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Should you know where your 11 year old is at all times? £2 charity donation for every answer

(265 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 03-Aug-13 09:26:47

We've been working with the charity Railway Children with the help of Aviva and they would like to know how you tackle the difficult balance of keeping your children safe and giving them enough freedom.

In particular they'd like to know:

Our ability to keep in touch with where our children are and what they are doing is greater than ever because of mobiles, but as we relax our hold on them and allow them to have greater independence how can we ensure that they stay safe and make the right decisions?

At what age do you allow your children more freedom and independence and what parameters do you set them?

What discussions do you have with your children about safe behaviour, safe people and safe places to encourage them to keep safe when they are away from the home?

Aviva have kindly agreed that they will donate £2 to Railway Children for every valid comment posted on this thread (up to a maximum of 3 times per user). Railway Children work with UK children who have run away from home and end up living on the streets. Part of their work focuses on preventative education, encouraging children to think and talk about safe people and safe places to help them to make the correct decisions when they are away from the home. You can find out more about the charity and more ways to get involved here

thanks MNHQ

PS please note your comments may be used on the Railway Children pages on MN as well as elsewhere.

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 03-Aug-13 09:29:15

I don't have an 11yo, but I think yes at that age I would want to know where they are but would probably trust them to get there themselves (unless they had form). I would want a text/phone call if they were going to move locations (say, going from a friend's house to the park)

superbagpuss Sat 03-Aug-13 09:33:17

yes, my sister knows where her 13 year old son is at all times
he has a mobile phone

Mopswerver Sat 03-Aug-13 09:33:55

Depends where you live. We live in a very safe (in terms of traffic) village where we know most people and my DCs have been lucky enough to have the sort of childhood I remember (well, not quite).

They go off around the village with their friends and we agree a time that they are to be back but no, I don't need to know exactly where they are at all times.

I think by age 11 they ought to be beginning to learn the reciprocal rules of trust, how it is earned and built upon.

Ragwort Sat 03-Aug-13 09:34:36

My child is 12 now and yes, I do expect to know where he is. Obviously not down to the exact location but if, for example, he is going into town (he can walk there and has done for the last year) I would not expect him to leave the town, and he would need to back by a specific time. If he goes to a friend's house after school he has to phone me to confirm where he is (and that the other parent has agreed to him being there, I double check this with the parent by text grin). He has had a mobile phone for the last seven months.

I have left him home alone for short periods - starting with half an hour - since he was 9; now I would leave him for about two hours at home alone. He knows not to say he is alone if anyone phones (ie: 'mum is in the shower and will ring you back grin). We talks specifically about stranger danger, kidnapping and worse (suitably phrased). He does a few activities that also develop independence (eg: Scouts/adventure activity holidays etc).

VivaLeBeaver Sat 03-Aug-13 09:35:34

At age 11 I didn't and at age 12 I still don't.

We live in a fairly big village and from the age of 11 dd has been off and about meeting friends, etc. going to their houses, meeting up at the park.

She doesn't take a phone with her as she worries about losing it/doesn't want to carry it.

I think she has a lot of freedom. I have been out round the village looking for her before now as its started to get dark.

I know one of the other mums in the village thinks I'm very irresponsible and says her dd (same age) will never be allowed to do this. She's warned me someone may call social services on me. hmm. I bite my tongue but I feel sorry for her dd.

HeySoulSister Sat 03-Aug-13 09:41:27

I'm struggling to get it right with my almost 11 year old. He went missing yesterday and I called the police. No phone with him as he's locked himself out and we need yet another puk code!!

However, his teen sister has an iPhone snd she sent me a message on fb to say she was having fun at the beach but her 'location' came up on google maps as not being anywhere near the beach but at a place she is not supposed to be hmm

Yesterday I was considering fitting my dc with GPS devices as I had 2 out of 5 gone AWOL and I was in a bit of a mess about it all!

daisychicken Sat 03-Aug-13 09:46:12

My 11 year old has a lot of freedom (with a mobile at all times) but I have to know where he is - so if he's going to the park that's fine & he phones or comes home at a certain pre-agreed time. If he wants to go to a friends house from the park, that's fine but he has to speak to me first - a phone call will do. I feel at 11, he's not totally aware of risks but if he doesn't have freedom, he'll never learn - this is the compromise we have come up with. If he's out with friends, I'm in the area - he can walk to me if I'm out (nipping to the shops for example) or I'm at home, I don't go any further.

Some of his friends this holiday have been left on their own all day & not able to get in their house nor can they walk to a responsible adult. That makes me uncomfortable. That said, I also have friends trying to give their 11 year old more freedom & facing opposition from family members...

HeySoulSister Sat 03-Aug-13 09:49:59

My ds was actually in someone's house all day.. Turned out parents were at work and teens and ten year old all home alone.... So no responsible adult to say to ds 'does mum know you are here' he was there 8 hours, so lunch and dinner came and went.... I'd say to any kid visiting my home ' let your mum know you are here'

xalyssx Sat 03-Aug-13 09:51:37

At the age of 11 I had a key and a cheap mobile phone and I was allowed to walk home through town twice a week, but if I took longer than 45 minutes my mum called me and called me and called me until I got home! I was also allowed to go to the library by myself but that was it.

noisytoys Sat 03-Aug-13 09:58:39

My DDs are only little but where I live after school and holiday clubs all end age 8 so from age 9 DDs will be home alone after school until I finish work, and from 11 they will be home alone all day.

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans Sat 03-Aug-13 09:59:30

When DD was 11 she took herself to and from school (about 40 mins away). She texted us on getting to school and one of us would be there when she got in. She was allowed out with her friends, providing we knew where they were going and she kept her phone on.

She knows about not speaking to strangers and since she was at nursery she's known that if she's lost she should ask someone with children for help (or a staff member if she's in a shop, soft play etc).

LadyLech Sat 03-Aug-13 10:03:59

My DD (9) is allowed out to play.

If she's out for a short time (up to an hour say), i wont know exactly where she is. She has a time to come back. I know roughly where she is, but not always. However, she has boundaries that she is not allowed to go past, and a time to come home. In the mean time she'll be at the park / at a friends house / playing on the estate somewhere.

If she goes out for a Long time (over an hour) she'll take her phone and let me know where she moves on to.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 03-Aug-13 10:07:30

I don't know where my 9yo is at all times. He is allowed to play in the street or park (in our street) or go to one of a few specific friends houses. No phone but if I need him I just go and find him. He isn't allowed off the estate, which is small and clearly defined. The streets here are teeming with kids from about 5 upwards which is partly why we moved here.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 03-Aug-13 10:13:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mine aren't yet anywhere near that age, but I think by 11 I would not want to insist on knowing exactly where they were at all times, though would want to know approximately (e.g. wandering round the shops at place X, or out and about in place Y with friends a, b and c).

I think it's vitally important that children learn to cope on their own, and smothering them too much puts that at risk. If they can't start to gradually learn skills like using public transport, finding their way to places, and even (as they get older) dealing with other people, including odd behaviour, they aren't going to become fully adult - not to mention encouraging them to be scared of ordinary life situations.

meditrina Sat 03-Aug-13 10:27:04

At 11, they start going to secondary and many (including mine) had to travel by themselves.

So in year 6, they started making simple journeys alone so that first experience of being adult-free was on a familiar route (and from my pov, so there were lots of parents around).

From that point on, you have to take their whereabouts on trust at least to an extent. The talking about staying safe starts much, much younger than 11 (as does drill about crossing roads),

I can remember drilling home messages about "most people are kind and good and would never hurt a child, but some sometimes do (nephews stories and fairy tales good as a start point) and you can't tell which is which just by looking ". They are told never to go through a doorway with someone I don't know they're meeting (simple, and covers vehicles, leaving places, going into places) and they must always ring if a parents friend offers them a lift.

If in difficulty, and no police around, then they must find a way to ring me: try a big shop with uniformed staff (and stay in main boby of shop), somewhere like a library or a leisure centre; or if you must ask a passer-by, choose a parent with smallish children in tow.

feelingdizzy Sat 03-Aug-13 10:38:52

My 11yr old has a lot of freedom we live a very quiet spot. Where everyone knows everyone, so I would be told if she was doing something she shouldn't be.

However our rule is she has to let me know when she changes location . Not every move but if she is at the beach then she goes to a friends house she has to let me know.

We have talked about staying safe and making your own choices and not following the crowd kinda stuff. She is aware she has a lot of freedom and if she doesn't follow the rules then she won't have it. She also knows she can always ring me if she really gets stuck.

whattooooodo Sat 03-Aug-13 10:49:09

I know where my 10yo is roughly when she's not with me. If she's playing outside with friends she knows the boundaries and if she's going to the park I know she'll be in the area.
She has a phone to text me if something comes up and to check the time for coming home.
I remember having so much more freedom than my dc have or will do. I say to them that I trust them, just not others around them.
It's hard getting the balance right, you want them to have freedom and independence but worry about them all the time.

JuliaScurr Sat 03-Aug-13 10:51:16

for frequent journeys eg school. corner shop, friend's house; from about age 8 we practiced going with her, supervising where/how to cross roads, catch bus etc, walking further & further behind. Also she had mobile for back up

JuliaScurr Sat 03-Aug-13 10:53:27

and pretty much same as meditrina

SilverViking Sat 03-Aug-13 11:13:39

At 11,I don't want to know where they are exactly... In town, with friend X is enough rather than being really specific, but would want to know what time they were due back. out children didn't have mobile phones until they started uy8 . More important that they understand the boundaries, and how to keep themselves safe.

trice Sat 03-Aug-13 11:28:20

I have an 11 year old and I always like to know where he is. If he is going to a friends house or the shop or the park I will tell him when to be home. He doesn't have a mobile and he doesn't play in the street.

Creosote Sat 03-Aug-13 11:48:45

11 year olds - walk to school with friends (20 mins) no phone necessary, to shops (5 mins on own) no phone necessary, to park (5 mins) no phone required, into town (but dropped and picked up) for 2/3 hrs unsupervised - phone required, at friend's house for half a day+ - phone required.
I don't need to know exact whereabouts, but we are clear about expected time to return home, and child will be in trouble if phone not answered.

Phones do not equate to safety in myu book, but they are useful in emergencies/changing arrangements. What is best it to talk children through the plan, check they are clear, and run through scenarios with them beforehand so they and I feel confident they can handle any unexpected events (like banging their head, their friend not turning up, someone asking them for help or offering to help them etc etc).

onedev Sat 03-Aug-13 12:30:28

I don't have an 11 year old yet but think that once they start going to senior school, it would be almost impossible to know where they are at all times. I do also think mobile phones provide a false sense of security to a certain extent though.

Turniptwirl Sat 03-Aug-13 13:00:26

I would want to know where they are as 11 is still very young. In some ways they're more vulnerable than a younger child because they think they're all grown up!

"Playing out" is fine as long as we both know what that encompasses

timidviper Sat 03-Aug-13 13:06:35

Yes within reason.
We live in a safe area and at 11 my children were allowed to go out with friends so we knew where they were even if we couldn't pinpoint them exactly at every given minute. So, for example, we would know DC and friends are meeting at A's house and will be hanging out there most of the time but they will probably go to the local shops around lunchtime and may go to the field to play football if A's mum says it is ok.

Hassled Sat 03-Aug-13 13:06:45

I have an 11 year old - who has a mobile phone and is thankfully insanely responsible. He has done 20+ minute walks from school on his own for a while and been to the park with friends on his own - I do worry, but 11 is quite old enough (certainly in comparison to the level of freedom I had at his age - at 9 I was changing buses in central Dublin every day getting back from school).

I read something horrifying in the Guardian recently - that 11 year olds are way more likely to be hit by a car than 10 year olds, because that's the age they get their first mobiles, and so are more likely to be texting etc while crossing roads. I forget the %age increase but it was quite scary. I worry way more about my 11 year old's road safety than I do about stranger danger etc.

Buswanker Sat 03-Aug-13 13:17:57

I have an 11 year old and I know where she is most of the time, I also have a 15 year old and I expect them both to be honest about where they are, what the plans are. Eg going to the park until 3, then friends house until 4.
They both have a phone which always has credit on to text or call if they are late, but I do ask they are home on time as I worry. I tell them if they can't keep the phones charged up or let me know what they are doing then I can't let them go out.

Yes, I always wanted to know where she was, but she also had a PAYG mobile then so we could keep in contact. She would come and go to school herself but always let me know when she was on the bus etc. 11 in my opinion is a little too young to have too much independence.

mynameisslimshady Sat 03-Aug-13 13:51:29

My 11yo has a lot of freedom, he 'earns' it. The more he comes in on time, calls me when he wants to go somewhere else and tells me the truth about things, the more I trust him and allow him to do other things.

I have been harsh with punishments when he hasn't stuck to the rules, I ground him for a length of time if he is over 10 mins late, and take things like TV and games consoles away if he isn't where he says he is so I've created a situation where he now automatically calls or asks me because he knows I will be harsh if he doesn't.

Its a funny age and there is a fine line between not giving them enough freedom and giving them too much which is so difficult to balance. I opt for a lot of freedom as long as he is honest with me where he is, but it really does depend on the child.

MavisG Sat 03-Aug-13 15:07:03

It's the possibility of them being run over that concerns me the most: my children are much younger than 11 and I'm teaching them road safety in preparation for when they want to go out without supervision. I guess 7 or 8 for agreed, rehearsed routes to local shops & park. We live in London and by 11 I hope they'll be confident using public transport and navigating their way to places they want to go, friends' houses etc. I'd like to hear about where they've been and where they plan to go, and anticipate having a fairly clear idea of where they're likely to be & to know their close friends and where they live, but their potential lack if freedom worries me. It doesn't seem very life-enhancing to spend all your time under observation.

BeyonceCastle Sat 03-Aug-13 15:12:53

My 11 year old DD has her mobile phone with her most days - I say most because if it isn't fully charged, if it doesn't have money on it or if she leaves it on the kitchen table then it is no good to me!
DH is able to tell me where she is via internet stalking latitude but it is being phased out apparently to be taken over by google plus in the future provided phone is on of course and not been thrown in a bin somewhere by her kidnapper. dh also has access and alerts to her emails.

Having seen me in bits when she has been late a couple of times my DD is now pretty good at updating me or DH as to where she is/how far away/how long she'll be. She makes her way to and from school by bus and/or tube/tram and can be trusted to run errands or nip into town for a purchase.

I live in Germany where kids aged 7 make their own way to and from school and are expected to be independent. This is the norm even in the city and it doesn't make them safer but nor does it make them victims.

As to keeping her safe vs freedom essentially she knows about actively avoiding any situations which might become tricky eg drunk people on platforms/gangs/ and to 'stay under the radar'. Having had an unfortunate incident in a shop in broad daylight when I was metres away thank God she is aware that her location/attire/confidence/actions are not going to be foolproof against a determined felon or an opportunity thief/molester/flasher.
In other words if someone is going to commit a crime, knowing where she is will only help protect her if I can get to her first. Even then that won't protect the next child.

She knows not to take shortcuts, she knows to avoid lone alleys etc
she knows an adult should not need to ask for help from a child rather than from another adult. She knows about internet safety.

As the age of consent is lower here -14 - she knows already about her body being hers and her rights to say no to anything which makes her uncomfortable. She has been told to listen to any alarm bells/bad vibes re a person or situation. I will not tell her what to wear or do in future but she is aware of the dangers of alcohol/drugs and being left vulnerable. But as I said all this knowledge and more can't protect you from the random thug or pervert unless you are chained to your parents - not healthy.

