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Apparently I treat DS like a 7yo. He's 9. IABU?

(16 Posts)
chicaguapa Thu 26-Jun-14 22:03:00

DS(9) is in y4.

A few months ago he walked round to his friend's (friend A) to play there. Later we went to pick him up on the way out and he'd gone to the park. We've never let him go to the park on his own before (it's not round the corner) and weren't happy that he'd gone. We had a stern word with him about going somewhere else without asking. Fast forward to today and it transpires he'd done the same again yesterday and A and DS had gone to another friend's house. I don't know this other friend or where he lives. DS can't remember where he went.

Then he started on about how I treat him like a 7yo because he doesn't have a phone and I don't let him play Minecraft on public servers like both his best friends. I'm quite resolute about this. DD(12) isn't allowed on public servers either and got a mobile in y6.

He does play Halo at both friends' houses and I've told him I'm not happy about it. But he still plays it and I don't want to ban him as a) I think he'll just play it anyway and lie to me and b) he probably doesn't play it that much as he's not round there all the time. This is me conceding and not laying down the law.

So this is what he can do:

- Walk to/from school on his own
- Have an email address which he accesses on his Kindle Fire
- Walk to a friend's house on his own (and stay there!)

Having an older DD I do understand about lengthening the lead bit by bit, but I really feel that this is age-appropriate. Also that by not understanding why he has to stick to the rules, he's showing that he doesn't have the level of maturity to move up to the next level of independence.

We've had a chat about how he needs to show that he can make the right choices in difficult situations (he said friend A wanted to go round the other friend's and DS either had to go with him or come home). Next year he'll be in y5 and we've said we can work towards him being at home without adults for a short period of time (he's desperate to do this) but he needs to earn our trust that he's going to be sensible and is mature enough to do this.

Ironically DS is the most resourceful of both DC and is the one you could rely on in an emergency. But he's also the most susceptible to peer pressure and has a misguided confidence that makes him think he's old enough to be able to go it alone.

Looking at old threads it seems this is the age all this malarkey starts, so is the advice to just stick to our guns or what? confused

mommy2ash Thu 26-Jun-14 22:10:29

to begin with i would have grounded him for breaking the rule right after you just told him he wasn't allowed.

how far away is his friends house? could he pop in and ask before he went to another friends house? i wouldn't be comfortable not knowing exactly where my child was. if he was responsible enough to let you know i would allow him to go elsewhere within reason.

IneedAwittierNickname Thu 26-Jun-14 22:12:54

Ds1 is 9 and in year 5.

He is allowed to walk to his friends house on his own, but has never wanted to. If me and her mum stood in our front gardens I reckon we could just about see eachother.

I guess he could walk to school alone, but as I have to take ds2 he never has.

But he doesn't have an email address, mobile or anything else like that.

What rating is Halo?

chicaguapa Thu 26-Jun-14 23:31:20

Halo is 15.

Thanks. It's good to know I'm not being OTT. If anything it sounds like I'm being too lenient.

IneedAwittierNickname Fri 27-Jun-14 00:23:38

No way would I be letting him play Halo in that case!

And it could be that I'm OTT rather than you being too lenient, who knows! It's hard to judge as traffic/locality/individual child all have an impact on hoe much freedom they can have.

I know that from previous threads I've seen on here I'd be considered OTT by many, but I can literally count on one hand the number of children his age I know who go anywhere unsupervised, and I couldn't write my honest perception of the families on here because I'd probably get flamed.

SquigglySquid Fri 27-Jun-14 00:30:06

DS can't remember where he went.

Bullshit. But, if that's his story and he's sticking to it... If he can't remember where he went he's not mature enough to be going somewhere on his own. He needs to know where he's going and how to get back. The fact that he doesn't know where he went shows he's not developmentally ready. What if there was an emergency and he did have a phone? He wouldn't even know where to direct the emergency personnel.

If you can't trust him on a short leash, how can you trust him on a long one?

Freckletoes Fri 27-Jun-14 00:34:00

My DC3 is 10. He is allowed to walk down the road to his friend's in our quiet, small village. He could go to playground if he asked-again quiet, small village. He will get a phone in year 7. He's not allowed to play older rated games. He has terrible road sense! He is however allowed to use knives, axes etc (think Bear Grylls!) and light fires. They always tell you everyone else has/does/is allowed what they aren't and I guess it is worse for the youngest seeing older siblings doing stuff.

chicaguapa Fri 27-Jun-14 07:20:50

If you can't trust him on a short leash, how can you trust him on a long one?


He could find the friend's house again if he walked there but he couldn't tell me where it was when we were talking in the car. It's highly possible that it was far away enough for him to realise during the conversation that he'd be in big trouble if he let on.

This is the problem as it only came out while he was telling me a story which involved being at the other friend's. I said whoa, back up, what do you mean you were at the other friend's. He'd forgotten the rule but was then defensive rather than contrite. But I wouldn't have known otherwise so I'm reluctant to close down the channels of communication by reacting to misdemeanours in a particular way.

