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AIBU to expect my 12 year old DD to make her own way home

(42 Posts)
Hercule Mon 21-Mar-16 16:15:41

For a few months now DD has been going out with friends during the day at the weekend and often calls asking to be picked up - usually from town centre which is about a mile away, sometimes a bit further.

As it has been Winter with afternoons getting dark and weather not great I have driven to collect her. But as the weather gets nicer and brighter I would like her to walk home. Especially as she is now wanting to go out after school as well.

I have said she needs to be home by 5.30 for tea. However I expect her in general to make her own way home. I do not want to keep having to drive out and get her:

a) it's not environmentally friendly ( I try myself not to use the car for short distances and regularly walk 2 miles to work and back)

b) she has legs which work perfectly well

c) she us the eldest of 3 so once they're all going out further afield I don't want to spend my life bring a taxi driver.

Obviously if it was later/darker, bad weather or further away or I felt like it wasn't safe then of course I'd pick her up.

Apparently I am being unreasonable and everyone else's parents pick them up. I have a feeling that in some cases this is true, as she has in the past been dropped off by friends ' parents. Obviously if the same parents keep picking up their children and offering to drive mine home is it expected that I return the favour even though I think they could all walk?


TeenAndTween Mon 21-Mar-16 16:18:47


LaurieFairyCake Mon 21-Mar-16 16:25:54

Don't worry about what others do. Walking home is completely reasonable.

ArmfulOfRoses Mon 21-Mar-16 16:25:58

We have recently moved closer to town, probably about a mile.
Dd 12 has walked there and back a couple of times already to meet friends, and to town from school, maybe half a mile the other side of town to us, then home.

bornwithaplasticspoon Mon 21-Mar-16 16:28:20

A mile is walkable in 20 minutes or so so yanbu. However, if other parents are running her home then then that makes you obligated to return the favour every so often. Can you offer to do one day a week, say Friday?

malloo Mon 21-Mar-16 16:28:41

YANBU. I get very frustrated by parents driving kids to and fro all the time, for the reasons you've said, also because if everyone does it it is less safe because of all the cars on the road and not enough people walking about. Obviously you need to think about the route she will take and I agree it's a different story if it's dark. It's much more fun for kids to walk together as well! I do think it's sad to see older kids who think the only way to get from a to b is in a car and have no independence. You are doing her a favour to encourage her to do this.

fieldfare Mon 21-Mar-16 16:28:54

The only time I've popped out to pick Dd up from town was when she'd turned her ankle on a loose curb stone and she was in pain. Oh, actually there's another - when we had really bad hail the size of pound coins. Other than that I expect her and any friends with her, to make their own way home.

Jw35 Mon 21-Mar-16 16:30:16

Yanbu and I asked a similar question on mn recently about my 12 year old dd walking home from school, which is 2.5 miles and the consensus was its fine!

WorraLiberty Mon 21-Mar-16 16:39:03


How does she think kids coped in the past, when most families only had one car, if they had a car at all?

I have neighbours in my street who in the 20 years I've been here, I have hardly ever seen them walking down the street, even though we have a parade of shops less than 5 minutes walk away.

They just don't walk anywhere and their kids rarely do either.

Hercule Mon 21-Mar-16 16:40:07

Thanks for all your replies. I feel reassured I'm not being weird!

Yes she walks to and from school which is less than half a mile. She does after-school clubs which finish at 5pm and in the Winter when it was dark I picked her up from them. She was most out out when I said as it was lighter now she could walk ! It's literally 5 minutes.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 21-Mar-16 16:40:25

YANBU, I always walked home from town or friends houses at that age, or got the train. The only time my mum collected me is if it was pissing down with rain, or she was driving home from work/the supermarket/wherever and collected me on the way.

Hercule Mon 21-Mar-16 16:45:04

I know what you mean about the 'old days' - my Mum didn't drive. I walked everywhere.

It's not that she can't walk - although she's clearly being lazy! It's just she thinks I'm being weird and stubborn as the car is sat outside and clearly I could just jump in it and have her hone in 5 minutes, rather than her having to walk for 20. It's another one if those situations where the reason for me having a certain rule is partly for my own convenience - I can't really be arsed to get in the car and drive out somewhere I've got home tbh! So just wanted to check it was also the 'right' thing to do ( which I think it is for all the reasons mentioned).

