Going to the park alone?

(69 Posts)
Utterlyshitmum Sun 18-Sep-16 10:28:10

My son is 8 (only just) and the park is about 4-5 minutes away. It's across 2 quiet roads. He keeps asking if he can go on his own.

He is very sensible and is older than his age. But I still feel like 8 is too young.

I don't know if I just need to get a grip and and stop babying him?

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Sun 18-Sep-16 10:31:03

My dd is 11 next week and had just started going to the park around the corner with her friends from school. My dd is nearly 8 and I wouldn't let him go alone.

VioletBam Sun 18-Sep-16 10:32:59

No...I don't allow mine to go to the park alone. She's 8 too. My older DD was allowed at 10-11. Year 6.

Ego147 Sun 18-Sep-16 10:34:22

Where I live, plenty of children that age and under hang out, cross busy roads, go to the park etc.

What do you think could happen?

My Ds is 9. He goes to the park alone but he has no roads to cross and it's on our estate. I do still worry though how he copes when negative situations arise. So far he just comes home, with the occasional cuts and bruises.

Hoppinggreen Sun 18-Sep-16 10:35:58

I wouldn't. I allow my 11 year old to with her friends and her phone in case of emergencies. You might get some other people tell you that from age 5 German children roam the forests wrestling bears
However, whatever anyone on here says you shouldn't allow your DC to do anything your gut instinct tells you not to ( within reason)

potoftea Sun 18-Sep-16 10:36:15

I don't think anyone can tell you if its too young as we don't know your son or park. But what exactly are you worried about? If you can be confident that he knows how to handle likely problems then its OK, but he could be 8 or 12 or any age really when he reaches that point.
Kids are so different, my dad was very sensible and able to rationally cope with things at 8 whereas my ds would have panicked easily and been unsafe.

potoftea Sun 18-Sep-16 10:37:22

My dd obviously not dad!

BertrandRussell Sun 18-Sep-16 10:39:50

"However, whatever anyone on here says you shouldn't allow your DC to do anything your gut instinct tells you not to ( within reason)"

I honestly think this is such bad advice. If I went with my gut instinct my 20 year old would still be home and never allowed out after sunset!

Don't use your gut to make decisions. Use your brain- that's what it's for!

celeste83 Sun 18-Sep-16 10:40:03

Why does he want to go alone for?

Ego147 Sun 18-Sep-16 10:44:00

Why does he want to go alone for*

To sit on the swings and contemplate life?

To see if any other children are there who have been allowed out to play by themselves?

Munstermonchgirl Sun 18-Sep-16 10:49:02

depends on various factors. If he's mature and streetwise, crossing 2 quiet roads and a 4 minute walk should be fine. But what about when he's at the park? Will he be alone or meet friends there? Is it a 'family' type park with plenty of parents around? Does he have a mobile?

As a parent of now grownup children, my advice would be a) take into account the individual child - some are more sensible, confident, while others are more anxious or u reliable, and b) try to work backwards from what you know is reasonable. So, if you will expect your child to be getting to school independent by bus or walking when they go to secondary school, it would be madness to not allow them to go anywhere alone until say, age 10. Likewise I always used to be a bit confused at friends who were reluctant to let their kids go to music festivals at age 16... I mean two years later and they'll be adults and able to totally make their own choice about everything! A graduated approach is by far the best- don't mollycoddle him until he's at an age when you suddenly have to let him do stuff because all his peers are. Small steps is the way to go. Eg maybe let him walk on ahead to the park but you catch up 10 mins later... Next he goes with a friend etc

Utterlyshitmum Sun 18-Sep-16 11:26:11

He has a mobile and is very sensible.

Park is sometimes empty, sometimes has other parents with children. Sometimes has other children on his own.

Think he wants to go on his own because some of his friends at school are allowed to go on their own. And my mum has let him go to the park on his own when at her house (whole other thread. I wasn't too happy with it but I hadn't actually said "don't let him go anywhere alone" I had thought it was implied). And also he is just wanting that bit of independence and being grown up. In addition I have friends who live in a different area who have a park on the estate, so their children are allowed to go to the park from being 5 or so. He doesn't understand why they can go but he can't.

