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.

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 18-Dec-13 21:47:57

Is it a direct train? If there is a natural break in the journey, could you arrange to meet her there, so that you can go over any connection together for the first couple of times.

It wasn't as far, but I had to catch two trains to get to school at 12 with my sister of 14. It was odd the first few times, and we messed up once or twice, but it wasn't the end of the world, and it was largely an adventure.

ivykaty44 Wed 18-Dec-13 21:48:38

I have friends who have dc that live 200 miles away and they regularly get the train solo to visit. TBH I thought it was the norma and see no reason why you wouldn't travel alone at this age.

CallMeNancy Wed 18-Dec-13 21:48:54

Fly? I happily send my younger children as UMs on planes.

sighbynight Wed 18-Dec-13 21:49:34

I was travelling to south east Asia and back by myself at that age. Not on the train obviously.

FrauMoose Wed 18-Dec-13 21:50:56

In my city many young people of that age are regularly using buses and trains to get to and from school as well as to go shopping in the city centre.

Travelling from one city to another on the train can be more comfortable and pleasant, than these local journeys.

Even if your partner's daughter normally walks - or is driven - to school, I think it's useful to get them more used to doing some independent travelling. It's really only a few more years before they are either in the world of work, or in further education and need to have a bit more get up and go.

People who normally travel everywhere by car sometimes over-estimate the supposed 'dangers' involved in public transport. But the most likely scenario - being very very bored by other people's mobile conversations - is irritating not dangerous! Statistically long motorway journeys where there is just one adult, driving the whole way probably pose very considerably greater dangers.

Norudeshitrequired Wed 18-Dec-13 21:50:58

Okay, I have reread the OP and realised that it's your DH complaining about the journey. You should tell him to stop complaining about having to make the effort to maintain contact with his daughter. It's his daughter, he should be grateful that at 14 she hasn't fobbed him off in favour of her mates. Tell him to make the most of it.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 18-Dec-13 21:51:53

I'm sure she is able to.

Does she want to though? Maybe she likes the time to chat with her Dad? Maybe she's a bit nervous about travelling by herself?

If it was a regular thing I'd push her to do it alone, but if it's only school holidays I'd put up with it for a little while longer.

Could she bring a friend to stay so she can do the train trip with someone?

Norudeshitrequired Wed 18-Dec-13 21:52:40

Out of curiosity because I'm a nosey cow who likes details who moved 200 miles away, was it your husband or his ex?
If he moved then it's his fault that he has to make such a long journey.

Mattissy Wed 18-Dec-13 21:55:03

I used to do it when I was 14, I was fine and I was a pretty immature 14 too.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 21:59:17

the thing is she may never have used public transport (if her parents will not contemplate her using it ) there are many children like this, they would have no idea what to do if a train was cancelled or they had to use a phonebox. and it is not even their own fault, it is their parents who have driven them around all their lives.

ProphetOfDoom Wed 18-Dec-13 22:00:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 22:00:36

This is my kids, ND, and this is also me

I don't know how to catch a train fshock

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 18-Dec-13 22:01:23

My parents live 200 miles away and my kids have been doing the train journey since they were 12/13. It has one change, and from when they were 11/12 my mum would come (by train) and meet them at the changing station. Trains are nice to travel on, can't believe the amount of supposed adults here claiming to be scared of such a long journey! I'd much rather sit on a train and read for 4 hours than drive for 4 hours.

But if he complains and yet doesn't want her to go on the train, leave him to it!

RaspberryRuffle Wed 18-Dec-13 22:03:10

Yes she should be able to get public transport at that age.
If your DH (and her mum) are worried the first time I suggest DH gets public transport to meet her, they travel to you together and she goes back alone having already made the journey. Your DH should not sit with her the entire journey.
Alternatively if this journey involves changes could a compromise be made where she gets a train e.g. halfway and DH collects her from there? SHe feels grown up, she gets car time with her father, and he has a shorter drive.

ProphetOfDoom Wed 18-Dec-13 22:03:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 18-Dec-13 22:04:21

I think it's really different if there are two of them travelling together.

I don't particularly like travelling on my own (though I can and do).

dyslexicdespot Wed 18-Dec-13 22:05:41

The drive should be a perfect opportunity for an absent father to spend some time with his daughter. Your DH should be thrilled that she is still willing to spend time with him. I would tell him to suck it up, and enjoy it while it lasts.

CaterpillarCara Wed 18-Dec-13 22:06:00

I took the train alone at that age. Also planes, but was then a "UM". It was fine but it was only one train, no changes. Also I took the train daily to school, so was probably more used to them. It seems a worthwhile goal to work towards.

curiouselle Wed 18-Dec-13 22:07:04

It also depends on her street smarts and confidence. If she is attractive and looks older than 14 then it may prove an interesting journey. When I was in my late teens I was chatted up by a guy who just got out of prison that day, was asked about vibrators by some business men who thought they were hysterical and sat on by a guy from a stag do until they they were removed by the police.... not all on the same journey obviously ;)
But also why not be pampered by her Dad if she doesn't see him all the time?!

IamGluezilla Wed 18-Dec-13 22:08:06

Ok he complains and simultaneously won't countenance the solution. What an Ass. Tell him to make his mind up.

harticus Wed 18-Dec-13 22:10:57

200 (it's a 400 mile round trip to collect here

Unless she is teleporting herself back I assume she will be getting the train home again ergo 400 miles.

hmm

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Wed 18-Dec-13 22:12:04

Have you really never caught a train, merry?

Where do you live?

TheDoctrineOfSanta Wed 18-Dec-13 22:12:59

Could he go down to met her on the train and travel back with her to show her all changes etc?

Would she be able to carry all her stuff for the stay?

My niece is 14, I'm not sure she'd want to do that trip on her own, she'd do it with a mate though.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 22:15:18

tbh my daughter of 15 wouldn't want to do it alone either, he is her dad so he should stop moaning and go and get her, as he has never shown her how to use public transport.

serin Wed 18-Dec-13 22:16:04

Poor kid, what an inconvenience to him she must feel. If that was me going to pick up a DD I hadn't seen for a while I would be relishing going to get her and having some quality time together to chat on the way back.

cinnamontoast Wed 18-Dec-13 22:17:07

Thanks for your opinions, everyone - really useful. Can I just stress it's a 200-mile trip, not 400 (it's a 400-mile round trip). She'd probably have to change at Birmingham. DH meeting her at the change point is a good idea - thanks to those who suggested it.
norudeshitrequired - I'm nosy too! He didn't move away, they never lived together - SDD's mother came down to visit twice 14 years ago and lo and behold ... He thinks she deliberately discarded him once she was pregnant. He had to fight for years to maintain contact and now sees his DD regularly. It is a pretty punishing journey though, which is why I suggested she was old enough to get public transport.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 22:17:10

Yes, I last caught a train (do you say "caught"?) from Birmingham to Manchester (where I live) about 10 years ago. I can do it, if I have to. I very much prefer not to. But then I don't travel far in the UK, I have no need to.

I would be one of those nervous types asking one person after another "this is the Picadilly train isn't it" fsmile

I don't have any other forms of social anxiety, just this one, promise. Something you do reluctantly once about every 10 years can feel like a big thing.

Eastpoint Wed 18-Dec-13 22:19:02

My dd made similar length journeys on her own at that age, she was pleased we trusted her & felt she could make the journey on her own. I would have no issues with my younger dd who is 12 making the same length trip, if there was somewhere she wanted to go. My DCs do travel on public transport regularly and have done since they were born.

perlona Wed 18-Dec-13 22:19:26

It would depend on the maturity of the fourteen year old, the number of stops, whether she'd have to get off to change to another train, the type of passengers the route attracts and whether she was used to using public transport. Travelling at that age, I would prefer a girl to have someone with her, even if it was only a same age friend, preferably a small group as there are safety in numbers.

I think you're being unreasonable, even if she's mature, has a direct and safe route, she'd still have to travel alone if she's visiting for the holidays and there aren't many parents that would be comfortable with that, her mother would be perfectly entitled and possibly insistent on keeping her at home if your husband demanded that. His refusal to even consider it is because he cares enough about her not to want to take the risk of her being harmed by travelling alone. As he should.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 18-Dec-13 22:20:16

Apart from a local steam train attraction, i've never been on a train. I'm in NI and we are not at all well catered for in the train department. I'd have to drive 25 miles to get to the nearest train station just to come back 25 miles in the direction i came from to go anywhere the train goes. Pointless. So i've never done it.

NCISaddict Wed 18-Dec-13 22:21:22

I would be happy for my 17 year old DS who has ASD to do that length of journey now. I would have been very happy for my other DC's (NT) to have done it at 13.

NearTheWindmill Wed 18-Dec-13 22:22:09

I used to be put on the train on the south coast at the age of 8 and my gran used to collect me at Victoria. DH did the same to his grandparents but from Yorkshire. The big difference was that in those days the trains had restaurant cars and guards. Parents used to give the steward and the guard a tip to look after us.

My DC are 15 and 19 now. DS went to the Isle of Wight on his own at 15, got met off the ferry. I was worried sick but he was fine. DD could do it now. I think there's a huge difference between 14 and 15. I also think trains were safer in the 60's - they had more staff.

cinnamontoast Wed 18-Dec-13 22:22:25

Feel I should defend DH against everyone saying why can't he be arsed to go and get her! He drives up there for nearly 4 hours, picks her up, turns right round and comes back home again. It is pretty gruelling. And yes, in theory, it's one-on-one time, but he does half the drive alone and now she's 14 I think she has headphones jammed on most of the time on the way back.

serin Wed 18-Dec-13 22:22:47

So it's your idea then.

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Wed 18-Dec-13 22:23:09

merry - you're not missing much!

cinnamontoast Wed 18-Dec-13 22:24:51

Yes, Serin, it was my idea.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 22:25:43

TIAGE, I didn't think I was ! smile

I am happy with my lack of train-catching skillz

TheDoctrineOfSanta Wed 18-Dec-13 22:25:49

Would it be less gruelling for him to take the train both ways? You can get good deals on advance fares.

TheDoctrineOfSanta Wed 18-Dec-13 22:27:01

Trains are lovely, MFC

on pre booked and therefore cheaper than rack rate first class

Caitlin17 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:29:19

My son took the train from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and back on his own at that age. That's a 130 miles.

He was actually going to a stop further on from Aberdeen on the Inverness line. I can't recall now if he did the change of trains at Aberdeen or if the relatives he was visiting picked him up and dropped him off in Aberdeen.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 22:30:27

I think I would love it, TDOS

on a girls day trip out ie. not on my own (and someone else to understand the timetables/platforms/concept of north versus south and east versus west/what to do if it goes tits-up)

with champers

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 18-Dec-13 22:30:47

He should get the train. It'll be quicker and easier for him and it's the best way to teach her/give her the confidence to do it by herself.

tiggytape Wed 18-Dec-13 22:31:03

It isn't the length of the journey, it is how complicated it is and how much stuff she has to carry.

If it involves numerous buses and train changes and she has 2 suitcases to carry then it would not be feasible.
If it is a dead easy journey on a reliable route and she only has an overnight bag to carry then it should be manageable

I used to fly to South America by myself when I was 14 (actually from 13, the youngest they'll let you not be an unaccompanied minor). Involved two changes, with about 6 hour wait in one airport (Frankfurt) and 2 in another (Caracas). Having said that though, I knew both airports really well and had flown long-haul a LOT by that age, so I think for me it would depend on your DSD - how much train travel has she done, and how sensible is she?

SilverApples Wed 18-Dec-13 22:32:00

Birmingham is a sod of a station to change at, way too many platforms and staff who haven't a clue. Plus, unlike when I was hopping around the country at 14 on BR, there'd be a problem if she missed a connection for any reason as I presume you'd want to book her a cheap ticket.
I don't know about your OH, but I drive a 360 mile trip every two months, in a day. It's on the motorway, I start early and have a decent break before the return, and I'm fine with it. Despite the advanced age of both the driver and the car.
So YABU, and he shouldn't be complaining. As some have pointed out, car journeys are a good opportunity to share conversation,music and whatnot.

Iamsparklyknickers Wed 18-Dec-13 22:34:07

Birmingham New Street?

Honestly, don't.

I use public transport exclusively so I'm not coming at this from a point of view that I'm 'icky' about it wink. New Street is in the middle of a massive refurbishment and even though I use it regularly it's really disorientating and everyone is packed into really small bits in use. When it's busy, it's heaving and quite hard to spot the arrival/departure boards to see where you need to be.

Plus it's full of people just as confused and frustrated!

I would concede to picking her up from there to cut down his journey (If Birmingham International - NEC Arena - was on that train route that'd be easier from a car parking/motorway pov) as getting the hell out is a lot easier than trying to get your next train.

I it a straight trip or does it involve changes? I used to travel weekly between Devon and London aged 15, in the olden days before phones (did have a walkman). I used to take the bus at one end for the final bit of the journey, although was picked up at the other end.

Unless it involves lots of complicated changes I can't see the problem.

cinnamontoast Wed 18-Dec-13 22:35:56

Completely wrong about changing at Birmingham - have just checked the trains and she wouldn't have to.

foreverondiet Wed 18-Dec-13 22:35:56

I think its fine at that age for direct train journey or a coach journey but not ideal if need changes especially at train stations as that can be stressful. I did at 14 (3 hour coach journey, friend's mum collecting me off coach) and that was before mobiles which would help if she needed to make contact.

If there isn't a direct train maybe can find a compromise eg DH collects her from a station to where she can get a direct train, and that he actually is waiting on platform for her.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 22:36:05

if she would have to change at new street and she doesnt know it, it would not be fair at all.
what if, as someone else suggested, her dad goes on the train to get her and shows her how to make the journey for herself next time?

MmeCinqAnneauxDor Wed 18-Dec-13 22:36:55

I am considering sending my 9 and 11yr olds on a plane to visit their GPs in Germany next year, so don't think that a 200mile trip is too difficult for a 14yr old.

Think him meeting her in Birmingham the first few times is a good idea, so that she knows where she is going.

Is she confident enough to ask for assistance if there is a problem eg the train arrives late?

Oh yes meet somewhere en route (but maybe not in birmingham - at a smaller station prior to brum)

Weegiemum Wed 18-Dec-13 22:37:59

My dd1 catches 2 buses to school, into and then out of Glasgow city centre.

She also does the 70 mile train journey to visit my parents no bother.

She'll be 14 in February.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:38:28

there'd be a problem if she missed a connection for any reason as I presume you'd want to book her a cheap ticket.

