid could my parents have been. I know for a fact my mother was just naive. My dad, well he just didn't care. Times are much, much worse now. Just watch MTV for 10 minutes out of any given time of day and you will see that. Kids think they know it all now and are doing everything at a MUCH younger age. I'm so glad I'm not one of those "naive" moms who think their child is just fine with a cell phone because they are their perfect, can do nothing wrong child. I WAS that child and I know all too well what a kid can do behind their parents back. My kids will thank me one day when they are adults for being such a great parent, and not a naive one.

IMO a kid that wants to go to a mall or anywhere else alone with friends under the age of 18 is up to no good. That's when you don't want them to go (when THEY want to do it).
Sounds like we have lots in common. I often say my parents didn't parent me past the age of 10. I did some pretty scary stuff through my teen years and it's mostly cause my parents didn't pay attention. My mom was naive and stressed and my dad was distracted with girlfriends and basically gave up on me since I was such a handful. I can't believe some of the stuff they allowed me to do. It's really a wonder I didn't have my oldest dd five years earlier or get raped, murdered, or OD.

Because I know what's out there, I'm watching for it. Not expecting it, but knowing what is out there, what the red flags look like and listening to my mama instinct constantly.

Someday my kids will thank me too.
post #49 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by wannabemoms View Post
I heard on the radio this morning that an 11-year-old got sexually assaulted and threatened with murder when she was walking home from a friend's house.... at THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING!!!!! What is a child of that age doing outside at that time of day??? :
I agree. The fact that parents are allowing their kids to be out at that time of night totally unsupervised is terrible. The parents should be charged and put in jail for neglect. Yeah sure, at the age of 13-15 I was out roaming the streets sometimes at 4:00am with my friends, did my parents know about it? h*ll no! I was a smart kid and so were my friends. I knew how to get my parents to let me sleep over with the friends who had the naive parents who never knew they were climbing in and out of their windows all night long, lol. I was totally lying to my parents when I was a teen and they never knew it! But...to think that parents are actually "allowing" their kids to be so loose/free in this day and time is so scary and sad. Why do some parents feel the need to fit in with what other parents are doing or want to be cool in their child's eyes? Be the parent.
post #50 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
how can a cell phone help if someone drags her to their car by gunpoint? Just curious.
I am not the person you quoted, but I have to say that I see this stuff a lot during discussions like this and it always makes me scratch my head a little. Sure, these awful things do happen and it is a tragedy. However, I can't base every single thing I do or that my kids do on such things.

I realize the crime stats and the environments are different from place to place. (Like there is a difference in "feel" from small town Wisconsin to Manhattan or Miami) So maybe in one area different considerations are needed. But in general I find that a cell phone is a handy way to keep in touch with my kids when they are out and about. I'm not of the fantasy that it's some mystical anti- tragedy device, but it's nice just the same.
post #51 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post

IMO a kid that wants to go to a mall or anywhere else alone with friends under the age of 16 is up to no good. That's when you don't want them to go (when THEY want to do it). Those kids are smart and know exactly what they are doing.

I totally and completely disagree. My children have proven time and time again that they are very trustworthy and capable of good decision making with me or without me around. (I have had many people comment about them in a positive way about something that happened or just about them when I wasn't there.)

Also it may be a difference in how you were raised/raise kids yourself, but my kids don't need to sneak or hide things from me at all. We talk about many things together including sex, drugs/alcohol, safety, relationships, and etc. My son went to get a soda from the corner store yesterday night. It was after the town set curfew for minors, and we've talked about it. At this point we've decided that the risk of him getting stopped by a cop is minimal, and that even if he does we are willing to deal with it and go from there. No sneaking needed.
post #52 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
But...to think that parents are actually "allowing" their kids to be so loose/free in this day and time is so scary and sad. Why do some parents feel the need to fit in with what other parents are doing or want to be cool in their child's eyes? Be the parent.
Some families work in a totally different way than you seem to be familiar with. There is a way that doesn't really have a lot of prohibiting, punishing, fear, sneaking, lying, or bribing going on but instead allows for open talking, honesty, trust, and working together to find good ground to stand on together.

I may or may not be comfortable with something my teen is wanting to do. My kids and I do not always see eye to eye because we are individuals with different thoughts and past experiences shaping us. If we disagree we talk and we work things out. We have a base of trust to work from though, and it's been built over the years. I think the assumption that anyone who is parenting this way, or in a way different from you, is just needing to fit in or trying to be cool is very inaccurate.
post #53 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathywiehl View Post
When I was between 7th and 8th grade, two classmates who were 12 and 13 were dropped off at the mall. They got into a car with two 18 year old boys who took them home and raped/killed them then left them on the side of the road in a ditch.

