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#1 of 28 Old 04-21-2013, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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At what age did you start allowing your child to go on rides alone (well, in our case, it would be with a friend)? We have a summer pass for 6 Flags and we are hoping to encourage  some independence. At what age can they explore without mom and dad?

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#2 of 28 Old 04-21-2013, 12:00 PM
 
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9-ish.
Not being alone and in a very familiar place is key.

The park might have a set age limit

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#3 of 28 Old 04-21-2013, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The girls are 10, and we would be leaving a phone with them. We were hoping to let them go on a couple rides and then meet back up, check in, and then go on.

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#4 of 28 Old 04-21-2013, 04:43 PM
 
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10 is old enough for sure.

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#5 of 28 Old 04-22-2013, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is so interesting, because on a more "mainstream" site the answers are between 13-15. People are saying it is far too dangerous...

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#6 of 28 Old 04-22-2013, 06:38 AM
 
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Rather than a specific age, I'd consider whether they all exhibit the necessary characteristics to be trusted with some unsupervised independence away from home.

 

Are they level-headed, conscientious, and responsible? If there is a problem, will they be able to cope? Problems could include things like one of them getting sick on a ride or getting stuck on the ride if there is equipment malfunction. If one of them is unlikely to manage well or get hysterical, then I would probably stay close rather than heading off to the other side of the park. 

 

If one is trustworthy and the other isn't, then I would hesitate to leave them on their own. 

 

10 could be just fine. 

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#7 of 28 Old 04-22-2013, 07:40 AM
 
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I agree that 10 sounds reasonable, and that the main thing is whether the girls are reasonably competent, confident and trustworthy.

I'm not surprised that parents on a more mainstream board would suggest a higher age. Overprotective parenting is becoming the norm these days. I honestly expected that here, but maybe it's less here because of our resistance to paranoia-driven hyper-vigilance in pregnancy and labor, and a tendency to be more in tune with our kids actual needs and abilities. If that leads to a more free-range childhood, I'm all for it! :-)

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#8 of 28 Old 04-22-2013, 08:24 AM
 
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If waiting until 15 to let them roam an amusement park what is going to happen when they are out in the scary big world at 16 driving a car to who knows where? I find that very odd!

 

And if I got stuck on a ride I would totally freak out. 

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#9 of 28 Old 04-22-2013, 08:33 AM
 
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I think my 11-year-old is less likely to freak out on a broken ride than I am. LOL!

I would let her go off with a similar-aged friend to go on a ride so long as they had a cell phone with them.
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#10 of 28 Old 04-22-2013, 09:25 AM
 
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I think that 10 is fine. I also think this happens in steps. You don't go from being RIGHT ON TOP of a child to leaving them. So as long as they know what to "do" if something happens they will be fine.

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#11 of 28 Old 04-22-2013, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If waiting until 15 to let them roam an amusement park what is going to happen when they are out in the scary big world at 16 driving a car to who knows where? I find that very odd!

 

And if I got stuck on a ride I would totally freak out. 

I agree! I wrote this response:

 

"I'm so confused by people who are saying 16+. At 16, our children are expected to be able to navigate the world well enough to be responsible to drive. They need to be able to negotiate using a map or gps, to be able to ask for directions if needed, and be able to keep themselves and the rest of the world safe in a thousand pound weapon travelling at high speeds, but some of you would be unwilling to have them walk away and meet back up in an hour??"

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#12 of 28 Old 04-22-2013, 10:38 AM
 
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I think ten is fine for walking around an amusement park without parents, especially if there are two kids together and they know where to go to get directions.
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#13 of 28 Old 04-22-2013, 11:57 AM
 
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Dd1 (12yrs old) is taking a field trip to a six flags with a water park. The only rules are you can't be alone and you need to check in every two hours.

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#14 of 28 Old 04-24-2013, 02:58 PM
 
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I would practice with shorter intervals and work up to longer intervals.  The hardest thing about amusement parks is that there is unpredictable wait times.  So they might be in line for 20-30 mins so if you said "two rides and meet us at the tea-cups" that could be an hour.  Also, it is really hard to hear your phone while around roller coasters!  We had multiple issues last year while at an amusement park of not being able to find each other and calling and calling with no answer.