If you hold tickets for the complete journey, then that guarantees connections if the trains are delayed, whether they're booked as one ticket or as a sequence of tickets. Provided you booked a journey which obeyed the rules on minimum change allowances (ie, one that the national rail website will show you) then if a train is late, you're perfectly entitled to get the next connecting service, even if you have an advance ticket.

SilverApples Wed 18-Dec-13 22:38:35

So you haven't actually checked the journey?
Is she used to travelling independently where she lives?

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 22:38:47

yes but planes are quite different, besides children fly as unaccompanied minors.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:39:51

Completely wrong about changing at Birmingham

What's the journey?

SilverApples Wed 18-Dec-13 22:41:12

Friday, would that work if she was merely lost and confused, rather than it being the train network's error?
Would she have the confidence to make her point?

FudgefaceMcZ Wed 18-Dec-13 22:42:30

As long as she's met at the station and has a mobile in case of emergencies, and the journey doesn't have lots of changes (ideally none at all- sometimes national rail doesn't show these unless you find the tick box for it though), I would have thought she'd be fine. What's going to happen to her on the train? It's no different from being out in town or in a cafe or cinema for a couple hours and I'm sure most people have done that by age 14 surely?

JellicleCat Wed 18-Dec-13 22:42:56

I agree Birmingham is not the easiest station to change at, so on those grounds I might be concerned. But at what age would you think this something a young person can do? 16? 18? At 14 I was happily travelling from northern England to South of London, including crossing London by myself. But it was a while ago and I was a very independent child.

DD flew from Scotland to Luton when she was 15. To my mind that is harder than travelling by plane as they have to go through security by themselves, find the gate etc. At least travelling by train you can put them on the train and meet them on the platform at the other end if it's a straight-through journey.

Iamsparklyknickers Wed 18-Dec-13 22:43:23

I don't think it's just about the distance, but form of transport.

If the OP had specified 200 miles on a plane I don't think I'd have batted an eyelid since you're watched from the minute you go through the gate till you leave the airport you land at. And there are loads of staff around specifically to assist you.

You're on your own on a coach or train.

14 year old flying to Spain - dropped off and picked up, fine. 14 year old getting the Eurostar and then coach to Spain, ermm not so fine.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 22:43:51

My mobile network has crap connection in train stations. Just sayin'

Bonsoir Wed 18-Dec-13 22:44:14

Of course this is OK. You only need to be 12 to take the Eurostar on your own ie international train travel. When DD was 7 she and DSS2 who was 14 at the time travelled to the US together as UMs. IIRC DSS2 flew back to Paris on his own not as a UM when he was 13.

Quoteunquote Wed 18-Dec-13 22:44:29

Suggest he loads the ipod up with Old harry's game series, and Cabin pressure series (really funny), available on and they can laugh their way home together.

I love having my older children in the car for long journeys, they are the brilliant opportunities to have uninterrupted chats.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:45:13

Friday, would that work if she was merely lost and confused,

No. But in which case, there's that handy box on the NR website to add your chosen amount of extra time to the changes to allow for that.

And for children travelling off-peak, if the comparator is a car costing around 40p per mile, then you just book them an open return and have done with it. Assuming she's travelling off peak, then (for example) London to Birmingham return is about 20 quid for a child's open any permitted offpeak return.

Iamsparklyknickers Wed 18-Dec-13 22:46:05

grin @ the cross post with Lolliecats completely opposite point of view!

SilverApples Wed 18-Dec-13 22:47:03

That's how I'd see it, Quote.

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Wed 18-Dec-13 22:47:25

YABU

If your DH doesn't mind doing it and the SD doesn't feel ready to do a 200 mile train journey by herself yet, you are making a problem that doesn't need to exist.

Yes it's tiring to do a 400 mile round trip by car, but what's wrong with waiting a few months or couple of years, until the SD is ready to do the train journey? Why make a problem about it now? Life's too short.

TheDoctrineOfSanta Wed 18-Dec-13 22:47:26

I don't think many 14 year olds will have gone to the cinema by themselves rather than with a mate...

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:47:33

14 year old getting the Eurostar and then coach to Spain, ermm not so fine.

Really? My 16 and 14 year olds did London to Nice by Eurostar and TGV this summer, including changing across Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon. Entertainment included late running on the way out and a bomb scare on the way back. I'd booked a hotel for them "just in case" in Paris, which we cancelled over t'Internet as their TGV pulled out from Paris.

FudgefaceMcZ Wed 18-Dec-13 22:49:15

Actually, changing at Birmingham would be a different matter. I got lost there and ended up having to sit about for hours in the night being pestered by smelly blokes and I was 19 at the time, it's a complete bastard station. Mind you I was not the best at common sense so would depend on the teenager, but I wouldn't risk it with a 14 year old.

TheDoctrineOfSanta Wed 18-Dec-13 22:49:31

Could your DH travel down the night before and stay in a cheap travelodge? Again, good deals if you book early.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:54:05

Actually, changing at Birmingham would be a different matter.

The OP has now said that it does not involve a change at Mordor Central Birmingham New St.

sooperdooper Wed 18-Dec-13 22:54:39

Sounds fine to me, I don't think Birmingham is that bad anyway but where would she have to change now you've checked? I'd have done it happily at that age and trains are pretty simple to figure out, worst case scenario she just makes sure she goes and checks at the info desk when she changes

SilverApples Wed 18-Dec-13 22:57:04

You can tackle all sorts of challenges with a friend or a sibling at your side.
But I've already asked how much independent travel round and about she does at home. Familiarity is important in building confidence.
We used to travel back from boarding school unaccompanied, with changes and no mobiles, and we did get misplaced several times.
Depends what level of risk your OH and his ex and his DD want to face.

NonnoMum Wed 18-Dec-13 23:00:14

She (presumably) has had NO SAY in the fact that her parents have split up. She has (presumably) had NO SAY that her parents now live 200 miles from each other. She has had NO SAY in the fact that her Dad is now with a moany new partner. She has NO SAY in the fact that her Dad seems resentful for collecting her.

Give the poor girl a break. Whilst her friends can spend the holidays relaxing and chilling out, you want to put her on a cold and lonely train journey with the end result the pleasure of your company???

Remember that you are the adults and that she is likely to be feeling completely disconnected to her dad so allow her and him the security and bonding of a car journey...

MmeCinqAnneauxDor Wed 18-Dec-13 23:02:45

Erm, Nonno. If I understood the OP correctly (in subsequent post, not the opening post) the dad never lived with his ex.

You are projecting emotions into this that simply don't exist.

OP's DH finds it tiring to do a 400mile journey and the OP is merely looking at alternatives.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:03:15

Nonno nails it. Sounds ratter bloody cold to me. And Op still hasn't answered the query put forward several times now about how experienced with trains etc this girl actually is

BitOfFunWithSanta Wed 18-Dec-13 23:06:10

I know I have wheeled this one out a few times, but my dd1's father emigrated to Australia when she was two. They are reasonably close, considering, and have seen each other most years (communicating in between, obv). She first flew out there independently aged 12, with a change of flight in the middle. So yes, I do think that a sensible 14 year old could do a train journey independently.

She's 17 now, and is attending all her university open days and interviews on her own, just as my generation did.

lookingfoxy Wed 18-Dec-13 23:06:42

Dp does this for his dds as well sometimes or he'll get them half way or sometimes they'll get the train but I dont think so much the train when they were 14.
I think it gives them time together and they feel he's making an effort to see them as their pretty much left to me when their here.

MmeCinqAnneauxDor Wed 18-Dec-13 23:07:51

OP stated

'He didn't move away, they never lived together - SDD's mother came down to visit twice 14 years ago and lo and behold ... He thinks she deliberately discarded him once she was pregnant. He had to fight for years to maintain contact and now sees his DD regularly. It is a pretty punishing journey though, which is why I suggested she was old enough to get public transport.'

Don't paint the OP as the evil stepmother quite yet, will you.

lookingfoxy Wed 18-Dec-13 23:08:02

Oh and dp always moans about the journey but that's life if your kids stay far away.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 23:08:24

She's 17 now, and is attending all her university open days and interviews on her own, just as my generation did.

As are my children. They're virtually alone in this, because very few teenagers now are capable of dragging themselves to a university without their parents holding their hands.

pigletmania Wed 18-Dec-13 23:11:46

It really depends on maturity, just because they are 14 dies not mean they can automatically travel that dstance indendently.

NonnoMum Wed 18-Dec-13 23:12:20

Yes, yes, yes. Lucinda and Arabella travelled to Katmundo back in their boarding school days with only a compass, some bic biros and a sense of grit and determination but it doesn't really matter how far the journey IS, it matters what the journey is FOR.

OP's DP going to pick her up, and doing so happily, would give her a greater message of security, appreciation and belonging than the independence and resilience gained from travelling solo.

Merry Christmas, one and all...

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:13:53

I gotta agree with NM smile

DrCoconut Wed 18-Dec-13 23:14:28

I wasn't allowed on public transport unsupervised at 14. No way would my mum ever have let me travel out of town alone, or even across town. I was 18 and going to university interviews when I first travelled without someone with me. I had been on the train sometimes with family so knew what to do. As for my own kids, DS1 is 15 but has SN and never goes anywhere alone and DS2 is only 2 but would love to wander off alone given chance

Iamsparklyknickers Wed 18-Dec-13 23:15:38

Friday was that a 14 and 16 year old together? Because I find that perfectly acceptable - it's the safety in numbers I think!

I admit I'm struggling - I'm working off nothing but gut feeling. I know at 14 I would have been fine, but had friends who wouldn't have coped. Same with the mix of teenagers I know now.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 23:16:37

anyway in this case while i am all for independence etc i agree with nonnomum

mynewpassion Wed 18-Dec-13 23:17:13

I think it would be a great idea for him to pick her up this time. On the way back, they take the train. Next time, he takes the train with her coming to his house and she takes it back alone. I don't think that she should always take the train to yours and back. Your DH should use some of this time to spend time with his DD one-on-one. They might not get much of chance when she comes there.

One way, he picks her up via train or car, one way she goes by train alone. Coming or going doesn't matter.

All assuming that her mother is willing to meet her and drop her off at the train station. If the contact order states that he has to pick her up at her house, will he need to go back and get that changed.

sooperdooper Wed 18-Dec-13 23:18:57

Nonno it'd be worth you taking the time up actually read the thread rather than jump in with a whole bunch of wild assumptions smile

willyoulistentome Wed 18-Dec-13 23:19:29

My brothers used to cycle 4 miles to the nearest stationthen get the train 40 mins into London to get to their school. At age 11... In the 80s.

14 is definitely old enough to catch public transport.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:20:43

In the 30's they used to send children up chimneys wink

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 23:21:13

it is all v well coming out with these anecdotes about what so and so did to get to school bak in the day, but it isn't really the point.

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

If he had to fight to have access in the first place is it really worth upsetting the applecart with his dd and her mum? I think it could come across like his dd isn't worth the bother of picking up. I know that's not what you're saying at all but in a 14yo mind it might be construed that way. Like someone else said give it a couple of years and it'll be less likely to cause friction. I think if your DH finds the drive too much for one day he'd be better staying over somewhere or getting the train.

MmeCinqAnneauxDor Wed 18-Dec-13 23:22:08

I do think that there are some 14yr olds who would not manage this journey, but I actually think that my 11yr old would probably manage it.

We've already started talking about her travelling down to London (from Scotland) to visit friends. Not quite yet, but in a couple of years, I could see this happening.

mymatemax Wed 18-Dec-13 23:24:28

its not the travel, they need to know what to do if something out of the ordinary happens, what if the train breaks down & they are diverted/sent a different route.
As long as she is confident enough to cope with the unexpected then fine!

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 23:24:45

I wasn't allowed on public transport unsupervised at 14. No way would my mum ever have let me travel out of town alone, or even across town.

But that's the stuff of over-protective mothers with issues, right?

You realise quite a lot of people go to school on public transport, right?

Tapiocapearl Wed 18-Dec-13 23:26:16

At 14 you could put her on a train at one end, then meet her at the other end as long as no changes were involved.

SilverApples Wed 18-Dec-13 23:28:22

'You realise quite a lot of people go to school on public transport, right?'

Yes, in enormous squealing and roaring packs, united by a uniform and a destination.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:28:44

it may be the "stuff of overprotective mothers" but would such disparagement of what has gone before make it A-ok to put a 14yo in a situation that makes them nervous and unsupported ? Just to prove a point that some other random teenager can and has done this ?

I don't give a stuff what other kids do/have done, tbh.

OP still hasn't confirmed or denied whether this girl is a seasoned train traveller

I think that is the crux of this thread, but she seems strangely reticent on that one salient point

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:30:15

it's not really the same as going to school is it ?

bunches of kids with a common purpose all on the same vehicle, all at the same time, going to the same destination

no comparison

phantomnamechanger Wed 18-Dec-13 23:30:30

DDs almost 14 and no, I would not do this unless it was a straight there one train journey that she could be put on and met from - even then there could be potential problems like rowdy crowds of footie fans etc - But from here she'd have to change/cross London on the tube to get anywhere, and as a country girl she would not manage that, nor would I want her to. I though went on a plane alone at 12 - only a 1 hour or so flight and I was handed over to my aunt at the other end by a stewardess. totally different matter.

MmeCinqAnneauxDor Wed 18-Dec-13 23:31:12

Merry
to be fair, there are a LOT of posts on this thread. She might not have seen that question.

I agree that it depends on the experience of the DD, and how able she is to cope with unexpected changes, eg delays or diversions.

She might actually be quite happy to sit on a train for a couple of hours.

Twinsplusonesurprise Wed 18-Dec-13 23:33:12

My DH DD travels 300 miles round trip on train to see us once a month. She's fine with it. It's a direct train and DH meets her on platform.
Mind you her mother has let her have so much freedom, she's let herself in from school since she was 12.
Guess it depends on the child.
I don't think yabu to encourage it.

curlew Wed 18-Dec-13 23:33:34

I suspect all the "how very dare you even think about it" people don't have older children. You look at a 2 year old and you can't possibly imagine them being a capable teenager.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 23:33:48

yes the OP is keeping quiet i bet the poor child has never used a train in her life

DoesntLeftoverTurkeySoupDragOn Wed 18-Dec-13 23:35:05

TBH, it is irrelevant what random other 14 yr olds do and what their parents are happy with. This child's father doesn't want her to and we have no idea whether the DD wants to or is confident enough to do so.

ivykaty44 Wed 18-Dec-13 23:38:48

A change of train at Birmingham is not always just a change of train but a walk across the city and a change of station (would she know the way across the city centre?

