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To want dd age 12 to go on a two hour train journey unaccompanied

(60 Posts)
Kensingtonia Sun 02-Oct-11 09:19:18

DD age 12 (school year 8) has been invited to stay the weekend with her best friend from primary school who has moved to a town 2 hours away by train. It is a straight journey by train with no changes. I would put her on the train at Euston and the friend's mother would meet her at the other end and put her on the train to go home. DD is happy to make the journey by herself. DH got very angry when I told him of this plan and said he didn't want her to on the train by herself in case "something happened to her". We had a massive row about it. Is he being unreasonable or am I?

squeakytoy Sun 02-Oct-11 09:20:56

He is being over protective, unless she is young for her age and you have reason to believe she might get lost.

I regularly travelled from Manchester to Exeter at that age on my own.

roisin Sun 02-Oct-11 09:23:55

YANBU unless the train you're talking about is 10pm at night or something.

My brother and I first went on a train journey unaccompanied when I was about 6 or 7. It was only about an hour and I think my mum asked the guard to keep an eye on us.

My boys (12 and 14) haven't done a big train journey on their own, but only because they haven't needed to. But they've travelled on trains loads with us, and if the need arose I'd be happy for either of them to do a journey with a change of trains now.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 02-Oct-11 09:26:29

YANBU. Does he have a better solution? Is he planning to accompany her?

IloveJudgeJudy Sun 02-Oct-11 09:30:15

YANBU. If she wants to do it, I would let her. She is obviously quite independent, anyway, otherwise she'd be worried. I was travelling up to London every week by train when I was 12.

My DD was 12 when she flew on her own (not as an unaccompanied minor) from London to Germany. She had to go through security, etc on her own which she had never done before as we don't fly on holiday.

This just reminds me of the other thread about whether DC are more immature now. It's down to all the helicopter parenting and the tendency to see stranger danger everywhere.

I wish you luck in persuading your DH. It will be good for your DD. She'll feel so grown up and proud of herself, as will you.

kat2504 Sun 02-Oct-11 09:32:57

I think it is unreasonable assuming that she is a fairly average 12 year old and is sensible and will have a mobile phone on her. It's another sign of how much more mollycoddled kids are these days if they can't be trusted to sit on a train for two hours.
I would think differently if she had to cope with a change at a busy station and potentially missing a connection and getting stuck there on her own.
But if she is put on a train, and collected at the other end, what could the problem be?
Child snatchers don't tend to operate on public transport, it is rather busy generally. Sensible advice to her might be to ensure that she is not in a carriage by herself if the train is not busy, perhaps to sit somewhere close by to a family group etc.
You do have to let them get a bit of independence eventually or she will end up being a university student who is not capable of getting around on trains by herself.

Maryz Sun 02-Oct-11 09:33:36

He is being ridiculous. What exactly does he expect to happen?

As long as you instill in her the normal safety rules that should apply to everyone - make sure that you are in a carriage with a family or a number of different people (don't stay alone with one person, or with one group), make sure your phone is charged and on, know where to get off, have a Plan B (someone to ring and spare money) in case of delays/cancellations/breakdown, she will be fine.

All of mine have travelled alone by train from 11, and by plane alone from 12 (which means going through security, finding the gate, boarding the plane, going through baggage and finding whoever is collecting them).

Door to door with no changes shouldn't even be an issue.

CristinadellaPizza Sun 02-Oct-11 09:33:42

He is being silly.

callmemrs Sun 02-Oct-11 09:34:04

He is being unreasonable- particularly as she is happy to make the journey herself . If her dad starts putting ideas into her head that something might 'happen to her' it could seriously knock her confidence . Nowadays it's so easy to keep in touch with mobiles anyway, its all a million times easier than when we were young. I made a similar length train journey alone at around the same age, and everything was fine, though obviously back then I wasn't able to call my parents that I had arrived ok until after I had been picked up by my grandparents and was in their house. Nowadays you can send a text any time. I just cant see what the problem is

YANBU. It'll be fun for her. What does your DH think might happen to her in broad daylight?! Make sure she's got a mobile with your number and her BFF's mum's number.

She does NOT want her first major journey like this to be when she moves out or goes to uni, like me. I was a terrified 18 year old, going on a 3 hour train journey towards London, with loads of my stuff, but because I was now 18 my dad's view was that I'd be fine.

If she's happy to do it, I would try to convince your DH that he is being very unreasonable, and then she can go.

KatyMac Sun 02-Oct-11 09:38:06

As long as she has a phone (& uses it to reassure you) - I think it's fine

DD is doing it every week atm (& driving me wild as she isn't texting me as we agreed)

Faithless12 Sun 02-Oct-11 09:40:25

I probably wouldn't but it would depend on the time of day. The amount of boards I see up about young women being attacked on trains would put me off.

kat2504 Sun 02-Oct-11 09:43:38

Really? I do not see these boards? I travel on trains from time to time too. The time of day is important and I suspect the OP is not planning on sending her daughter on a train late on a Saturday night. Also if there are other people in the carriage where the girl is, these potential attackers are not very likely to attack a 12 year old in full public view.
If it is a large intercity train perhaps she could sit next to the buffet car - adult staff always very close at hand there.