 

So I think responsible 10 year olds should be fine, just make sure you scaffold the experience and then have some contingencies built in (i.e. send us a text when you are about to ride" the crazy roller coaster that has a really long wait time" so we have an idea of when to expect you at the carousel.

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#15 of 28 Old 04-24-2013, 07:30 PM
 
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i think the plan you have is fine. many times kids want to do things, then they realise they are not ready for it.

 

you have a two hour check in.

 

i wouldnt say the age thing either. i'd go by how they can handle things. how calm they would be if they got lost and what they did. 

 

my dd i'd totally let her do it at 10. 


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#16 of 28 Old 04-26-2013, 07:16 PM
 
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i would say 9 with a phone with them.if you are going to meet them at the exit to ride. or 10 if meeting at a meeting place .


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#17 of 28 Old 04-27-2013, 04:00 PM
 
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I think 10-11 is fine depending on the kid.  My oldest is 8 and I don't see it happening in 2 years bc he is very immature.  I would definitely have clear rules and a designated place to meet at a specific time every 2-3 hours.


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#18 of 28 Old 04-27-2013, 04:08 PM
 
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10 seems fine to me. I've always found it weird like another poster said that people don't allow their kids any freedom and then they get their licence at 16, move away to university at 17 and start drinking at 18 (at least in Quebec)... then they're surprised when the kids lose their minds at their first taste of freedom.
I'd much rather offer my son some freedom while I can keep him on the invisible leash (cell phone), than offer him no life skills and hope for the best when he turns 18 and it's considered harassment to text him every 15 minutes lol
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#19 of 28 Old 04-27-2013, 06:23 PM
 
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We had season passes to six flags for a few years.

 

I get super motion sick so I was pretty motivated to have my kid ride without me.

 

From about 7, I would let my kid ride a ride with a friend and without me, but I'd walk the whole line with them, watch them get on and then take the chicken exit.  This was mostly the kind of rides where you see the whole thing, because the roller coasters have height restrictions.  Younger than that I would have done a kiddie ride without me, but we didn't have tickets then.  

 

By about 9 or 10, I'd let them go in a ride while I sat at the entry to the line, or maybe go off and do 2 rides, but with a pretty clear plan (e.g. you'll ride this, then ride this) but not much more than that.

 

11 to 13 would be "I'll meet you at X ride in 3 hours, keep your cell phone on".

 

Now that he's 14, I can see dropping him at the park and leaving, or letting him take the subway to the park, but he's really outgrown six flags.

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#20 of 28 Old 04-28-2013, 05:03 PM
 
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Wow. Well, I'll be the voice of dissent. That is way, way out of my comfort zone. I can't imagine letting my kids roam an amusement park by themselves at age 10. They definitely would not want to, either. I think there's a huge difference between a 4th grader and a 16 yr old/sophomore/junior in high school. I am not an overprotective parent, either, but amusement parks are weird places with lots of weird people (and I mean that in a bad way, definitely). I would and have let my kids roam with their friends (w/ regular check-in times) at our local hippie music festival and felt fine about that, but not at a big amusement park. I can't imagine my friends w/ kids doing that either. 

 

I think an amusement park is bordering on a hostile environment. People are hawking stuff, trying to sell all kinds of things. Rides are scary. Unless you know your way around it's easy to get lost and turned around. No way for us. 

 

My kids are not big on rides. They sort of like them, but find them pretty scary sometimes. I'd much sooner turn them loose in the woods. 


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#21 of 28 Old 04-28-2013, 05:25 PM
 
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Our amusement parks are pretty safe. Everyone is photographed and you go through a metal detector... And lines are so long that you spend 45 minutes in line/deciding what ride you're going on next, 2.5 minutes on the actual ride and 2 minutes running to the next line. If you're aiming to go on more than 5 rides all day, there isn't much time to get into any trouble.
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#22 of 28 Old 05-01-2013, 11:28 AM
 
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I agree! I wrote this response:

 

"I'm so confused by people who are saying 16+. At 16, our children are expected to be able to navigate the world well enough to be responsible to drive. They need to be able to negotiate using a map or gps, to be able to ask for directions if needed, and be able to keep themselves and the rest of the world safe in a thousand pound weapon travelling at high speeds, but some of you would be unwilling to have them walk away and meet back up in an hour??"