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Mon 21-Mar-16 16:46:03


How else is she going to learn independence?

Paddingtonthebear Mon 21-Mar-16 16:46:32

I would pick up if dark or bad weather but no YANBU. I cycled to and from secondary school from 11/12 years old, just looked and it was 3.6 miles each way. Has she got a bike?

imwithspud Mon 21-Mar-16 16:48:40

YANBU, it takes less than half an hour to walk a mile usually. Maybe her friends are being picked up from town because they live further afield, or maybe their parents are more over protective. Regardless, she is of an age where she should be being a bit more independent, it's not practical for you to ferry her absolutely everywhere unless necessary.

Hercule Mon 21-Mar-16 16:52:02

Yes she has a bike but wouldn't want to ride it. She'd rather walk than cycle - it might mess with her hairdo shock

BackforGood Mon 21-Mar-16 16:56:10

YANBU. Just let her know before she goes out, that you expect her to set off walking in time to be home for 5.30 or whatever.

Hercule Mon 21-Mar-16 16:58:35

Thanks all I feel vindicated and will maintain my stand!

It will add to the list of the many things I apparently do specifically to ruin her life. Like not letting her lie in bed till all hours staring at YouTube videos, or watch 15-rated films, or live on chocolate. I am officially totally weird and everyone else's parents are so much cooler and less uptight than me.

Hercule Mon 21-Mar-16 17:03:54

I think people are a bit weird about walking themselves. I get a lot if raised eyebrows when I walk to work. I walk my youngest to school half a mile away and quite a few people near me drive there and back ( not on their way anywhere).

The reason I chose to live in a small town was so the kids could have their freedom and as they got older come and go under their own steam. If I was planning on driving them everywhere I'd be living in my dream house somewhere in the middle of nowhere, not in a 1980s semi on a housing estate on the edge of town!

UnhappyNeedHelp Mon 21-Mar-16 17:15:02

My mum was just like you! I liked it at the time and now I'm an adult I can see just how beneficial it really was. Good form of exercise, helped build my independence, encouraged me to think about time keeping, making sure I was organised etc... So many of my friends were just bundled into cars by their parents and dropped to the door of wherever they were going, well into their teens. I used to love my little adventures grin

Jw35 Mon 21-Mar-16 20:07:23

Haha Hercule you sound like an awful mum not letting her watch YouTube for hours and eat chocolate grin I mean how square! Obviously you're the only mean 12 year old does whatever she likes (NOT)! grinwinkwine

TiredOfSleep Mon 21-Mar-16 20:59:52

I used to walk home from school having got the train back. Was about 15 mins up steep hill and I was always exhausted with heavy bag of books.

I accepted even though my parents were home that it was expected I'd walk, but naturally tried to wangle a lift esp if it was raining etc.

I think it's about it becoming a treat rather than the norm. It's an easy way to ensure she's getting exercise.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 21-Mar-16 21:05:54

We had a five mile "rule". If it was over that, we'd collect. If less, they could walk, cycle or catch a bus. One of their friends would phone her dad to collect her when it was less than half a mile.

They are now able to get themselves around the country and, to a limited extent, abroad on their own. They can plan journeys, book tickets and cope with complications such as diversions and strikes. They can read timetables and maps. I can't be doing with helpless young people.

WeAllHaveWings Mon 21-Mar-16 21:17:01

Ds(12) got into a fair bit of bother a couple of weeks ago with some older kids (15/16 yr olds) picking on them, he really didn't know how to handle it and I don't think many 12 year olds would. Luckily a shop keeper noticed them outside and helped out and phoned police before we could get there.

Won't stop me letting him spread his wings, but don't think I'd let him walk home from town centre on own just yet, if he was with friends yes, but not alone.

SanityClause Mon 21-Mar-16 21:18:23

YANBU, although I am a big softie, and usually agree to drive my DC when they ask. (They usually do use public transport and/or walk, though.)

I figure I only have a few years when I will be able to drive them around. And we often have conversations in the car that we probably wouldn't have otherwise.

I guess at 12, you need to make sure she can start to be independent, though. You are doing her no favours by allowing her to be too reliant on lifts.

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