Added to which this morning my boss missed her connecting train in b/ham as the platform was changed and the rush of people meant she couldn't actually get on the train and then had to wait for the next train an hour later…

On Monday I got a call form a friend I was meeting who had missed his connection in b/ham and was going to have to wait an hour for another train so was going to be very late.

dd cycles to the station and gets the train to her mates 10 miles away and then comes back later, it is easier and she hasn't yet fallen asleep and woken up in London - she has been known to fall asleep on the local bus and do the entire loop and the bus driver wake her, much to her blush

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:39:25

MMe, to also be fair, there has been more than one request to elaborate on whether the girl is a seasoned traveller or not

ExcuseTypos Wed 18-Dec-13 23:39:27

Well if you live in a remote area, without a train station, using trains is a bit difficult.

Op unless you can say whether or not your dsd is used to using trains, how many changes the journey involves and if SHE is happy to do that long journey on her own, no one can provide an answer.

SilverApples Wed 18-Dec-13 23:39:41

'Surely learning to travel independently is an important life skill?'

From the OP.
Yes it is, which is why the learning should be supported, and a sequence of steps towards the full independence of a gap year in Thailand is achieved,

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:40:33

the op hadn't even properly researched the route, it would seem

perhaps she expects the 14 yo to do that, even if the girl doesn't know her Eurostar from her Northern Line ?

I dunno, she isn't saying

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:42:27

curlew, I have two teenage kids, my toddler days are far behind me smile

ivykaty44 Wed 18-Dec-13 23:42:59

MerryFuckingChristmas - depends what sort of bus it is - if its a school bus then your scenario is correct, but not all school children get school busses but travel on local busses which mean changes and longer distances etc.

I would encourage some travelling - why not meet at b/ham and let the dc do some of the trip on her own but in a controlled way?

curlew Wed 18-Dec-13 23:46:24

"perhaps she expects the 14 yo to do that, even if the girl doesn't know her Eurostar from her Northern Line ?"

It is actually possible to learn things you know. I don't suppose anyone was thinking of throwing her out the door to get the train it's no trial runs or anything. And all this "what if she misses her connection" stuff. She's 14, not 4. She'll go to Costa and chat to her friends on Facebook, then get the next train.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:47:01

All these random other children doing all these other random things.

Who cares ? I don't. I would want to know the answer to the salient point of is the teenager a seasoned lone traveller. And I would want Op to have properly researched the route. And I would want to know the particular teenager's feelings on the matter.

oddly, we know none of those rather important points

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 23:48:02

But from here she'd have to change/cross London on the tube to get anywhere, and as a country girl she would not manage that

You know all that stuff about raising strong, capable empowered daughters? Would you be similarly protective of your son?

What's so difficult about using the tube?

curlew Wed 18-Dec-13 23:48:37

Frankly, I would feel I had gone wrong somewhere if I had raised a NT 14 year old who couldn't make journey alone.

MmeCinqAnneauxDor Wed 18-Dec-13 23:51:33

It's almost midnight, Merry. The OP doesn't have to stay up all night answering questions. I suspect the response rather took her by surprise and she's logged off for the evening.

SilverApples Wed 18-Dec-13 23:52:07

That's what we're asking, curlew. How much experience does she have already?
And answer came there none.
At 14, I could ride a horse and sail single-handed, and travel from one end of the country to another, and get by in three languages. But it didn't happen out of the blue, I had years of parenting for independence behind me.

MerryFuckingChristmas Wed 18-Dec-13 23:52:17

friday I mentioned my nearly 14yo son at the start of this thread (as being the child I have that is nearest in age to the one in the op)

and yes, I am very equal in the way I treat my kids

Frankly, I would feel I had gone wrong somewhere if I had raised a NT 14 year old who couldn't make journey alone.

gosh, curlew that's looking a bit like "I am a better parent than you"

it's ok to disagree without doing that

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 23:53:49

sail single-handed

BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WON'T DROWN

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 23:56:41

yes well if social services were to see Mr Walker's telegram they would have a field day and all the little Walkers would have been put into foster care, and Titty would have been made to change her name grin

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 23:57:13

*were to have seen/would have had

SilverApples Wed 18-Dec-13 23:57:28

Very much so. grin
We all had penknives and could build fires by the time we were 7, the list of survival skills possessed by my siblings and me is a standard family joke.

I travelled back from London to Liverpool on Sunday at 8. The train was "stormed" by already drunk men pushing people out of the way to get to the seats with tables.

The teen girls that I was travelling with had to sit several seats away and I spent all of my time stopping the harassment by adult men of at least 25, the girls were young looking 15 year olds.

When we saw them at the station, I thought they were to drunk to be allowed to board.

" You look at a 2 year old and you can't possibly imagine them being a capable teenager."

Looking at my 18 year old (who has been abroad with friends) I cannot imagine not living with her 24/7 and if not, objecting to travelling to spend time with her, to the extent that she may be put at any risk.

It is up to the people who have PR (and whose faces will be plastered over the press if anything goes wrong) to decide, after discussing it with the teen involved, who may be affected long term if anything untoward does happen.

Go out and about with teen girls, as though your not with them and see how many predatory males there are, as well as everyday dangers.

curlew Thu 19-Dec-13 00:01:55

"gosh, curlew that's looking a bit like "I am a better parent than you"

Is it? Oh, dear.

That was easy for him to say, Friday, as he steamed around the world subduing Natives. It was the mother who sat at home chewing her fingernails! Chewing fingernails goes with the territory. But the fact that we're terrified doesn't give us the right to hold them back.

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 00:02:24

Why are people so keen to ensure that children reach certain milestones as soon as possible?

So what if some kids aren't as mature and capable as others at 14?

I mean really, so what?

There's no way my 14 year old DS would want to do a 200 mile journey on a train by himself.

But I'm sure he'll be ready by the time it actually matters.

So what if he's not ready now? Who cares?

When he was 3, he didn't want to choose his own clothes either, when all the books were telling me that I should be giving him those choices and lots of other kids of his own age were doing so. But now hey, he chooses his own clothes. It didn't matter that he wasn't ready to do that at the time the books said he was supposed to. And it doesn't matter if kids are ready at 12 or not until they're 17, to do a long train journey by themselves. In the great scheme of things, it honestly doesn't matter, it's a problem only if you decide it's a problem.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 00:03:51

Well my 4 YO regularly travels to mars alone with Virgin and he's quite the seasoned space traveller now. Tbf he does take a few sudoku puzzles and the pet parakeet for company though. And i have an earth rep meet him at the other side wink

NoComet Thu 19-Dec-13 00:04:31

Ok folks how many of you are willing to do a turnaround 400 mile car journey, which by the sound of it means getting last Birmingham? Always round and past Birmingham are horrible.

I can assure you the OPs DSD is a 100x probably 1000x less likely to be involved in an accident on the train than the motorways round Birmingham, with a tired driver.

There is really only one question? Is she happy to do it? I would have done (I used to take the bus into my GP's city, spend all day in town and take a totally different bus to my great aunts).

My friends and I used to get the train to Swansea and go shopping and catch the train back at that age.

DD1 probably would have done this trip at 14 (at 15 she certainly would).

I don't think my sister would have and DD2 is only 12, but I don't think she would. Neither of them are happy on their own for long periods.

I lived in Birmingham and find NewStreet really simple (especially now it has screens) all the platforms are in a neat row. I accept if it's being refurbished it may be chaos, but it's usually fine.

NigellasDealer Thu 19-Dec-13 00:04:50

now then who is a sillybilly? grin

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 00:07:43

merryfuckingchristmas I do apologise for being so strangely reticent on the sole salient point - how remiss of me. I was helping DS with homework. However, I am here now and I'm afraid all I can tell you is I don't know how familiar DSD is with public transport. Clearly that is something we would need to find out before throwing her to the wolves putting her on a train.
nonno, trust me, there is no subtext here. She gets on remarkably well with DH, who texts/phones her every day, she has no hang-ups at all about the parental situation as far as anyone can reasonably tell (neither do my DCs, also happy survivors of parental separation) and I would hate anyone to think DH had ever given her the slightest hint that he doesn't like the travelling - he's far too nice for that and it's only me he's complained to.
To those who expressed concern about my unfamiliarity with the route - I simply wanted some advice on whether 14 was a suitable age to travel alone; we're not about to rush out and buy her a ticket! Thanks to everyone who made sensible suggestions - It's so great to be able to turn to MN for advice on this sort of thing.

MerryFuckingChristmas Thu 19-Dec-13 00:09:47

My kids haven't been exposed to making those kinds of journeys and that level of responsibility for this in particular

That is not their fault. It's not even mine, because as a family we simply do not live that kind of lifestyle, never have.

I can probably give you some different examples where they will outstrip Johnny who hops on and off trains though in the skillz/independence/maturity level though.

So, like Basil says, does it matter ? Curlew, perhaps I should pronounce that I couldn't consider myself a fit parent if my 13 yo couldn't fly a glider plane and understand how all the instruments work. That I am rubbish at this parenting lark if my 18yo couldn't put her sick grandmother to bed and still love her dearly.

But I wouldn't, so I don't. (I know I just did, but you get my drift)

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 00:10:48

What a sensible post AskBasil. I agree with you.

My DDs wouldn't have travelled on their own at that age. They could cook a three course meal though, but I would go around saying 'I'd think I'd failed as a parent if they couldn't cook a three course meal'

It's all so daft to compare children, there's so many variables that people on the Internet have no knowledge of.

MerryFuckingChristmas Thu 19-Dec-13 00:12:48

Thanks for answering, OP. As you can see, the thread has moved on somewhat in your absence, as they are wont to do smile

"Would you be similarly protective of your son?"

Teenage boys and young men have the highest attack and murder rate, out if the whole population.

This sort of thing, I dependant travel depends on where you live and how the teen can handle different situations and if you think they should handle those situations.

Most if the teens who go missing, end up being found dead, if you want to protect your child from that ever happening, or being sexually harassed, assaulted, raped, then that is your right.

You don't become confident by being thrown into situations that your are not comfortable with and especially ones that you are being put in because your Step parent objects to you being given a level of care that you are used to.

MerryFuckingChristmas Thu 19-Dec-13 00:14:44

I am a bit disappointed in this thread, tbh

I thought the MN party line was that it was not ok to make comparisons between individual children and yet this thread is chock full of it

complete with the inference that if your teenager is not hopping on and off trains every 5 minutes there is something wrong somewhere confused

When I was 14 I used to walk to the bus stop, take the bus to the station, buy a ticket, catch a train to London, change to another station (walk, not on the tube), catch another train, and then walk to my grandparents house. It is doable as long as she is confident and capable of doing the journey. DM would not have let my brother do the same at 14.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 00:17:19

grin

Couldnt resist nigella.

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 00:18:42

merryfuckingchristmas, yes, you were giving me a hard time for not replying but it simply didn't occur to me anyone would have anything left to say! Seven pages! And I'm the sort of MNer who usually accidentally kills a thread. In fact I've probably done it now ...

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 00:19:41

Arf SillyBilly, there is a bit of that going on here. wink

My 11 year old is much more independent than my DS. She is currently travelling to the North Pole in the company of an armour-wearing bear.

Oh wait, no, sorry, I'm mixing her up with Lyra Belacqua.

My bad.

MerryFuckingChristmas Thu 19-Dec-13 00:20:10

haha at usually a thread killer

this one could go on alllll night fgrin

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 00:21:33

askbasil grin

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 00:22:04

I never say this but i did actually LOL at tht post basil! grin

NigellasDealer Thu 19-Dec-13 00:23:51

well my toddler regularly takes the huskies over the mountains to get supplies for the family, sometimes digging his way out of the snow with his one tooth. it's good for his self esteem I think.
grin have i killed it yet?

NoComet Thu 19-Dec-13 00:25:22

Oh please, how many teens are abducted every year?

How many are killed in road accidents?

Chances of anything more than having to move to avoid a group of drunks on the train, minimal.

People really do have the most twisted view of risk.

Non rush hour, middle of the day trains are usually fine, although they will be very busy near Christmas. I have stood from Sheffield to Birmingham)

Half term or Easter might be a better time to do this first time.

"My friends and I"

That is the difference though isn't it. My middle DD has been drinking in pubs since she was 15, I gave her and her friends the message that they do not leave each other alone, even after an argument.

How many women on here tell stories about being sexually assaulted as teens and not telling anyone because they didn't have the means to fully process what and how it had happened.

" I don't know how familiar DSD is with public transport. "

How can you even ask this question without fully knowing your DSD? Surely your new? DP can do the travelling for just another year whilst you build up her travelling skills.

I would want my DD to go by coach, personally.

MmeCinqAnneauxDor Thu 19-Dec-13 00:26:25

It's not about making direct comparisons though. It's 'is this too much to ask from a 14yr old?'

Just as you could ask 'should my 6yr be able to put on his own socks?'

Of course some 6yr olds will be able to while others will struggle and still others will have parents who don't trust him to try and will dress him to save time.

I don't think a 14yr old should automatically be able to travel independently but do think that at that age, parents should be encouraging them to spread their wings.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 00:28:19

Your toddler only has one tooth nigella? Pfft mine had his full set of adult teeth by 14 weeks grin

NigellasDealer Thu 19-Dec-13 00:29:10

grin ouch!

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 00:30:25

grin

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 19-Dec-13 00:33:15

I went on a train when I was 11. I went on a train when I was 17. I didn't go in between. (Lived in a town with excellent road network and no station.)

I would have struggled at 14 as I just wasn't used to trains.

On the other hand by 14 I understood the proof that root(2) is irrational.

Depends on your dsd, her life experience and her abilities.

"Oh please, how many teens are abducted every year?"

Who has mentioned abduction? I am talking about teens that are reported missing and then their body turns up.

Teens suffer that most crime out of the rest of the population. Young men are randomly attacked on nights out. There are lots of teen murders and assaults.

Or is this one if those MN things that it is all on the imagination of the press?

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 19-Dec-13 00:36:15

Sorry - pressed enter too soon.

If this is a future plan then may be worth your dh doing the journey by train with her for a while so that travelling by train in general and that route in particular becomes normalised to her.

babiesmakemecrazy Thu 19-Dec-13 00:48:14

From the age of 13 I got a trains to my dads to visit him, 300 mile round trip. I'm glad I did this. I'm 19 now. My 18 year old sister still can't get train on her own due to her not doing this whereas I'm very confident.

