To not let my DS go to the park alone?(27 Posts)
I'm in a battle at the moment with football obsessed DS- he's 11 (and a half if that makes any difference).
Obviously there's a no football in the house rule but the child can't pass anything on the floor with out kicking it. The garden isn't huge but if he plays there that drives me mad Too and we always argue about it. The ball hits the window, bushes, plants, shed, fences, constantly goes into neighbours gardens etc. Things are damaged and the grass ruined.
He is on a football teams and plays Saturdays and Sundays- he now wants to go to the park by himself (if he can't play in the garden) and I'm currently saying no.
The local kids on our road are either a few years older or younger than him so he has no one that is allowed/wants to go with him, I'd probably say yes if there were.
In an ideal world I'd take him to the park for a few hours but I work from home and he wants to play everyday after school! If I let him he'd go by himself and see if there's anyone there that wants to play- which is usually what happens when I take him anyway, nothing sinister!
He walks to and from school by himself now and is fairly sensible, has a phone too. I'm starting to trust him but AIBU to not let him go? For my sanity I'm thinking it's a good idea so I don't have to hear that flipping ball bounce off my kitchen window again but part of me thinks he's still too young!
I'd say let him go, but give him rules like time to be home etc. How far away is the park?
Oh god I'd let him go! Dd1 is 11 next month and regularly goes to our local park on her own. She has a phone so can call if she needs to but never has.
He's old enough to walk to school alone but too young to go to the park after school? Is the park a den of vice at 4pm?
Assuming he's year 6, won't he be walking himself to secondary school in September? Id let him go. Make sure he has his phone, texts you when he gets there, and give him a time to be home.
Let him go. 11 is old enough to be out on his own with good rules about when he has to be home.
I regularly shoof my 12yr old off to the park down the road. If he's old enough to walk too and from school he can and should be getting out and exercising daily if he can.
My son does interact (after a fashion) with older and younger children.
Cut the apron strings woman. How else will he gain independence?
He's eleven! If he can walk to school on his own, surely he can go and play in the park?
@pollysproggle - work up to it gradually - start by letting him go for half an hour, and if he comes back on time, and with no problems, then let him go for longer. You could even let him go straight back, for longer.
Explain to him that he needs to earn the right to go to the park on his own by being responsible, and sticking to the rules. Yes, half an hour the first time won’t seem very long to him, but if he comes back when he should, it’ll be longer the next time.
Much depends on the type of park and its location. If it’s in a dodgy area, and frequented by muggers, flashers, addicts and meths drinkers, then maybe insist he has to go with friends as back up!
If it’s a safe, ultra respectable haunt of mummies, kids and dog walkers, then yes, let him go alone.
He will have to learn to be streetwise fairly soon anyway - he’s not far off high school and the teenage years.
Must say, when I was a kid, we wandered off all day to parks, woods, etc - our parents had no idea where we were and there were no mobile phones then. But I think parents are more cautious nowadays.
Haha! Does sound like I'm being overprotective doesn't it.
Maybe the fact we're in south London makes a bit of a difference so I worry about who is lurking around and if he takes his phone Who is going to mug him for it- basically every worst case scenario.
The park is less that 5 mins away so maybe it's time to take the plunge
Why don't the other kids want to lay with him in the park - that would worry me. But YES of course he should go and don't even think of going with him - that is just not on! Presumably he's got a mobile so tell him what time he has to be back home.
If you are letting him walk yo and from school how is this any different? I would never let an 11 year old out alone in South London but I have led a sjnswhstcsgelteted life in that respect so may be unreasonable.
It's not that no other children want to play with him- quite the opposite. He makes friends in an instant. It's just the kids we know on our road are either too young to be allowed to go with him or the older kids are teenage girls with no interest in going to play football.
My DD plays out. It's scary at first but really good for them. She is 8. Gets lots of fresh air and exercise. Socialises with lots of kids in street a few years older and younger so I think once he starts playing out those nearby will become friends. She knows the rules about where she can go and when to be back.
My ds is ten and also football mad and loves kicking the ball round the house! Plus our garden is small. I wouldn't send him to the park alone currently but i envisage once he's 11, I'll allow it.
I agree it depends on the park though. Our local park is full of families with kids and I'd feel happy for him to go there.
<<If it’s in a dodgy area, and frequented by muggers, flashers, addicts and meths drinkers, then maybe insist he has to go with friends as back up! >>
Yeah cos another 11 year old will definitely protect him against all those things. Or do you think his friends are super heros or policemen?
If the park is 5 minutes away and doesn’t have a bad rep, then you should let him go.
Does he have any school friends that could walk home with him and that would be allowed to go to the park with him (without you)...that might ease you into letting him go on his own?
If you are worried about him taking his phone (which I do understand) then what about getting him a cheap watch that he can set a timer to ensure he doesn't lose track of time?
The park doesn't have a bad rep as far as I know, it's a country park. Some of the surrounding area does definitely but that's most areas of London.
No close by School friends I'm afraid, we moved a year ago so although we're not far from his school we live in a different direction from everyone else.
I think I'll start with a trial for half an hour next week as someone said from 4-4.30 when it's light and likely to be busy.
There may be someone lurking in the bushes watching him though, me!
I agree with cheap digital watch with a timer. Set it to go off 10 minutes before you want him home. You will come looking if he is not home on time. Set a shortish time to start. An hour? And lengthen it.
I did this with all of mine. The phone i did not like due to theft/bullying risk. They can also phone you and beg for more time when you dont actually know where they are! This makes them physically appear at set intervals.
Does he have a friend from school/football that he could arrange to meet up with?
Lastly, get him some really cheap footballs so if someone takes one off him, he can just walk away.
Bloody hell, times really have changed. At 8 I was regularly going to my local swimming baths 15 minutes walk away, taking a dip, then walking home again. All done alone, with no mobile phones nor even a landline in our home. Mind, it was nearly 40 years ago. I couldn't imagine it now!
It depends what the park/area's like really. If the park is safe enough, you should let him go. There's a vanishingly small risk of him getting attacked by a stranger, but if is is forced to spend all his time at home on his own, he may end up unfit, obese, bored and unhappy which would also be very bad for him.
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