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Am I really 'grossly irresponsible'?

(495 Posts)
Saggingninja Thu 27-Oct-16 13:19:43

My 12 year old daughter's best friend - 'Polly' comes to stay for a few days over half-term. Polly is 14. On the first day, Polly says she would love to go into town (Manchester) with Katie. So I give them money, make sure their phones are charged and send them off.

Both girls are sitting in a cafe having hot chocolate. Polly texts her mum to say she's having fun. Three minutes later Polly's mother calls me. I am 'grossly irresponsible letting two young girls go into town and anything could happen.'

I pointed out that it's half-term, there are likely to be loads of parents and children around and both girls go to school by bus every day. But Polly's mother is convinced their are gangs of Mancunian paedophiles lurking everywhere, so I dash into town to rescue the girls from having a nice time.

I had very overprotective parents who convinced me there were 'bad people' everywhere and kept me in a bubble. I grew up anxious and timid and was determined that my own children would be more confident. And our sons are far more likely to be victims of criminal violence. Our girls are in far more (statistical) danger of being assaulted by someone they know well.

Perhaps I should have told Polly's mother before I let them go. But she (Polly) seemed so pleased and there were two of them. Was I wrong?

peaceloveandbiscuits Thu 27-Oct-16 13:20:59

They're 14, I don't think you did anything wrong.

atticusclaw2 Thu 27-Oct-16 13:21:39

You were wrong to let them go without checking with Polly's mother yes.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 27-Oct-16 13:22:16

I assume both girls get themselves to school?

Like hell would I be babysitting kids that age round town.

Sounds fine to me

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 27-Oct-16 13:22:38

How far from Manchester are you? If you're in Glasgow you might be a bit irresponsible...

Yakitori Thu 27-Oct-16 13:23:13

Maybe if I didn't know the mum first I'd have checked. But it is normal stuff for 14 y os and certainly not "grossly irresponsible".

WatchingFromTheWings Thu 27-Oct-16 13:23:40

My kids have been going into town with friends since about 12. Granted it's not as big a town as Manchester but I don't think you did anything wrong at all.

alltouchedout Thu 27-Oct-16 13:24:28

Polly's mum should have informed you of the restrictions before she came to stay. As both girls go to school by bus every day, how would you be expected to know her mum doesn't let her out without adults at other times?

Mozfan1 Thu 27-Oct-16 13:24:48

She could always care for her own daughter in the holidays if she has such a big problem with the way you do things.

corythatwas Thu 27-Oct-16 13:24:50

Perhaps you should have checked with Polly's mum- or simply asked Polly if this was the kind of thing she would normally be allowed. But at the age of 14, I think it was a reasonable assumption that she would be allowed.

As for it being irresponsible- of course not. Well within the range of what a 14yo should have been taught to cope with.

But when in charge of other people's children, it is often helpful to check first, just to avoid unpleasantness.

ICanCountToOneHundred Thu 27-Oct-16 13:25:07

I don't think you were in the wrong but I think you have given your daughters name on your op? some people are funny about giving out real life details. I am not and you may be the same just thought I would flag it.

Gatehouse77 Thu 27-Oct-16 13:25:29

I'd have checked with Polly's mother purely to cover my own back. However, I disagree with Polly's mum's response.

You are preparing your daughter for an independent life, she's not.

Yakitori Thu 27-Oct-16 13:25:53

DD1 has been shopping on her own in the local town with a friend recently. They were dropped off and picked up as public transport is not good, and they are 11 so being allowed to be out on their own for a few hours is a stepping stone towards travelling there and back on their own as well.

Ohdearducks Thu 27-Oct-16 13:27:02

Sounds like Polly's mum needs a biscuit

pinkbraces Thu 27-Oct-16 13:27:21

Of course you were right to let them go, and as for checking that a 14 yr old is allowed to go out during the dayhmm
To coin a well known phrase, Polly's mum needs a massive grip!

RaingodswithZippos Thu 27-Oct-16 13:27:34

I would think that was quite normal unless Manchester is really far from home. My DS goes to Birmingham or Leamington with friends and has done since he was about 13. He is now 16 and his birthday treat is a day in London with friends, going on the train on their own. I wouldn't worry.

babyapril Thu 27-Oct-16 13:28:07

I think you should always check. You weren't unreasonable- but by the same token it wasn't your call. smile
I find it a nightmare with children other than my own!

exLtEveDallas Thu 27-Oct-16 13:28:10

DD and her friends are going into town on Saturday. They are 11. Ok it's not Manchester, but hey, I'll join you on the irresponsible bench with pleasure.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Thu 27-Oct-16 13:28:35

her mother is mad. she is 14!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how you handle this without a ruck I have no idea, but she needs telling

peaceloveandbiscuits Thu 27-Oct-16 13:28:42

Misread and thought both girls were 14, but I think 12 is old enough anyway, especially these days when all children have mobiles and instant contact with parents.

Mamabear14 Thu 27-Oct-16 13:29:21

I was going on the coach from Devon to London by myself at 14 visiting family. As long as they are sensible you did nothing wrong and it was fair assumption that a 14yr old could go to town with her friend.

TheWitTank Thu 27-Oct-16 13:29:40

YANBU, but I would have cleared it with Pollys mum first. I don't see anything wrong with going on a bus to do a bit of shopping at 12 plus. I certainly was out and about at that age (I would get the bus to London at 14 on my own (an hour away), use the underground/buses independently, buy my own lunch etc)

LurkingHusband Thu 27-Oct-16 13:30:42

MrsLH and popped out for a Starbucks Monday, and only realised it was half term because there were a few kids around (and we thought "shouldn't they be in school ?")

I doubt any was much older than 12. (This is in Birmingham).

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Thu 27-Oct-16 13:31:32

Do they know the city? My friends and I were allowed in to our town alone from late Y6. Were allowed to go to Birmingham from about 14 because we knew where we were going etc (it's our closest city). We started going to London on our own at about 16 but our parents started taking us at 15 so we were familiar with tubes etc (well I think we'd all been before then but you see what I mean).

eyebrowsonfleek Thu 27-Oct-16 13:32:07

You did nothing wrong. I would have checked if they were primary school age but it's ridiculous that she was angry about the girls being out in daytime with charged phones in a place that at least one of them knows well.

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