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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?

And being ds2 he's had to deal with lost tickets & missing buses & full buses etc - all good practice.

I am very pleased that 11 year old ds2 has to travel by public bus to school. It made him suddenly much more independent through necessity. The first few months he used to ring me if it was 5 mins late - now he just deals with it (I haven't told him not to, I just noticed that now he tends not to phone but moans about it when he gets home instead).

curlew Sat 21-Dec-13 18:09:54

If I was asked to say which individual had caused the most damage to the quality of our children's lives and psychological well being over the past few years it would be the lunatic who introduced the concept of "stranger danger"

friday16 Sat 21-Dec-13 18:01:49

fraumoose has it right. The set of people who have the finances to travel en famille by train but do bit drive is small. Not null. But small. And people tend to underestimate the cost of car travel and overestimate rail (something the rail industry encourages by a complex and counter - intuitive fate structure, with things like F&F and group save rather hidden). Hence unless people travel by train for work, a lot if adults and most children will not make long distance journeys by train. So it becomes "other". Hence these debates, which boil dien to people for whom rail travel is unusual versus people for whom it's familiar.

FrauMoose Sat 21-Dec-13 11:40:11

I think increasing affluence car ownership, more two car families, and a decline in public transport - especially in rural areas - has meant firstly that fewer leisure journeys take place on trains and buses, so some young people are less experienced at journeys that don't involve cars.

There's also been a massive increase in publicity about 'stranger danger' so that the norms of parenting have changed rather...

whatever5 Sat 21-Dec-13 11:10:44

*Yes. Which is why everyone is suggesting that she has plenty of practice with someone lose before she goes on her own.

Oh, and if we protect out children from all stress they will be pretty pathetic adults.*

It won't really save the OP's DH a lot of effort if he has to go up and down on the train with her a few times until she is used to it.

No one said that children should be protected from all stresses. I think that a good parent waits until a child is mature enough to deal with something rather than forcing it on them before they are ready though.

I didn't do long unfamiliar train journeys that involved changes in Birmingham and other stations until I was 17 (looking at universities) and I didn't find it that easy. I think that was and probably still is usual. I certainly don't remember anyone doing that at the age of 14 and we managed to grow up into independent non-pathetic adults.

Greenmug Sat 21-Dec-13 08:49:04

Just asked DH and he says it normally takes him around 2 hr 45 min so I was a tiny bit off. But to be fair we live about a mile from the A1 and his DD lives about 2 miles from it at the other end so it's a slightly ridiculous comparison from me really! I dont know what I'm on about sometimes. smile

ilovecolinfirth Sat 21-Dec-13 06:31:22

He's her dad and he's moaning about the trip? Wow!

NoComet Sat 21-Dec-13 01:29:38

There is or at least was the announcers nightmare.

A train that split in North Wales and it's two parts stopped at every single Un-prouncable place name north of Aberystwyth.

friday16 Fri 20-Dec-13 23:46:57

Earlier in the thread the OP said her DSD would probably have to change at Birmingham.

But then came back and said she wouldn't.

curlew Fri 20-Dec-13 23:34:34

"It's not that easy and it would be stressful for a 14 year old if they're on their own and not used to traveling on a train"

Yes. Which is why everyone is suggesting that she has plenty of practice with someone lose before she goes on her own.

Oh, and if we protect out children from all stress they will be pretty pathetic adults.

whatever5 Fri 20-Dec-13 23:28:46

*There are 12. They are helpfully numbered 1 to 12.

For short trains, each platform has an A end and a B end, which I suppose might complicate things slightly. It's hardly the most challenging of concepts.

There's also the mysterious, for stopping trains to Liverpool and a few obscure services to Wales. Given it's cut into the end of 4B, it doesn't require deep skills to find.*

It's not that easy and it would be stressful for a 14 year old if they're on their own and not used to traveling on a train.

whatever5 Fri 20-Dec-13 23:27:52

*There are 12. They are helpfully numbered 1 to 12.

For short trains, each platform has an A end and a B end, which I suppose might complicate things slightly. It's hardly the most challenging of concepts.

There's also the mysterious, for stopping trains to Liverpool and a few obscure services to Wales. Given it's cut into the end of 4B, it doesn't require deep skills to find.*

It's not that easy and it would be stressful for a 14 year old if they're on their own and not used to traveling on a train.

whatever5 Fri 20-Dec-13 23:23:06

She doesn't have to change at Birmingham, why is everyone so obsessed with the idea??

