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to object to this idea?

(56 Posts)
Shodan Wed 28-Sep-11 16:53:07

Here's the thing.

Ds1's father now lives in Scotland, having moved away from ds1 (in Surrey) when we divorced 12 years ago. He has been there for about two years. For 18 months he didn't see ds1 at all, then has had one or two visits over the last few months where ds1 went to his place in Scotland. His father drove down to pick ds1 up and they broke their return journey in Birmingham, staying with ds1's granny.

DS1 is due to go for October half term and wants to travel to Birmingham by himself on the train, saying his father will meet him at New Street station. I have issues with this, all to do with the fact that his father is untrustworthy in the extreme. This arrangement has been suggested before but with the addition of ds1 having to get a connecting train out to the area his granny lives in, and this I said no to.

To let ds1 travel to Birmingham on his own means taking him into London ith ds2 (3) to get him on the train OR putting ds1 on the train here and trusting that he will be able to make his way from Waterloo to Euston (or whatever station it is for Birmingham) and get on the right train. It also means having to trust that his father will meet him at the other end- which I don't. Trust him, that is. He has a history of saying he will do something then NOT doing it (like paying maintenance, for instance).


Ds1 is nearly 16. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am being Mrs Precious MummyPants here and that at his age he should surely be able to manage this trip on his own. Obviously a lot of my objection to the idea is that it relieves his father of yet more responsibility and that pisses me off. Childish, I know.

So. AIBU and a Mrs Precious MummyPants, to boot?

Or am I being totally reasonable in my objections? <mutinous bottom lip>

5Foot5 Wed 28-Sep-11 16:56:10

Oh at 16 I think you should let him make his own way.

If he gets to Birmingham and his dad doesn't show up then he can surely make his way to his Gran's so he won't be stranded there will he?

whyme2 Wed 28-Sep-11 16:59:20

Well I think your objections sound reasonable however I think a nearly 16 year old should be able to make the journey from London to Birmingham by themself.

I have a nephew who is barely allowed to catch the bus by himself and he is 18 now and working . . it is a sad state of affairs imo.

I think your issue is with trying to protect your son from his father's unrelyability which is a hard one.

Shodan Wed 28-Sep-11 17:01:32

We-e-elll, I suppose so, 5. He has undertaken a train trip to Bristol recently with several changes and managed fine (although was on the phone to me almost constantly grin ).

Dammit. I suspected I was just using it as an escuse. ALthough frankly, the thought of taking him into London doesn't fill me with joy, but to refuse would be selfish, right?

Shodan Wed 28-Sep-11 17:02:35

Ah that's a good point, whyme2. I don't want ds1 to be a namby-pamby!

RoseC Wed 28-Sep-11 17:04:06

I went to London at his age with a friend however only because I'd been going fairly frequently with my parents and am confident navigating the Underground, etc.

If you feel he can navigate the Underground comfortably and know what to do if, e.g., his preferred route is closed then I'd let him go. I'd also give him the money (if you're worried about pickpockets he can always tuck it into a sock and fish it out in Birmingham New St loos) for a ticket to his GM's in case his Dad doesn't show up. TBH if you think he'd be okay on the Underground then he'll be fine at New St - large train stations are often closed environments thanks to ticket barriers and staff are easily identifiable (and very helpful towards children/teenagers IME).

YANBU about his Dad but there is a solution to that - his GM, which should be fine if he can do the Underground - so overall YABslightlyU.

AMumInScotland Wed 28-Sep-11 17:05:46

At nearly 16, I think you maybe have to let him try it, if he is happy with the idea. But make sure he knows what connecting train he has to get, what the timetable is, granny's address and phone number etc to cover any eventuality.

RoseC Wed 28-Sep-11 17:06:54

Ah, x-posts... shouldn't have taken so long!

I don't think you need to take him into London, if he can manage a journey to Bristol. Just pop him on at your local train station with a small Tube map. He can spend the journey into London working out the first, second and third routes to take (in case of closures) and thus avoid looking like a tourist and gawping at the map when he gets there smile

ChunkyPickle Wed 28-Sep-11 17:08:33

I made the journey up to and through London to go to my Grandparents at half terms at that age, and we had no mobile phones, and you couldn't check if trains were on time on the internet so it really was solo.

Unless he's a particularly immature 16, I think he'll probably be fine going the whole way. He'll have his phone, numbers, and you can all but track him on the internet (you can track him if you get him to check in with foursquare!)

Shodan Wed 28-Sep-11 17:08:56

Not sure he would be ok with the underground though Rose- he's a bit day- dreamy and I could easily see him ending up in North London somewhere.

However he won't learn if I don't let him try, will he? Although I suppose I could insist he went on a Saturday and drag DH with us into town.

Maybe I'm underestimating DS1, too.

BhamHouse Wed 28-Sep-11 17:10:51

I would let a 16yo travel by train to bham- it's a mainline train, not much can go wrong. If his dad's not there when he gets here, will he just go back hom to your's?

I am a long standing mner, happy to give him dinner and put him back on a train if necessary wink

Shodan Wed 28-Sep-11 17:11:27

You are all very reasonable and lovely for not calling me Precious.

But hmph. grin

I'm going to have to let him do it, aren't I?

It will be Character Building for him and me

Shodan Wed 28-Sep-11 17:13:38

Aw Bham. That's so nice of you. smile He mostly eats just toast.

Kidding. I guess he could find his way to his Granny's -she's in Erdington. That's a fairly easy trip from NS, isn't it?

stoatie Wed 28-Sep-11 17:14:53

Give him a detailed route planner (like you can get from national rail enquiries etc ) which often has all details including platforms etc. Also remember that Birmingham has three stations (within walking distance of each other, not including B'ham International) which will affect the route ie Marylebone goes to Moor Street as opposed to New St etc)

lilackaty Wed 28-Sep-11 17:15:54

Could he get a taxi instead of the Underground? It's not always that expensive and it's much easier.

BhamHouse Wed 28-Sep-11 17:17:09

Yes, erdington v easy for NS.

kelly2000 Wed 28-Sep-11 17:17:33

He will be fine. Just make sure he has a 'phone (with credit) he can use to call if something goes wrong, and enough money for something to eat, or fare back if ex is late, doe snot turn up.

OTheHugeWerewolef Wed 28-Sep-11 17:20:11

I grew up in the sticks and was travelling up to London to go busking on the London Underground aged 15. He'll be fine. Just make sure he allows lots of time for finding his way round the Tube.

Shodan Wed 28-Sep-11 17:20:58

Right. Will do it. Tube map, money for food/taxi, phone with credit (and charged battery)

After all, can always put out a MN alarm call if anything goes wrong, can't I? grin

Iamjustthemilkmachine Wed 28-Sep-11 17:22:19

YABU. Dh went interrailing to europe at 16, i also travelled with plain connections and in a foreing language at 16, it was great!

Iamjustthemilkmachine Wed 28-Sep-11 17:23:50

Plane... And xposted! Good luck!

Alouiseg Wed 28-Sep-11 17:24:26

Yes! There's always a network ready to spring into action grin

WishIwereAtTheWiesnProst Wed 28-Sep-11 17:25:53

glad you've come to your senses OP! 16... he could bloody well move to Birmingham and get a flat grin

Ifancyashandy Wed 28-Sep-11 17:28:49

To be honest, if my mum had tried to stop me from doing that journey on my own when I was 16, I'd have been like so: grin grin.

He'll be fine. And if he isn't, he'll call you.

Groovee Wed 28-Sep-11 17:40:19

My 14 year old niece regularly gets the bus from Stranraer to Edinburgh to visit us on her own.

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