CCTV/mobiles/technology make us a little more careless/a little more trusting perhaps but nor is there a paedophile lurking on every corner nor are dangers always strangers. So you have to protect as best you can without wrapping in cotton wool.

Our ability to keep in touch with where our children are and what they are doing is greater than ever because of mobiles, but as we relax our hold on them and allow them to have greater independence how can we ensure that they stay safe and make the right decisions?

You make sure they make informed decisions. You give them the knowledge to protect themselves eg internet safety, assertiveness training, self defence. You make them aware of risks so they can assess situations whilst being aware this does not make them bullet proof. You set times/routines/trust whereby they call back/report in/tell you their plans. You cannot ensure safety but you can minimise risk

At what age do you allow your children more freedom and independence and what parameters do you set them?

Freedom to travel independently - here aged 9 (still two years later than everyone else in Germany but that's the English in me).Parameters = routes/times eg not past 6pm in Winter

Freedom to chat room/surf etc - aged 11 for youtube, pixie hollow BUT we do not allow facebook, twitter, moviestarplanet etc and won't until she is 15/16.

Freedom to play/walk/go out alone - between 10 and 11 pending activity, company and my distance from it eg she can go into town with a friend for an hour, cinema or playground as long as I know start-end times

What discussions do you have with your children about safe behaviour, safe people and safe places to encourage them to keep safe when they are away from the home?

Sex ed from an early age, still think it is done too late in UK. Respect for self and others and body boundaries i.e their body, their feelings, rights to say no instilled early. Have discussed at length dangers of roads, rivers, strangers and peer pressure. Also drugs, alcohol, bullying and sex abuse.

but at the end of the day you can only do so much - being Chas Tenenbaum isn't going to help your child. Nor is yearning for your own childhood and harking back to open door days where you could be a 'free range child'.

Fact: there have always been dangers.

It seems to me the media seem to publicise many dangers these days.
Those dangers can be physical/nature eg recent children falling into rivers or people eg abduction and kids should be warned of dangers of both.

As a child in the 70s I had more freedom than I give my kids eg I used to be allowed to play outside in the woods, park, playground on hot summer nights til 9pm.

Opinion: the ability to access porn/like-minded individuals/the ability to groom via internet means the risks re people are more real these days than my own childhood. Potentially this is one reason why I am more protective plus easier access to alcopops, drugs etc Alternatively I have been indoctrinated by the British press.

Solution: safety in numbers, compromise, communication -whether electronically or face-to-face.

This post is worth more than two quid btw wink

tittytittyhanghang Sat 03-Aug-13 15:16:06

No, ds is 12 now but being in a smallish town he has the same freedoms as i did (same town as well).

onedev Sat 03-Aug-13 15:44:09

Excellent post Beyonce - you should have posted in 3 parts as I agree worth more than £2 grin.

I would also agree with what you said about your own childhood vs today.

MavisG Sat 03-Aug-13 17:26:15

Yes, excellent post, Beyonce. Worth all six quid & then some.

I think my relationship with my kids is the single most important factor: if they can trust me not to overreact/be over-protective/limit their freedom, they'll have the freedom to be honest with me and will be more likely to heed the concerns I do have. That's my hope, anyway.

NotEnoughTime Sat 03-Aug-13 17:30:40

I have an eleven year old DS. He is allowed to walk or cycle to and from school. I will not allow him to the park-there has been incidences of indecent exposure there recently sad I do allow him to stay at home on his own for up to an hour at a time. It is a strange age-my DS looks more like a fourteen year old than an eleven year old which I don't like very much

Madratlady Sat 03-Aug-13 17:32:45

I don't have an 11 year old yet but I think rather than knowing their exact location it's important to know roughly where they are, for example at the cinema, in town with a friend, at a friend's house. I'd want to know who they were with though and agree on a time for them to be home by.

racingheart Sat 03-Aug-13 23:07:24

Yes, at 11 I expect always to know where DS is up to a point. We live in a village and he is allowed to go into the nearest town (20 min bus ride away) so long as he goes with known friends, shows me his mobile and friend's mobiles all are fully charged before they leave, and has to ring me when he's setting off for home, so if he's not back at the expected time, I can check up.

Within the village - a bit more freedom - they go off on their bikes to visit friends, to the park and into the local woods, not always with their mobiles, but again the rule is that I know where they're going, who with and I give them a return time, which they are pretty good at sticking to.

They really need freedom. They need to learn to be confident navigating their way round their territory and to extend that territory bit by bit. I want DC to feel confident in towns and cities without me by the time they're in their mid teens. But above all, they need to be safe and responsible. I trust them to be where they say they'll be, who with and when. If they ever break that trust we'll reconsider, for their own safety.

flow4 Sat 03-Aug-13 23:27:59

Not exactly where, but generally. I'd expect info along the lines of "I'm going to call for Jake, and if he isn't home, I'll go up to Billy's". But my DS2 had a mobile phone at 11, which DS1 did not, which certainly makes it feel safer to let them have more freedom.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sat 03-Aug-13 23:52:46

Yes I did. older but we live in London and there were some nasty incidents in the area. He got himself to school and his chikdminderd by himself ( we both work full time) and childminder would want to know where he was too.

He had to tell us, keep broadly to agreed time, take cheap mobile, emergency money and keys if he,was meeting friends.

Seems to have worked.

nooka Sat 03-Aug-13 23:54:03

My children are 14 and 12, so a little older, but we are very lucky to live somewhere where children are generally expected to be more independent at a younger age, so they have had a fair bit of freedom. Neither of them have mobile phones, and I'm not at all sure that the expectation of keeping in constant touch with children has really done anything to help with independence. It seems to me that the trend is for less and less freedom, and I wonder what the long term impact will be.

Anyway, thinking about my dd last year when she was 11 I'd say generally I knew where she was, as if she went and played at friends houses she would usually be back when required and if she wanted to go somewhere else she rang to get permission first. She walked to and from school on her own (normal past the age of 7 or so here), and she went into town (40 min bus ride) with older friends a few times.

This summer she has got herself to and from activities on the bus, and been into town with friends her own age. She is also on her own after school until ds gets back and then they are on their own until we get back a couple of hours later. All considered pretty normal. We'll probably get a couple of PAYG phones next term as their transport arrangements have got more complicated and buses don't go very often here.

We talk about everything, although not really touched on safe places, because it's just not been an issue (they know which local friends to turn to, but I don't think I've talked about what to do in town if they get in trouble, mostly they are just under general instructions to stick together).

Gruntfuttocks Sun 04-Aug-13 00:00:48

DS is 12, has a mobile, but is basically at home or at school or with another adult at all times. I always know where he is. He isn't particularly grown up for his age and doesn't want any more freedom than he has. He has occasionally walked to our local shops on his own, but doesn't want to do anything more. My older two were more independent at this age, as they walked to secondary school. They didn't get mobile phones, unlike many of their friends, just because they were walking to and from school, as I didn't feel that they really needed them. If there had been a problem or emergency, there are always people around and they knew to go into a shop or knock on a door for help. DS2 goes to school in another town and is further away from me with earlier starts and late finishes, so I feel happier knowing he has a phone so that I can let him know if I will be late and he can contact me if need be.

My DD is 12. She is not allowed out on her own, not even to the shops next door. I walk her to school every morning and collect her every night.
We've had several incidences of child abduction (real, not FB or imaginary) so I want to keep her safe.
OTOH, we are moving to england in a couple of weeks. I imagine she'll be walking herself to school and into town.
She does have a PAYG mobile for emergencies. unfortunately, her idea of an emergency is a premium line competition for a lipstick.

lottieandmia Sun 04-Aug-13 00:07:41

11 is a bit too young to not know where your child is imo.

CalvinHobbesMum Sun 04-Aug-13 00:17:27

DD just 11.

Allowed out in cul-de-sac unsupervised since about 5 years. Sometimes unable to find her as she was in a different friends house.

She has gradually learned that she has to let us know where, and also telling time, and be back by x'o'clock.

In the last year, allowed to go beyond the cul-de-sac to visit a friend or go to corner shop.

Just received a mobile for her birthday, and we expect a call any time she deviates from the plan. I gave her hell last week when she wasn't in the agreed pick-up place.

CalvinHobbesMum Sun 04-Aug-13 00:23:02

Holiday club is tricky, we said if there was a problem she should go to the library, or Sainsbury 's to ask for help.

She does understand that she should never accept a lift - even from someone she knows.

Amiee Sun 04-Aug-13 00:33:07

Yes. 11 year olds think there grown up but they are vulnerable and need adult guidance. I think you need to allow some independence but not to the extent you don't know where they are. When my DD is 11 I hope to be able to have open and frank discussions with her regarding safety but I will supervise everything from Internet usage to school work. I was given too much freedom at that age and if my DD gets up to half the stuff I did I'll be horrified.

Cheddar1976 Sun 04-Aug-13 09:03:13

I have 10 yr old & 9 yr old, no phones to date. I will expect to know their exact whereabouts at least until age 13. This summer I expect to allow 10 yr to be able to walk to places within our village requiring crossing busy B road. This is in preparation for walking to school on her own in September yr6.

I plan phones to be Xmas presents this year. I will download the tracker app! Independence needs to be built on trust both ways.

Hulababy Sun 04-Aug-13 09:19:19

My 11y is allowed to be out with friends without an adult - park, local shops, etc but not to just wander and not just going into town. If going anywhere further intake her, or other parents do, and collect. But that is the norm round here, none of her friends have much further freedom.

Dd has a phone which, when out without me, she has to carry. It's usually in a pocket as she knows she shouldn't be flashing it around lots so it's not a target.

In September she starts secondary some upped the independence much more this year - she's walked from school, been on bus with a friend, local shops and park a bit further away than our closest. I've taken her and a friend swimming but not gone in. Would be happy for her to go to the cinema without me, etc, but I'd still do most of the transporting at the moment for peace of mind. That'll up in the coming year.

I hate having groups of youngsters in town and shopping centres when I go, hence why I'm not letting dd do that.

chickensaladagain Sun 04-Aug-13 09:35:35

One of my proudest moments in regards to dd1 is the first time I let her walk to our local town when she was 10

It's only a 10-15 minute walk but on the way home she realised she had missed a turning she needed to take

She stopped

She thought

She realised that if she carried on the road she was on it took her to her primary school and she was confident of the route home from there -so that's exactly what she did

What enabled her to stay calm and make that decision?

We walk everywhere, she's familiar with the area, where to avoid, social etiquette of being around people

There is a marked difference between the children that walk and get out and about in the local community, to those that are driven everywhere

She has a friend 2 streets away, 1 minor rd to cross and that friend isn't allowed to call for her. My dd has to walk round and fetch her -they start high school in 4 weeks -that worries me but I have no concerns about dd

curlew Sun 04-Aug-13 09:37:28

We live in the country, ds goes to school in the nearest town 5 miles away. I don't expect to know exactly where he is when he is out and about near home, but I do expect him to be home bang on time. I take him to school because there isn't a train that works. And he lets me know at lunchtime whether he is going to get the train home, or go to the park with his friends. If he's going to the park, I pick him up at a specified time- he is expected to be waiting in the car park when I arrive. If he's forgotten his phone,it's the train straight home, no option. I have talked to him about keeping safe, but I have never talked to my children specifically about stranger danger.

HOWEVER! The biggest difficulty he is likely to run into is his peers or older kids being stupid and lairy as they walk through town. So he has a code word that he can text me which means "I don't want to be with this group, come and get me" He then fades out of the group and goes to a prearranged place and I get him as soon as I can.

Notmyidea Sun 04-Aug-13 10:08:54

I agree that they need to start building independence and resiliance in preparation for senior school. I've found it rather interesting that the parents who raised eyebrows at my two running errands/walking themselves to activities in the summer aged nine and ten are the ones wanting their dc to be best buddies with mine so they can walk together.
I don't need to know exactly where mine are, but I do need to know a rough location, and we've talked about taking safer routes, not alleyways, who to go to if you don't feel safe, being back when expected or phone and explain yourself. Etc.
I did find with mine that they were very sensible, quite prim little girls who wanted to be independent and resourceful, then it all went wrong when they hit puberty, (aged 10 ish) and they started to resent my concern and rebel against the groundrules intended to keep them safe and battles ensued.

Doowrah Sun 04-Aug-13 12:04:05

My 11 yr old DS goes to town, some friends, trusted places usually with his phone. I tust him to be sensible and he will be going to and from school by himself soon. They have to learn how to become independent and sensible and I believe we should give them the chance to show us. He does have to tell me if he is moving location or if he wants to go somewhere different. I hope I always know where he is!!!

unquietmind Sun 04-Aug-13 13:26:12

When my teens were 11 I didn't know exactly where they were but they knew the boundaries of where they were allowed to go and set times for returning. Requests to stay at x's house had to come in person and with speaking to the parent: over phone random requests were not accepted. Phones are good in some ways but how many kids use all their credit; don't use it properly or it gets nicked?

My teens made it through but we had some interesting times. Ds3 aged 12 took his girlfriend to the next town to get mcdonalds where someone was attacked that week; when he had been dropped off at dance club; only found out when he left his phone in mcd and they called me! it was 100% no go zone but he still planned to get back to dance club for me to pick him up, situation was okay but it could have been a lot worse. Amongst other things we have had a 14yo son who appeared to be being groomed and someone was trying to get him to meet with them over texts and told him to lie to us - only spotted when I took his phone for bad behaviour and had a nosey as I was suspicious. I spent a lot of time thinking what if after that as it was only chance I had the phone then called the police. The police assurred me there was nothing more I could have done but I felt a failure as a mum and very lucky it never went any further with text person. as parents there will be lots we ddon't know but we will think we know and ita very worrying. The poster who spoke of the daughter saying she was on the beach but gps says otherwise - I hope she's okay but I'd be very interested to know what her response was!

I think that setting boundaries and expecting them to stay within them and then widening those boundaries as the get older is the way to go.

So at the age of 11 dd was allowed in town for a fixed amount of time with the boundaries of what constituted town being set.

At the age of 13 I expect to know if she is going into town but she can get herself too and from. At first I use to specify a route, now I don't. If she is going to a friends after or changing plans she needs to let me know. She can also get the train to another familiar town.

Recently she had a school trip abroad (and did when she was 12 too). They were allowed off in 3s around the local market by themselves.

The aim is that by the time she is 17 she can find her way to unfamiliar towns on the train to go and look at unis by herself.

TeaAndANatter Mon 05-Aug-13 12:28:38

Pretty much exactly, and almost all of the time. The exceptions would be if I'd allowed him to go to the park (5 mins walk away) with two of his friends (all three are 11), and in that case I wouldn't know exactly when he'd got to Joe's house, and when to Fred's, and when to the park, and on which street exactly he'd taken (but I'd be able to narrow it down to three streets). This happens about one hour per week, but he has his mobile, and he has to 'check in' after half an hour by phone. Also, he's allowed to go to the shops after school so long as he has phoned and told me to which shops he's going.

QOD Mon 05-Aug-13 12:34:16

Although I leave my 14 yr old home, she has a mobile and has to text thru the day. Allowed to be left at dance in town at 11 again with a mobile.
Sad as I was just left here there and everywhere!

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Mon 05-Aug-13 14:34:11

mine are 17 and 20 and I still like to know where they are so YES definitely at 11. I ask mine to text me if plans change so although I don't know there exact location i know roughly they are 'downtown' or a x's house.