Both his best friends definitely have mobiles and are free to roam. I'd previously mentioned to friend A's mum that DS hadn't been allowed to go to the park the other time so to make sure he asked me if he went onto somewhere else from hers. I asked DS where friend A's mum had been the other day and he said she didn't even know that they'd gone to the other friend's. confused

In any case, because he has friends whose parents have different boundaries, I want to be able to rely on DS's judgement in situations rather than a list of rules. I don't think I'll be able cover every eventuality or expect the parents will assume responsibility for DS while he's at their house.

how far away is his friends house? could he pop in and ask before he went to another friends house?

Yes he could have. But he says friend A wouldn't have waited for him to come home to ask as it was in the opposite direction. This is why he wants a mobile phone as he says next time he could ring me. I said he should ask the mum if he can phone me but in this case the mum wasn't available so he couldn't ask her. That's how I know she wasn't aware that they'd gone out.

Retropear Fri 27-Jun-14 07:27:55

Dd is 9 in year 4 just started going to the park with her friends.

Re Minecraft and social media,it's really restricting not to allow this.My dc are 10,10 and 9 and all join up with their friends.It's fantastic and a good way to learn the ropes of social media in a restricted way.

WanderingAway Fri 27-Jun-14 07:28:20

I think the problem is less to do with you treating him like a 7 year old and more to do with him wanting to act like a teenager. I find kids want to be far too grown up far too young.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 27-Jun-14 07:37:35

It is very tricky, I agree with WanderingAway.
I would think of the ways that you can start to give independence so that it isn't a case of restricting all the time. I was firm on some thing -e.g age ratings on computer games - but even that is tricky with other parents who are more lax.

chicaguapa Fri 27-Jun-14 07:51:31

My 40yo brother plays on Minecraft with his friends. He's set up a private server for his DC as he says there's no way they're playing on servers with the people he comes across. He has also set up one for DC which DS's friends can access, but they prefer to go on the public ones.

Friend A has an 11yo brother who's been on Facebook since he was 10. His profile has no security settings and states where he lives and what school he goes to. There's zero chance that DS will be on Facebook any time into the future. Fortunately DS understands this so isn't pushing against it.

He has an email address for emailing family (I mostly get a steady stream of emails at work) and he's learning about email etiquette. It doesn't have his name in it and I have access to it. This is our introduction to learning about the internet. His access at home is restricted and I've spoken to him about unrestricted access at his friends'. I don't know how to do more than that tbh. It scares me what he might end up looking at on the computer round his friends' houses. shock

Idontseeanyicegiants Fri 27-Jun-14 08:17:59

How long to let the leash out is really tough at this age, I'm just coming out of the other side with DS now he's 13 (and straight into the lovely teenage mode..). Your DS needs to demonstrate to you that he can be trusted with the rules set before you are open to discussion about changing them, if DS broke the rule about wandering off without permission or letting us know where he was it was an instant 48 hour grounding. He had a cheap PAYG phone with no internet access, when he could be trusted to use it properly and not lose it he got a contract phone. We also had the no FB until you're 13 rule - he doesn't want it now he's nearly 14!
Discuss it with him - if he wants to he treated like an older child he starts acting like one and sticks to the rules!

madmomma Fri 27-Jun-14 08:24:07

You sound perfectly reasonable. It's so hard when they're up against major peer pressure all the time. Guess it comes back to the parenting classic of "I don't care what X's mum lets X do - I'm your mum and I decide what's best for you" then let him hate you for a bit.

shockinglybadteacher Fri 27-Jun-14 08:36:29

I haven't got much useful to say blush except I'm fully with you on the no public servers thing. I'm not a gamer but my brother is, he doesn't play Minecraft but he plays DayZ and the like, and on a public server you get absolute dogs' abuse. All kinds of dodgy characters, weird sexual come-ons, grooming, insults...he thinks it's funny, but he's 27! I don't think I'd like a 9 year old experiencing it.

Many's the time I've been startled because he's taken headphones off and stuck the speakers on - I'm sat there peacefully watching telly to a background noise of Americans yelling "YOU FUCKIN FAGGOT!" and "I'M GONNA MAKE YOU SUCK MY COCK"

Even the online chess is like it! Although at least there it's all typed...

redskyatnight Fri 27-Jun-14 08:47:36

I have DC of 10 and 8. The 10 year old is allowed to go to his friends' house alone, allowed to go to the park and has a mobile phone. The mobile phone is primarily because he cycles to and from school on his own (or with a friend) and sometimes he wants to pop in and see a friend on the way home. So it means he has a way to contact us either in an emergency or just to let us know where he is. Based on what your DC is allowed to do, I can't see why you wouldn't get him a mobile phone tbh (DS's cost a princely 99p, we have told him if he can prove he can look after it properly we will buy him a better phone when he is older).

The 8 year old is allowed to go to the park on her own for a short time, or with DS for a longer time. If we had a visiting 8 year old, I wouldn't let them go to the park without an adult - as I'm aware some parents would not be happy about that. But I wouldn't hesitate to allow a visiting 10 year old. So I think re the going to the park, it's a tricky one if friend's parent thinks it is totally ok. That said, he shouldn't have gone if you said "no".

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