I crossed Europe by my self on a train (from Germany, got my self onto a ferry at Ostend, and on the train to Victoria all by ownsome at 14.

Not saying this is appropriate for all kids.

but have certainly put my ds aged 10 on a train for an hour or two knowing he will be met the other end.

I think kids rather love it. The journey. The independence.

( I will admit to having forced a rather nice elderly French couple to keep an eye on him the first time, in French!)

I also used to travel from a London surburb, up to Waterloo, buy ticket, and travel down to Soton by myself aged 9. I do admit my parents were feckless in this.

But 14. Nah. no problem.

And my Ds does have SN issues, but he can perfectly well stay on a train for and hour or two reading or whatever, to be met at the other end.

I would not send him half way across europe, however, like I did.

Makes me shudder just to think about it now!

BillyBanter Thu 19-Dec-13 01:30:07

He can do the trip by train a couple of times with her then she should be able to do it on her own if its fairly direct.

uselessinformation Thu 19-Dec-13 01:39:00

ds has done this since age 14. He practised with his dad first. He has one change.

Strangetownblues Thu 19-Dec-13 02:26:04

No way.

My 17 year old was also harassed by a bunch of complete knobs when she was on her own on an overland train recently. Unfortunately all the other adults studiously ignored what was going on until she asked a woman for help, who told them to fuck off. She'd have been too shy to ask for help at 14.

spindlyspindler Thu 19-Dec-13 02:47:31

I used to get the coach from London to Liverpool and back, from the age of about 12 I guess? Put on by my mother at Golders Green, who would ask the driver to keep an eye on me, and then met by my grandparents at Lime Street four hours later. Pre mobiles and everything. No problem. YANBU.

Angloamerican Thu 19-Dec-13 04:14:29

I agree with curlew. The girl is (presumably) only 4 years away from living independently at college, and some people here think she shouldn't be catching a couple of trains by herself? Jesus wept.

TheDoctrineOfSanta Thu 19-Dec-13 06:37:06

It's only four years since she was ten as well. That argument makes no sense at this age when things change so fast.

OhMerGerd Thu 19-Dec-13 06:39:19

Car journeys are great one on one time. In four years time your DH will be wondering where his little girl has gone and when he doesn't see her from one year to the next he will regret every second he didn't spend in her company when she was younger. You want to be sure none of the blame when he inevitably does regret falls to you. So don't be the one to push it.

Having said that, provided she's happy to do it, and you talk through some strategies for coping with the unexpected and you all agree a back up plan including a fully charged mobile she should be fine.

I use trains regularly for work travelling long distances across the uk. Quite often especially in winter they can be delayed and terminate unexpectedly warranting replacement buses and sometimes taxis ( on one memorable for all the wrong reasons a journey that started at 5.30 pm and should have ended at 8.30pm in Cardiff resulted in me being put in a taxi with another stranded passenger (male) and driven over 100 miles through rural Wales arriving some time after midnight) and no booked seat and promise of help from a conductor is going to help you in the scrum to get a seat on an alternative slow train leaving from another platform in 3 minutes and thats if if you can make head or tail of the crackley tannoy announcement in time to run for it.

And don't get me started on the middle aged suited and booted types who think flashing a pair of Versace cuff links and giving you the look that says 'ding dong' is licence to try and part your legs with their knees. You can't even slap them because the silly table thingy means their smug faces are a stretch too far.

I'd have hated anyone who made me endure either scenario at 14 and probably just said I didn't want to go again. I'd also have probably guilt tripped them for ever.

friday16 Thu 19-Dec-13 06:39:57

I am talking about teens that are reported missing and then their body turns up.

And whose boyfriend gets arrested the following day. Almost without exception. Murder by stranger is vanishingly rare. Murder by stranger on a train? Has there been a case, well, ever?

LtEveDallas Thu 19-Dec-13 06:55:27

Hey OP, DSD started doing similar at the same age. She was used to trains (one to get to school, and another to go shopping) and has been since age 11. She was still quite nervous about it the first time though.

What we did was find the most direct easiest route for her. It meant DH driving almost an hour to the destination station, but that was still better than the 6 hours he used to have to do (and that was a bitch of a journey)

Maybe that is the answer - find a direct train, even if it isn't your local station and test her on that. Anything closer than 200 miles is a bonus!

DH had reached the point where the drive was killing him for the sake of a couple of days with his DD, and contact was starting to drop off. DSD also hated the drive, because they always got caught up in traffic. Now they are both happier. I think if they hadn't done this they would have lost contact completely in the end.

fishybits Thu 19-Dec-13 07:09:17

YANBU.

Aged 12 I was travelling alone to and from school from Suffolk to Gloucestershire by train, via London with heavy luggage.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 19-Dec-13 07:18:50

I agree with the suggestion that the OPs husband should go and collect his DD on the train. That way she doesn't have to travel unaccompanied and he doesn't have to drive 400 miles whilst possibly being tired.
He might even be able to reach agreement with the girls mum that she will come and collect her daughter on the train at the end of the visit.
I'm sure that after a few accompanied train visits the DD might feel confident enough to travel on the train by herself.
The journey should be quicker by train, but you might have to rethink what to do when there are disruptions on the rail network (these are usually scheduled for school holiday times).

BohemianGirl Thu 19-Dec-13 07:23:04

I despair reading these threads I really do. Mollycoddled and bubble wrapped children, incapable of assessing a risk and performing tasks because of helicopter parenting. You really arent doing your children any favours at all

WidowWadman Thu 19-Dec-13 07:27:45

When I was 14 I would have been pretty offended at the suggestion that it's too difficult/dangerous/whatever to catch a train.

The quality time argument is bollocks - as daughter won't have to wait for him to drive the 200 miles down to him, they will be able to spend quality time together earlier without being stressed and strapped into a tin on wheels.

chrome100 Thu 19-Dec-13 07:29:56

YANBU! I used to do similar at the same age to visit my penpal. And I am only 21 now so it was not that long ago. Ridiculous nampy-pampying clearly going on here.

TheDoctrineOfSanta Thu 19-Dec-13 07:32:51

It isn't molly coddling. The DSD may well be perfectly up for it but if she's never taken a train any distance on her own before, it makes sense to do a dry run or for her to do a shorter journey and be met part way.

Once she's done it a couple of times like this, she may well be fine to do the lot.

Bunbaker Thu 19-Dec-13 07:33:15

It depends entirely on the child. some 14 year olds would take it in their stride, others wouldn't.

I traveled back from southern Germany by train and night ferry on my own at 14. I was terrified, but felt very grown up by the time I got onto English soil. My dad met me at Liverpool Street station and I was disappointed that I couldn't do the last bit on my own as well.

But, we didn't have a car and I was used to using public transport and we lived on the outskirts of London where public transport was plentiful.

We now live in a rural area where the trains and buses are infrequent and have to use the car 95% of the time so DD isn't in the habit of using public transport except for the bus to school. There is no way she would want to travel on a train on her own.

I don't blame your husband for not wanting to do the trip on our horribly overcrowded roads, especially at busy times of the year. OH's family live 150 miles away and we find the journey a right old PITA.

Mattissy Thu 19-Dec-13 07:34:12

Mum puts her on train at one end, she sits in seat, father picks her up at other end. Hmm, I can see why a 14 year old may get confused, hmmm!

TheDoctrineOfSanta Thu 19-Dec-13 07:36:30

Mattissy, a 200 mile journey may well not be direct.

Again, no one has actually asked the DSD!

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 19-Dec-13 07:38:25

I was traveling alone on trains from the age of 6-7. I quite enjoyed it. Maybe that is a little too young, but I think you're in danger of raising a generation of pussies.

fortyplus Thu 19-Dec-13 07:41:43

Surely the thing to do is for the dad to travel down on the train the first time and make the return journey together? To reassure and check that she feels confident. Most 14 year olds would be fine with this but for the first time it would be good to be accompanied.

stickysausages Thu 19-Dec-13 07:50:01

Train sounds reasonable, however dad should go down & travel with her 1st time. As a DSD, I'd hate to feel like such an inconvenience though sad

paxtecum Thu 19-Dec-13 07:51:27

The Dad should go by train to collect the DD and take her back.
Far less tiring than driving.

OP: Maybe if she was your DD you would think differently.

Inthequietcoach Thu 19-Dec-13 08:03:07

If your DH does not want his DD on public transport for what, four hours, alone, then that is his decision. It is not your job to sort the issue if he is complaining about it. For all his faults, my stbxh has crossed the Atlantic to get his DD, and driven similar distances. His contact, his responsibility, he always met it.

pixiepotter Thu 19-Dec-13 08:18:37

I don't know.If anything goes wrong 200miles away is a long way for a child to be.There are many things that can go wrong- a missed or cancerlled connection and having to sit about long hours in a railway station-or even overnight.,being hassled/mugged on the train/ railway station, falling ill.
completely different to travelling as an UM or catching the train to school!

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 08:22:49

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

Really?! I went on a French exchange aged 13-14 and travelled all the way to the French alps on my own from London, including a change at Paris. This was way before the age of mobiles.. Surely sitting on one train for a couple of hours is not such a big deal? I don't really understand why teenagers are infantilised these days.

ivykaty44 Thu 19-Dec-13 08:25:35

in two years time this girl can legally get married and have children, getting on a train seems a simple task in comparison to those milestones and needs a very lot less maturity

friday16 Thu 19-Dec-13 08:26:38

a missed or cancerlled connection and having to sit about long hours in a railway station-or even overnight.

Do people actually travel by train?

The rules on cancellation of the last train means that the TOC has to arrange a taxi, even if that's for a hundred miles. Like everything in life, it occasionally goes wrong, and those are the stories you hear. But cars crash, too: it's not as though 800 miles of driving (which is what the OP's partner is going to do) is a risk-free endeavour, either.

And realistically, is a child making a three hour journey to their parents' house for Christmas going to be travelling in any situation where this could remotely arise? They'll leave at 10am, and be where they're going by 1pm (2pm, maybe, with a stop for lunch). If it all turns to shit, the OP's husband can get in his car and drive and collect her while she has an agreeable meal in middle-class McDonalds Nandos. Well, assuming she can avoid being abducted and murdered before she's put the little wooden cockerel thing into the holder.

pixiepotter Thu 19-Dec-13 08:28:46

'Really?! I went on a French exchange aged 13-14 and travelled all the way to the French alps on my own from London, including a change at Paris'

I never understand why people post things like this.
Because a posters parents did something neglectful it doesn't automatically mean it is a good idea.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 08:30:07

Pixie,

Because it was not "neglectful", it was imbuing resilience. Some risks are essential in life and it is people who believe this kind of thing is "neglectful" who are actually harming their children by creating a negative and scared attitude to normal life and risks.

NigellasDealer Thu 19-Dec-13 08:31:24

It is not 'neglectful' pixie it is normal, and i do not understand this passive aggressive thing of writing something and crossing it out.
honestly the hoo haa on this thread about a fourteen year old undertaking a train journey is totally un-fucking-believable.

pixiepotter Thu 19-Dec-13 08:31:47

on the other hand she will not be allowed to order a glass of wine or place a bet or vote in an election for another 4 years

NigellasDealer Thu 19-Dec-13 08:32:31

but at 16 she could get married or join the armed forces.....

pixiepotter Thu 19-Dec-13 08:34:35

sending a 13 yo to the French alps alone on a train is neglectful IMO

SuburbanRhonda Thu 19-Dec-13 08:35:05

Just skim-read this (couldn't bear to read another story about 10-year-old Tarquin sailing single-handed around the world with only a packet of crisps and a penny whistle to keep him going), but has the OP's DH found out what his DD's mother thinks of the idea?

NigellasDealer Thu 19-Dec-13 08:36:46

sending a 13 yo to the French alps alone on a train is neglectful IMO
well at least you typed it out clearly this time instead of putting a creepy wee line through it.

brettgirl2 Thu 19-Dec-13 08:37:43

How ridiculous some of the posts are:
How can she get the train with 2 suitcases (if she visits for a weekend presumably confused well keep some stuff for her there to minimise luggage....)
DF should be grateful she wants to see him (even if it does mean driving 800 miles and as a result be too tired to do anything else for the whole weekend). neglectful father, tut tut.
New Street station omg similar to the Bermuda Triangle grin Its actually easier to negotiate than many others, lots of screens and platforms in a straight, numerically constant line, irrelevant anyway if she can get a direct train.

No one has even mentioned that the young lady in question may like to be treated as a young adult rather than a five year old..... Has anyone asked her what she thinks????

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 08:43:23

"Some risks in life are essential"

Yes, but they don't all have to be taken at the same time in the same way just because a bunch of randoms on the internet imply that if your kids aren't taken them, it's because you are helicopter parenting. Doing a 200 mile journey by yourself at 14 isn't actually essential. It might be desirable for some kids and it might be a nightmare for other kids. It's not essential for anyone, it can wait until the kid is actually ready and happy to do it.

Really, this thread is awful. People accusing other people of neglect or mollycoddling depending on which side of the fence they are. How about it's parenting according to your own priorities and your child's development and there's no need to insult other parents because their priorities and their children are different from your's? Might that be an idea? hmm

What does the 14 year old think?

If she's happy to do it then I don't see the problem. If she's nervous then she could be taught in stages, either by being accompanied or being met before a change was needed. I used to love travelling by train by myself as a teen.

It's not all that hard or scary in the mobile phone era. Ds2 (11) had his first after school trip with mates into town yesterday. He couldn't find his bus home because they've recently changed the stops so he rang me & I told him where to look & some potential buses to try. He arrived home in one piece. Life skills innit.

Moltobene Thu 19-Dec-13 08:48:25

I'm a stepdaughter and IME these relationships can be fraught. I think it's nice that your DSD is collected by her dad, even if not strictly necessary. As others have said it could be a special catch up time for them if they don't get to hang out just the two of them that much.
Why not just let him and his daughter (and her mum) decide what's the most appropriate for her?

Depends on your relationship with your DSD obviously but There is a risk (whatever your true motivation) that if you initiate arguing for 'less' of whatever it is she usually is given by her dad, that this will be interpreted as you being begrudging of her dad's time and effort. It's important that what you argue for isn't seen as setting up some kind of competition or there could be trouble for everyone.

BerniceBroadside Thu 19-Dec-13 08:48:55

I did it from about 10 or 11, sometimes with a younger sibling. If it's a straightforward journey it's not a massive deal. Put child on train, they read a book for a few hours, parent meets them at the other end.

