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AIBU - freedom for 11 yo

(80 Posts)
ZanyMobster Thu 10-Aug-17 12:31:19

My DS ws 11 in Feb. He's very sensible, fairly grown up for his age but hasn't had loads of freedom going out on his own due to a number of reasons (he does lots of sports so is at activities most of the time, we do lots as a family and we also live in a very busy city).

This summer he was allowed to go off when we were on holiday on his own but we gave certain stipulations such as go to one place and let us know if you are going elsewhere. He was erratic at best at adhering to that. He was always safe and sensible but did not do as we asked most of the time with regards to that.

This morning we said he could walk to his sports camp on his own, really straight forward walk, one busy bit of road but easily negotiated TBH. I asked him to text when he got there but of course he didn't. His coach let me know he was there so I am not actually worried but it's not the point. The route he walked, although not dangerous traffic wise, is through somewhere that could be considered a slight risk (don't' want to say as fairly outing as quite rare) so I did want to know he was there ok.

I suppose my AIBU is do you think it is a reasonable ask him to let me know he got there safely? Due to the nature of the camp they wouldn't necessary let me know he didn't arrive often people just don't turn up so I could turn up at tea time and him not be there.

I just want to deal with it reasonably, he needs to be able to do these things on his own as he will be going to seniors soon but at 11 I don't believe he should be able to go off and do as he pleases without us knowing where he is.

I don't want people saying he should have had more freedom by now etc, we are not particularly over protective and he does do other stuff on his own but where we live is not hugely safe and he is amongst the norm for the amount of freedom he has (more than his close friends), I just feel I need a bit of help on how to deal with this when I go to pick him up.

Thanks all

unlimiteddilutingjuice Thu 10-Aug-17 12:33:32

I think it's reasonable to ask him to text.
And if he doesn't text-its reasonable not to let him go by himself again. (For a bit anyhow)

CorbynsBumFlannel Thu 10-Aug-17 12:36:36

I'm going to say the opposite - that I don't think he's ready for the freedom he has. I think, within reason, freedom should be related to how responsible a child is rather than age.
Does he want the freedom he's given? Do you think that a few weeks of a parent dropping and collecting him from his club would make him keener to adhere to the rules for going on his own?

ZanyMobster Thu 10-Aug-17 12:38:01

Thanks unlimited, that was what I thought (and was hoping) would be the right thing.

Apologies for the epic post in what could have been said in a paragraph grin

ZanyMobster Thu 10-Aug-17 12:39:11

Yes sorry Corbyn, that's what I was getting at really. If he can't text to say he's there then is he really ready or AIBU for not just letting him have lots of freedom.

scrabbler3 Thu 10-Aug-17 12:47:48

I think that a "text me" rule is fair and that if he fails to adhere to it, there should be consequences. If he wants to be treated in a more grownup way, he must earn your confidence. Yanbu.

otterlynutty Thu 10-Aug-17 12:51:08

In my 30s, still have to let my parents know I've got home if I've been to visit them blush

Notevilstepmother Thu 10-Aug-17 12:51:32

If you can't trust him to follow instructions he can't have the freedom right now.

However at some point he does need to, so you may have to work on instruction following separate from travel.

Does he usually do what you tell him, first time? Or does he often quietly not bother? Monitor that for a few days first. Some kids are quite good at quietly ignoring instructions and waiting for someone to do whatever it is, or to see if they are told again before they bother. They don't seem naughty because they are not defiant or argumentative, but they just quietly do what they want. If he is doing this elsewhere it would explain why he didn't text you. Deal with this and the rest will sort itself out. Insist he does as he is told, immediately, first time of asking.

Notevilstepmother Thu 10-Aug-17 12:52:32

I forgot to say you are being perfectly reasonable.

CorbynsBumFlannel Thu 10-Aug-17 12:54:56

I'm sure at some point the embarassment of being the only child ferried everywhere by mummy will be enough of an incentive for him to do as asked re texting etc

ZanyMobster Thu 10-Aug-17 12:55:30

Thanks all.

I have a couple of friends I have to let know I have got home safely lol, it's just how they are.

Hmm, I am not sure re the instructions Notevil. He appears well behaved and will always do the big things first time, ie getting ready when I ask him or if told off for something he will immediately stop but I suspect the small things he doesn't do first time such as put your plate away or putting something in the bin. I have a strong suspicion you are onto something there blush

Mrscropley Thu 10-Aug-17 12:56:30

When dd x 2 were ten mins late last week (10+11)first week of some freedom, they were so blasé about it - yes I said, you knew you were OK but how did I know you weren't tied up in the back of a van? Cue some apologies and understanding of my worry.
I also have told them and shown pics of sarah payne and why they need or take care. . Kids missing isn't such a rarity and needs addressing. .
If they are old enough to be out they need to know facts. .