I don't know exactly where DS (11) is at all times, but I trust him to let me know if he's out on his bike and decides to go to a friend's house. If he goes on a bike ride (about 3-4 miles), he works out the route beforehand to make sure he won't get lost.
He does not have a phone, as I feel phones make children complacent about personal safety and timekeeping. If DS has agreed a time to get home, he can't just decide to stay later and phone me, he has to get back. Likewise, if he feels a situation is getting out of hand, he knows to leave it and come home, instead of relying on the magical protective properties of a phone.

mrsravelstein Mon 05-Aug-13 14:49:17

i know roughly where my just turned 12 yr old is at all times - i mean, he might be 'on the way to school' or 'on the way home from cricket' or at a friend's house and popped out to the shop... so i couldn't pinpoint him exactly, but i'd like to think i could always locate him if needed

manfalou Mon 05-Aug-13 14:53:14

I don't have an 11 year old but I would want to know where they are. I would let them have some freedom and a cheap mobile (not smartphone with camera or internet)

curlew Mon 05-Aug-13 16:27:35

"Although I leave my 14 yr old home, she has a mobile and has to text thru the day. Allowed to be left at dance in town at 11 again with a mobile.
Sad as I was just left here there and everywhere!"

So why do you think it's different for your 14 year old?

QOD Mon 05-Aug-13 19:57:31

You what curlew? I don't know wot you mean. I left her at a dance lesson in town with her mobile, as in I'd drop her off and come back 10 min after it finished, but she still had a mobile, so if a problem she'd be able to contact me.
I don't know if I didn't explain or if you think I shouldn't have left her at 11

QOD Mon 05-Aug-13 20:01:15

Ah hold on, so you mean why was it ok for me to be left? To be fair at 14, I was living in a house with my 15 yr old sister and her boyfriend staying over ... Sexually active etc ... I was left unsupervised and therefore she ain't!
Also, I think it's more obvious that she's home alone, I lived in a terraced house on a main road, no one would know if there was an adult home or not. Now, living in a detached house, on a village, with drive etc, its obvious no adult is home, therefore I feel she is a bit more exposed. I'd hate to not have a clue if everything was ok.
Powercut means no landline, but mobile works etc.

Monty27 Mon 05-Aug-13 20:07:04

Of course you should know where an 11 year old child is, I certainly did when my two dcs were 11. In fact, I still like them to let me know, and they're 17 and 20 now grin OTT

nooka Mon 05-Aug-13 21:35:45

I leave my 14 year old and 12 year old at home, as they are on holiday and dh and I am not. I usually ring once to check that they have got out of bed and are doing whatever chores they have been asked to do. They know what to do in an emergency, who to ring etc. I have no real concerns about terrible things happening to them, although of course it is possible. It's very much the norm where we live.

When I was 18 I traveled on my own through India, my parents got one post card and otherwise no contact before the call to ask if they could pick me up from the airport. I would like my children to have the confidence and independence to do the same thing (if they want to) and think it needs to be built up over time.

I was a little concerned when I asked ds what he would do if he got into trouble in town - he looked at me incredulously (I gave a few scenarios that he obviously felt were completely out of the realms of possibility), grinned and told me he would "panic and run around in circles like a headless chicken". Sometimes I regret moving from South East London - he'd be a lot more savvy if we were still in the city.

DD is 11 and goes off with her friends but I expect her to call or text if they change location.

cory Tue 06-Aug-13 08:34:11

I expected my 11yos to have roughly the same amount of common sense and ability to look after themselves as I and my friends had at their age (and in fairness they haven't let me down). So felt I needed roughly the same amount of information as to their whereabouts as my parents did, seeing that they were the same kind of caring but not very anxious parents as dh and I, and that we don't really feel the world has grown much more dangerous.

At 11 I would want to know general area they are in- e.g. be told if they are leaving local area to go into town- and they would definitely have a curfew, but I wouldn't feel the need to have exact information as to route or constant up-dates.

We started gradually building up, so that they were allowed to walk to corner shop at 9 or so, then home from school at 10. We've always talked a lot and that includes informal conversations along the lines of what would you do if x happened.

Dd was tricky as she has a joint condition which means she can (or at least could in those days) collapse at any time, but I didn't think that was a reason for making her less independent: if anything I thought she would have to work harder at independence and ways of dealing with crises because they were more likely to happen to her.

I have always felt reassured by their reactions when things have happened. E.g. ds getting lost as we were out walking in a strange town when he was about 6 and remembering instructions and staying in the same place until we came to find him. Or ds at 12 coming home one evening to tell me that a strange car had been slowing up and seeming to follow him and that he'd backed away from the kerb and run up a side street.

The one thing I will not let mine do that I was allowed at 11 is to take a boat out on their own, but that is because they have not spent as much time on boats as I had and I don't think their seamanship, particularly their ability to judge changes in the weather, is at the same level as mine was.

BoffinMum Tue 06-Aug-13 09:04:09

Mine are allowed out and about from the age of about 9, but we have a rule that I need to know where they are purely in case of disaster so that I can 'tell the police where to start looking for them'. There are also curfews, but based on how late I feel I can stay up depending on whether it's a working day or not, and whether I am tired (in reality it's more to do with age appropriateness). We've found this allows people to conform without losing face with their friends.

Donki Tue 06-Aug-13 11:18:37

DS is almost 11. He will have to walk to school by himself on a years time. He Occasionally goes round to a friend's and they sometimes go out round the estate. He is still not confident about this - I am trying to encourage him to be more independent, so long as I know approximately where he is, and am trying to train him to come home on time. He can tell the time, but is really bad at judging how much time has passed. (And forgets to look at his watch to check)

NayFindus Tue 06-Aug-13 16:43:25

I would hope I know where dd is when she's 11 but it's difficult when they want to appear grown up to their friends without doing anything Mum would disapprove of. I will tell her it's important in case she has an accident or gets in a fix, and that she's still young and can easily be taken advantage even although she wants to be independent. I will trust her and hope she trusts me.

NayFindus Tue 06-Aug-13 16:48:48

Meant to add, where I grew up parents never wanted their children around and I was heartbroken to read a thread showing that many parents are still like this. i have no role model! But I will NOT be like my mother.

Howstricks Tue 06-Aug-13 16:51:06

I have a 13 yo and i still like to know where she iis and what her plans are. She is allowed into town shopping/bowling/cinema etc with a group of known friends. If she is at a sleepover she has to text in the evening to let me know she is ok and i also have the parents number. She is a lovely, clever, trustworthy girl and knows and sticks to the rules. Gradually allowing more freedom as she gets older. We have a great relationship. We were a lot stricter at 11, but made up for it in other ways. (Had a lot of fun as a family and did things together with friends). So far it's working.

AuntySib Tue 06-Aug-13 16:55:06

I have a 12 year old, and I do know where he is, always. Would add he doesn't carry a mobile with him to school ( not allowed) but calls from school to let me know if he is going somewhere on way home ( this doesn't happen very often though). he doesn't play in the street anymore, but used to, and would always stay within the stretch of the street we had told him to. None of the kids in our street would go into anyone else's house without checking with parents first.

YoniMatopoeia Tue 06-Aug-13 17:21:34

We live on a military base. DS is allowed to roam at will as long as he tells us if he is leaving the base, at which point ee need to know who with and an eta for getting back. He has a mobile, but doesn't usually carry it as the screen is smashed and so he is embarrassed by it.

At 11 I pretty much knew where ds1 was all the time. He only was allowed to a few places and always had a time to be back.

Dd is 9 and I always know where she is.

LynetteScavo Tue 06-Aug-13 18:35:46

I know where my 10yo is at all times. And no, he doesn't have a moblile phone, and yes, I do let him out alone. He tells me which freind he's going to call for, and if he's playing outside the house knows to tell me if he's going into someone's house.

I always know roughly where my 14yo is. Yes he does have a phone. I let him go out on his bike, but he always tells me where he is going. He will occasionally pop into a shop when out and about, which wasn't pre-planed.

I always know where my dd(14) and ds(11) are, but occasionally that's slightly vague such as on last afternoon of term going into town with friends. We need to get better at using our mobile phones and keeping them to hand to help with communication in these upcoming teenage years.
I think mobile phones have the potential to be a big help in keeping our teenagers safe and reassuring parents at the same time.

Eggsiseggs Tue 06-Aug-13 21:44:01

Yes. Even if it is only 'at x's house until 7pm'.
Am a teacher of this age, and it would solve so many issues we have to deal with if parents did this.

sharond101 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:52:47

I need to know where my grown DH is at all times so when my DS gets to 11 he will definitely be traceable.

Labootin Tue 06-Aug-13 22:00:19

Dc's are returning to England from living a very sheltered bubble life abroad (where they had a full time nanny watching them contantly and a driver to pick them up 24/7) so this summer has been an intensive course in independence as ds is 11 and will be going on the village school bus to senior school.

He has a mobile (deliberately chosen to not be too flash he wanted an iPhone 5.. Not happening!) and has been out most days around the village with neighbours kids.

I have had to deliberately sit on my hands as I'm not used to him being out on his own (despite me being a 70's child chucked out after breakfast and told to come back when it's dark) I hate it but realise he has to grow up (sob) I started with tiny trips to the village shop (5 mins and one road) to 30 mins (just "hanging" out with mates) now it's up than hour (he can phone me and say where he is)

If it were up to me he'd still be holding my hand on zebra crossings but he's almost taller than me and I know I've got to get a grip (sob)

Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 23:16:59

I like to know what they are doing but as moving onto secondary school you can't know where they are all the time especially as they travel to and from school with friends
I have to start trusting them with some independence
They have a phone to contact me with change in plans ect and have curfews and can still be grounded

marchart Wed 07-Aug-13 13:38:59

When my dd was 11, I always knew where she was. She didn't go out much without an adult anyway - to and from school, to the park, and I think that was about it.

whois Wed 07-Aug-13 20:48:55

As an eleven year old in the late 90's, in a 'nice' suburb but pre-mobile phones I had quite a lot of freedom.

Playing out in the immediate area between various friends houses and gardens and a field and area of woodland - no need to tell parents where I was going. Concept of 'playing out'. Knew when to be home, probably didnt always stick to it! I was 'playing out' from quite young I think, probably 6 or 7.

I had to ask if I was going to play on the playing fields at a school about 10 mins walk away.

At 10 I was going into town or the shopping centre by bus and tram with a friend.

I was being left alone for periods of time - maybe 3 hours or so.

At 11 I was not being left alone over night at all.

herecomesthsun Wed 07-Aug-13 21:31:15

Yes, I think we should know where an 11 year old is. However, I think the amount of independence will vary with the common sense of the child at a particular age! I have a 5 year old (who is very bright but very accident prone) and an 18 month old. I will want to know exactly where they are for many years to come!

Personally, I was making a journey to senior school across London at 11. It involved around 1 1/2 hours travel, and at least 2 rail connections with 1 -1 1/2 miles walking. I wouldn't be keen on this for my own kids.

Of course, we didn't have mobiles, but they bring their own hazards in terms of being lost, being a target for muggers and potential for bullying. I am in no hurry for my kids to get phones (I am an old gimmer though! poor kids, with such out of touch parents)

FreeWee Wed 07-Aug-13 21:34:28

I think 11 is the cusp of becoming more independent. The summer between primary and secondary would be when I would start letting my LO off the leash as it were. I'd get her a mobile phone for the first time. IMHO they don't need one before then as I should always know exactly where they are before then, and after then more approximately know roughly where they are e.g. "In town" rather than at the cinema with friend and friend's mum. But then my DD is 5 months old so I've got some time to change my mind a million times!

Sticklebug Wed 07-Aug-13 21:46:58

Mostly, but DD will go to the park from say 3-6pm and I have to assume that she is there.

My DH is v uncomfortable with this. the same age 11- I took 2 buses to school, with no mobiles and in the summer hols would be out for 12 hours 'in the woods'.

To be honest, I am uncomfortable too- but the stats clearly show (I am a scientist) that children are as safe today as they were 30 years is just media amplification that makes me worry otherwise....

lljkk Thu 08-Aug-13 12:58:52


WhiteandGreen Thu 08-Aug-13 15:00:36


PenguinBear Thu 08-Aug-13 15:04:32

Absolutely yes you should know where your 11 year old is at all times!! My DD1 is a little older than this now but when she was 11 I still deemed her too young to be left in the house alone or go out without telling me where. Even walking to school, I'd only let her be about 10 feet Infront of the rest of us. They grow up so quickly once they hit secondary school, why not let them be a child as long as possible smile.

curlew Thu 08-Aug-13 17:35:50

"where. Even walking to school, I'd only let her be about 10 feet Infront of the rest of us"


By 11, I would think you don't need to know exactly where they are, but a rough idea- going to the park, or in a friends house. A mobile is probably sensible at that age- however much I hate that idea!

I don't have an 11 year old yet but do have 5 nieces / nephews around and above that age and their parents do insist on knowing where they are.

OhWesternWind Thu 08-Aug-13 21:11:04

I know roughly where my eleven year old is - if she needs me she can phone, and vice versa. We live on a very safe, quiet estate in a very safe, quiet town and she has quite a lot of freedom to be out and about before 8.30/9 pm.

I actively want my children to have some independence and to be able to have some of the same freedoms I had when I was growing up in the 70s.

They know when to come back (and phones are very useful here as you can set the alarm so there's no excuse) and ground rules about how to stay safe.

PenguinBear Thu 08-Aug-13 21:43:10

curlew I was a bit neurotic and full of post baby hormones at the time. She's a teenager now and I am much more lenient. grin

Jel02 Fri 09-Aug-13 07:27:00

We live in a village that sustains a primary and secondary school. My 10yo has access to a mobile phone to take out when he goes to the park (5 minute walk away). He only goes with/ to meet friends. He phones when he gets there and phones when he leaves at a set time. We usually don't let him out for more that 45 minutes without him making contact with us and he had be home after 1 1/2 - 2 hours. He can call on 3 friends who all live near the park but he has to let us know if he's staying there. His friends are all allowed out for longer and further. All have access to phones and one friend is allowed out all day all around the village, often until 8.30 - 9pm at night without access to a phone.

I think you do need to start giving a little bit more freedom and trust to your DCs when they are heading off to big school, aged 11/12. They need to be able to get used to getting buses on their own, being responsible for remembering their own homework, have the capability to come home on their own after school and have a snack, even if you'll be back half an hour later.

At the same time, as a parent I think you would still really want to be keeping tabs on where they are. If they are at a friend's house, I'd want to know which friend and whether their parents are there. If they are going to the cinema, which cinema and what time does the movie finish. You can't breathe down their necks 24/7 but ultimately the buck stops with you and your DCs need to feel like there is someone watching out for them.

lljkk Fri 09-Aug-13 14:17:17

This poll is meaningless because we are all interpretting the question so differently. I took it literally (AT ALL TIMES, within a few metres), others take it metaphorically ("if I know he's out playing somewhere within half a mile that's good enough to say I know where he is").

Trills Fri 09-Aug-13 14:20:44

No, not at all times.

e.g. "Gone to Sarah's house" could actually include a trip to the seaside or to the park or to the shopping mall, and that would be perfectly reasonable.

