My son and the skatepark!

(20 Posts)
WeAreGypsy Mon 08-Aug-16 14:42:50

Honestly can't make my mind up about this one.

My 13 year old DS likes going to the skatepark. He goes there to play on his scooter. He's not mad about it like some boys, but still likes it quite alot. Also his best friend goes there every day. There are quite a few boys there he gets on with and I'm guessing most of them nice (I don't go up there myself as that would be a no-no!). But others are a bit more (cough) streetwise. Also, there are older boys - men really in their late teens and twenties - who my son tells me hang around there smoking on their vape pipes and smoking weed.

My son has always had a fairly long leash and plays out quite alot. I pretty much trust him, but obviously not 100% as he's still a scatty 13 year old. I am also very pleased he's not playing on his X box etc. He comes home at a reasonable time, etc etc.

But its the long Summer holidays. He seems to want to be there most days. I wish he would try other activities maybe with different friends. His current mates won't do anything else much, except occasional football.

A couple of my friends wouldn't let their kids 'hang out' at the skate park, and this has also made me question myself.

So, in conclusion, what I am saying is I don't mind him going there sometimes, but not too much. However, its difficult to put limits on where he goes. AIBU? Am I fretting unnecessarily?! Any suggestions or experience?

Sorry this was surprisingly long!

doctoratsea Mon 08-Aug-16 15:06:37

Tough age - obviously he is having fun, and trying to "organise" his time would not only be difficult, but not welcome by him either.

If it was me, I would have a frank and open chat with him to explain the boundaries, what is acceptable and what is not. If he then chooses to cross the line and break your trust, you can withdraw this privelage. An open channel for communication works best in these situations IMO.

Harrymetsally123 Mon 08-Aug-16 15:11:03

I haven't got a teen however I was one, be open with him. If he's told u about the Vaping and weed he's obviously got a trusting open relationship with you. Just build from that explain to him u don't want to stop him going however the summer holidays are a perfect time to explore other interests/hobbies he may like, even explore new areas of your environment (within reason obviously).
Maybe ask if there's interests or activities u could do together, as a family etc... Or even on his own!

It's a difficult one though, he's obviously an active kid u don't want to stifle that but I understand u wanting him explore other horizons.

Be honest with him he may surprise you

heron98 Mon 08-Aug-16 15:19:45

My DP spent his youth in skateparks BMXing and even now still has the odd trip there.

I'd never set foot in one before meeting him and have since gone to a fair few as he seems to like checking them out whenever we pass one (!).

I have to say - I think they're fantastic. It's a great way for kids to spend their time - learning new tricks, perservering at something difficult, learning from each other, and being out and about in the fresh air.

Yes, there can be some rougher characters, but how else do children learn how to handle themselves if they're not given the opportunity?

We live in quite a rough area and I'd be more than happy for my son (or daughter) to hang out at the skate park. you can't wrap them up in bubble wrap forever.

WeAreGypsy Mon 08-Aug-16 15:24:36

Thanks Doctor and Harry. We do have a chat about the skate park from time to time. He is pretty open with me. I have encouraged him to do other things (he's not bovvered really though, at least at the moment, and probably won't be until "girls"(?) or see other mates. And we do go out occasionally. But for now, it seems the skate park is the place to go! I am amazed some parents can just say "no", but maybe it depends what their local skate park is like.

Anyway, its great to get other perspectives and thoughts.

WeAreGypsy Mon 08-Aug-16 15:25:53

thanks Heron

ilongforlustre Mon 08-Aug-16 15:30:13

We have a large skate park close to us. My youngest is only 9 and went through a period of being quite keen to take his scooter there. We got chased off if you like (not literally can't think of a better phrase) by the older kids, swearing, hogging the ramps, calming him name. I was stood there! Any effort to intervene and I'd get a mouthful of abuse as well.

In my experience it's a lot better when the older youth/adults are around. They don't take any nonsense from the younger ones and seem to humble them into shutting up a bit, weed or no I'm happier when they are there.

You skate park sounds like it has a wider demographic than ours has. If your son has a group of mates and gets on ok I'd lay some ground rules and let him go. As you say at least he's not sitting around on his Xbox all day.

You could also threaten to turn up with sandwiches to check up on him if he doesn't check in with you....

dizzyfeck Mon 08-Aug-16 15:31:11

I really think you have to trust your son on this one. To be fair most urban skateparks are weed havens.