Maryz Sun 02-Oct-11 09:46:37

Is she still not texting Katy? I had strong words with dd yesterday when she finally got home (bringing friend in tow to avoid a row, I think).

Faithless, what exactly are your fears? Because whatever they are, will they apply to a 13 year old, a 15 year old, a 21 year old?

At some stage we have to let our children do things independently, and I would have thought that a relatively short, straightforward trip in daylight is good practice. They need to learn to keep themselves safe and it will stand to them when they are older, possibly travelling at night, possibly drunk, or tired, or lost, iyswim.

mancinleics Sun 02-Oct-11 09:51:51

YABU, I wouldn't do it. The time to get off the train nowadays is very short indeed, whatif she missed her stop? At Euston they don't always let you go to the train without a ticket so how could you ensure that she got a seat? What if she got a seat but then felt obliged to give it up? What if there was a group of rowdy football fans on the train?

I'm sorry, but 12 just seems too young.

coccyx Sun 02-Oct-11 09:56:30

No I agree with you DH.

kat2504 Sun 02-Oct-11 09:57:23

You have to let them grow up little by little. It isn't reasonable to expect them to magically turn into fully competent and independent adults on their 18th birthday. You learn to do things by yourself as you grow up. A short safe daylight train ride is a good start to being confident going somewhere on your own.
Perhaps when she is 17 she will need to go to university open days and change trains and arrive by herself in an unfamiliar town and then find the right bus to the campus? Or do people accompany their kids to these open days nowadays. I remember going to one 200 miles away with a change of train and an overnight stay by that age. I would have been scared shitless if my mum hadn't allowed me to use trains and buses during my teens!

I really can not think what would happen to a 12 year old in full view of the rest of the passengers. The peeedos are not actually waiting everywhere. If the people collecting her are held up in traffic or whatever and not there when she arrives, go and sit in the station cafe where there are staff, or stand in the ticket office where there are staff. Text the people to say where you are waiting. Of course, they are 99% likely to be there early to meet her on the platform.

StopRainingPlease Sun 02-Oct-11 10:03:24

mancinleics, all these things could happen on a 15min train journey too. Best thing to do would be to talk it over in advance so that she could prepare for what to do. Missed her stop? Make sure she has other people's phone number, and extra money to come back a stop if necessary. So what if she didn't get a seat, people don't always. Football fans? If she's uncomfortable she could move carriages. They are unlikely to harrass her personally, but if they do she could find a guard or ask other adults for support, or just ignore them like the rest of us do!

kat2504 Sun 02-Oct-11 10:07:11

If she knows what the stop is before her stop she can make sure she gets near to the train doors in time.
football fans are not usually assaulting 12 year olds in full view of the other passengers on the train. They generally just like to sing a few songs.
Standing up on the train won't kill her. I also don't think anyone would bully a lone 12 year old into giving up her seat.
If she is not scared of going on the train I would let her do it. Obviously you and your DH will worry but if she sends you texts then you will know she is ok. I also think if your town is one of those big places with a barrier that makes you have a ticket to get on the platform, the barrier staff may make an exception for you or you could ask one of them to see her safely on to the train for you.

mrspnut Sun 02-Oct-11 10:08:41

My DD1 has been travelling to her grandparents by train since she was 11. It's an hour on a direct train and I put her on and they collect her at the other end.

We always pay for a first class ticket for her - if you book in advance it isn't too expensive and get a seat reservation.

I've never not been allowed to out her on the train and if it goes from Euston there would be a chance for you to speak to the guard about keeping an eye on her to ensure she doesn't miss her stop.

callmemrs Sun 02-Oct-11 10:09:37

Entirely agree kat. What you do', is talk through the possible scenarios eg what do 'you say it someone else tries to claim your booked seat? What do you do if the train is delayed? Its important to allow young people to experience things 'bit by bit to build their confidence that they can cope. At 18 they are adults. They can go wherever they please and do what they like regardless- so far safer to have equipped them with life skills rather than mollycoddle them to within an inch of their life. A two hour train journey with no changes in daylight seems an eminently sensible way for an almost-teenager to get used to train travel. She will feel so pleased with herself once its done. The alternative is- what? Accompanying her even though she feels confident to go alone? Expensive as well as making her feel as though she's too young/ vulnerable/ immature . Stopping her from having her weekend away?? hmm

hairylights Sun 02-Oct-11 10:25:46

Twelve no. Fourteen possibly.

Laquitar Sun 02-Oct-11 10:27:28

Would he let a 12 yo son to go?
What does he worry that it is going to happen?

I agree about talking through some possible scenarios.

PeelThemWithTheirMetalKnives Sun 02-Oct-11 10:31:14

I think it's fine, so long as you discuss what to do if she misses her stop, is bothered by somebody etc.

worraliberty Sun 02-Oct-11 10:41:14

YANBU

Some parents don't know their born these days with the invention of mobile phones.

As long as you trust her, I'm sure she'll be fine.

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