Arcticwaffle Fri 09-Aug-13 14:49:57

I don't know where my 11 year old is all the time. She is sensible and mature for her age (nearly 12 now). She is capable of going on the bus and train on her own, she has a mobile she mostly takes with her, and she'll go into the nearby city (quite a calm little city) on her own. I don't track her as she knows how to get hold of me in an emergency, what to do if she loses her purse or phone etc, how to get home on foot.

We talk a lot about safety and sensible behaviour and what to do in different circumstances - including possible grooming behaviour, and how to deal with strangers, or people you know a bit, when you're on your own. She's quite clued up I think compared to her friends.

I also don't know where my 9yo is all the time, if she goes out to play in our local area, which is quite a safe village where people do notice what's going on and talk to each other. She can be "lost" for an hour or so sometimes, it just means she's at a friend's or somewhere around. She doesn't have much sense of time and doesn't have a mobile but she knows where she's allowed to go and she seems to stick to the boundaries.

ITCouldBeWorse Fri 09-Aug-13 19:52:57

Pretty much yes. I might not know exactly which part of a shop she is in in our local small shopping centre, or exactly where she is between home and local shop, but otherwise yep, I could GPS her!

kerpob Sat 10-Aug-13 08:18:41

I have an 11 year old and while she's allowed to specific friends' houses or to the local shop (10 minutes walk) as yet I haven't allowed her any time just with friends, in town or at cinema or whatever. She's starting secondary school in September and I'm going to be expecting her to get the bus to and from school so this thread has made me think that I need to start letting her practice a bit. When I was 11 we were out morning to night playing with friends with no real need to let anybody know where we were.

brdgrl Sat 10-Aug-13 11:12:40

At 11, DD will be expected to let me know where she is going and who she will be with. If I ring or text her, she'll have to answer immediately.
Those are our rules for DSS (15), too. Unless we've discussed it previously, he's to be home by dinner time (from a day outing) or at a pre-arranged time (if an evening thing). On the other hand, we'd rarely if ever say 'no' to him based on where he was going/what he was's about knowing where he is if something should go wrong, not about controlling him, and he knows that and is actually pretty cooperative.

I expect that kids will lie about where they go sometimes - I'm not naive enough to think I can know with absolute certainty where they are at every minute. But, in my opinion, it is important that they know that I'm checking, that I'm trying, and that there are limits. Testing limits is a normal and healthy thing (and so is enduring the consequences when you get caught!) - but it is essential that the limits are there. Of course, that's how I feel more generally - I don't understand, at all, parents who say "well, they're going to do xyz anyway, so why try and stop them?"

As far as phones - they can also pose safety issues - we've spoken to even my much older DSD about the need to stay alert when she's out, especially at night. I see way too many young girls and women who are so focused on a phone call or texting to be fully aware of their environment. Recently DSD told me that she'd been walking home from work - texting - and someone approached her and touched her on the shoulder. She was startled, because she hadn't even noticed there was anyone behind her.

DameDeepRedBetty Sat 10-Aug-13 11:17:13

When dtds turned 11 they started to walk to school and back, and were, as far as I am aware, always somewhere more-or-less on the route.

dufflefluffle Sat 10-Aug-13 11:18:19

I have an almost 11 year old and yes, I would absolutely know where she is at all times. That is my responsibility.

DameDeepRedBetty Sat 10-Aug-13 11:19:12

The rule was I'd start worrying if they took more than half an hour for the ten minute journey, and a worried mummy is bad, as she is far less likely to make pudding. They soon learned.

DameDeepRedBetty Sat 10-Aug-13 11:20:58

Although they both had mobiles, they had a real talent for forgetting to charge them up or running out of credit! They're both far more reliable now (age 14)

DameDeepRedBetty Sat 10-Aug-13 11:22:04

And does that count as three valid comments Aviva? I do hope so, it's a worthwhile charity!

morethanpotatoprints Sat 10-Aug-13 18:59:18

I always knew where mine were full stop, any age.
I don't think its a child thing either. Both me and dh will let one another know where we are going and what time we expect to be home. If we are going to be late we text or call. Its not just safety which is the most important thing, but common decency.

curlew Sat 10-Aug-13 21:26:33

There's a huge difference between knowing what time someone will be home and knowing where they are all the time. I agree absolutely with the first, regardless of age. The second- that's more flexible. And very dependent on age.

internationallove985 Sat 10-Aug-13 22:34:27

I do believe in boundaries and routines for children. However in an ideal world yes you would know where your 11 yo was at all times but sadly this is not the ideal world it's the real world and with the best will in the world you can't watch them every second. xx

curlew Sun 11-Aug-13 09:50:12

"However in an ideal world yes you would know where your 11 yo was at all times"

No you wouldn't. In an ideal world an 11 year old is spreading her wings and learning independence. Which means that her parents don't know exactly where she is every second.

brdgrl Sun 11-Aug-13 10:42:52

*"However in an ideal world yes you would know where your 11 yo was at all times"

No you wouldn't. In an ideal world an 11 year old is spreading her wings and learning independence. Which means that her parents don't know exactly where she is every second.*

I don't completely agree. Knowing where my 11 year old is does not in any way conflict with her becoming independent. Interfering with that might, yes.

Suppose at 11 she is heading off to the library by herself. To get there, she has to cross several major roads, catch a bus, and walk through a park with a small stream (this is hypothetical, but that's basically the route I'd have taken to the library at that age myself).

If, along the way, she misses a bus, or slips and gets her shoes wet in a stream, or gets a bit lost - those are all opportunities, as you say, to practice her growing independence. Swooping in and sorting it out, as some parents are wont to do, can hold that back. Knowing where she is, can't.

So yes, I'd want to know where she was going and what route she was taking. In the real world, I'd expect her to deviate from that route, especially as she grows more confident, and I'd expect that sometimes this would result in problems - being late, losing a library book, whatever - for which she'd endure the natural or imposed consequences - grounded for being late, or having to pay for a library book.

When she learned to walk, I was right there, watching. I didn't grab her when she started to tip, I let her fall. But I didn't just leave her alone to get on with it, in the guise of giving her independence. The shape of that changes with her age, but not the principle.

kelda Sun 11-Aug-13 10:46:06

I would want to know roughly where they are - if they are at the park, if they are at a friend's house, if they have gone to a shop. I don't think they need to have a mobile phone to achieve this.

internationallove985 Sun 11-Aug-13 11:23:28

Good point brdgrl. Twisted around the other way then you shouldn't need to know where they are every second as in the ideal world it would safe for them to explore and spread their wings. No argument there. x

curlew Sun 11-Aug-13 11:44:30

". Twisted around the other way then you shouldn't need to know where they are every second as in the ideal world it would safe for them to explore and spread their wings"

Wow- we live in an ideal world, then!

brdgrl Sun 11-Aug-13 12:55:01

I don't think anyone is saying that...

curlew Sun 11-Aug-13 13:14:18

Well, if the definition of an ideal world is one where an 11 year is safe "to explore and spread their wings" then we do like in an ideal world! smile

brdgrl Sun 11-Aug-13 15:11:46

Well, if the definition of an ideal world is one where an 11 year is safe "to explore and spread their wings" then we do like in an ideal world!


Maybe you live in a world where knowing your child's wheareabouts is limiting her independence, or where an 11-year-old child can 'explore and spread their wings' without even the most remote form of parental supervision (which does appear to be your position).

I've seen enough to know that an 11-year-old in my world still needs a fair amount of parental supervision and involvement, and yes, parents that knows, to the best of our ability, where s/he is when s/he leaves the house. If your environment is such that your child doesn't need that, you are very fortunate. But it's bit daft for you to be suggesting that this is the case for everyone, or that those of us who know better our own circumstances, are wrong.

curlew Sun 11-Aug-13 15:55:31

I actually didn't say anything of the sort. As a very brief read back will show you. But hey ho.

Openyourheart Sun 11-Aug-13 16:08:33

I have a 12 year old. I don't know where he is all the time. I have an idea of the geographical area he is in but that is it. He knows what time he needs to be back and sticks to it. He also has a mobile phone so I text him if I need to.

The other day he bought a tram ticket and he and his friend explored on the tram. He didn't tell me he was doing this and I didn't mind but I would have preferred him to tell me that he was leaving the town.

Takver Sun 11-Aug-13 18:59:02

"I would want to know roughly where they are - if they are at the park, if they are at a friend's house, if they have gone to a shop. I don't think they need to have a mobile phone to achieve this."

^^ this I do have an 11 y/o, and I'd say that's a fair summary. If she heads out to see friend X, I'd expect them to let me know if they were going somewhere a long way away from Xs house (but not for eg if they were playing in the park round the corner or nipping up to the shop to get an icecream).

SaltySeaBird Sun 11-Aug-13 22:03:50

My DD isn't even close to 11 yet but I can't imagine being happy not knowing where she is. I just don't think the world is a safe enough place.

I grew up in a very rural location and was lucky enough to have a pony. My parents were happy for me and my sister to take then off into the woods and village, often for hours. It makes me sad that my DD won't have this sort of freedom (I certainly can't afford to get her a pony!) but I don't know how comfortable I would be with it.

We do live in a semi rural location but 11 is too young to have much freedom. My niece is 12 though and I know she has a certain amount of freedom. I'd be happy with my DD going round town shopping with friends but only during the day, for a limited time period with an adult near at hand.

I'll probably let her have a mobile for very limited / emergency use only.

I'm probably really naive and unrealistic though. She is my little girl who I just want to protect though!

curlew Sun 11-Aug-13 22:07:35

Salty seabird- what are you frightened of?

Zee2013 Mon 12-Aug-13 02:09:05

Absolutely, of course we should know. I have an 11 year old and believe me, it comes around VERY quickly. She is still a little girl with lots to learn. I think that for an 11 year old she is very sensible, but every now and then, I realise how young she still is.
Just because she is starting Secondary school, doesn't mean that we shouldn't know where she is. Kids can have mobiles, but should follow a 'normal' route home at expected times. Anything out of the ordinary eg running late or stopping at the shops with friends, should be texted home first.

SaltySeaBird Mon 12-Aug-13 08:02:24


She is only very young at the moment (11 months) so maybe my over protective attitude will change as she gets older but I'm scared of her own ability to make judgements (crossing busy roads for example) and I'm scared of people with either sinister intentions or groups of kids who may lead her astray.

I was involved in an incident when I was 19 that scared me a lot (don't want to out myself but I was asked to do reconstruction on CrimeWatch, I wasn't hurt, somebody else was). I don't trust strangers in general.

ILoveAFullFridge Mon 12-Aug-13 08:15:16

It's a gradual thing. It's not that on the last day if primary they still need to be walked to and from school every day and have their hand held when crossing the road, yet on the first day if secondary they can do it all by themselves. You have to increase freedoms gradually, discuss why and how, practice scenarios etc.

I certainly do not expect to know where my 10 and 12yos are at all times, but I expect to know approximately where they are, with whom, and by what time they will arrive there/here and at what time they will set off. 10yo gets less leeway, is not allowed to go as far or for as long as 12yo. If plans or situations change, they must phone me. Which also means less freedom for 10yo, as only 12yo has a mobile.

Also depends on the child. My 12yo craves freedom and responsibility, so I grant it but occasionally have to hold back. My 10yo is shyer and less confident, so occasionally I have to push and encourage, but I don't force it.

Yeh, we've taken a gradual approach I think ILove as ds wanted to cycle to school with his Dad in Y6, and then cycled home on his own. Before that I took him by car and collected him at end of day. I felt it was good that there wouldn't be such a sudden change in responsibility with secondary school. He's practiced cycling to new school with his Dad too, and is very keen to do so, but I'm a little nervous about the idea because of traffic.
I guess if DH does it with him a few times and thinks it's OK we'll probably go for it though I'd rather take him in the morning and he can come home on the bus like his sister

ChocolateMama Mon 12-Aug-13 10:39:43

My children are younger, but I would definitely want to know where my 11 year old was at all times! I cannot imagine not knowing where they were. I mean such as knowing that they are at school, on the way home from school, at a certain friends house etc etc. We live in London though, so perhaps at of London not the same. I do remember as a child (lived in a large village near open countryside) going off on our bikes for the whole day at age 11 and my mother (all our mothers) were fine with this. Maybe times have changed.

Theas18 Mon 12-Aug-13 11:21:14

Hmm. read some of the comments and I'm a bit shock at the degree of control people exercise over their teens.

By age 11 I think your child should be reasonably able to go out and about on their own- use public transport etc within reason. Depending on area but that meant for us that they went on the bus/train to and from school at normal times. School didn't do after school stuff in year 7 really but they were selected for orchestras to " play with the big kids" as they were very good for age and rarely I did a collection from this activity.

What I don't like and makes me feel twitchy is when they want to " hang out" with mates in town without specific goals. I know kids egg each other on to shoplift etc and that could be an issue.

I talk " risk assessment" all the time and have done since they were small. I think this helps a bit.

As for tracking/spying on your child with mobile phone locator apps.... I'm not say never, but gosh I'd like to think I trusted my child better than that ( unless they have proved un trustworthy) and child abduction isn't common enough to make me want to " tag" my child. Surely an abductor would chuck the kids phone promptly anyway?

Theas18 Mon 12-Aug-13 11:22:39

And those who say " mobile should be answered immediately" do you not have signal black spots where you are?

brdgrl Mon 12-Aug-13 11:52:25

And those who say " mobile should be answered immediately" do you not have signal black spots where you are?
We do have signal black spots, yes. But that would be the exception, not the rule, and it is possible to have a 'policy' and at the same time judge on a case-by-case basis.

We live in a place which has a high degree of inter-community violence. My DSS is easily identifiable as a 'target' (through his accent and school uniform). We have very real reasons to be concerned about his whereabouts. I appreciate that some people make judgements about their own environments and their own children's skills. Not every neighbourhood, not every child, not every situation is the same. Blanket statements about how safe a child of 11 is are completely useless, as are the kind of remarks which seem aimed at telling parents that they are being over-protective or controlling, when the person saying that can't possibly know what this particular kid's judgement is like, or what the particular safety concerns are, or indeed, any history of actual problems that have already occurred. We've evaluated all the factors in our own case, and determined what we are personally comfortable with.

It's weird that this thread contains so much judgement of other parenting styles. I'm not interested in telling others that they are negligent because they don't have the same rules of expectations regarding these things, as I say, it may well be appropriate for them - but similarly, I would expect that others assume that we know what we're doing when it comes to our own kids.

THERhubarb Mon 12-Aug-13 11:54:39

I think setting boundaries and having fixed rules in place is a good idea as there can then be no confusion about what is allowed and what is not.

My children both know that they are not to enter their friend's houses at all unless they have asked me first. I have explained to them why it is important that I know where they are, such as getting hold of them in an emergency.

My kids are now 13 and 9 but when dd was 11 she was allowed to travel to certain places on her own so long as I knew where she was going and if relevant, who with. If she was not within walking distance from home - say she was staying with a friend, then I would insist she have a phone on her and I would have the number of the parents just in case.

Just recently a friend of hers told her mother she was out with certain people and would be back at an agreed time, however she changed those plans, went out with different people and was an hour late getting home. Her mother was very worried and dd and I did our best to try and contact this girl to find out where she was. I think that helped dd to see just how important it was to stick to plans and let people know where you are and who you are with.

I agree that phones give a false sense of security. Anything can go wrong - they might switch them off, run out of battery, be in a blackspot or lose their phones. I never rely solely on the phone and I make sure I have the mobile numbers of her closest friends.