KimmySchmidt1 Thu 10-Aug-17 12:57:00

kids always forget to text. He has not actually done anything silly or come to any harm. I think you should give him another chance to text before you take away his freedom - having it taken away is much harder than not being given in the first place.

eyebrowsonfleek Thu 10-Aug-17 12:57:01

When we had secondary transition day recently, I was the only mum out of a group of 6 who didn't ask my child to text or had their location on a tracking app.
Is the app a better compromise. I wouldn't really want my 11 year old waving his phone around.

ZanyMobster Thu 10-Aug-17 12:57:59

He is one of only children that have gone on their own, the other is 2 years older as they are the only 2 within very short walking distance.

He won't be going on his own tomorrow that's for sure, I will definitely be monitoring the other things too.

My friends and I always text each other '3 rings' when we get home (if you're under 35 you probably have no idea what that means)

ZanyMobster Thu 10-Aug-17 12:58:26

*one of only 2 children

Notevilstepmother Thu 10-Aug-17 12:59:28

Nothing to be embarrassed about, perfectly normal behaviour for that age.

SweetLuck Thu 10-Aug-17 12:59:36

Personally I don't like the 'text me if you get there safe' rule. It kind of implies that you don't think he'll be safe unless you hear otherwise, when actually the chances of anything nad happening are minuscule.

Angelicinnocent Thu 10-Aug-17 12:59:44

Definitely go with the rule that if you forget to text your safe arrival, you won't be allowed to walk next time. I still say this to my 15 year old dd. If you can't be bothered to let me know you got there safely then I will come there straight away and take you back home. Freedom carries responsibility.

She's only forgotten twice in last 3 years.

Gottagetmoving Thu 10-Aug-17 13:00:48

It is not unreasonable to expect him to text you to say he has arrived safely. If he doesn't then you should tell him that part of trusting him is that he does what he promises so he won't be allowed freedom until you can rely on him to do that.
Of course years ago, a child couldn't text. My children went off to places at that age and I just had to trust they were sensible. It would have been so much less stress for me if they could have.

SweetLuck Thu 10-Aug-17 13:02:01

Mrscropley that sounds like a complete over reaction and the sort of thing like ply to cause massive anxiety on their parts.

BackforGood Thu 10-Aug-17 13:02:50

Going against the grain here.
We work on a "we'll hear soon enough if there's a problem" basis.
As you arrive somewhere, you are suddenly involved with what is going on / greeted by friends etc., it's not a good time to expect someone to remember to start texting you.
I think the same when adults go on journeys - if you are expecting a call by 5pm, and it gets to 10 past, then 1/4 past, then 1/2 past, you are just looking at the clock and worrying if they are OK etc., whereas if you aren't expecting a call, you'll just assume they are fine. All sorts of delays can occur when you are traveling, 99% of which mean you are still ok - just stuck in traffic or whatever - so why set yourself up for all that worrying?
Maybe it's because I grew up before mobile phones.

ZanyMobster Thu 10-Aug-17 13:03:18

Ah, a few different things to think about. Yes I did consider letting him go tomorrow as a last chance but I suppose I want him to actually believe I mean it, not just do it tomorrow and then not bother in future.

My 9 year old is great at remembering to let us know (when on holiday and he went off) but he is autistic and if I say that's something he needs to do he will cling onto that and ensure he follows that rule to the nth degree!

With regards to having his phone out, today it would have been very safe as he would have been in an enclosed environment but I can understand that somewhere more public.

youarenotkiddingme Thu 10-Aug-17 13:05:42

Agree with others. With freedom comes responsibility.
If he can't or won't take the responsibility he looses his freedom.

When I started leaving ds at home for short periods he had a rule that if I text or call he answered.
If he didn't I rang house phone and left a voicemail bollocking him telling me to get I touch NOW!

Any breach of this trust was an immediate weeks lack of freedom.

We are getting there grin

ZanyMobster Thu 10-Aug-17 13:09:17

Backforgood - that does actually make sense to me, I didn't have a mobile till I was 18. I wasn't allowed out till I was 13 but then I was allowed to do pretty much what I wanted so went from nothing to everything so never had a transition stage as such.

I guess where things are different now are that the traffic is so much heavier, there have been a lot of incidents with kids being hit by cars this summer hols already in this area. I think the traffic is my main worry but the route he took isn't that bad in all honesty.

I have left him at home quite a few times, he is always fine and will answer his phone there (probably because he's glued to it when indoors).

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