Plenty of children and teenagers go to school by bus and train without incident.

Assuming of course the sd is happy to give it a whirl.

cory Thu 19-Dec-13 09:00:14

Acquiring life skills is a great thing and 14 might well be a good age.

Otoh it is also a good age for the adults in your life to make a bit of extra effort from time to time, particularly if they don't spend that much time together.

Personally I think the first attempts at things like this work best when the teens themselves want to set out on an adventure/become independent.

My 13yo travelled alone to Sweden in the summer. Absolutely fine, nobody was in the least worried. But then he wanted to go, he knew it was not about saving us trouble but about allowing him to go on this trip.

I would speak to this teen and see how she feels about it. Would it make her feel grown up and adventurous or a bit of a nuisance? Both scenarios are possible, you aren't going to know until you ask.

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 19-Dec-13 09:00:16

If she's happy to do it, and her Dad goes to collect her and do the journey with her the first time, yes, why not?

But I am of the generation that happily travelled alone from London to Cornwall in the school holidays from age 10, and was one of those gaily waved off onto the boat train at Victoria, age 15, to make my way to Alsace for a French exchange for 6 weeks, in the days without mobile phones.

From the age of 14, DD1 has been getting herself home from school and back at the weekends - bus, short train journey and another bus journey or walk, without any difficulty. Although some of her friends have been quite incredulous that she is allowed to do this on her own. hmm

nauticant Thu 19-Dec-13 09:08:02

If she travels by herself in a reserved seat, would it be reasonable for her to be moved to enable a family to sit together?

Mattissy Thu 19-Dec-13 09:08:14

Doesn't matter if it's direct or not, it's only a change which can be planned and accounted for. I was doing it at younger than 14.

My dsd is 14, she's more than capable if getting herself on a much more complex journey, tbf so could my 12 yo ds.

friday16 Thu 19-Dec-13 09:12:27

If she travels by herself in a reserved seat, would it be reasonable for her to be moved to enable a family to sit together?

What?

Moved by whom?

If you have a seat reservation, you have a seat reservation. If said family wanted reservations, they should have got themselves reservations.

Fleta Thu 19-Dec-13 09:12:46

Totally depends on the 14 year old. At 14 I would have been happy to do it, on the other hand my sister was painfully, painfully shy and suffered from anxiety - she couldn't have done it.

If she's not happy doing it then don't make her - it is her father's responsibility as a parent to get her.

hackmum Thu 19-Dec-13 09:14:07

I think a train journey is a reasonable thing to do alone at 14, though the first time is always hard! My DD is 14, and a few months ago she travelled on her own between Paddington and Cardiff - a two hour journey. I waved her off at the station, and she was met at the other end. It was all very safe, and of course from their point of view it's quite exciting to be doing something on their own.

Changing trains can be hard, particularly somewhere busy like Birmingham New Street, but there's a first time for everything. And these days at least we have mobile phones so she can call if anything goes wrong.

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 09:15:54

I think some of this is about the dynamics of being the child of a marriage that has ended. As with so many things there are two schools of thought.

1) Your parents are no longer together. This means your life is a bit more complicated and as a result you will need to cope with some things, that other children of your age - whose parents are together - are not necessarily doing. This might be tough in some ways, but will have benefits in others.

2) Your parents are no longer together. This means we must be extra-protective and extra-supportive and demonstrate this protection and support for you even more than parents who are still married to each other do. That you will feel completely reassured that whatever has happened you are and will always be be Dad's (and/or Mum's) most precious baby

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 09:16:13

Again, it doesn't matter what you or I or our children could do at this age.

The thing that matters in this, is how the child herself feels about it.

That really ought to be the only determinant in this case.

Her view (and that of her resident parent, who is legally responsible for her welfare) aren't available to us because the OP hasn't actually communicated with them about it.

If she had, we could all have a lovely day critiquing why they're wrong. grin

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 09:17:51

Yes good post FrauMoose.

And those 2 schools of thought are not necessarily mutually exclusive are they? You can switch between them depending on age, risk, priority etc.

muddylettuce Thu 19-Dec-13 09:19:36

At 14 I was getting the train by myself to and from school, roughly two hours. I was also getting the cross channel ferry with another slightly older friend to visit my parents in school holidays. It's a long journey by herself though, would be dull so perhaps that's what he means. I wouldn't stress, in another year she'll probably ask to do it herself. I thought I was so grown up at 15 and thought my parents were well sad

Boredandfridgegazing Thu 19-Dec-13 09:20:29

During the ages of 18-22, I used to get the train from the north of England to Uni in London. I was repeatedly sexually harassed by middle aged men on many occasions so no I do not think it is a good idea to let a 14 year old girl get a train in her own for 200 miles.

sooperdooper Thu 19-Dec-13 09:22:47

It actually worries me that some people find this such an outlandish or unacceptable thing for a 14 year old to be capable of, how on earth are these young people going to become confident adults if something as simple as sitting in a seat in a train, reading the many information boards or asking for help at an information desk at the age of 14 is seen as beyond their capabilities

sooperdooper Thu 19-Dec-13 09:26:17

Boredandfridgegazing, that's awful, but I did a similar journey, at the same age while at uni and never encountered any issues whatsoever, as did many friends and I've never heard of anyone having repeated similar problems, we're they reported, was it the same person?

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 09:28:28

Not completely sure about the 'leave it till they're ready' approach. Some children/young people are lazy. And passive. So happy for older people to do all the running round, that it is a huge shock when others - employers, people at university - expect them to show a bit of maturity.

So I think being caring parent does sometimes involves saying, 'No I am not doing this for you. You are going to do this by yourself, but I will explain what needs to be done - and you can also ring me if there's a problem.'

Katekate77 Thu 19-Dec-13 09:29:20

Sorry if someone has already said this but could you do the train journey with her the first time then let her come alone next time. When I was 14 I could be cool with a train journey alone...I'd think I was cool, grown up etc and I could read and listen to music. Just ask her if she is comfortable with it.

NigellasDealer Thu 19-Dec-13 09:29:28

well i used to travel for hours on the train to uni all the time and was never 'sexually harassed' tbh, not ever. Perhaps it was the 'fuck off' shoes I used to wear, who knows.

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 09:30:46

I don't find it outlandish Sooper.

I just think it doesn't really matter if the child is ready to do it now or not for another six months or not for another year.

I just hate this whole "I was doing x at this age, my DD is doing x". Who cares? This isn't about anyone except this individual child, it doesn't matter what other kids are doing.

The whole "I'm a considerably better parent than yow because I don't neglect/ helicopter my children by doing things differently from yow" is really not very Mumsnetty.

bigTillyMintspie Thu 19-Dec-13 09:31:01

YANBU - If she is happy to do it on her own, I agree that dad should practise the journey with her by train and then if she is happy to do it, she could do it on her own.

The DC have been making the journey to the IL's on the train (about 100miles) together on their own since DS was 10 and DD 12.

DS, nearly 13 would happily get a train 200 miles on his own, but I'm not sure that DD14 would on her own, but she would with DS or a friend.

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 09:34:07

Yes also agree with that FrauM.

If the SD got to 16 and still didn't feel ready, then she'd need a push IMO.

But at 14, I don't see why she needs to be pushed just yet, if she's not up for it (and we don't know whether she is or not). It's obviously important that kids get life skills like going on the train by themselves, but it doesn't really matter if they get that life skill at 13 or at 16. If they haven't got it by the time they're forty, there will have been a parenting fail there. grin

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 09:35:13

In the summer before I was 16 I went to visit relatives in Italy, travelling unaccompanied on trains and ferries. On the outward journey I was pulled out of the queue for questioning by customs officials. (I have a UK passport but the city where I was born was a site of considerable unrest at the time.) On the return journey, an Italian man who had helped me resolve some difficulty with an embarcation form, attempted to seduce me.

I should add that the questioning was very brief. Both the Customs Officials and I realised that there was no serious likelihood that I would be a terrorist. I also sussed out that as the Italian man was travelling with his mother and child, plus we were on a crowded ferry at the time, he was not a major threat.

I think that holiday - which I thoroughly enjoyed in all sorts of ways - really helped me to grow up and realise that the world was a place I wanted to see more of....

Katekate77 Thu 19-Dec-13 09:36:04

Haha nigellas! Tell her to wear her "fuck off" shoes grin

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 09:38:48

I think that many of us have pointed out that it's a learning curve.
Not a sudden shove off a high cliff.
So yes, some children are lazy, or unsure or just inert. They need to be encouraged, sometimes firmly, to develop independence, and it's a long process.
Isn't there a theory about teenagers developing obnoxious behaviour as an evolutionary impetus to enable parents to sever the apron strings without excessive trauma to both sides?

curlew Thu 19-Dec-13 09:39:00

"Most if the teens who go missing, end up being found dead, if you want to protect your child from that ever happening, or being sexually harassed, assaulted, raped, then that is your right."

"My middle DD has been drinking in pubs since she was 15"

I now know that people just post random things on threads like this. There is no way otherwise that the same poster, who is strongly anti this girl travelling by train could have, with a straight face, posted these two statements.

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 09:39:59

Isn't there a theory about teenagers developing obnoxious behaviour as an evolutionary impetus to enable parents to sever the apron strings without excessive trauma to both sides?

I like this...

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 09:40:11

What are fuck off shoes?

Are they some sort of talisman?

Like these?

Well... It is not really your decision OP

FirConesAtXmas Thu 19-Dec-13 09:44:06

Not sure if this has already been suggested, but could you split the journey with her mum so that her mum takes her the first hundred miles, and your DH meets up with them at a cafe, then she travels back with him.
This is what we have always done with our DC when they go to stay with my Parents who live 200 miles away.
We each travel 100 miles, meet at roughly mid point for a nice lunch and then collect/deposit DC. ( I appreciate a nice lunch with his ex is probably pushing it)

NigellasDealer Thu 19-Dec-13 09:46:06

What are fuck off shoes?
exactly those basil!! but in black. These red ones are lush!
am I too old to wear them ? (pushing 50)

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 09:58:18

No definitely not too old - I have a pair of these myself.

(In the red!)

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 10:00:52

I have a purple pair Basil, they are so comfortable and have lasted for years.
Whereas my mother's fuck off shoes were stilettos, with a decent bodyweight behind them.

BranchingOut Thu 19-Dec-13 10:16:28

I think that if it is a simple journey (somebody puts her on the train at one end, somebody meets her at the other) then it could be done.

I had the most restrictive parents around and even I was making simple local train journeys with a friend by age 13. At 16 I took the train from the home counties to North Wales, via London.

But - it still went wrong from time to time. On one occasion (aged about 14) I got the platforms totally mixed up and my friend and I ended up on a fast service into London - sensibly we decided to get off at Richmond upon Thames so that didn't work out too badly!

I think that there also is the vulnerability angle to consider. Will she know how to handle it if she gets back from the loo and someone is sitting in her seat? In my early twenties I was sitting in the inner seat by the window and a rather lairy, drunk man decided to sit next to me so I was pretty much trapped - in the end I had to push past him and go to get help from the conductor.

Here's an idea - over Christmas you all go on a short trip by train, for a day out. But you use that journey as a way to get her and your DH used to the idea of her travelling that way next year.

hardboiledpossum Thu 19-Dec-13 10:18:20

I was traveling across the UK and Europe at that age and mostly enjoyed the adventure. I was sexually harassed on a number of occasions though. Once in Paris I was encircled by a group of young men whilst they grabbed at me, luckily someone intervened and I was fine.

I wouldn't force her to take the journey on her own, you might find she stops coming. If I had felt like my dad couldn't be bothered to come and pick me up as a teenager I would probably have stayed home to see my friends.

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Thu 19-Dec-13 10:21:08

It's a sensible question. I'm feeling a bit rubbish at the moment and due to be taking dd (14) to olympia for the horse show. Last night we had a serious discussion as to whether she would be happy to go by herself if I wasnt well enough (I should be fine to go). She was very pleased by the idea! even though it would mean changing at a very busy large train station. We have done the route a few times though. Next summer I think she will be travelling up to central London by herself to attend a course she wants to do, but the first couple of days dh or I will accompany her.

My biggest fear is that she ends up on the wrong train or gets into a tizz if it goes wrong, but tbh I've ended up on the wrong train as an adult in my more dappy moments and its something you have to learn to deal with. She is just as capable of reading, listening and talking as I am, what she needs now is practise.

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Thu 19-Dec-13 10:25:18

What I meant to say, is that although each individual child follows their own path and does things at different times, it does help to know what the norm is for each age group - its really hard to let go! For instance I don't let dd boil the kettle if there are no adults in the house which frankly is ridiculous - I was cooking spag bol for the family when they were out at her age! In fact, in typing that I've realised thats something I need to get over, its my fear, not her capability thats holding her back on that one.

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 10:31:31

I knew I'd done something right two years ago, when I woke up to a bloodstained kitchen and a ransacked first aid cupboard.
DS at 16 had managed to cut himself whilst making a late night snack, but he knew what to do and didn't see the need to wake me up.
Next step, remembering to clean the worksurface and floor you bleed on.

bigTillyMintspie Thu 19-Dec-13 10:51:54

SilverApplessmile

OYMLK, that's great - DD is quite capable of getting around in London, she just doesn't want to be perceived as a loner, so would only go with someone elseconfused!

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Thu 19-Dec-13 11:01:18

dd is a funny duck. She has lots of really lovely friends but she likes her own company and would often rather do stuff by herself. (but I guess I'm the same, to a certain extent).

Slowercooker Thu 19-Dec-13 12:22:29

I really can't believe some of the opinions on this thread...
Trains are not inherently dangerous places. Certainly, as has been pointed out already, they are less dangerous than a motorway with an overtired driver.

Taking public transport should be encouraged. Train journeys can be very enjoyable in all sort of ways. Relaxing, exciting, interesting. I don't know why you would want to deny your children this. Yes there are issues to be ironed out, and the OP admits she is the very early stages of considering this. She never said it would be every journey. She never said there wouldn't be a dry-run or two with Dad. She never said they wouldn't take the SDD's feelings into account. In all likelihood the OP's stepdaughter would enjoy the experience and it would make her feel (and be) capable. Which is good, isn't it?