There is a fine line to be drawn between giving them their independence and expecting them to have too much responsibility at a young age. I think it's wise to remember that they are still children, prone to being forgetful and making mistakes so really it is up to us as their parents to take on that responsibility and make sure our children are as safe as they can be.

brdgrl Mon 12-Aug-13 11:55:50

great post, rhubarb.

Moominmammacat Mon 12-Aug-13 12:03:20

Absolutely. Don't mind them having freedom to go more or less where they fancy but like to know first.

THERhubarb Mon 12-Aug-13 12:05:40

We live near a small town that was in the news a few months ago because some kids on Facebook had arranged a fight and there was talk of knives being involved. This is not London, this is deepest darkest Wiltshire, a nice place with no particular major crime issues. Yet this is what the kids had arranged. On that day it so happened that the Police Chief was doing his rounds with some local police and they came across this large gang of kids. They took some into custody for possessing weapons and what made it into the news was that some of these children were as young as 9 with most being 11 or 12 and their parents did not know where they were. Many of the kids admitted lying to their parents about who they were with and where they were that evening. The Police Chief went onto the news to make a plea to all parents to find out where their children actually were.

Potentially the police stopped a catastrophe that night. Stabbings don't just happen in London you see. Many of those parents thought their children were staying with friends, but they weren't, they were in the centre of this town with the wrong crowd amongst kids who were willing to carry knives.

I think it's vitally important to know where your children are. Yes of course they need their independence but like I said, at the age of 11 they are still young children, they make mistakes, they can't handle grown up responsibilities and do not have the benefit of wisdom and caution. I think we make the mistake of imaging our children to be more sensible and more grown up than they actually are.

GooseyLoosey Mon 12-Aug-13 12:14:09

Ds is 10.5. I have just started to give him some freedom to go around our quiet village on his own. I do however expect to know where he is and be able to find him if I need to. He has the cheapest mobile I could find with a pas-as-you-go sim. If he goes to the park, he has to return within 1 hour or ring me at the end of the hour to tell me his plans. As he gets older, I will slowly relax these restrictions. He has also been told to ring home if he is uncertain what to do in any situation. He can only go certain places on his own and knows that he would be in unbelievable trouble if, for example, he went down to the woods on his own.

littlemonkeychops Mon 12-Aug-13 13:23:51

My DDs are only tiny at the moment, but i'm pretty sure i'd want to know where they were 100% of the time. 11 is still quite young isn't it? That's not to say i won't be happy for them to go out (not sure yet) but i'd definitely want to know where they are. I can't imagine someone asking me where my 11 year old was and having to answer "dunno". 11 is only starting secondary school. I never went anywhere without my parents at that age, i don't think they were overprotective just sensible. It's not stranger danger that concerns me, just more likely things like traffic, accidents, making appropriate decisions etc.

Not that i'd judge anyone else's choices, but for me i'd want to know.

ILoveAFullFridge Mon 12-Aug-13 14:46:11

My 12yo knows that if he is lax about coming home on time, or goes to a different place than agreed (without telling me) then he will either be grounded or have his freedom-of-movement privileges revoked. Similarly, if he wants to go out without an adult his phone must be charged, in credit, and in his pocket. I have carried out those repercussions, so he knows we mean it and respects them.

stonesteps Mon 12-Aug-13 15:05:00

My son wont be 11 for a while, but when he is I feel that while my instinct will be to want to know where he is at all times, it would be simply impossible to allow him the freedom he deserves and keep precise tags on his whereabouts at all times. It all depends on the child. When I was 11 I had a fair amount of freedom, but I had to earn it by being trustworthy. Mobile phones are useful, but I agree they do provide a false sense of security sometimes.

I don't know where my 11 YO and 12YO are all the time. I'm in the process of coaching them to be more independent. I know what their plans are all the time, I will have discussed with them what the likely timings are for their plans and who they're going with and what do do in certain scenarios if their plans go awry (if they miss their bus or they get delayed or if they get scared or they get mugged). But part of letting them go out by themselves and have freedom means that sometimes I couldn't say exactly where they were but I could say where I think they are and when they'll be back!

They have mobiles - one's where we can check the location of their device but I don't really use them because they're very good at texting to say if their battery is running low or to ask if they can come back later. This is because they understand that these freedoms will be revoked if they are later than agreed or the deviate massively from the plan. I have once with one DS used the location to check whether he was in the town he said he was going to because I was worried about some shifty behaviour. But he was where he said he would be!

Y6 is the year when we've allowed our DSs more independence (more than just walking to and back from school by themselves). This is to ensure they are already making some decisions safely and are starting to take responsibility for themselves before going to secondary school.

Our aim is to have four sixteen year old boys who are confident and responsible for themselves and others, are able to get jobs (FT or PT) and could fend for themselves for a couple of weeks (or longer if they chose to). As others have said, we've realised how quickly this comes around, so we've made the decision to take calculated risks from the age of 10.

vincenta Mon 12-Aug-13 20:05:36

I don't have 11 year old yet but I think that every mum should know where her 11 year old child is.That's why it is so important to gain your child trust because even if your child have mobile phone you never can be sure that child is in that place where he says and he supposed to be.
To my mind 11 year old is to young to wonder whenever he want.I still remember my sweet teenager years when my mum wanted to know all my plans. She always knew where I am because before I went somewhere I was supposed to let her know,where, how long and with whom I was going.
I think the biggest problem nowadays is too much freedom. Most teenagers do whatever they want and parents usually are to busy with their lives, making new relationships or working long hours.

WRT conversations about safety. We have spoken at various times about a variety of subjects to ensure they are safe. Strangers. Drugs. Drink. How to deal with friends doing things you're uncomfortable with. Sex. Relationships. Social Networking to RL. Muggings. Reading timetables.

We tend to, as they go to experience new things, discuss what they're going to do and the risks associated with it. We also ask them how they'd deal with various issues if they arose ... missing the bus, loosing their ticket, friends not turning up.

I don't have an 11 year old, but I think its a fine line between safety and giving some freedom and allowing them to make decisions about their own safety.

However, I think that I'd want to know where my 11 year old is.

lolancurly Wed 14-Aug-13 16:43:20

Yes, I want to know where my 11 year old is at all times - she has 3 older siblings and by 11/12 they are chomping at the bit for some independence. Mobile phones offer a huge amount of security for me, in that I can check why my daughter is late home from school etc She has an hour bus journey home from school and having that point of contact stops me worrying too much. We havent lived in an area where it is safe to play outside for many years as we live in the country on a busy road, so she has never experienced going out to play with her friends, sadly.

I want to know where my DS(11) is at all times - but the reality is sometimes different !

(Hope this will count as my third valid post towards a worthy cause thanks)

THERhubarb Wed 14-Aug-13 17:11:26

Third valid post for me too. grin

I think we all have different expectations of our children and different parenting methods, yet I still think that at 11 years of age they are still very much children. They might be growing up fast and wanting that independence but they have not yet experienced enough of the world to make wise decisions. As children they are easily influenced, easily led and easily fooled. I am 41 years old and I still make shit decisions and have still on occasion, put myself in a precarious decision because I failed to make the right choice. I take full responsibility for that as an adult, but who takes responsibility for them? They are only 11 years old, some are still in primary school. As parents we must take that responsibility on for them because if they do make a bad decision, it is partly our fault too, that's what we are there for.

Growing up is all about being responsible and making mistakes but I think sometimes we can be too quick to shove them out into the wide world with just a mobile phone for safety when only a few months previously they may have still been holding your hand on the way to the shops.

Independence should be a gradual thing, a learning curve. We should not force our children to embrace it too quickly and we should never be afraid to lay down some rigid ground rules.

ImpulsePineapple Wed 14-Aug-13 17:17:35

My 11yo doesn't have a phone at the mpment, but she doesn't go far. We live in a tiny village, so she will walk around with/to a friends, she'll also take the dog for a walk, but with a friend.

When she starts Senior School next month she'll be gettting the bus by herself, so then she'll have a phone. She'll also be a latchkey kid 2 out of 5 days, as there is no afterschool club at senior school.

She's very reliable and trustworthy though, so I'm not worried in the slightest, and she is looking forward to it.

biryani Wed 14-Aug-13 17:31:09

Mine can get a bus or walk to town centre (40 mins). Will be getting bus to and from school in Sept, and wait in for me for a bit. We live in a city and can walk everywhere.

toolatetobed Wed 14-Aug-13 22:58:33

My children were both 9 when I first started letting them go out on their own, with clearly defined boundaries at that point. My 10-year-old has not yet progressed beyond very short walks on her own. In the case of my 12-year-old, the level of independence he is allowed has built up steadily from first being allowed out on his own at the age of 9.

Jux Wed 14-Aug-13 23:23:38

Our bid for the start of dd's independence was when she was about 8. We let her walk partway to school alone (it was 5 minutes away with a road to cross, so we'd get her across --and then follow her at a distance--).

We live in a small town, and dd had always come shopping with us, so most of the shopkeeper knew her. There's also a market pnce a week, and the stall holders all knew her too, so once she was walking to school happily we would let her go round the town on her own on Saturday mornings.

She sang in church, and got involved with coffee morning down there. Often people would be walking past our house on their way home so they would walk dd back while they were at it.

By the time she was 11 we were happy to know where she was going, but didn't need to know where exactly she was on the way there or back. So, if she was off to a coffee morning at the church, we knew she'd be yhere for a couple of hours, but she might then take another hour getting home as she wandered into shops and chatted to the shopkeepers - if they weren't busy. There've been a couple of times where we've got a bit worried because she's been very late. I walked down to church one night when they'd been singing at a private ceremony because it was supposed have finished at 9 and she still wasn't back at 10pm, but in fact it was running very late, so I hung about outside in the rain for an hour until it was over!

On the whole, dd is very responsible and sensible. If there's a delay, or something comes up - eg, bumping into a friend and going to a cafe - then she'll call us. She's 14 now.

Jux Wed 14-Aug-13 23:42:57

Second post:

At the same time as weaning ourselves off 'constant vigilance' with dd, we have talked to her about stranger danger, who to go to if she is scared or worried, where to go. She was very confident about talking to people or asking for help. She has only been worried twice, once by an eccentric woman (well kown in the town, harmless but a little scary) and once by a very elderly gent who became a bit obsessed with dd as Alzheimer's took hold. I had a chat with our Community policeman and the two 'designated safe people' (designated by the police) who were already keeping an eye on the gent anyway. We also talked to dd about him quite a lot.

We had talked to her about going anywhere with strangers, about not going into people's houses unless she checked with us first (there are adults from the church who are not particularly friends of ours, but whom we know are fine, for instance; they are highly unlikely to take dd home with them without calling us and telling us why, mind you).

More recently, we have talked about the effects of gossip on innocent people, so that she is aware that there are wider issues than simply her own safety.

Jux Thu 15-Aug-13 00:04:58

Third post:

I don't think I should know exactly where my dd is all the time certainly not now that she's 14. I wanted to know exactly where she was all the time, when she was 11, but given what she was like, it wasn't going to be particularly productive in the long term if I hovered over her and let her know how anxious I was! She needed to know that we trusted her to be sensible and responsible, and she responded well. I am pretty sure that - her being her - it would have pushed her in the wrong direction if we had followed her around, questioned her if she was 5 minutes late, and so on.

We have been very lucky in that primary school was so close, the main shops are so close, the church is close. We are also exceedingly lucky that dd is a sensible child with her head screwed on.

However, everything could change in the future. She could be a total, out of control nightmare in 6 months' time. Who knows.

callmeovercautious Thu 15-Aug-13 00:15:12

My Nephew - nearly 11 year old boy - disapeared often and caused all sorts of grief! Mobile made no difference as he just switched it off! Needless to say his parents know exactly where he is right now - grounded and in his room or doing chores until he knows better!

Ilovemyrabbits Thu 15-Aug-13 16:19:15

Yes. At least an overview of where they should be anyway with an agreed means of contact and a 'due home' time.

Tanggodown1 Fri 16-Aug-13 12:16:55

Yes I do and he goes somewhere else with friends he must and always tells me

normaanne123 Fri 16-Aug-13 15:15:42

At 11 they need a bit of independence but they are all different, when they start to ask to do things risk assess it and then compromise. You cannot know where they are all the time, I used the summer holidays before they went to senior school to let them try doing things alone. Then when they get to senior school they soon learn that if they don't stick to the guidelines of time, phoning home etc they got grounded and they don't like that!

sensibilityjane Sat 17-Aug-13 07:37:11

Absolutely yes. It wouldn't matter where we were, when dd was 11 she needed to check with me before leaving the house, be contactable by phone and return at the time agreed. She behaved completely within these bounds at the time, understanding the need for adults to have knowledge of her whereabouts.

She was aware of personal safety risks and she always had a contingency plan, be it emergency money, back up route or ability to use a payphone to make a reverse charge call.

teabagpleb Sat 17-Aug-13 08:40:36

My children are younger, but thinking back to my own childhood, the nagging in my teens quizzing me about where I was going backfired, as it led to my answering 'London' and legging it to the station and buying a Travelcard. Mostly ended up mooching around Camden Market.

What would have been more useful would have been teaching me what to do in various situations, from a younger age, eg what to do when a pervy bloke on the train rubs his leg up and down yours and then whispers "I'll enjoy seeing you later" when you get off the train. Or what to do if you get your ticket and money stolen (and phone, nowadays). Or if there's a disaster and no transport back to your town. I figured all these out on my own, not necessarily the best way.

Ireallymustbemad Sat 17-Aug-13 09:59:39

My 12yo is allowed round the village without telling me exactly where he is, he can only be at the park or a friend's house. He would always tell me first if he's going fishing. This has been the same for about a year now. He also walks nearly 2 miles to school and has done for the last year.
He has a mobile and I expect him to keep in contact if he wants to be later than previously arranged.
He has been allowed to meet friends in the park or callfor them since about 9.

My 9.5yo DS2 has only just started to get a tiny bit of freedom. His friends don't live as close as DS1s did so he doesn't knock for them. He has been allowed to meet friends in the park a couple of times but a friend of mine has always been there and texted me when he arrived. He doesn't have a phone yet as our rule is you have to be ten for a phone.

I leave the 9.5yo home alone for a maximum of ten mins if I need to pop to village shop or similar. I leave the 12yo alone for up to 2/3 hrs but would normally be in contact during that time. I'd leave the two together for 10/15 mins only.

It's such a difficult balance, we're all treading carefully and a lot depends on the friends of your dc. DS1s friends always had a lot of independence so DS1 also got more freedom. DS2s friends in contrast are a lot 'younger' and as parents we have been talking about gradually having to introduce more freedom and independence to prepare them for secondary in 2 yrs time.

SE13Mummy Sat 17-Aug-13 22:37:13

DD1 is 8 (nearly 9) and currently doesn't go far/do much without an adult knowing where she is. Recently we've started letting her stay at home for approx. 30 mins whilst DD2 is collected from elsewhere - she knows not to answer the door (or even to look out of the window) if the doorbell goes, can operate the phone to dial 999 in an emergency and knows that if the house burns down she should leave the house, close the door behind her and go to one of the neighbours for help.

We live in SE London and she doesn't yet go out alone although she will pop along the road to a different shop if I'm in a cafe. She has more freedom in the holidays e.g. at the beach, whilst at festivals with us etc. but that's because she's good on landmarks, is capable of making good choices when it comes to identifying a suitable adult if she needed help, will follow instructions re: boundaries/time limits and is a real stickler for rules and takes very seriously the responsibility that comes with the extra freedom she's allowed!