You are in exactly the position that my friend is in, her DS is 13 and loves the local skatepark in South East London. He has told her pretty much the same thing that your son said. Many like smoking and taking drugs at the skatepark and it often goes with the territory. My friend's son said this to her when he was 10 though as he is quite a wild one (freedom not behaviour).

He will not react well if you tell him not to go, I have a 13 year old with different freedom issues and that is often not the best approach. I would just ask him if the smoking etc bothers him and ask him if he thinks he would ever be tempted and how he could avoid those situations if all his friends started smoking etc. What do you think would happen type scenarios to get him thinking.

Also you could suggest he do something else for a while if the atmosphere there bothers him.

ilongforlustre Mon 08-Aug-16 15:32:15

Calling him names

Good grief.

WeAreGypsy Mon 08-Aug-16 15:39:48

yes IlongforLustre, I get the impression there is a pecking order at the skate park. my son says the older teens-men do see themselves as having priority over the younger ones and will expect them to literally get out of the way! my son started going there earlier in the morning to have the park more to himself!

WeAreGypsy Mon 08-Aug-16 15:43:32

I think whatwouldyoudo scenarios are quite a good idea dizzy. He's already tried a vape once he told me. We had a chat about that. But though I think he's had some good times with different age groups, I think he generally does see the older weed-smokers as somewhat pathetic ...

MrsWorryWart Mon 08-Aug-16 15:48:06

My DS spends quite a lot of time at a skate park. He only ever wants to go when his mates are there and would never just nip by himself.

I do try to chat to him, in an informal way, and he responds really well surprisingly well for a hormonal teen.

celeryisnotasuperfood Mon 08-Aug-16 15:51:34

Funnily enough i'm a bit like Heron even though my kids are not that age yet. I see kids in the parks and they're being active and would much prefer that to the image of a kid always on a console or obsessed with clothes and makeup.
Sounds like you've got good open communication, he's aware of the dangers of vaping, weed and alcohol. Keep talking to him to ensure he has the emotional maturity to deal with the people there and isn't being bullied and he will learn a lot more about social interaction as well as have fun...

Bloopbleep Mon 08-Aug-16 15:57:58

I used to use skateparks well into my 20s so I was one of those sad older people (tho no vaping existed then) - what I do know is that the older ones do keep an order so there unlikely to be much bullying and probably no fighting. I actually think it's a fantastic place to make lifelong friendships who do something other than get pissed and hang about shops. It emphasise fitness and activity too. Generally it's a safe environment (they're unlikely to be sharing their weed unless your son's chipped in too). If you give your son realistic boundaries and leave communication lines open so he can approach you about stuff like trying weed you'll find it will all work out. Putting up barriers or unrealistic boundaries will only create rebellion in the long run. Imo

WeAreGypsy Mon 08-Aug-16 16:06:40

Oops sorry Bloop!

Plus of course I would bet on it, its not weed as in that light, happy grass, if you can even get that stuff anymore. But that awful wretched skunk stuff, which I am very anti (but not enough to drive DS to it!). I've told him the reality that it causes permanent frontal lobe damage on teenagers especially with their still-growing brains, and I'm hopeful he's too switched-on to go down that route.

Bloopbleep Mon 08-Aug-16 16:23:01

Yeah skunk is a bit nasty but I'm told that's not big on the marketplace at the moment - I don't hold out much hope the replacement is much better. (Get me! I don't even smoke ffs!)

WeAreGypsy Mon 08-Aug-16 16:24:19

sorry, went off topic a bit then! but feedback helpful, cheers.

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Mon 08-Aug-16 16:34:04

I'd be airing on the side of caution, and I know that not all kids are the same. But my own son loved the skatepark, he went there everyday at this age, and would come home for a late tea (maybe 6pm) I didn't know that he had started hanging with the "wrong crowd", he had always been upfront with me, but he started smoking weed, it progressed to other drugs. He seems to be on the way out of the woods now, but it's been a rough few years. I'm not saying don't trust him, we have to trust our kids, but don't bury your head in the sand and think it can't happen to you. It can happen to anyone.

WeAreGypsy Mon 08-Aug-16 16:46:08

Thanks for added words of caution Billy, and I am glad your son is on his way out of the woods now.... When school starts again I am hoping the skate park visits will be less often.

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Mon 08-Aug-16 16:48:32

I love our local skatepark, it's the hub of the local community for our teenagers and it's great. The whole community came together to fundraise for it, and I'm certainly not knocking it, or any parent who encourages their kids to go to these places, just be aware.

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