What I find most depressing is some posters assumption that the only way of loving your children, or being a good parent is to unthinkingly and unquestioningly drive them around in the car.

pigletmania Thu 19-Dec-13 12:40:58

I disagree slow cooker, we were a non driving family so always used public transport, but just because a child s 14 does not mean they are a true enough to travel a long journey, some are not, if you know tat your child woud not be able to cope at that what is wrong with waiting a bit until they are! Some children will not be able to cope with things like delayed trains, or platform changes, connection changes, aso add to that unwanted attention from adults or others.

pigletmania Thu 19-Dec-13 12:41:16

Mature doh

bigTillyMintspie Thu 19-Dec-13 13:03:14

piglet that is true. Some are more ready than others - DS 12 takes 2 trains to and from footy training once or twice a week in the evening. He has had to deal with cancellations and machines not working and last night slept past his stop and had to jump on a bus to get bacl to training on time. All in his stride.
DD14, however wants to be ferried everywhere unless shes with friends. I am encouraging her to be more independent, bit by bit.
.

brettgirl2 Thu 19-Dec-13 13:04:50

The counter argument to the 'she won't bother to come then' is actually if she can get the train she can visit whenever she likes (and therefore more often). Potentially therefore having more of dad not less.

FraidyCat Thu 19-Dec-13 13:18:05

I know someone who from the age of six made a couple of days long train journey, spanning three countries, to get to boarding school each term. (Older children from the same school making the same journey would have looked after him though. Only a handful came from that far, so conceivable that the oldest was only 14, though unlikely to have been a girl.)

minifingers Thu 19-Dec-13 13:20:54

There are much younger children in boarding school in the UK - thousands of them - travelling abroad unaccompanied several times a year.

Really at 14 she should be able to do a train journey alone. At that age I would have been gagging to do it!

pigletmania Thu 19-Dec-13 13:52:30

I used to go to boarding school, at 14 I had the maturity of a 10 year old, Noway was I allowed to do a train journey and a bus ride to my home. At 16 I was much better, and used to go from home to school independently. If the child is not able to do so at tat age, what the hell is waiting with waiting a year or 2! You would nt let a 10 year old travel on a long journey!

pigletmania Thu 19-Dec-13 13:54:03

Minifingers te Chidren are usually unaccompanied minors on areoplanes, they have a chaperone from when they are handed over, right until they arrive

Strangetownblues Thu 19-Dec-13 14:18:17

Some of these posts of the 'Oh I was hitch-hiking around North America when I was 11' variety are maybe missing the point that in our pornified society, some men feel FAR more entitled to harass young girls than might have been the case when we were young. People also maybe got involved more years ago if they saw a youngster being hassled. Now, people pretend they haven't noticed in case they get troubled by the harassers themselves.

Talk about coaches etc is also missing the point yet again. Passengers are more protected because the coach driver is present.

Curlyweasel Thu 19-Dec-13 14:18:43

your oh may be complaining, but if he's got a problem with it, it's up to him to sort it out. the way your post has been phrased makes you come over a bit wicked step-mother imho wink.

curlew Thu 19-Dec-13 14:56:09

Shouldn't this be a family decision? By 14 I would expect my children to be involved in a lot of family decisions, and I would expect them to have points of view and a sense of responsibility. If my dd, for example, understood that her father was doing a massive drive at the end of a hard week, and she could do something to make his life easier, I would expect her to consider it. In the same way that, if she really couldn't do it, I would expect her father to take her feelings and convenience into consideration. There really is a huge difference between 14 and a younger child.

bigTillyMintspie Thu 19-Dec-13 15:07:27

I agree with you, curlew.

We try to get our DC to see all points of view and reach a compromise which works OK for everyone. DS is proving better at this than DD atm - how the tables have turned!

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 15:08:51

My main concern with my young teen dds would be some bastard sexually harassing them and they not knowing what to do.

We've all been there haven't we?

Perhaps book the seat first class, have the 'what to do chat if' put her in and meet her off the train. Mobile.

However if her dad moans about it but won't change things what can you do op? What does her mom think?

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 19-Dec-13 15:13:47

Most routes which do change at Birmingham overlap somewhere else anyway - DSis and I used to do Warwickshire - Shropshire and changed at Wolverhampton. A couple of years into this the software changed on the website and would automatically put the change at Birmingham instead. I looked up the timetables and realised that we could carry on changing at Wolverhampton so continued to do that.

I used to love those train journeys. Would have been about 15 I reckon because my DSis is 3 years younger and I doubt we'd have been allowed if she was 11.

I think it ought to be fine especially if she has a mobile!

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 19-Dec-13 15:14:31

thebody confused No? Not on a train, anyway.

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 15:24:05

I've been sexually harnessed on trains several times.

I was 19 the first time and really shaken by it. I don't want it to happen to my dc at any age, but definitely not at 14.

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 15:32:51

I'd suggest that if anyone is serious about minimising the chances of anyone trying to sexually harrass their teenage daughters, that they don't permit them to enter higher education.

www.theguardian.com/education/2013/nov/05/sexual-harassment-clubs-students

Saudi Arabia! Now there's a society where women are properly protected. Why don't those of us who are worried move there....

(I am not trivialising the distress caused by harassment and abuse. But I think we do need to help our children to learn to be confident and independent, to assess risk for themselves, and to know how to enlist help if they are unsure what to do.)

Strangetownblues Thu 19-Dec-13 15:43:58

The average 18-21 year old is far better equipped to cope with misogyny and abuse from other adults than the average 14 year old child.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 15:47:42

Strange,

Sure, and the average 35 year old is far better able to cope with it than the average 18-21 year old, but so what? Do you want to keep your children in gilded cages until they are adults?

And if you never let them do anything independently, how on earth will they learn to cope with life?

MightyMagnificentScarfaceClaw Thu 19-Dec-13 15:48:01

I've never been sexually harnessed on a train! Some people do lead exciting lives.

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 15:51:11

Yes, but one can discuss strategies.

If someone near you is unpleasant you get up, you move, you find somewhere else to sit or stand. You find the ticket collector. You say in a loud voice, 'Stop that.'

In my case as a teenager - and I am far from unusual in this - the misogyny and abuse happened at home. I was safer when out.

Strangetownblues Thu 19-Dec-13 15:58:55

Not wanting to expose a 14 year old to the risk of harm or abusive behaviour is not keeping them in a gilded cage. There is more difference in the coping strategies between a 14 year old child and a 18-21 year old ADULT than there is between two ADULTS of different ages.

Some 14 year olds 'freeze' or try to ignore what's going on rather than ask for help. They could no more shout 'stop that!' than fly to the moon. I wonder how many posters saying these things actually have teenagers of that age, or ever have? Lots of posters seem to be talking about when THEY were teenagers and not their own parental experiences.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:04:07

Er sorry I wasn't saying specifically on a train but in a public place.

I would be amazed if one person on here said they had NEVER been either assalted verbally or physically to some degree at some point in their lives.

I don't think 'keeping children in guilded cages' is a sensible comment. What you allow your child to do depends in each individual circumstance and each child.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:05:13

Er sorry I wasn't saying specifically on a train but in a public place.

I would be amazed if one person on here said they had NEVER been either assalted verbally or physically to some degree at some point in their lives.

I don't think 'keeping children in guilded cages' is a sensible comment. What you allow your child to do depends in each individual circumstance and each child.

Bunbaker Thu 19-Dec-13 16:06:21

I also think that the smug parents of children who travel alone when barely our of toddlerhood think that all children are like their own.

Clearly they are not. DD (13) is not very confident and would hate the idea of travelling on her own by train. I encourage her to be independent and let her go round town on her own with a friend, leave her at the swimming pool/cinema/shopping centre with her friends for several hours, but she will not catch a bus or train into town on her own.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 16:09:30

"I don't think 'keeping children in guilded cages' is a sensible comment. What you allow your child to do depends in each individual circumstance and each child."

Well, you are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine. I do believe that not allowing a 14 year old to sit in a train by herself between being dropped off at one end and picked up by a caring adult by the other IS keeping the said child in a gilded cage.

Clearly what people allow their children to do depends on individual circumstances. However unless the said child has a particular phobia or has a SEN, then they can take a train by themselves without being exposed to a meaningful likelihood of danger.

At what point can one say that a parent is being overprotective? Never? And, if so, this entire thread is meaningless. The OP asked for comments and got them.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:11:14

frauMoose I have 2 teenage dds and 2 grown up lads.

All sensible parents talk to their kids about strategies?

Of course you do.

Higher education when I last looked starts at 18 so that is an adult.

Huge difference.

Abra1d Thu 19-Dec-13 16:15:09

Both my children have travelled hundreds of miles from about 13 onwards by train or plane.

Abra1d Thu 19-Dec-13 16:17:11

And we didn't have chaperones on the plane or minders. My daughter, a tiny 13-year-old, knew exactly what to do if there was trouble--find an adult in uniform or someone in a shop/behind the train's buffet/nice-looking lady/mother. Usually people are very, very kind to children by themselves.

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 16:20:39

larry
"And if you never let them do anything independently, how on earth will they learn to cope with life?"

Huge leap there Larry, from posters saying their 14 year olds aren't ready to travel long distances, alone, you take that to mean "never letting them do anything independently".

Strange.

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 16:20:40

What IS this idea that every time a woman/girl goes out on her own she has to face the prospect of abuse? Yes, it happens, but generally we live in a very safe society. My DD is 12 and every time she leaves the house (to get the bus to school, go into town, visit her dad etc etc) I worry - of course I do. But that doesn't mean I should stop her going. She is sensible, we've talked about what to do if something goes wrong, and I've seen her grow in confidence as she becomes more independent. It is my job to allow her to do that, no matter how much I would like to keep her indoors. And I speak as the kind of mother who automatically imagines the worst every time she nips out to the postbox.
I would hate her or DSD to think that travelling on a train was tantamount to parading up and down the Bois de Boulogne at 3a.m. Trains are generally fun, friendly and full of nice people, not potential rapists.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 16:20:45

Abraid,

I am surprised she managed to get away without a chaperone on a plane. My goddaughter, whom I used to drop off at the airport (her parents lived abroad), was desperate to travel without a chaperone but the airline's policy made her have (and pay for) one.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 16:23:30

"Huge leap there Larry, from posters saying their 14 year olds aren't ready to travel long distances, alone, you take that to mean "never letting them do anything independently"."

Really?

It is not the distance that is an issue, though, is it? Why is distance an issue? If they were expected to do 6 changes and then navigate around the London tube, I could see why that might be daunting at 14 (although I did it from 12 onwards, as did all my friends). How can being dropped off and sitting and reading for a couple of hours be a major challenge? It seems a lot easier than the DOE awards which a lot of teenagers take within their stride.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:30:37

Fantastic good on you and your dds for travelling by train and plane all over the place. Not being sarcastic that's great. For you.

Please can you not assume though that those of us who wouldn't let our own dds do this are somehow whack jobs who keep our dds locked away from all society.

All families operate differently. Risk is predicated on our own experiences, personal circumstances and the 'wanting to do it'

My 14 year old dd would be extremely distressed to make a long train journey like this by herself so I wouldn't make her.

What's not to understand.

Arguing this is as stupid as breast v bottle debate.

What suits one family doesn't suit another.

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 16:31:14

*frauMoose I have 2 teenage dds and 2 grown up lads.
All sensible parents talk to their kids about strategies?
Of course you do. Higher education when I last looked starts at 18 so that is an adult.Huge difference.*

Someone upthread was speaking about having been on the receiving end of abuse on public transport at 19 and being distressed by this- and therefore feeling that they could not possibly let any child of hers who was younger than this travel alone.

The point I was making was that those of us whose children are expected to be independent young people by their late teens - working or studying in higher education - cannot be chaperoning them to and from work, or throughout their studies.

So the earlier teenage years should for all of us be a time of preparing our children for adulthood. Of course teenagers will vary in their confidence and some parents will feel much more nervous than others about letting their children (metaphorically) take short flights from the nest

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 16:31:44

confused

Ok let me explain. If some one on here posts that their 14 year old isn't ready to travel 200 miles, on their own, that does not mean the child doesn't do anything independently.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:31:48

To add no one is wrong or right here either.

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 16:32:25

Hat was to Larry

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 16:38:40

I don't agree Frau My DDs didn't travel alone at 14. However they were confidently travelling alone, long distances by the time they were 16/17. The age you start to let them be that independent depends on many factors.

Just because your child was able to confidently do it at 14, doesn't mean every other child is. Why is that sooooo difficult to comprehend?

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:45:16

frau didn't see that comment but obviously the poster can't control a 19 year old adult.

Your last paragraph is totally the same as I have said up thread.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 16:45:43

TheBody,

"My 14 year old dd would be extremely distressed to make a long train journey like this by herself so I wouldn't make her."

What would you do if your daughter needed to make a long trip and you neither had the money to "book first class" (your comment upthread) or 400 miles worth of fuel money?

Should teenagers never have to be encouraged/pushed into anything that they don't want to do?

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:49:22

Er she wouldn't go!

What a ridiculous question.

NigellasDealer Thu 19-Dec-13 16:49:27

I wouldn't push my dd14 into doing that, she is small and vague looking, doesn't know north from south and peers around the place like a dormouse, and I would have serious worries for her safety if sending her off on a trip like that...
she will be fine in a couple of years, they are all different.
her twin bro on the other hand i would happily send on a trip across Europe alone. and no that is not cos he is a boy, they are just different.

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 16:49:57

There are a lot of variants to do with geography. I live a few miles outside a major regional city. There are good bus service and train services. Although my daughter walks to school, many of her friends takes buses and trains. Roads into the city centre are congested, city centre parking is expensive, and both my partner and I use public transport for some journeys. (We share a car.)

So solo traveling began for my daughter when she wanted to see friends who didn't live locally. A key step was when at - 13 I think - she wanted to see a friend who lived a bus ride away on a day when I was far too busy to drive her there. I said, 'If you really want to see X you will have to take the bus yourself.' She was quite unconfident but did want to see X and did. She rang X on the bus, who talked her through when to get off. After that she was a lot more postive about buses.

There was a similar process with trains. A time came when she couldn't be accompanied, and there were some nerves, but the journey was done.

I think living in a city changes things in other ways too. We live in a pleasant but not posh area. My daughter is used to seeing people on the street and on the bus who may be drug users and/or have psychiatric problems. She understands that such people are vulnerable and unlikely to harm her. Even people who are shouting out loud are confused and unlikely to be aggressive towards her. They are just part of humanity.

Abra1d Thu 19-Dec-13 16:50:15

larrygrylls depends on the airline. BA are fine from 13. Easyjet from 14.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 16:51:05

Abraid,

It was BA and she was 14/15. It was long haul, though. Maybe that is different.