By the time she's in Y6 she will be using the bus independently to travel around SE London. If relevant, I imagine we'll let her use the tube independently too as she's already good at navigating her way around the underground. When she goes to secondary school she is likely to have to catch a train/tube/bus so it makes sense for her to feel confident about doing so before Y7.

She knows about keeping valuables like iPods, mobiles etc. out of sight, about not using gadgets when distracted/coming out of stations/walking along and also understands that when she eventually gets a mobile it will be serviceable but not too cool...she has accepted that at the moment but I imagine she'll feel differently once she's in Y7!

S, by the time I have an 11-year-old, I don't expect to know exactly where she is. I will expect her to stick to agreed plans when she goes out alone and to contact me if those change for whatever reason...pretty much as I did with my parents 25 years ago. No mobile required for the amount of contact I think that will amount to!

serin Sat 17-Aug-13 22:58:34

He pops up the shop for me, walks the dog for me, sadly he doesn't have any friends local enough for him to just go and visit. Most of his mates live a car journey away. DD was out and about far more than he is at the same age.

Theimpossiblegirl Sun 18-Aug-13 23:31:58

I like to know where I can find my DDs if I need them, but knowing who they are with is far more important to me than knowing exactly where they are. They are 10 and 12.

We are lucky living in a small village, there are only so many places they can be.

When we go to town I let them go off with friends but have regular meet-ups (eg- see you outside New Look in 1/2 an hour) then split up again.

I'm trying to increase their confidence and independence so that when they do catch the train to town without me, they know their way around and how to get home safely.

Eastpoint Tue 20-Aug-13 07:01:00

My youngest has just turned 12. She travels to & from school independently unless it's before 7 or after 5.30 in the winter (sports/drama). She doesn't text me when she arrives at school.

In the holidays she usually talks to me about her plans - she wanted to make a pavlova & needed white wine vinegar so went to the shops to get some. It took longer than I'd expected as she had to go to loads of shops & ended up in a proper supermarket. I asked her why it took so long when she got home & she explained. Sometimes she catches trains & buses to visit friends, we talk about the route before she goes if she hasn't been there before.

I always know where my teenage son is as he likes staying at home. I have to force him out of the house in the holidays & if I didn't go with him he'd sneak home. He travels to & from school independently but won't have a phone.

I've told them all that if someone makes them feel uncomfortable on the tube to change carriage at the next station (drunks, leery men) & that they should always use zebra crossings etc. I think they are more at risk of a road traffic accident than strangers.

lionfish Tue 20-Aug-13 22:48:44

My daughter is almost 11 (going into year 6 in Sept) and I'm finding it difficult to find the balance between allowing her to grow into an independent young woman without being an irresponsible parent by giving her too much freedom. She walks to piano lessons (only a 5-10 minute walk and the only road to cross can be crossed outside our house) and I've recently started to let her pop to the local shop by herself. She is also allowed to stay in the house by herself for about 30 minutes.

It's the next stage that I'm struggling with; meeting friends and being together in a group without adult supervision. This is because they can sometimes become a bit silly when they're together and maybe won't concentrate when crossing roads etc.

She really wants to walk to and from school rather than go to breakfast and after school clubs. It's not too far to walk but I'm not particularly keen on the idea of her coming home to an empty house and waiting for me to get back, especially as her younger sister will be at after school club anyway! The law is so vague on this that it really is down to us to decide but we just don't know what would be best.

Argh, it's so difficult!!!

B x

Ruprekt Tue 20-Aug-13 22:56:24

My ds turned 11 in April. Goes to high school in Sept.

He has 3 rules.....

1 His phone MUST be charged if he wants to go out with his mates.

2 he must answer the phone when I call or ring back asap if he misses the call.

3 I can check his phone for inappropriate texts at any time.

So far so good. smilesmile

Friends all look out for each other here and if he moves from one location to the next he always park to town or town to McD's. he knows what we expect and he knows what will happen if he breaks our trust.....he loses Everything!!!gringrin

Ruprekt Thu 22-Aug-13 17:45:37


Simbolic Thu 22-Aug-13 18:15:57

At age 11 I used to go on a train (about 45mins journey) then make my way by bus across a city to get to the school (buses took about an hour) then the reverse to go home each evening.

Nobody was looking out for me & whilst I thought I was perfectly capable of doing the journey & being fine, it turned out I had an adult male stalking me regularly - this was reported to my parents by a concerned passenger on the train who travelled my route regularly from the same village.
I didn't find out until years later that was the real reason behind my sudden move to boarding school.
I had wondered why 2 male teachers from the boys school down the road from my school (which was all girls) suddenly started getting on my train.

I now live in a city & I would never let my kids out if I didn't know where they were by themselves, partly because of my own experience & partly because the 11 year olds I see out are pretty badly behaved.

I think you just have to find the right balance, because children do still need protecting at that age.

At the moment I have kids older & younger than 11, but when my youngest gets to that age I'm going to find it hard to let him out without adult supervision.

When my older boy was about 13, he went to play in the park with some friends & ended up in casualty as some boy none of them knew ran up to him & set his hair on fire after spraying lighter fluid at him.

I truly believe it wouldn't have happened if I'd been there & to this day I don't honestly know if the group of boys my son was in did anything to start trouble with the other one.
Obviously they said they did nothing, but I had reports from a friend who drove past my son when he was walking to school one day that he was spitting in the street which he would NEVER do anywhere he thought I could see him.
None of them seem to act as well as we hope they would when we can't see them.
Their friends behave better in front of us than they do when it's kids only too.

I'd rather be a bit overprotective now, they have the rest of their lives to be free.

radio4play Thu 22-Aug-13 18:20:00

My daughter is starting Juniors in a couple of weeks and we are aiming for her to be independent enough to walk to school/shops etc on her own when she starts secondary in 4 years' time. I like Creosote's idea of discussing possible scenarios ahead of time.

Phones can be a hazard in themselves judging by the number of teenagers watching their screens rather than the road!

Greensmurf1 Thu 22-Aug-13 19:54:14

My parents always knew where we were even if we were traipsing around the woods and creeks near where we grew up. We never really got into mischief or danger, but we did feel like we had the freedom to explore. My mom's trick to keeping an eye on us through most of was to make the best snacks and treats so all the kids would want to play at our house.

gazzalw Fri 23-Aug-13 11:34:21

Apart from when DS goes to school and comes home he has yet to make the great independent leap into the unknown, going out and staying out and about with friends (they do all their socialising on line!), so yes we are in touch with him and do know where he is most of the time....

And he's not one to wander around the streets/shops on his way home from school either......

loopyluna Fri 23-Aug-13 13:43:33

My 11 year old catches the bus to school and back and occasionally walks to the corner shop (10 mins), but apart from that, she is never out and about without me. So yes I always know where she is. She doesn't have a mobile yet as I don't feel she needs one, given that she is never out alone.

However my 13 year old is allowed out around the village with friends and I only have a rough idea of where he is. This bothers me but he is fiercely rebellious and I don't push him on this one. I know he has taken off on his bike further than I officially allow him and he is grounded for this. He is pretty good about answering his phone and letting me know where he is now, at least, and he's always in by curfew (usually 6pm) as he knows he'll be grounded if late.

Not necessarily knowing in which exact spot they are at any given time, but having a clear sense of their location is important to me.

toolatetobed Fri 23-Aug-13 23:26:55

I would say the same as BarkIsWilling; for example my son is 12 and I think knowing that he is on his way to or from school is enough. I don't try to insist he takes one particular route or that he lets me know in advance if he is going to be calling in at a shop to buy sweets. These things develop with age. When my son was 9 and had first started walking to and from school without an adult I did insist that he should take the most direct route and not any other.

Letitsnow9 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:48:00

I don't have an 11 year old but think you should hAve a rough idea of where they are

LittleTyga Sat 24-Aug-13 00:59:34

I need to know where me DD1 ages 13 is and I have to trust she is where she says she is. Both my daughters have been made aware of personal safety and the importance of letting someone know where you are and staying together.

Theimpossiblegirl Tue 27-Aug-13 00:19:14

I wonder if I am so relaxed because we live in a small village.

We have recently started letting DD go off with friends when we go into town shopping and I worry more about bullies and traffic than kidnappers tbh.

kimmills222 Tue 27-Aug-13 05:33:17

I don't have a 11 year old, but I'd absolutely want to know where they were at all times. I wouldn't want to be prying or pushy but I know I would encourage my child to be able to let me in or wherever they are. Not for any other reason, I'd just want them to be safe and I know where to go just in case.

TiredDog Tue 27-Aug-13 06:17:03

At what age do you allow your children more freedom and independence and what parameters do you set them?

Since secondary school starts at age 11, I have worked to that as a benchmark for increasing independence

Parameters: talk to me about what you plan, where you are going to be and any change of plan. I want to know who you are with. I want you to have your mobile with you

TiredDog Tue 27-Aug-13 06:20:52

What discussions do you have with your children about safe behaviour, safe people and safe places to encourage them to keep safe when they are away from the home?

We discuss carrying money and phone safely where relevant e.g.pickpocket risk. We discuss routes, talking to strangers, road use, temptation to be 'led' by friends. Advice on being bullied or hassled by older kids... Tbh I sometimes wonder if we overdo it

BooMeowson Tue 27-Aug-13 13:34:54

I don't have an 11 year old yet but I assume I would want to know roughly where they are, but I don't think you should know precisely where they are every second.

toolatetobed Tue 27-Aug-13 19:39:27

I have talked with my son about the risk of being found guilty by association, by which I mean that that if in a group of teenage boys one does something bad, people will often perceive the group as having done whatever it was rather than focusing on which particular individual did the crime. I have therefore told him that if he ever finds himself in a group where he thinks someone is going to do something criminal (eg shoplift) he should make his excuses and leave, not continue to hang around with the group, even if he is doing nothing wrong himself.

Pickthatupplease Tue 27-Aug-13 23:10:38

I know where my 11yo is all the time except when she's at a friends house,when I expect the friends mum to know where they are. At the end of y6 she'll get more freedom, but if my DH has his way she'll be escorted everywhere until she's about 20!

Lucyadams184 Wed 28-Aug-13 19:04:26

Yes, my children aren't 11 yet but it is still very young. I would want to know where they are I will probably drop them off and arrange to pick them up to.

BackforGood Thu 29-Aug-13 00:29:54

Does depend a bit on when they turn 11. I have an 'old in the year' 11 yr old, so still at Primary for 11.5 months of the year, and yes, at Primary age I would expect to know where she is.
At secondary, I'd expect a text if she goes somewhere and won't be home around the usual time, but not (as one friend of my 14 yr old dd has to do) a text to tell me if she's taking road A or road B on her stroll home from school! There's a balance. My older dd will occasionally text to say "I've gone to take X's dog for a walk" so I don't know exactly where she is geographically, but I know not to expect her until later - I'd be happy with that from my 11 yr old too. To be fair, if my dh was going to be home considerably later than he was normally home, I'd expect a message from him too, as indeed I would tell someone if I were late.

KJ123 Thu 29-Aug-13 16:53:16

My daughter got a phone for her 11 th birthday, but I feel it is a safeguard as well as a potential danger eg. People trying to steal it etc. she can now go to local shops wih a friend, or wander round shopping centre with friends with time and place to meet. She sometimes walked home from school on her own (about 15 mins, on a pretty safe route ) and will be doing this all the time in year 7 from next week. She is gradually getting more independence, which she likes, but then recently was picked on in the shopping centre which brings home to downsides too.

ilikemysleep Fri 30-Aug-13 18:55:28

My 11 year old has aspergers and doesn't have much in the way of street smarts, and he cannot use a phone very well. So he gets less freedom (actually seeks less freedom) than many 11 year olds. He is quite happy being left at home alone for a couple of hours at a time though, and I do trust him to be safe in that environment. He will be walking to and from secondary school and letting himself into an empty house as of next week - he has to text me each day that he is at home or if he goes to a mate's house, where he is. I think he will be able to text better than talk on the phone! So a big step towards independence for him, but yes I want to know where he is, approx, and when he will be home.

RubySparks Sat 31-Aug-13 06:39:21

At 11 yes I knew where they were, regardless of mobile phones. Phones can run out of credit, out of charge, be out of signal area, be lost or stolen, be switched to silent so would not rely on that. Better for teens to know how to get around and get themselves out of trouble.

Now mine are teens I don't always know exactly where they are, they tell me but plans can change. I usually check if they will be home for tea or what time they will be back/how they are getting back, then trust them to do it. We live rurally so they needed to be old enough to handle getting local buses and walking a bit to get to a bus stop before they were allowed to go off on their own/with friends. Older one looks after the younger one too when they go into town.

Beccie77 Sat 31-Aug-13 18:20:14

My 11yo has a phone (just a cheap one) but knows to txt or call if he's not where we think he is supposed to be or back by a certain pre-arranged time. He makes his own way to and from school, and occasionally goes biking up a special bike trail with his friends, with us setting a return time. He is a LOT taller/bigger than his mates though, (in medium men's clothes - his dad is well over 6 foot) so he looks responsible and bigger boys leave him alone! We always know roughly where he is, and are letting him find his way and make his mistakes. We have only had two " I'm lost, I'm by...a bank..." Phone calls and common sense normally prevails. ( he is told to retrace his steps until he knows where he is, and invariably works it out) and we are never more than five minutes away anyway.

Natalieproudmumtotwo Sat 31-Aug-13 22:58:43

My 11 yr old now has a phone. She enjoys her freedom and the trust I have in her. She always texts to say where she is and texts when she is on her way home. We have discussed all about strangers,peer pressure and so on and I have told her I trust her to do whats right. She comes home on time and is very sensible ( so far!!) I'm glad she has her freedom as when I was her age I was the same. I respected my parents and I hope my daughter respects me for it also. smile

mymatemax Sat 31-Aug-13 23:00:39

I knew where he told me he was going, where he really was, well that's another matter.

Saracen Sun 01-Sep-13 08:08:37

These decisions have to be based on the capabilities of the individual child and on their circumstances: whether they know local people well, what the area is like, and so on. The idea of there being a particular age which would be right for all or even most children is ludicrous.

My older child went short distances up the road on her own to visit friends and relatives or go to the shop from the age of five, and at eight began to roam our medium-sized city freely throughout the daytime, taking buses to shops and the library and parks and to see friends. One of the reasons I am comfortable with this is that she is a confident outgoing child who would not hesitate to approach people for help. Equally, she would not hesitate to tell people to leave her alone if they were bothering her. She and I had gone places together on the bus often and I could see how she handled various situations. I had also coached her intensively on road safety because that is the main danger she faces when out in our urban area.

I discourage overuse of mobile phones because I think that being in constant contact with family can make children less self-reliant and less able to interact with other people, and can actually isolate them in some ways. However, my dd does usually take one when she leaves our city and is out of walking distance from home. (And now she is a teenager she often chooses to have a phone with her for social reasons!) We often discuss backup plans: what she would do if she lost her money or return bus ticket or got lost or couldn't find her friends, for example.

My younger child, who is now seven, is very young for her age and does not have good social skills. She tends to become distracted and wander into the road, for example. I predict that if she were lost she would wander aimlessly and then hide or begin to cry rather than finding help. She does not know her full name, address or phone number and does not always interact well with strangers. For this reason, I always keep her close to me when we are out and hold her hand near the road. We are just beginning to discuss safe crossing of roads and I am encouraging her to speak to people when we are out, for example to hand over money in the shop or ask the librarian for a book.