Earlier in the thread the OP said her DSD would probably have to change at Birmingham.

curlew Fri 20-Dec-13 23:21:47

Oh,ffs. This father isn't begrudging, or anything like that. He's got a dodgy knee and 400 miles round trip is a long drive. Which he does, willingly if with a perfectly natural complaint or two. The OP was canvassing opinions on an idea to make life easier for the family. But as stepmothers seem to be the second most hated group on Mumsnet, it has become a how very dare you even think of letting this precious poppet run the terrifying gauntlet of highwaymen and footpads who lurk on British Rail to lure the unwary into white slavery.

Teenagers like being capable and doing real things. It's sometimes hideously scary for us to let them, but that's our job!

pixiepotter Fri 20-Dec-13 23:13:14

This kind of assumes bringing up a child scared of the world, and curtailing their independence until some magical age at which they are suddenly deemed to be able to cope, is entirely without consequence. Well, it isn't. Everything you do/don't let or encourage a child to do has risks attached to it. Intelligent adults do a reasonable risk assessment and, if the risk is not too great, give a child coping strategies and encourage them to get on with it. And, in the last resort, they are always there to pick up the pieces.

But we are doing that! Because our 'risk assessment' is different to yours, does not make us wrong or mollycoddling!!

And why would a child be 'scared of the world'?
They would be more likely frigtened of the world if they were put in a situation they couldn't cope with.And that is the kind of fear which is much much harder to overcome if not impossible.

shebird Fri 20-Dec-13 23:10:07

If your SD and DH are not happy about it then no point forcing the issue. Things might be completely different in a year or so, more maturity and your DH might let go a bit more. Perhaps if he did the train journey with her once they would both happier about it.

friday16 Fri 20-Dec-13 22:55:56

So what's your point, pixie? Should we post links to all the car accidents that happened today as well?

nooka Fri 20-Dec-13 22:53:46

Pixie that was a nasty incident for an adult at a local train station. Sometimes bad things happen, but unless you plan to hold your child's hand and physically protect them at all times then there will always be some exposure to bad things in life.

nooka Fri 20-Dec-13 22:51:38

It's an eight hour drive for the guy! I don't think it's that unreasonable for him not to look forward to that sort of length of journey, especially as he has a dodgy knee. The fact that he has been doing the journey for a long time and isn't even considering any other options suggest to me that seeing his daughter is very important to him.

If he suggests the train as an option to her I really think at 14 she should be able to understand that he is still fully committed to her, even if she doesn't feel ready (or her mum refuses).

pixiepotter Fri 20-Dec-13 22:50:31
MisguidedHamwidge Fri 20-Dec-13 22:30:22

*care enough. Sorry for various iPhone fails [sigh]

MisguidedHamwidge Fri 20-Dec-13 22:29:15

From the age of 12, I did a 10 hour train journey from one end of the country to the other and Rnfn sometimes had to change at Birmingham!

I can't have been overly traumatised because all I remember about Birmingham was a big black horse sign that was on the platform (maybe an advert for Lloyd's bank?!) It was an enjoyable journey, with a book & a packed lunch.

Anyway, I don't think the travelling is the point here really. Your DH doesn't live with his daughter, I think it sad that he is moaning about driving to get her. It's a shame that he isn't excited about going to see her. If he suggests rage she travels alone she may feel as if he doesn't car enough to make the effort.

nooka Fri 20-Dec-13 22:27:15

I am amazed by the number of people who seem to think that the idea of a 14 year old making a train journey on their own is even something to talk about. It seems a totally run of the mill idea to me.

Yes there is always the risk that the child might get into some sort of trouble, but that is an argument for never allowing your children to be on their own at all. I traveled a fair bit as a teen (to school, up to town, visiting relatives etc) but the only time I was ever sexually assaulted was in our local park on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It is terrible that such things happen at all, but really a train seems a fairly unlikely place to me.

My children are 13 and 14 and I would be totally happy about either of them making this sort of trip. If there was a connection I might think about going with them to that station and getting them familiar with it (we've done this with dd for bus journeys). ds went to visit my mum in the UK last summer (we live in Canada), he wasn't an UM and he had a five hour layover. I was of course a bit nervous seeing him off but he was fine.

sooperdooper Fri 20-Dec-13 22:18:28

She doesn't have to change at Birmingham, why is everyone so obsessed with the idea??

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