to think my 14-year-old stepDD really should be able to take the bus/train on her own to visit us?

(419 Posts)
cinnamontoast Wed 18-Dec-13 21:35:11

DH complains about having to drive a round trip of nearly 400 miles in the school holidays to bring her down to visit, but won't contemplate her using public transport. At her age I was happily getting the train on my own to visit relatives at the other end of the country - and I didn't have a mobile. Surely learning to travel independently is an important life skill?

picnicbasketcase Wed 18-Dec-13 21:38:29

Depending on how mature and responsible she is, she should be able to use public transport, yes.

harticus Wed 18-Dec-13 21:38:49

Learning to travel independently is important - but 400 miles alone on a train at 14?
I think it is still a bit too young.

Annunziata Wed 18-Dec-13 21:39:01

Teenagers like to talk in the car. It could be a very good time for them to talk together.

WhatEverItIsIDidntDoIt Wed 18-Dec-13 21:39:25

You expect a 14 year old to travel 200 miles!

<shock>

YABVU

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 21:39:33

DH complains about having to drive a round trip of nearly 400 miles in the school holidays to bring her down to visit, but won't contemplate her using public transport.

In the absence of special needs, particularly awkward journeys, etc, it's perfectly reasonable for a 14 year old to do a 200 mile journey on public transport. Mobile phone, debit card, something to read and an iPod.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 21:39:40

My DS is 14 in a couple of months and there is no way I would want him going a round trip of 400 miles unaccompanied

Part of that though is that we don't use public transport at all as a family. Is this girl well used to making similar trips alone on a regular basis

That would actually terrify me and I am not easily spooked

3littlefrogs Wed 18-Dec-13 21:39:56

My dd has done this since she was about 13.

The first few times I booked special deals on first class (child rate is very cheap). I ask the conductor (sorry can't remember what they are called on trains)to keep an eye on her and make sure she has a booked seat, a fully charged mobile phone, a packed lunch, and someone to meet her at the other end.

In my view she is just as safe getting a train from one end of the country to the other as she is on a bus or the tube in North London.

SundaySimmons Wed 18-Dec-13 21:40:23

I agree with you. My daughter is now 15 but last year was able to travel 300 miles from Wales to London and to Essex.

My son has travelled on his own from a younger age, mainly because he has an excellent sense of direction.

Teaching children to travel independently is a very valuable life skill.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 18-Dec-13 21:41:01

400 miles on her own on public transport or 400 miles in a car with her dad? I know which i'd prefer and i'm a lot older than 14. Cant he look at it as great one on one time?

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 21:41:20

it depends on her really and if she would be happy doing the journey.
but yes I think she should be able to do that at 14 esp if being taken to the train/bus and met at the other end

Nanny0gg Wed 18-Dec-13 21:41:49

Does he not enjoy spending the time with her?

Our DC were more than capable of coming home from uni under their own steam, but as we missed them, it was nice to chat in the car when collecting and returning.

Rosencrantz Wed 18-Dec-13 21:41:51

I think it's fine. It's not miles travelled but time spent travelling IMO. She could spend just as long travelling across a city in rush hour.

Iamsparklyknickers Wed 18-Dec-13 21:42:08

Depends on the 14 year old? That one's a bit tricky I think. She's certainly on her way to being grown up, but there's a lot that could go wrong on a 200 mile trip completely alone.

Do you put her on a coach on the basis she can be seated near the driver or the train to cut down the length of time?

I don't think it's something I'd do myself, and would probably judge but keep my mouth shut if someone I know did it.

Don't some companies have restrictions on under 16's travelling alone?

RandomMess Wed 18-Dec-13 21:42:18

If it's a direct route absolutely no issue at all although she may need to gain experience first if she doesn't usually use public transport?

DaveBussell Wed 18-Dec-13 21:43:29

Is the train journey very complicated with a lot of changes, and does her other parent object to her using the train?

I think you are right that it is an important life skill and as long as she has a phone on her and enough money in case of any problems then she should be fine. Trouble is if she has been encouraged to think she won't be safe then she's probably going to be very reluctant.

if it is a straight journey i would say fine, my two were getting on train from a-B at the age of 10. If she has to change get someone to do the jouney with her a few times to teach her what to do, and how to cope if it all goes wrong.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Wed 18-Dec-13 21:43:43

I wouldn't have travelled 200 miles at that age, personally I think it should be up to her with what she feels most comfortable with.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 21:43:49

but 400 miles alone on a train at 14?

200 (it's a 400 mile round trip to collect here). And what odds does the distance make? You get on, you sit down, you arrive, you stand up, you get off. It doesn't really matter if it's 50 or 250, does it?

3littlefrogs Wed 18-Dec-13 21:44:29

Why don't they both travel by train?

If you book online well in advance it can work out very reasonable. Fuel and wear and tear on your car is expensive, plus a 400 mile trip is tiring if you are driving.

I have done London to Leeds for £10 before now.

dyslexicdespot Wed 18-Dec-13 21:44:43

Does your step DD enjoy the trip? It could very well be important to her, to have some time alone with her father.

LydiaLunches Wed 18-Dec-13 21:45:00

My sister and I did this from 12 and 14, a little further in fact but no changes which is probably important. Fine to put in one end and collect at the other I think.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 21:46:08

Why don't they both travel by train?

Use a friends and family card for the two tickets for the "inner" return journey, and a standard adult ticket for the "outer" return on his own. Big saving.

coppertop Wed 18-Dec-13 21:47:29

It depends on the journey.

If it's a question of getting on a bus/train and staying on it until she reaches her destination then it's possibly do-able.

If it involves multiple changes of train/bus then that's a different matter. Would she know what to do, for example, if there was a delay which meant that she missed the next train/bus?

Being able to travel independently may be a life skill, but it doesn't follow that she should have to acquire it at the age of 14.

Could your dh go by train or bus to collect her a few times and travel back with her so that she gets used to the route?

Norudeshitrequired Wed 18-Dec-13 21:47:51

He's her dad and if he wants to maintain the relationship with his daughter then he should make the round trip with her. Does he mind the journey or is it just you?
Failing wanting to do the journey, you could always up sticks and move closer to her.

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