I know I keep replying to this, but I keep remembering reasons to be very very careful with this sort of thing.
My exhusband's girlfriend was murdered when they were 18. Something along the line of what happened to your classmates. He's very paranoid about the girls, but we have to allow them some freedom. I had too much freedom at a young age, but I was fairly responsible. That's not to say there weren't situations where I put myself in danger. I want my girls to learn to trust their instincts and not put themselves in bad situations.
post #54 of 100
A big : to everything UnschoolinMa posted. I wasn't very physically supervised as a teen and I hung out at arcades and went to movies with my friends alone at 13 and I didn't make shitty choices. I didn't have a need to rebel or sneak or lie. My parents and I talked openly about everything so there was no need to. And they weren't trying to be cool; they just respected and trusted us and we returned it. Drinking, drugs, sex none of those were something to hide from a parent but things to discuss with a parent. Did my parents ever disapprove of my choices? Sure but never in a way that shamed or punished me so I felt I had to sneak from then on. I think the way I turned out and the safe ways I chose to drink, get high and have sex (not as all at once as that sounds!) has a lot to do with my parents. The friends I had who were always mistrusted by parents with attitudes close to what I've heard on this thread didn't fare as well; they weren't taught to trust themselves to make smart decisions.
post #55 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole lisa View Post
A big : to everything UnschoolinMa posted. I wasn't very physically supervised as a teen and I hung out at arcades and went to movies with my friends alone at 13 and I didn't make shitty choices. I didn't have a need to rebel or sneak or lie. My parents and I talked openly about everything so there was no need to. And they weren't trying to be cool; they just respected and trusted us and we returned it. Drinking, drugs, sex none of those were something to hide from a parent but things to discuss with a parent. Did my parents ever disapprove of my choices? Sure but never in a way that shamed or punished me so I felt I had to sneak from then on. I think the way I turned out and the safe ways I chose to drink, get high and have sex (not as all at once as that sounds!) has a lot to do with my parents. The friends I had who were always mistrusted by parents with attitudes close to what I've heard on this thread didn't fare as well; they weren't taught to trust themselves to make smart decisions.

It is possible for a child to do exactly what you did. Absolutely. But it's no guarantee.

In my case, I was raised by the same type of parents. And I still had sex for the first time at age 12 in the mall bathroom. I was one of those kids that had to try everything. It's my personality. My motto has always been: an opportunity that passes you by is an opportunity wasted. I just had to try drugs, drink alcohol, and have sex when the opportunity presented itself. Unfortunately for me, those opportunities presented themselves when I was quite young. But making those choices doesn't mean I lived in fear from my parents or that my parents didn't trust me. It just means I have an adventurous personality and would have done those things anyway. . .I just wish I hadn't had the chance until I was a little older. And even though I went straight home and told my parents about getting drunk at 13, it doesn't make what I did acceptable.


I'm still that way, actually. I just now choose not to do drugs, drink alcohol, or have sex with random men because I've been there done that and didn't like it. But I still am game for anything else that comes my way (sky diving, bungee jumping, etc). Some things are just personality-based, not parenting-based.
post #56 of 100
You're right part of it probably does come down to personality. I also have a try anything once personality but I don't see my past choices as unfortunate and I was always very good about staying in control and safe while trying whatever. I've never regretted anything I did as a teen and I did a lot. I also learned a lot from it all. And I do think it has as much to do with the parenting I received as my personality. My parents and I just loved and still love long open discussions about what we're up to, have been up to or are thinking of being up to and how it has effected or is effecting us so as much time I spent out I spent an equal time sitting in the kitchen or on the couch or with a parent on the edge of my bed dissecting my choices. It wasn't just blanket freedom to do whatever I wanted. My parents were 100% involved in my life even if they weren't physically with me but that's because I wanted them there - they were invited to be as much a part of my life as I was theirs.
post #57 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole lisa View Post
I think the way I turned out and the safe ways I chose to drink, get high and have sex (not as all at once as that sounds!) has a lot to do with my parents. The friends I had who were always mistrusted by parents with attitudes close to what I've heard on this thread didn't fare as well; they weren't taught to trust themselves to make smart decisions.
I don't understand how not letting a young child roam equates to not trusting them - or sending the message that you don't trust them. I wasn't allowed to roam around by myself and I wasn't allowed to go to the mall by myself until I was 14 or so. I always knew it wasn't about my mother's trust for me but, rather, about the rest of the world. And I managed to grow up to make good choices, trust myself, etc. I actually managed to grow up to be someone who feels comfortable taking risks but does so without being reckless.

I guess I just think kids are smart enough to distinguish between "I don't trust you to make good choices" and "The world at large isn't set up to be navigated by a child your age, so I'm going to help you until you get older."
post #58 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
exactly. I wonder all the time how much more stupid could my parents have been. I know for a fact my mother was just naive. My dad, well he just didn't care. Times are much, much worse now. Just watch MTV for 10 minutes out of any given time of day and you will see that. Kids think they know it all now and are doing everything at a MUCH younger age. I'm so glad I'm not one of those "naive" moms who think their child is just fine with a cell phone because they are their perfect, can do nothing wrong child. I WAS that child and I know all too well what a kid can do behind their parents back. My kids will thank me one day when they are adults for being such a great parent, and not a naive one.

IMO a kid that wants to go to a mall or anywhere else alone with friends under the age of 16 is up to no good. That's when you don't want them to go (when THEY want to do it). Those kids are smart and know exactly what they are doing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
I don't understand how not letting a young child roam equates to not trusting them - or sending the message that you don't trust them. I wasn't allowed to roam around by myself and I wasn't allowed to go to the mall by myself until I was 14 or so. I always knew it wasn't about my mother's trust for me but, rather, about the rest of the world.

I was speaking specifically of posts like the one above, especially the bolded part.
post #59 of 100
Sure, personality is a factor. We all have different things that we just "come with". But I strive to be respectful while helping my kids be safe, and I think that some of the approaches/things said about kids here are just not. Specifically posts like Mommy68 where kids who are alone under 16 are automatically just up to no good...doesn't work for me at all.
post #60 of 100
So I don't have kids yet, but I've worked with them a lot. There comes a point, and it's different for everyone, where you are going to do what you're going to do, regardless of what your parents think is appropriate. That may come at 12 or at 25. At that point, if your kid wants to go out and have sex or drink or get a tattoo or join a church, they're gonna find a way to do it. Adolescents ARE smart, and capable of so much. Unless you are willing to never let your child out of your sight, they are going to make choices without you, and probably some choices you don't like. Hopefully, you've done your best to give them the tools to make good choices, helped them develop relationships with peers who will support those good choices, and built up trust so they know that you will be there if they make a choice they regret.
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