Very well put. Curious what the replies were. I also think it is beyond strange. Off topic, I think the driving limit should be 18 like in europe, and only after proper driving school and test. 

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#23 of 28 Old 05-01-2013, 02:14 PM
 
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FWIW, Driver's License requirements differ by state. You can't be fully licensed in my state at 16. You have a provisional license if you're in school and your grades are good enough and you've gone to Driver's Ed, and have been driving with an adult in the car at all times for a year. 

 

Big difference between being 10 and being 16 or 15 or 14, too. Disney has just banned under 14s from being unsupervised in their parks. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/18/disney-world-kid-ban_n_2898007.html


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#24 of 28 Old 05-01-2013, 02:36 PM
 
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FWIW, Driver's License requirements differ by state. You can't be fully licensed in my state at 16. You have a provisional license if you're in school and your grades are good enough and you've gone to Driver's Ed, and have been driving with an adult in the car at all times for a year. 

Big difference between being 10 and being 16 or 15 or 14, too. Disney has just banned under 14s from being unsupervised in their parks. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/18/disney-world-kid-ban_n_2898007.html

Disney's ban is for kids under 14 entering the park alone. They don't want parents to drop the kids off at the park.
They can still roam the park without an adult beside them.

14 is a hard age to enforce. Most girls that age look older and boys look younger but don't readily have an ID. Maybe if the would require a child's ticket for everyone under14. Easier to pick out without basing it on looks.

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#25 of 28 Old 05-01-2013, 03:16 PM
 
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Wow, in Alberta a 14 year old kid can legally drive on their own if they have at least a 17 year old friend with a licence... but that's probably because it was until recently just a farm/oil province. They're used to being treated like adults as soon as they can throw a hay bale. I learned to drive when I was 12 and it never occurred to me to treat a vehicle like a toy. In Ontario I see people who get their license as adults and they lose all common sense. The same thing happened with alcohol when I went to university. I had always been allowed to drink (although I never really drank but it wasn't prohibited for me to) so the temptation to binge drink wasn't really there for me, but for some of my classmates... wow... they blew all their money, some of them went missing (just for the night, not permanently), they got into trouble with the police, woke up in parks, etc. Their parents definitely did them no favors in that case.

 

I'm curious what parents who don't allow their kids as young as 10 to go off by themselves at an amusement are worried will happen? I know we all live in different parts of different countries so maybe that makes situations different. 

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#26 of 28 Old 05-01-2013, 06:41 PM
 
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Well, I can't speak to other people, but I would be afraid that my kids would 1) get lost, 2) get freaked out, 3) get lost and freaked out, 4) get on a scary ride and get freaked out, 5) run into someone who would try to take advantage of them (get them to waste money on a dumb game, steal from them, or worst case hurt them). My kids walk to their friend's house down the street by themselves, but they don't go to the regular park by themselves and they really don't want to. They get freaked out easily (especially my oldest), so this is really a non-issue for us. They would never want to go to an amusement park by themselves at this age. At some point, maybe, but not anytime real soon.


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#27 of 28 Old 05-02-2013, 05:28 PM
 
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Beanma, I'm only thinking of scenarios where a kid attended this park at least periodically in the past. For instance, my son has been going to DisneyLand since he was born. He'll be ten next year. I would absolutely let him and a friend go for a couple hours with a phone and a check-in plan. He knows that place like the back of his hand.

 

But I wouldn't let him go at a park we'd never been to. At age 12, yes, but not at ten. (He also has a good sense of direction and is adept at reading maps.)

 

There might be kids who are okay in the woods alone at age 10, but that would totally freak me out, because we live in a urban area.

-e


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#28 of 28 Old 05-03-2013, 12:25 PM
 
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My DS hasn't been to the fair since he was three and both kids (almost-nine and six) have never been to an amusement park. So, going alone isn't even on the radar for quite a while. I'm pretty free range, my kids can play outside without me being there or go to a neighboring street as long as I know where they're heading. They can play on their own at the park without me following (only needing supervision if they are going to swing on a vine over a creek.) They can go to a different row at Target or the supermarket. But, I can't imagine my oldest navigating even a familiar amusement park by himself for quite a while.
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