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 16:52:00

Again you're making huge leaps Larry. There may be very valid reason why a TheBody's 14 year wouldn't be happy to do a long journey on ther own.

That does NOT mean "teenagers never have to be encouraged/pushed into anything that they don't want to" you're just writing nonsense.

For what it's worth my own dd didn't travel long distances until she was 18. She used to have panic attacks on the school bus and would I would receive phone calls from her school. There was a very valid reason for this, which I'm not going to explain here. But again I say why do people find it hard to understand every child is different?

It really pisses me off that people are so blinkered.

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 16:52:16

Bizarre idea that first-class travel is somehow safer. I've done it a couple of times and the carriage is virtually empty. Plus I really don't think that there's any connection between the amount people pay for their seat and the likelihood of them being anti-social/abusive.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:52:30

ExcuseTypos agree totally.

I am not sure if some posters feel those of us who wouldnt choose to do this are criticising those who do?

I certainly couldn't give a crap what you think is ok for your child so can't resist see why you care what others do.

The op asked for views and obviously we all differ.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 16:54:57

ExcuseTypos,

"It really pisses me off that people are so blinkered."

It sounds like your daughter had a very specific issue which prevented her from travelling. That is not what this thread is about, otherwise the OP would have stated it.

It pisses me off that people try to change the debate by bringing in spurious factors unrelated to the OP. This thread is about a 14 year old girl with no specific travel related phobias or special needs.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:55:24

First class tends to get far more attention from the staff. I wasn't assuming the passengers are less likely to harass anyone else. That would be hilarious.

comingintomyown Thu 19-Dec-13 16:55:33

I travelled alone via trains and a ferry to France at that age no problem

I agree though the journey would be good for them to catch up if she's anything like my 14 yo DD and her Dad

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 16:57:39

This is sort of reminding me of all the times we have driving threads on here, and the number of women who either can't drive or have a fit of the vapours at the idea of using the motorways.
Most of the posters accept the fact that some women do and some women don't and it's ok for them to stay within their comfort zones.
Some are ready, some aren't. Some will never be able to if they don't have a go, and build their confidence. Some need more preparation than others.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 16:58:19

larry honestly don't understand your point at all. What's ok for your child is ok for your child is great.

The op asked if we thought it was ok for a 14 year old girl to travel alone on a long train journey? Yes?

Some if think it's ok and some not.

What don't you understand about that?

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 17:00:38

Larry How do you know the OPs SD has "no specific travel related phobias or SNs"? confused

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 17:03:47

Because she would have said so.

ivykaty44 Thu 19-Dec-13 17:06:59

Do those of you that think it is not a good idea to get a teen to travel alone- do you ever encourage your dc to do something that perhaps you are yourselves worried about but they are not? What if your teens ask to do a train trip - do you tell them they are not allowed because they are not capable of negotiating something like that? How do you prevent them and how do you weigh up what they can achieve and can't achieve?

everlong Thu 19-Dec-13 17:09:01

Does she want to? Or have you just got a bee in your bonnet about DH doing all the driving?
What's her mothers take on it?

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 17:09:31

She didn't say the girl wanted to either which would probably been far more to the point.

For me if the 14 year old didn't want to then that would be that.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 17:15:14

ivyKaty

Your points have all been covered in posts but will put my side here.

My dd does use transport.

If she doesn't feel comfortable doing things then we wait until she is.

She certainly wouldn't do a 200 mile train journey as she would not be confident yet.

I really don't understand then your comment how do you prevent them? no one is!

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 17:17:36

We haven't asked her, everlong - DH refused to contemplate the idea or discuss it with her or her mother. Which is why I was canvassing opinion on what people thought generally about 14-yr-olds travelling alone. It's no big deal to me either way, and certainly if he won't contemplate it then he should skippetty-skip to the car when embarking on the long journey rather than complaining about it (though to be fair to him, he does have a bad knee that is made worse by driving for long periods).
I feel this topic has been well and truly covered now!

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 17:18:45

How bizarre that some people feel one size fits all!

Children don't all walk at the same age or talk at the same age so why on earth would every 14 year old in the world cope with a long train journey?

Some would and some wouldn't. Doesn't mean those that do are somehow a product of superior parenting skills.

Hilarious.

everlong Thu 19-Dec-13 17:20:33

It's a non issue then. DH won't contemplate it. It's doesn't matter what anyone else would do.

larrygrylls Thu 19-Dec-13 17:21:02

It is equally hilarious to assume parenting has zero effect on a child's attitudes and enthusiasms.

ivykaty44 Thu 19-Dec-13 17:22:43

the body, you don't say what type of transport your dc uses - bike, train, bus, private car. As for you don't understand how to prevent them - does your dc never ask to do something that you don't want them to do then?

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 17:25:15

Everlong, he suggested I put it out to the MN jury!

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 17:28:23

'do you tell them they are not allowed because they are not capable of negotiating something like that? How do you prevent them and how do you weigh up what they can achieve and can't achieve?'

In my family it's known as a Thunderbirds ticket.
You train them and skill them up as much as you can, you encourage them to try things you know they can manage and some you and they are not sure of.
You discuss situations, and their plans and their backup plans, and point out significant problems and doubts. They are an active part of the discussion, and you listen at least as much as you talk, if not more.
And you promise that if they are ever truly in the shit, then you will come for them. Wherever and whenever, Thunderbirds Are Go.

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 17:33:10

That's something I've always stressed to my DCs, SilverApples. If something goes wrong, then no matter whose fault it is, or where you are or how late it is, we will come and get you, so phone us.

everlong Thu 19-Dec-13 17:36:38

Why would he do that if he's adamant he won't budge confused

I have a 14 year old boy that I would put on a train and let travel 200 miles.

AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Thu 19-Dec-13 17:40:04

"It is equally hilarious to assume parenting has zero effect on a child's attitudes and enthusiasms."

Where has anyone argued that?

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 17:44:52

Mine have never abused it, cinnamontoast, used it a few times.
It helps them be problem-solvers with more confidence, if they aren't panicking and thinking 'ohfuckwhatdoIdonowwwwwww'

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 17:46:18

Don't you think it's good that he was prepared to canvas opinion on it, everlong, even though he was reluctant to do it? His initial reaction was that it was out of the question, I said that was unreasonable and he ought to at least consider it/talk to his ex/talk to his DD and we discussed it and that's how MN came up.

everlong Thu 19-Dec-13 17:47:58

Has he changed his mind a bit then?

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 17:48:26

Yes, SilverApples, we should be teaching them to problem solve. One of my favourite parenting quotes is something along the lines of, We can't always protect our children from things going wrong but we can give them the tools to cope when they do.

friday16 Thu 19-Dec-13 17:50:04

cinnamontoast

Summary of thread: some people think it's reasonable, and people who don't allow/encourage their children to travel solo are too protective. Some people think it's unreasonable, and people who do allow/encourage their children to travel solo are not protective enough. There were some disagreements. No-one changed their mind.

cinnamontoast Thu 19-Dec-13 18:00:31

Thank you friday16. 14 pages in 4 lines! The other important point, I think, is that it depends on the teenager to some extent.

Fwiw, I think DH will accept that he's probably being unreasonable but still refuse to contemplate it or discuss it with DSD's mother (of whom he is quite scared). So I will chastise him severely if he complains about the drive again.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 18:01:29

AskBasilAbiutcranberrysauce exactly.

Very strange.

ivykaty she uses all forms of transport apart from a byke.. Er why?

I have always encouraged all of my children to go for things, I have 2 fully functioning adult kids as well as the teen girls.

If they want to have a go and we think it's a sensible request then they do it, sometimes it works out and sometimes not so good, ds drunken party at 15!! wink

But if they arnt comfortable or confident them they don't.

I am desperately struggling to see your points here.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 18:03:42

AskBasilAbiutcranberrysauce exactly.

Very strange.

ivykaty she uses all forms of transport apart from a byke.. Er why?

I have always encouraged all of my children to go for things, I have 2 fully functioning adult kids as well as the teen girls.

If they want to have a go and we think it's a sensible request then they do it, sometimes it works out and sometimes not so good, ds drunken party at 15!! wink

But if they arnt comfortable or confident them they don't.

I am desperately struggling to see your points here.

GimmeDaBoobehz Thu 19-Dec-13 18:05:06

I think with me it would depend -

How often does she come up to stay with her Dad and how long for each time?

IF it was every weekend, I would say the situation would be unsustainable with her Dad having to drive all the way up there and it would be a lot better on public transport. Especially if she is only staying for a night.

However, if it was once a month or less often, I'd say it would be fine for your partner to drive up and get her, as it's not too regular.

ivykaty44 Thu 19-Dec-13 18:10:59

body - the question was do your dc ask to do things that you don't want them to - in the way of travelling- and how do you proven them if you don't want them to do this.

Sorry but I didn't see the question as difficult and you didn't understand it so I repeated the question

I thought possibly you were thinking of other types of transport - so thus the question as it is wrong to assume the type of transport when others maybe in the other posters mind, therefore I asked so I had a clear picture

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 19:05:06

I think you are probably making this personal to my dd because of my posts on other subjects.

My older dds would probably have felt comfortable doing a long train journey so we would have let them.

Dd3 would not ask as she would not want to.

Dd3 is 13 so too young.

Still don't get your point.

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 19:15:03

Older dss sorry.

To clarify our parenting style is encouraging ours to have a go, provide the tools and help but not push, they jump.

If they don't want to they don't.

Think exhausted the subject now anyway.grin

thebody Thu 19-Dec-13 19:17:36

Older dss sorry.

To clarify our parenting style is encouraging ours to have a go, provide the tools and help but not push, they jump.

If they don't want to they don't.

Think exhausted the subject now anyway.grin

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 19:31:13

Why is it about grades? This might sound a stupid question, but it's one that I've asked about my two - very different - stepchildren and also about my 16 year old daughter.

Why don't we talk about their characters, their gifts, their personal qualities?

And also why do we delude ourselves that a set of exam results - taken in a period when our children are still maturing - will fix their future in stone?

My stepdaughter has always been very good with people, and has a talent for friendship. She was the sort who'd do enough work to keep out of trouble, but was not very ambitious. For a long time she rather drifted along in the shadow of her brother who was considered - by their mother - to be the bright one. She was pleased with her okayish GCSEs - Bs and Cs. Then she went to sixth form college and decided to apply to lots of very sought after universities, but - given the so-so GCSEs - ony got offers from a couple of them. She dropped a grade in her A-levels, but her first choice university still offered her a place.

After a couple of terms she had to change degree course, as she'd not been able to get a modern language up to the require standard. Towards the end of her university degree she decided she wanted to teach. She applied for Teach First and didn't get it.

She then spent a year working part-time as a Learning Support assistant, but got offered increased hours as she did well in this role. After that she did a PGCE at a well-regarded university where in her final placement she was rated as excellent.

She's now doing well in her first teaching job. I suspect she'll flourish as a teacher.

Bit of a long story. The point is that I think it's important to remember that growing up has all sorts of twists and turns, and what matters is the young person her/himself finding out what they want. While we can offer encouragement and support, ultimately this is something they have to do for themselves.

FrauMoose Thu 19-Dec-13 19:31:54

Sorry wrong thread. I have a cold.

pixiepotter Thu 19-Dec-13 22:22:25

why is it better they learn to do these things at 13/14 when they won't be as well-equipped to deal with a bad situation, as they would be at 16/17.
What is the rush?

phantomnamechanger Thu 19-Dec-13 22:34:49

what pixie said.... IMO there is no rush to do a marathon, little jogs now and then, short trips, build up their confidence then tackle something harder when they are older and a bit wsier

thebody Fri 20-Dec-13 00:01:09

Exactly ^

WidowWadman Fri 20-Dec-13 06:45:45

pixiepotter - why do you think that a 16/17 would be better equipped to use public transport? Being equipped to deal with someting is not something that age magically bestows on you, but something that comes with experience.

Greenmug Fri 20-Dec-13 07:25:09

My DH does a 400 mile round trip every fortnight to pick up his DD. It takes 2.5 hours there (he leaves at 5 on Friday), and are normally home by around 10.30 ish. He does the same trip on a Sunday evening to take her home again. I can't see how it can take your DH 4 hours to drive 200 miles although I guess that depends entirely on the road network to and from. I wouldn't let a 14 year old travel on their own unless they were very sensible and actually wanted to do it.

phantomnamechanger Fri 20-Dec-13 07:38:57

green - so he manages 200 miles in 2.5 hours in the friday night rush hour?? that's averaging 80 miles an hour!

it's much more likely/reasonable that 200 miles would take 4hrs, averaging 50mph!

we regularly travel 210miles from kent to west mids and the quickest we have ever done it, in all clear weather and no holdups is 3.25 hours and that's only with 5 miles on non-motorway at each end.

bigTillyMintspie Fri 20-Dec-13 07:39:46

Greenmug, it takes us 4 1/2 hours minimum to drive from SE London to the Wirral, more like 6+ on a Friday. That's quite a trek every weekend.

Writerwannabe83 Fri 20-Dec-13 07:48:04

Haven't read the full thread.....

But, surely if is just a train ride there is no problem?? A 14 year should be able to manage this fine?? I was getting trains on my eon from the age of about 12 - what's the big deal? As someone has said, if it's a case of getting on a train one end and off it at another what difference does it make if it's 10 miles or 200?

Don't some parents put children on airplanes on their own.

However, I so agree that if it involves buses and trains and lots of change overs then I do think it could be quite daunting for her and she may need a chaperone with her a few tines until she feels comfortable doing it on her own.

pixiepotter Fri 20-Dec-13 09:06:00

'pixiepotter - why do you think that a 16/17 would be better equipped to use public transport? Being equipped to deal with someting is not something that age magically bestows on you, but something that comes with experience.'

and people have more life experience and maturity at 17 than 13 and so can use this to exercise better judgment aS well as appearing less vulnerable to a would be pick pocket, muggger or abuser

SilverApples Fri 20-Dec-13 09:11:12

OP doesn't say weekends, it's in the school holidays. No mention of how many times a year.

curlew Fri 20-Dec-13 11:59:04

How do people live with this assumption that every second person is a pickpocket, mugger or abuser?

WidowWadman Fri 20-Dec-13 13:46:25

pixie - but that's my point - denying children/teenagers experience until they've got more experience, is a non-starter, as they can't gain it in the first place.

I don't think a 16 year old (or 36 year old for that matter) is any less vulnerable to pickpockets than a 14 year old.

friday16 Fri 20-Dec-13 13:59:10

How do people live with this assumption that every second person is a pickpocket, mugger or abuser?