Saracen Sun 01-Sep-13 09:38:04

I find it odd that people tend to accept that the age of eleven is so significant in terms of what they allow their children to do. This is often born of necessity, as many parents are no longer able to accompany their children to and from school, school may be farther away, and fewer childcare settings will accept high school aged children. And then because so many children are going to and from school alone, peer pressure kicks in and those who could be accompanied to school don't want to be taken there anymore. But that doesn't mean that children suddenly become more capable. I think we ought to distinguish between an unfortunate necessity and an ideal situation.

Once children are making their own way to and from school, parents find that it is only fair to allow them to hang out with their friends more freely after school and to go other places on their own too.

This seems a big jump up for children if they have had little freedom during the previous couple of years.

Just to be clear, I think that some eleven year olds are ready for a great deal of freedom and some are not. But there seems to be a tendency in our society to let go the reins quite suddenly the moment children reach secondary age.

BackforGood Sun 01-Sep-13 18:50:34

I think that it's more by the age of 11 Saracen, and evn then, more "11+", as in 'by the time they go to secondary', so some dc will be almost 12.
As you so rightly say, a lot of children have to have a lot more independence then, through necessity, so that's why many parents get them used to - say walking home on their own - from Yr5 or into Yr6, or having their own key, or being in the house on their own. Same with spending time alone at the park or the swimming baths or at the shops, etc. It's something you build up to, so that it isn't all new by the time they hit secondary school.

ItsDecisionTime Sun 01-Sep-13 19:17:47

My 12 yo has a lot of freedom - on the understanding I know where she is and who she is with. If she goes into town on the bus, I see her on the bus and expect her to text me when she gets there and when she's on the bus back home. She wouldn't be allowed to go into town alone unless she was meeting a friend though.

I have left her at home for short periods of time (up to an hour) since she was 10 but would now be happy to leave her for a morning or afternoon if I had to go somewhere for work.

If she goes to stay with a friend, I'm happy not to hear from her at all but she does generally text me to say goodnight.

When she has friends over here, they generally go to the park, go swimming or walk up into our very small town so am happy in our own environment to give her that little bit extra freedom.

She knows never to get into a car with anyone except a few agreed upon people, that includes friends' parents. She has started doing paid babysitting and maths tuition for a couple of our neighbours' children but they are all within 5 minutes walking distance from home in a close-knit community and she isn't allowed to stay later than 8pm.

It's all about balance at 11 yo. Giving them some responsibility whilst keeping both eyes firmly on them - and them knowing it.

GetKnitted Sun 01-Sep-13 21:12:09

My instinct says generally yes, depending on the child, though I remember at 11 being allowed to go to the town centre with my friends. And this was in the days before mobile phones. I had a bus pass, but my friends mums just had to trust them not to spend their bus fare. There could be no rescue if it all went a bit wrong.

So I think yes, generally I would want to know where my 11 year old was, so that I would know when to get worried, but don't think it is realistic to expect parents to know on a minute by minute basis.

MiniMonty Sun 01-Sep-13 22:45:52

Mobile Phones help but getting your kids used to being independent from about age 7 with little trips to the local shop, the library etc on their own (or with friend/sibling) is a good idea. You can build this up in lots of small ways - asking them to go to the counter in a shop, go to the tea shop in the park, get the fish and chips while you wait outside. These small experiences help them understand how to behave in the world and how the world should behave to them. Having confidence in yourself goes a long way when you are sent out / let out on your own. Taking them on buses and trains from a young age is good too so it's not a total shock when they have to use them for school in Y8. The single most important thing though is teaching and helping them to understand what is and what isn't appropriate, safe, normal behaviour in other people. "Don't take sweets from strangers" is still good advice...

HerrenaHarridan Sun 01-Sep-13 22:49:41

Not precisely, but approximately

Jennyl131 Sun 01-Sep-13 23:20:35

I like to know roughly where dd (11) is, whose house she at or if they've gone to the park. Caved and bought a phone for her 11th birthday as felt sorry for her having to keep running home or borrowing phones to advise of a change of location, I.e, friend x isn't in, I'm going to see if y is in. or to let me know rough whereabouts.

Jellybeanz1 Tue 03-Sep-13 06:02:06

My dd is 11 and I know where she is, but that is coz I trust she is telling me the truth.hmm. I have tried to give her the freedom I had as a child but to be honest I think we were kind of thrown out of the house to amuse ourselves for the day.(I remember cycling 10 miles with a cheese sandwich in saddlebag and going swimming over quite big waves at Hayling Island). I would freak if she did that shock. I bought her a mobile at 7 1/4 years as she liked to climb a tree on the village green with her friends and I couldn't see if from my house, although just around the corner. I found myself standing in the road feeling silly looking from afar hovering. She didn't use the phone much. I wanted her to take it to PGL at 7 but they discouraged it. We moved when she was 9 and I made her take it on the school bus incase pick up arrangements changed. I teach secondary and am used to pupils travelling for up to 1 hour changing tubes, buses etc. from yr 7 (11) onwards so I wanted her to practise. At age 9 I felt she was mature enough to go 150m train journey with no changes but her gran didn't and travelled up and back to accompany her for her stay. The next year 10yrs she did it on her own (no changes and put on and collected). However I insisted she phoned me through out journey I was worrying like madconfused. Coz we live in a remote place she may go for a country walk but she will tell me and not be long and take her phone.

FudgefaceMcZ Tue 03-Sep-13 17:17:21

I don't know where my 11 year old is at all times. For example when she is at school, she's not allowed a mobile phone and I don't know her timetable by heart, so she could be anywhere in the school. When she is at friends houses she may go to the park or swimming pool and I will not know exactly where she is. In such instances I phone friend's parents if I need to find her. Should someone be phoning social services on me? When I was 11 I was allowed to wander local woodlands, cycle around or get bus to shops etc. I don't know at what point this became unusual as certainly I wasn't the most mature or sensible of my peer group and I was not the most free-ranging of the children I knew of the same age.

Fraxinus Wed 04-Sep-13 21:51:30

I don't have an 11 year old, but like others have said (and I haven't read all 9 pages!) getting kids to the point of being able, at 11 to be sensible about their freedom/ responsibility is a gradual process.

My main worry is the roads. My older dd is quite sensible, but the younger one just crosses when other people go, and I worry hugely about her.

I have told my dc very clearly about going off even with a family friend in a car being an absolute never. You always ask mum first.

Having a mobile phone seems to me to be a ticket to going further than the immediate neighbourhood, so for that reason I am not giving one until they are 10.

They like to be accompanied to the park, as they want an adult there in case they fall off any of the play equipment.

When we moved here, we went round together and looked at how far they were allowed to go in each direction. Where they would have to stop to cross a road, which roads they were not allowed to cross, and they are quite good at sticking to it, but that is because their patch is quite big.

gettingeasiernow Wed 04-Sep-13 22:24:22

My DS is 11 and is about to start travelling to/from school alone. This involves a tube journey and short walk both ends. He understands very well how the tube works so I am not worried about that, and there are cameras. I am a bit worried about the crossing roads, but should be fine. He has a phone and has to switch tracker device on before leaving school or home. PHone is handed in and switched off at school. He has instructions to come straight home, not dilly dally, not to talk to strange people, not to go anywhere with anyone I wouldn't trust or don't know, where to get help if anything happens, what to do if tube is out of service etc. He is excited about it and I think the independence will really do him good. He knows he is trusted and we have talked about judgement, of people and situations (ie. being crowded off pavements in rush hour).
I would ALWAYS expect to know where he is, at least for a few more years I think.
He has previously been on the tube once alone, and to walked to friends' houses.

Griselda Wed 04-Sep-13 23:29:51

We have six years to go but I already think about it. I grew up in a village and roamed the fields till dusk but my dd's are growing up in London. (said fields now housing estates) I would LIKE to know but think I will have to learn to trust her and the lessons she is learning and what I will try to teach. It will be painful I know....

Griselda Wed 04-Sep-13 23:33:35

We talk now about not talking to people she doesn't know, not giving her name, if she isn't happy in a situation she is ok to remove herself. I've just seen the promotions for the pants conversation which I found very helpful. All advice taken on board!

Griselda Wed 04-Sep-13 23:39:08

I do think I want them to stay children for as long as possible...whatever that may mean.....? (right that's my three posts pls donate six quid Aviva!)

capecath Thu 05-Sep-13 16:54:04

We are still a way off 11, but I do think that freedom is something to be built up and earned gradually. Allow small amounts of freedom and when respected can extend over time. When trust is broken, some of that freedom may need to be taken away. At 11 I'd like to know where my child is, yes! I do like what someone said:
Parameters: talk to me about what you plan, where you are going to be and any change of plan. I want to know who you are with. I want you to have your mobile with you.
I did grow up in South Africa where it just wasn't safe for kids to use public transport or walk around any time, so we were very reliant on parents to taxi us around which made it a lot easier for my parents to keep tabs of me! I also understood that if I broke my parents trust there would be consequences to my freedom so I was generally compliant.

ashisha Thu 05-Sep-13 19:52:16

Most definitely, I would expect my 11 year old to be with a responsible adult at all times. A short walk to school or to a friends house is fine but I expect him to text as soon as he arrives. No wondering the streets with his mates for my boy at least as far as I can help it.

MadameSin Thu 05-Sep-13 21:25:54

My son is 16 and I know where he is most of the time. He keeps in touch via his mobile and I insist he tells me where he is, if he plans to 'go on' and who he's with. He is very good at keeping in touch. We've had this arrangment since he was about 11/12 and allowed out on his own. My 10 year old walk to shop on his own, no phone as only 5 mins away. He walks to school on his own starting this term, no phone. I've informed school of this and they know to contact me immediately if he does not register. I feel a bit nervous and want to call in just to make sure he is there, but many of his peers are walking or biking on their own and as he doesn't even have a road to cross, I think it's a good thing. He doesn't go out and about out of school with friends yet, but that will rpobably be just around the corner.

BackforGood Thu 05-Sep-13 23:14:55

Griselda - this has come up on MN before, and a lot of people hold the opinion it's not good to teach children not to speak to children they don't know, as, should they ever be in difficulty, you want them to be able / confident enough to ask for help. As well of course as the hundreds of occasions when it is the right thing to do, to speak to people you might not yet know, socially, so giving mixed messages smile

LalaLeona Fri 06-Sep-13 09:21:56

Yes! When I look back at the scrapes and trouble I got into at that age, (having been bought up by super lax liberal hippies!) I was given the freedom yes, and it was a good learning experience, but there are some situations I look back in where I could have been in real danger due to my naivety, and I wouldn't want that for my child.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 06-Sep-13 13:20:07

Thanks for all your comments so far: keep them coming

My DD was 11 within a month of starting Year 6. BY Easter she was getting the bus to school on her own, and home again too, although she would then meet me at my workplace. She is sensible, but I was still concerned. I did not know exactly where she was at all times, nor did I think I should do so.

OneUp Sat 07-Sep-13 10:33:05

I would think for an eleven year old you'd want to know roughly where they are at all times but not exactly. When I was eleven I was allowed out with friends as long as I knew roughly where we'd go i.e to the leisure centre/to the park.

kslatts Sun 08-Sep-13 20:03:35

my youngest dd is 11 and has just started secondary school, she has pnly recently stared going out with friends and must tell me where she is going and if she wants to go anywhere else she has to call and check first.

FannyBazaar Sun 08-Sep-13 22:00:20

I have an 8 year old, mostly I know where he is but he will got to friends and neighbours on his own and to the shop on instruction. I have no intention of getting him a phone and wonder if I would be seen as a complete freak if I don't get him one when he starts secondary school. I'd like him to walk to school on his own but not sure how other parents will cope with this as no children seem to walk on their own here.

He knows my number and if lost, he can clearly state it.

MaryBS Mon 09-Sep-13 07:54:21

My son is 11 and on the autistic spectrum. He gets a certain amount of freedom, and is supposed to tell me where he is going, although sometimes he just "takes off", which is a bit of a problem! Last week he broke his arm, and thankfully his older sister was with him, because he was running around in panic, and the children he was with were panicking too. It worries me letting him go out, but I have to give him some freedom.

SleepPleaseSleep Wed 11-Sep-13 13:38:09

Mine are lots younger. By age 11 I had been travelling around on buses by myself to get to dance classes, and been walking to and from school and the mile to the next town for at least 3 years maybe 4.
But I don't know how I'll ever be able to let my kids do the same, especially my girl, she is far too pretty. I was just 12 the first time I got followed, and sadly it became a fairly regular experience in my teens - I didn't tell my parents 'cos they locked me up for several months after the one at 12, so there's a lesson.
I want my dd particularly in martial arts lessons, but they're of little value until at least teens.
If anyone's got a magic bullet let me know (would have used it on those stalkers).

FernieB Wed 11-Sep-13 18:20:45

My DTs are 13 and I keep tabs on their whereabouts. At 11 they only walked to and from school themselves (they had mobiles from that age), everywhere else they wanted to go, they were driven. I think it makes a difference that they are twins and best friends and always together. From 12 they started wandering around town themselves for upto an hour. We've just been on holiday to a European country where they are already fluent in the language and they had their own hotel key and walked into the small town on their own and around the hotel grounds/pool etc. They are more paranoid than me about potential dangers and would not trust anyone. I trust them to be sensible and they always have their phones.

angell74 Wed 11-Sep-13 19:39:27

Yes but I am not sure for how much longer. It helps that he is still in primary school and a lot of his friends are still 10. He wants more freedom though so I'm not sure for how much longer!

supermam Thu 12-Sep-13 00:09:40

My son is 10 and I want to know where he is at all times - if he's at a friend's house, then I ensure the parent informs me of any change of plan/location. 11 is still young - they crave freedom, but you still need to set safe boundaries.

Balletlover Thu 12-Sep-13 11:01:06

I would think there was something wrong with my child if I couldn't trust him at 11. I was out with friends on my own and given a time to come home at that age, so was his father. He has to go to and from school on his own, so why wouldn't I let him go out with friends? (within reason and parameters). He has a watch and knows what sensible behaviour is. A parent will always worry about their children, but I have to learn to let go and trust too. I feel the biggest threat to his safety is his road sense (or in London, other drivers).

Touchmybum Thu 12-Sep-13 13:43:27

Yes, I always have with my first two at the age of 11 and will do the same with my son who is nearly 10.

In fact my eldest is 16 and I always pretty much know where she is too.

Touchmybum Thu 12-Sep-13 13:44:24

Just because you allow them freedom doesn't mean you can't know where they are!!

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 12-Sep-13 14:10:01

Railway Children would like to thank you all for your continued support.
They say "your comments have been really insightful and have raised some really interesting points about the amount of freedom you give your children and how you encourage them to stay safe. Railway Children have provided some more information with advice and tips to help you talk to your child about how they can identify safe places and safe people when they are away from the home - here".

I don't have an 11 year old but my brother is 11.
I cannot imagine my mum not knowing where he is!

With my dds - I think age 11 they might be able to nip to the corner shop/ walk to school with friends but not be completely on their own.