It's not so much that I think anything would happen. More if it's not an ok age to allow him to go on his own that I'd get a visit from social services and get into trouble.

I think he is sensible enough to be able to go on his own. But it's hard to decide what is right.

Mostly no answers so I'm going to stick with saying no

Munstermonchgirl Sun 18-Sep-16 11:49:53

I don't think you need to worry about social services. But you've obviously weighed it up and feel not at the moment, which is fine. But the advice about graduated steps is some of the best advice I received when pondering these things.

Ego147 Sun 18-Sep-16 11:54:34

More if it's not an ok age to allow him to go on his own that I'd get a visit from social services and get into trouble

I honestly think social services have got far bigger issues than dealing with a parent who lets an 8 yr old child go to the local park on their own to meet up with other children his age who might well be there.

He doesn't understand why they can go but he can't

What will you tell him?

Do you let him play outside (not in the garden) with his friends?

Mycraneisfixed Sun 18-Sep-16 11:56:08

My DGS 8yo asks to go to the park round the corner on his own because I don't always want to go or I'm making our dinner. No roads to cross. 30years ago I'd have said OK because lots of children were out and about as fewer parents worked, nowadays most kids are in some sort of after school care.
So I don't let him.

arethereanyleftatall Sun 18-Sep-16 12:03:00

No. With a friend, maybe.

heron98 Sun 18-Sep-16 12:06:57

I think it sounds fine.

WorraLiberty Sun 18-Sep-16 12:20:03

You know your child, you know the area and you know the park.

I used to go to the park with my best friend at that age and I allowed my kids to do the same thing.

Here on Mumsnet, you'll get a range of responses from people who allow this from the age of about 5yrs onwards and from people who absolutely won't allow their kids out alone before the age of 11yrs.

Personally I'd let him go with a sensible friend if you trust him. Also, get him a cheap PAYG phone, if it gives you extra peace of mind.

Ego147 Sun 18-Sep-16 12:22:42

Here on Mumsnet, you'll get a range of responses from people who allow this from the age of about 5yrs onwards and from people who absolutely won't allow their kids out alone before the age of 11yrs

Worra knows MN well grin

TheLastHeatwave Sun 18-Sep-16 12:27:34

You're jumping the gun deciding there are more 'No's' You've had very few replies & it has been pretty even.

It's hard for people to say without knowing where you live, the vibe of the area & park.

I would let an 8 year old go to the park alone here. Same distance/roads as you. Same at my friend's house. The older kids never seem to bother the smaller ones.

If his friends & other kids are going on their own then unless all of the parents are utterly neglectful I'd assume the area is pretty good & safe to do so.

It's not neglectful so please don't base your decision on what you think 'the authorities' would say. He's 8, not 2. Perfectly acceptable age to knock for friends to play out or go to the park on his own if his parents think the area is ok.

WorraLiberty Sun 18-Sep-16 12:30:14

Even then, some of the older ones will be picked up and driven home if rains Ego grin

Utterlyshitmum Sun 18-Sep-16 12:54:17

I actually gave the nspcc a call (don't laugh. It says on their website that they offer advice to parents as well, it isn't just for reporting stuff)
The man I spoke to was really helpful, he said that from the sounds of it it would be fine and also sent a helpful guide thing called "out alone" which has advice and a little checklist thing.

I'm now leaning more towards yes than no.

I'm going to speak to the school tomorrow for their opinion as well. If they say yes too I'll let him go next week

He doesn't have any friends to go with. There aren't really any children on our street. It would be nice if he ended up meeting a child or a few at the park who he gets along with who could, at some point, come over to play and things.

Ego147 Sun 18-Sep-16 13:00:28

I'm going to speak to the school tomorrow for their opinion as well

Have you spoken to other parents? The ones who know the area?

You could take him there, leave him and then tell him to come back after a certain time. That's a 'middle' ground . Or tell him you'll be back in half an hour to see if he's ok.

Ego147 Sun 18-Sep-16 13:01:14

That's assuming he has a watch / phone and a sense of what half an hour is grin

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