People tend to overestimate the incidence of crime, because the underestimate how people people they are only one remove from. So they hear that a friend of a friend has been a victim of crime (in my case, that a friend of a friend was abducted and killed by a serial killer) and don't realise just how many people are "friends of friends" (for a reasonably socially connected adult, probably tens of thousands).

I figured out how many people were "friends of friends" in the same way as the victim in question, and how long I'd been aware of what happened to these "friends of friends", and reckoned that it probably equated to ten to fifteen thousand people at any one time over the course of thirty years. Given the risk of murder by a stranger is about one in a million per year, then that over the course of my life one friend of a friend has been murdered isn't actually that out of line with the base incidence. But a lot of people would hear that a friend of a friend had been murdered, and deduce that it was quite a common event.

chipshop Fri 20-Dec-13 13:59:45

I think it depends on the individual. I flew to Italy to visit my sister alone at that age and loved it, I felt very grown up! If she'd enjoy it then it'd be a win win. But some of my friends avoid travelling anywhere alone, even as adults, so it really depends.

phantomnamechanger Fri 20-Dec-13 14:22:52

widow, a 14 yo may not be any more susceptible to a pickpocket than anyone else, but would they have the confidence, or gumption to shout, make a fuss/call for help? they might also be more engrossed in their music/kindle/phone and not be aware of whats going on around them. what if they did not notice the theft till afterwards when they suddenly realised they are stuck alone far from home with no purse/phone? as adults we can think on the spot and come up with a plan. I had my purse nicked at uni - I had no cash, no cards, at all. this was before mobile phones. luckily I had a friend around to lend me money for the phone and for lunch! I was 19 but it still upset me! I was living walking distance from my bank but it still took several days to sort out.

no one is saying that every other person is a mugger or groper BUT it is possible, and on public transport, in crowds, where pushing against people can be passed off as totally innocent/unavoidable, it happens a lot.

a mature women might be too embarrassed to say anything about being groped on the tube, she might just feel revolted and embarrassed/angry, but not want to cause a scene. But for most 13/14 yr olds, without a wealth of emotional intelligence or experience of sexual encounters, it would be really horrid and they would be scared and upset, and embarrassed to make a scene in public. horrid things like this affect people years on, as I am sure we have all seen on this board.

sooperdooper Fri 20-Dec-13 14:28:56

How do people live with this assumption that every second person is a pickpocket, mugger or abuser?

I have no idea, it must be absolutley exhausing worrying about these things so much! I think the best way is to be sensible, but to generally assume that the vast majority of people are normal, because tbh they are!

And surely that's the best way to teach kids to be too, you can be sensible about doing new things without being paranoid - if children aren't given the opportunity to gain life skills they won't magically wake up with them at 16/18/21

sooperdooper Fri 20-Dec-13 14:33:05

phantomnamechanger although I agree your example of someone being groped on the tube might provoke a different reaction it's also more likely not to happen than it is to happen - I'd rather go about life not assuming that something awful will happen than paranoid that it will

friday16 Fri 20-Dec-13 14:40:37

a mature women might be too embarrassed to say anything about being groped on the tube, she might just feel revolted and embarrassed/angry, but not want to cause a scene. But for most 13/14 yr olds, without a wealth of emotional intelligence or experience of sexual encounters, it would be really horrid and they would be scared and upset,

So that's the buses and the tube out. How do teenage children in London who aren't in walking distance get to school?

And even taking on board the issue of sexual harassment on crush-loaded urban transport, it's significant distance from that to an off-peak intercity train, wouldn't you say?

hardboiledpossum Fri 20-Dec-13 14:42:22

I don't assume that people are bad but these things do happen. A teenage girl is probably more venerable than most. As I have said, I have been sexually harassed/assaulted on more than one occasion on public transport, all as a teenager.

hardboiledpossum Fri 20-Dec-13 14:43:17

Vulnerable

thebodytalks Fri 20-Dec-13 14:47:31

This thread is akin to a poster saying my dd is walking at 12 months but my friends dd isn't walking yet!

It dies t matter if you back packed around India alone at 11 or your kids travel thousands of miles by air/sea/train or bloody rocket does it?

Some are independent and confident at 14 and some are not.

They all get there in the end unless there is a problem.

What's the big hurry? What's with the preening of my child can so why can't yours!

Pathetic show boating and daft too.

friday16 Fri 20-Dec-13 14:53:27

This thread is akin to a poster saying my dd is walking at 12 months but my friends dd isn't walking yet!

No it isn't. It's akin to people saying that they don't let their child walk because they might fall over, and it's much better if you just keep them in a pram for a few months more.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 20-Dec-13 14:59:35

There's been some of that Friday, but an awful lot of 'I did/my DC can....' as well.

curlew Fri 20-Dec-13 15:01:57

I'm not "preening". I am just saying that it is perfectly normal for a 14 year old, after proper preparation to be able to sit on a train for a 200 mile journey and be met at the other end. People are behaving as if it's an extraordinary and dangerous thing to do, and the OP is being a wicked, neglectful stepmother to even suggest it. Which is clearly bonkers. Because, apart from anything else, she is much, much safer in the train than she is in the car. Much.

And it is also not unreasonable to suggest that a 14 year old be aware of other people putting themselves out for her, and to consider ways in which she might be able to make family life easier. That does not mean forcing her to do anything she is unwilling to to. But by 14, they should be thinking about how their actions affect other people. They are not young children any more. Encouraging them to spead their wings, and to be mindful of others is a good thing.

That's all. Nothing more.

larrygrylls Fri 20-Dec-13 15:18:51

"a mature women might be too embarrassed to say anything about being groped on the tube, she might just feel revolted and embarrassed/angry, but not want to cause a scene. But for most 13/14 yr olds, without a wealth of emotional intelligence or experience of sexual encounters, it would be really horrid and they would be scared and upset, and embarrassed to make a scene in public. horrid things like this affect people years on, as I am sure we have all seen on this board."

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.

This thread, coupled with the anxious parents (mainly mothers) who are hanging on every detail and update from UCAS from their nearly adult (and in some case adult) children, makes me fearful of the resilience of the upcoming generation. The gift of resilience and risk assessment is one of the most valuable any parent can give a child. The vicarious over investment of some parents is stifling.

thebodytalks Fri 20-Dec-13 15:33:24

friday my 14 year old dd would not be able to do this journey. She would be too nervous. Is that not ok with you? What the fuck is your point here?

What are you in about? Are you the that parent that pushes your child into the water because they are scared to jump?

I seriously don't see your point at all.

outraged yes there has been smug preening here.

curlew I haven't seen or said its wicked and dangerous for a 14 year old to do this? Who has? If your dc can then great.

By your reasoning there are set in stone milestones that children should reach at the same time which is clearly stupid.

One if my kids walked at 11 months and one at 19 months.

I didn't try to force the one to walk before she was ready?

Why would you force a child who is scared to do something that really isn't imperative/ life saving.

Trills Fri 20-Dec-13 15:36:56

If she doesn't have to change then it doesn't matter if it's 2 miles or 20 or 200 - someone can make sure she gets on the right train at the beginning, and someone else can collect her at the end. Easy.

If she does have to change, then the first time she does it, someone should go meet her from train #1, and then get her to navigate from train #1 to train #2 and all subsequent trains. It will be fine, she will feel confident that she can get from one train to another, and then the next time she can do it by herself.

I used to fly unaccompanied to America to see my dad when I was 11. I'd have loved to have the extra time with him though. One-on-one time with the non-resident parent can feel like gold dust to a child.

curlew Fri 20-Dec-13 16:00:31

"friday my 14 year old dd would not be able to do this journey. She would be too nervous. Is that not ok with you? What the fuck is your point here?"

Well, probably not if she's never done anything like that before. But in 3 months time? After doing it with somebody all the way a couple of times, then being met hqlf way........?

Nobody's saying shove her in at the deep and.....

larrygrylls Fri 20-Dec-13 16:03:17

"One if my kids walked at 11 months and one at 19 months.

I didn't try to force the one to walk before she was ready? "

Yes but when one got up and tentatively took a step, did you tell them not to try again in case they fell over, or give them a big beaming smile and a "come on, try again"?

I think you are confusing "can" with "don't want to". They are not the same.

sooperdooper Fri 20-Dec-13 16:07:45

Why would you force a child who is scared to do something that really isn't imperative/ life saving

Nobody has suggested that, and the OP has never even said that her SD is scared of doing the journey, or doesn't want to do it, she's asked whether people think it's something that's an acceptable thing to suggest, which it is - I accept that not everyone might want to do it, but as a suggestion it's perfectly fine

defineme Fri 20-Dec-13 16:08:08

I used to do similar at 11 to visit my best friend when she moved. I had to make my own way to the coach station too because my parent's said I could go anywhere as long as they didn't have to take me. Would a coach be better - smaller so easier to attract staff attention?

sooperdooper Fri 20-Dec-13 16:13:22

something that really isn't imperative/ life saving

Oh and also, I would say that as a life skill, whilst not essential at the age of 14 - being able to travel alone as an adult is a skill that is imperative everyone should learn sometime, what age that skill is developed is up for discussion

SqueakyCleanLibertine Fri 20-Dec-13 16:14:36

Is there a change? You either another reason or anything? If not, she will surely get out on one end and get met the other, making the only peedowl worries the toilet on the train?!

If this had been covered,I apologise, it's nearly Christmas and I've started on the beer.
Merry fucking Christmas fgrin

whatever5 Fri 20-Dec-13 16:20:03

It would be fine for a 14 year old if the train journey didn't involve any changes. No way would I expect a 14 year to do that journey if it involved changing trains at Birmingham though!

allmycats Fri 20-Dec-13 16:53:09

If she is not used to public transport AND she has to change at Birmingham New Street then IMO it is unafir to expect her to do so.
A 14 year old girl, alone, in a strange place at the time of year when there will be drunken people travelling as well ,does not sound very sensible to me.
Can you imagine the headline -
14 year old child found wandering at train station having missed her connection and been harrassed by drunken revellers - then what would Mumsnet have to say ?

Joiningthegang Fri 20-Dec-13 17:03:45

I think yabu - but it depends on the journey, the child, the time of day, how easy it is etc etc
But as a 14 yr old who rarely sees her dad, I would be translating it as my dad can't be bothered to come and get me

I think the time alone in a car with a teenager gives them real chance to catch up and connect again.

Why do you have an issue with you dh doing this with her and spending time with his daughter if he wants to do it?

WidowWadman Fri 20-Dec-13 17:10:20

phantom

"as adults we can think on the spot and come up with a plan. "

Really? All adults? Even if they've never been in situations where they had to come up with a plan?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 20-Dec-13 17:12:28

How do YOU feel about it, OP? It seems a bit odd to me that a father would begrudge doing this trip with/for his daughter. How often does he have to make it in a year?

friday16 Fri 20-Dec-13 17:19:36

If she is not used to public transport AND she has to change at Birmingham New Street

The OP has repeatedly said she wouldn't have to.

But since Mordor Central Birmingham New St is used heavily by pupils who commute to and from the Birmingham grammar and private schools by train, I think the idea that it's a dark maw into which children disappear never to emerge can be a little overplayed.

14 year old child found wandering at train station

As well as the permanently manned information desks by the barriers, and the permanent presence both at concourse and platform level of Network Rail, Virgin and London Midland staff, there are shops and cafes open 0630 to Christ Knows When, and there's usually a BTP presence. It's hard to see how you could end up "wandering". Find someone in uniform. Sorted. Failing that, go into a shop. Sorted. If you can walk 50 yards at New St without passing someone in uniform, especially with all the extra staff on duty to deal with issues arising from the rebuilding work, I'd be amazed. The Stephenson St entrance is now closed so it's not possible to accidentally go out of the "back", either. It's also very rare for a long-distance train not to have TOC staff on the platform to deal with passengers, and increasingly there are dispatch staff on platforms even for the suburban stuff.

I would worry about my child changing trains on some godforsaken station in the middle of nowhere, served by two trains hourly and only manned in the peaks. But New St? Depending on your measure it's the busiest station in the country (it certainly is in terms of train movements) and it's staffed appropriately. It's got many failings, but a shortage of staff (and, in my experience, helpful staff) isn't one of them.

LtEveDallas Fri 20-Dec-13 17:37:00

All the people saying that the drive is a chance to connect with her dad, well, not always. DSD absolutely hated spending 6 hours in the car with her father - and even longer when they hit traffic (almost every time). The visits were tapering off because of it. Going by train actually meant they saw more of each other, not less.

curlew Fri 20-Dec-13 18:14:44

Couldn't they connect better sitting on the train drinking tea?

whatever5 Fri 20-Dec-13 19:54:54

But since Mordor Central Birmingham New St is used heavily by pupils who commute to and from the Birmingham grammar and private schools by train, I think the idea that it's a dark maw into which children disappear never to emerge can be a little overplayed.

They do but they are usually with friends and are obviously familiar with the station. I agree that it is not a "dark maw into which children disappear" but I think it would be really unfair to expect a 14 year old travelling by herself who is not familiar with trains or Birmingham New Street to change at this station.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Fri 20-Dec-13 20:02:07

New street is a tricky station to change at and fairly daunting even without the building work. There are around 30 platforms IIRC? It's more like an airport than a station! I don't think I'd expect a 14 year old to manage it alone for the first time - if they were familiar with it then yes, no problem.

I suppose I find it odd that children of 13 or 14 are not confident to use public transport alone because here in Germany children of 8 or 9 often use public transport alone or in small groups. But I do see the point that a 400 mile trip is a much bigger deal than getting home from school which is the same journey every day and you've probably done for a solid year or two with a parent before attempting it alone.

Financeprincess Fri 20-Dec-13 21:26:28

LoL at Mordor Central.

Please, people, let your children grow up and learn to be responsible for themselves!

friday16 Fri 20-Dec-13 21:39:44

There are around 30 platforms IIRC?

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 a bloody sight easier than Kings Cross, say, where the high-numbered "suburban" platforms are in another building,

friday16 Fri 20-Dec-13 21:41:03

There's also the mysterious 4C.

See, it's so mysterious, I can't reliably type its name.

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

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

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.

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.

MisguidedHamwidge Fri 20-Dec-13 22:30:22

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

pixiepotter Fri 20-Dec-13 22:50:31
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).

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.

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?

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.

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.

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!

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.

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 23:28:46

*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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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...

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.

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"

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).

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

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