12 year old alone on trains...

(17 Posts)
dorasee Fri 22-Aug-14 19:33:32

Dad (my ex husband) has moved down to East Sussex and would like our 12 year old son to now make his own way down and back to visit. This would involve a train journey from West London (Chiswick) to Haywards Heath via Clapham Junction. Son can get a direct train from CLJ to HH.
I feel reluctant though. He is a very able and independent boy, but at the same time, London is weird and 12 is 12, not 18. He gets around by himself to school and to friends' houses, but for example, last week, an older man exposed himself and followed my son in broad daylight (people standing at a bus stop saw and came to my son's aid) and this has left him feeling very nervous.
I just worry about trains. He has never been on an overground or underground by himself before. He does the school run by bike and bus and takes buses locally to friends' houses as I've mentioned, but this will be a big journey. I am not fearful of him making a mistake. I am fearful of letting him go alone. He has a phone. Thoughts and experiences appreciated. Thank you.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 22-Aug-14 19:35:45

If your son is happy to do it then he'llbe fine :-)

Bluestocking Fri 22-Aug-14 19:35:48

How does DS feel about making the journey on his own?

IAMACLANGER Fri 22-Aug-14 19:39:06

Hello... not got any DC of that age just yet, but still, even without the man exposing himself, I don't think I could let DC do it on their own. Perhaps at 16, when they look more grown up. I think I'd worry the entire journey.

TommyandGina Fri 22-Aug-14 19:40:54

Could you go part way with him, say to Clapham junction and make sure his is settled on the train to HH?

IAMACLANGER Fri 22-Aug-14 19:40:56

And Clapham Junction is not the nicest of stations either. Chiswick and Haywards Heath lovely - it's the bit in the middle that would concern me most.

Lemonypeepee Fri 22-Aug-14 19:41:16

I have a 12 year old and there's no way I would let him do the journey unless there was a direct train. How about dad meets him in London?

LeapingOverTheWall Fri 22-Aug-14 19:41:28

can you go with him as far as Clapham and help him sort out the right train? When I've sent DC off on their own on trains involving a change, the first few times we've gone with them for the first part. I also insist on chatting by text during the unaccompanied bit of the journey and also to getting a text from the person meeting them but I am regarded by the DC as being a touch over-protective.

Trapper Fri 22-Aug-14 19:42:53

If he is happy, then let him go for it! Maybe go with him to CLJ if
You are worried?

Seriouslyffs Fri 22-Aug-14 19:46:15

Hmm. I have London teenagers (who use buses overland tube and DLR) and I wouldn't be happy with that journey at 12. Is DH doing it to involve the travel for himself?
Do you have time to accompany him to Clapham and out him on the right train a few times? Or if it's going to involve too much horse trading with ExH, I'd do a flat no, I'll reconsider next year.

Seriouslyffs Fri 22-Aug-14 19:48:19

It's not just the logistics of the transport it's the fact that it involves stress and time for Mum rather than Dad collecting.

Roseformeplease Fri 22-Aug-14 19:55:08

I went to boarding school in North London and regularly travelled home via the tube and train from Victoria to near the South Coast. We also used to travel by tube into Central London from age 11. He has a mobile. You could do the journey with him but he will be fine. My 14 year old has just come back from travelling to France alone and it was good for him.

hollie84 Fri 22-Aug-14 19:58:16

If you put him on the train at Clapham Junction and his dad meets him at Haywards Heath he'll be fine.

He no more likely to encounter weirdos on the train as he is on the bus or the street.

MrsDavidBowie Fri 22-Aug-14 20:00:16

Clapham Junction is hardly Sodom and Gomorrah

legitsuperhero Fri 22-Aug-14 20:02:37

Clapham junction is absolutely manic, I change there every day with my DS (11) so he knows it well but I would still not be happy with him making that journey alone.

It's not him I would worry about so much, it's everyone else. Great swathes of people on their own mission who unfortunately view him as an annoying kid getting in the way. It would be easy to get caught up in the crowd and confused about platforms etc.

In your position I would go with him to CJ and put him on the train for a while until it feels more familiar.

Wrt undesirables I would suggest he sits near families in a fairly full carriage if possible, what a horrible thing to happen to him, not surprised you are concerned but I would say that was relatively rare and unlucky.

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Fri 22-Aug-14 20:19:13

I'd be fine with a DC doing it at that age as long as it wasn't anywhere near rush hour, but mine do know Clapham Junction well. In rush hour or if the DC wasn't used to CJ I'd have more reservations.

inthename Sat 23-Aug-14 20:29:11

my ds is same age. I'd say start with going with him to Clapham Junction and seeing how it goes, Clapham is frantically busy so best he gets used to it with someone else around.

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