11 is still young, I think they mature a lot in the first stages of secondary though.

pixiepoopoo Thu 12-Sep-13 16:04:16

It's called "parental responsibility"

Tyranasaurus Sat 14-Sep-13 12:21:51

A reliable 11year old able togo local places (friends house, corner shop etc) as long as a they let you know first

MushroomSoup Sat 14-Sep-13 20:14:41

I have three teens (aged 13, 14, 16) with XH and we live 10 mins walk away from each other. We share care. He says I am a 'bad mother' because I no longer pick the kids up from his house in the car, as I used to when they were younger. I also let them 'roam', with or without mobiles, to a certain extent (I know rough plans and expect them in for tea unless contact is made!). He insists on knowing where they are at all times, to the point where he is stifling them and they are beginning to resent it. Such a shame. They are very good kids.

RaRaLion Sun 15-Sep-13 15:43:36

I am in my thirtees and my wife knows my whereabouts all the time and I know hers too smile We tend to text each other when we move from one place to another. We don't have a 11 yo but we would like to have the same for our son when he grows old too.

cloudyday Mon 16-Sep-13 10:40:38

As RaRaLion said, but I have had an 11 yo and, as long as they are telling the truth, we always knew where they were when out.

CaramelisedOnion Mon 16-Sep-13 16:38:52

I think I would want to mostly know where they are, and have the be reachable on the phone at all times. Tricky age. Depends on the child to a certain extent, I think.

funnyperson Mon 16-Sep-13 21:16:40

11, yes i would like to know where they are and who with and would expect to have met the parents of the company they keep.

SweepTheHalls Mon 16-Sep-13 21:19:30

I think you should, within a set area, the park, friend x, the corner shop

Queenofknickers Mon 16-Sep-13 21:36:59

I think 11 is still very young and I would want to know where my children were at all times at that age. Mobiles are useful but children at this age need proper face to face listening-to as well.

JRHarris Tue 17-Sep-13 20:18:04

I think that you should know where your 11 year old is at always and I also believe that you should believe that the people they are with will protect them from harm by a supervising adult. While I realize that this is difficult at times since your child could be leaving to go to a friends house down the street and you don't know who will be watching them exactly, but you should still have a reasonable expectation that someone will be there to protect them. This is where learning who your child's friends and parents are that is very important in early development when they have not learned to fully protect themselves yet.

VeganCow Wed 18-Sep-13 15:14:18

Yes we should know where our 11 year olds are, and should expect that in someone elses care, that other person would also make sure where they are.

11 is still quite young, and I certainly knew where mine were all the time at that age.

30 odd years ago, when I was 11..hmmm I was out for hours not only unsupervised but parents had no clue where I was or what I was doing, neither did anyone elses parents.

Ruby6918 Thu 19-Sep-13 18:57:34

i have an eleven year old and a twelve year old and its really hard, i dont want them to be stuck in the house and they need freedom as well, i make sure one has a phone with them, i try to get to know their friends a bit, i allow them to be out with friends for a few hours if they are with about a five minute walk from me, they have times for school nights and a bit later at weekends, i also walk my dog just before they come in some nights just to watch what they are at, it helps them me to know that i can keep a wee eye on them, if they go to the pictures or shops then i normally leave them for a couple of hours and between the parents we deliver and bring them home, times have changed but they still need to feel unattached from their parents too, i give rewards for them coming in on time, the last one was they got to go and see the 1d film at the cinema, we all worry but they have to grow up!

lljkk Fri 20-Sep-13 06:50:28

Other night had this conversation with DD:

"Why is it that when I read books, the kids just grab a sleeping bag & tell their parents that they are going to a friends' house for the night. The parents say "Fine!" even though they haven't met the other kid or her family. It seems to happen a lot in Judy Blume books."
Me: "World doesn't work like that any more."
DD: "Why not?"
Me: "I dunno. It really was like that in the 60s and 70s but expectations have changed."

What I really think is that people with too few dangers in their lives make them up.

Swallows & Amazons. Ha! Imagine a world like that.

magichamster Fri 20-Sep-13 07:08:14

Ds is 11 and has just started high school. We live in a big village.

He walks to school on his own with a friend (about 25 mins) and after school he goes out with mates. He generally has a phone with him, and he knows he can go anywhere within a certain boundary, but if he wants to go elsewhere he needs to give me a quick call so I know where he is.

Like some other posters on here I worry more about cars than anything else as he can be a bit vague at times

Littlecherublegs Fri 20-Sep-13 15:41:03

I don't have an 11 year old yet but the ones I know of makes me think that yes, I would want to know where they are all the time.
11 is not that old - just because they have started high school doesnt mean they are grown up, mature, savvy, street wise, etc.
I agree it might be difficult to know exact whereabouts 100% of the time but I would definitely want to know roughly where they are going to be, who with, and when they will return.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Fri 20-Sep-13 16:24:20

My eldest has been commuting in and out of central London on her own since she was 10. I drop her at the station in the morning and she gets the train in and back and I collect her in the evening. However I would not let her walk outside our front gate with out me ever despite us living in an ultra quiet hamlet. To my mind she has no chance of being taken in the centre of London with police and CCTV and other people around However in our quiet road anyone could snatch her and we would be none the wiser. I cannot recall any child being snatched from Oxford Street but plenty walking down some suburban / village road.

katiewalters Fri 20-Sep-13 16:30:23

My son is only 4 but when he is 11 I will want to know where he is at all times. He will be given a mobile phone once at secondary school so he can ring us if there's an emergency or problem. I wouldn't be comfortable him being out on the streets on his own with friends at 11 with the society we live on, 11 is too young. I wouldn't mind him doing things with friends if an adult is present.

popsocks Fri 20-Sep-13 18:59:00

My 10yr old dd (11 in a few weeks), is allowed to the park, to her friends etc. She has been allowed to go to the corner shop since she was 9, to get milk etc for me. During the summer hols, i have allowed her to go to the supermarket 15 mins away to buy some icecream. My dh and i argued a bit about this as he feels it is too far and you have to cross a main road. I allowed her to as i think she is sensible enough and we have talked through the route she was to take, not to talk to anyone she didnt know and to ring me if she got worries at any point. She can walk the while way there on one side of the road and use the pedestrian crossing to cross the main road. She was fine and i actually rang her after 25 mins to check all ok. She had shopped and had just left the supermarket. My dh and i have had a better discussion about where she is allowed as he is more uncomfortable with the idea of dd going out and about. I think that she needs to be more independant and to learn different routes home as she will be in high school next year and having to walk to and fro on her own and with friends. She has been walking herself to primary school and back since the middle of yr 4, although that is a 5min walk from our house

Art Sat 21-Sep-13 08:59:39

Yes essentially I do know where my son is all the time. He walks to school by himself, which is about 10 minutes away. He comes home and lets himself in at the end of the day.
He is allowed to go out and about, but doesnt randomly wander. We live in a smallish town and he can go into town to the sweet shop, to several parks and round the streets where we live on his scooter/skates etc, but he tells me first roughly where he is going and he has a mobile. The traffic worries me and I worry that if he is hanging around he will be introduced to drink/drugs etc. by older children.

We have talked about 'stranger danger' and have talked extensively about being safe online (I am much fussier than all Ds s friends' parents about online activity).

I feel I will be more anxious about my daughter (8yo) being out on her own. I worry more about her being abducted as she is a girl and physically she is quite small. (although I know the statistics actually show this to be very rare!)

NotAFeminist Sat 21-Sep-13 11:41:50

I don't have an 11 year old just yet and have no idea what sort of world we'll be living in in 10 years time or what technology we'll have or what people will be like! But, if I had an 11 year old now, I would definitely want to know where they are always! I don't even think I'd let them out to 'play out' on the streets with friends, either. I would much prefer them to be at our home, friends' houses whom I've met or at clubs etc. We have a green outside our home that they could play on and our own big garden (if we're still living here then, of course!) If they wanted to go with friends to a park, or something, I would probably want to go along and sit on a bench and keep an eye on things. If their plans were to change, I'd want to know that, too.

It might sound too over-protective or that I'd be a molly coddler, but due to things that have happened in both my and my DH's life, we are that way and both feel that it is better to be over-vigilante, than end up heart broken because something terrible has happened to your child because you relaxed a little bit and gave them freedom before they were properly ready. I don't want to wrap my kids in bubble wrap and keep them with me forever, I just want them to be safe and happy. 16 years old is the age when the children will have more freedom and responsibility. And all through their life, we will teach the kids the importance of being safe and 'stranger danger' etc and hope we do a good enough job with that! I feel it is better to over-protect (but not in an over bearing, suffocating way) than to regret.

steppemum Sat 21-Sep-13 15:46:04

It really depends what you mean by ''know where they are''

So, ds (aged 10) goes out to play with friends on the estate next to our road. I know he is out and about with friends. He has parameters, so he can go to local park and shop, but if they go off to the skate park, (a bit further away) he needs to pop back home and let me know.

He has a return time, and this summer we have let him go off for about 2-3 hours in an afternoon doing that.

So i always know which area he is in, but not exactly where he is, he could be in any of 3 or 4 houses. But I am at home, so there is a responsible adult in the background. If I need to go out, eg to take dd to swimming lessons, he has to be based somewhere eg at friends house, and that parent needs to know that I am out.

He has to tell me if he wants to go round to a friends or to the library after school

We have also begun to allow him to be at home for about an hour if we are out. Again strict guidelines, no cooking/kettle, no friends round, no answering the door.

He doesn't have a mobile, but he will for secondary as he will take the train and it is the easiest way for him to let us know if he is late.

We talk a lot about safety in all sorts of areas, and talk through strategies and role play about what to do 'if...'

I actually assume that sometimes he will break boundaries and do things he is not supposed to. I think that is part of growing up. The trick is to give them the skills to make decisions and trust them enough to know that they won't stray too far or do anything too stupid!

shewhowines Sat 21-Sep-13 18:40:00

At 11 (year 6) the dc were allowed around the estate and to the park 15 mins walk away. The rule is they must be with someone and should call me with their phone, to pick them up if they ever have to walk home alone.

I need to be confident that I can contact them at any time or if they dont have their phone, i must know where exactly they are.

I started off going into town with them and their friends and letting them go off on their own but with me in town too. We progressed to dropping them there and picking them up later, also with the cinema, by the time they started secondary school.

We do live in a safe area and would be far more careful if it was a bit "rough"

chrismse Sat 21-Sep-13 22:20:13

No not for short times.

passedgo Sat 21-Sep-13 22:29:35

We live in a fairly rough part of London but my dd has been playing on the street since she was 8. There is a group of them but they stay close by. Now she is 13 Iet her go where she wants to as long as she has her phone, knows where she is going and is meeting friends. She has a good sense of danger but isn't scared to try new things.

passedgo Sat 21-Sep-13 22:37:57

My older daughter never played out because there were no other children around who were allowed to. Now at 15 she is far less confident than her sister, she also has less physical confidence . I worry about her slightly more.

edam Sat 21-Sep-13 22:54:40

We started letting ds play out when he was four or five - in a group of children in our street (quiet cul de sac). At that age, I was keeping an eye on them, as were the other parents. As he/they got older, I hovered less and less - if there had been an emergency, I'd have heard the yells...

Once or twice I had to walk round the street to find him, knock on a few doors until I found the right one (the kids go in and out of the houses, so he might be playing at Callum's house, or Richard's, for instance).

Last summer he turned 10 and we startd letting him walk up to school alone after half-term (he volunteered to go up early to sort out the school fruit) . Gave him a (simple, non-smart) mobile and he calls or texts us to let us know he's got to school safely.

Now he's in Year 6 we are allowing him to walk to the shop alone - only when arranged (as in, he can't just decide he's going down there, he needs to ask us first).

I have always, always always drummed road safety into him since he was a toddler, though, reminding him/showing him how to cross the road properly. In the hope that constant repetition will mean stopping, looking and listening both ways before/while you cross becomes second nature, something he does automatically.

edam Sat 21-Sep-13 22:57:48

if we had a corner shop, I'd have let him walk to the shops a while back, btw.

febel Sun 22-Sep-13 16:06:41

I agree with first answer, though mine are older than that now, would like to know where they are, my reasoning being when they said why was that until they are of age I am responsible for them, and if an emergency occurred I would like to know where they were...and a mobile phone can be OUT of charge or signal or they don't hear it. I don't know if mine did always tell me exactly were they were truthfully but I think they did and they didn't have form, as it were, so I trusted them. They also had to be back at a certain time, and if over half an hour late, were grounded/phone taken off them etc Mobiles are useful but are no replacement for actually knowing where kids are, and also cannot be used as a safety aid, as I always said to my kids, someone attacking you (worst scenario!) isn't going to stop whilst you phone for help!

TwoStepsBeyond Sun 22-Sep-13 16:16:21

Mine is 13 now but has been going out with friends for 2 or 3 years. He would ask if he could go as far as the football field, I'd agree then he'd text and ask if he could cross the bridge and go to the nearby shops. Sometimes I would drop him off at the skate park and he'd call to be collected from a shop a mile away.

Now he'll go into town on the bus/bike and be out all day, I trust him to be sensible and I'd rather have him out and about being independent than cooped up playing xbox all day.

PoopMaster Sun 22-Sep-13 16:43:40

I have 2 DDs (aged 2 yo and 12 wo), but have been a Guide leader for several years, the Guides being mostly between 10 and 12 years old. I have found a massive difference in innocence/maturity between the 10 and say 14 year olds who eventually leave us. So many changes seem to take place in those few critical years in terms of independence, peer pressure etc. Based on what I've observed with these girls I would certainly want to encourage a lot of discussion during that age bracket with my own daughters in order to keep the lines of communication open. My own experiences with my mother have taught me that once those lines are damaged it can be very hard to repair them.

In terms of the OP, based on the girls I know of that age I would certainly want to know where an 11 yr old was at all times. All our Guides at this age have mobile phones for this purpose, so that seems to be the norm.

whattodoo Sun 22-Sep-13 20:38:44

My DD isn't 11, but I hope that she will be responsible enough to make sure we are aware where she is at all times. I hope I have the discipline to ground her if she goes 'off radar'. And I hope the threat of grounding will deter her from doing it in the first place.
I make a point of knowing all her friends and their families, I suppose this might be unrealistic at 11, but the better I know her social circle, the more confident I will feel.

Mojavewonderer Mon 23-Sep-13 21:57:00

Yes as I have just downloaded an app so I know where she is at all times.

shannon1 Wed 25-Sep-13 14:44:21

I have 3 boys between 7 and 12 yrs . We have a house rule that they must always tell me where they are. This is to keep them safe , and also allows them some freedom . It is important to teach them self responsibility , at the same time as giving them boundaries. It has worked so far.

ataraxia Sat 05-Oct-13 12:25:56

I don't have an 11 year old but at that age for me my parents didn't need to know exactly where I was at all times, but generally so - i.e. school, a friend's house (which one), riding bikes etc

ataraxia Sat 05-Oct-13 12:27:11

Would be wary of relying on mobile phone contact - kids aren't necessarily where they say they are!

Rockinhippy Thu 10-Oct-13 00:28:17

Yes within reason, to know she is in the care of other sensible adults or safe with a sensible group of her friends is enough. she's very sensible, I trust her, so I don't need the finer details, but she has a mobile phone & keeps in touch anyway smile

I do think its sad though, I was totally free as a kid from a young age, but grew up in the country at a time when roads just weren't anything like so dangerous - we live in a city centre, busy roads, dodgy people, so sadly it's very different for her sad

Rockinhippy Thu 10-Oct-13 00:28:58

Mine is 11 btw

CheekyChimpsMummy Fri 11-Oct-13 09:45:38

Yes. I would trust my child to make the right choices when he's out by himself, but I don't trust other people. When ds is old enough to be out on his own, I will ensure that I know where he is at all times

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