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Can 7 year old DS go to park alone?

(70 Posts)
HerNibs1980 Tue 05-Mar-13 15:08:15

Hi guys,

I have a question. My 7 year old DS is quite responsible for his age. Now we live right opposite a park that I can see from my windows, and we go there as much as we can, although with me doing a full time Uni course maybe not as often as i'd like. Now my 7 year old is begging to be able to go over on his own on days I cant take him. He has his own phone, and I can see the park from my windows and other children of his age play there unattended. Do you think it would be ok for me to let him occassionally go there on his own if he takes his phone with him so I can contact him regularly?

Wallace Tue 05-Mar-13 15:58:23

I took Kateshrub to mean that it is common for 7 year olds to go to the park themselves in civilised countries but unfortunately not the UK grin

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 05-Mar-13 16:02:47

If you are confident he can cross the old, and the park is not frequented by dangerous dogs/gangs/alcoholics/drug addicts then I would let him go.

Bad things happening to kids are incredibly rare, at least as rare as they were when we were all wee. Bad stuff is just reported more in the media and much more hysterically.

You need to be worried about the cars, not the peeedos...

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Tue 05-Mar-13 16:03:24

My "no phone comment" was because I said I would let DD1 go in my 1st post and she has no phone.

There no more children snatched than before it is on the news more though.

CPtart Tue 05-Mar-13 16:03:29

I have a 7 year old and I would say no.

HerNibs1980 Tue 05-Mar-13 16:05:46

That might be an idea, like maybe when I take the kids to the park with me I set off with the younger 2 and tell him he can stay an extra 5 mins and walk really slowly out of the park, and do that for a while and see how we get on??

HerNibs1980 Tue 05-Mar-13 16:09:29

Me too Wallace, thats what I thought. Lol. :D he's actually really good at crossing roads. And the one between us and the park probably has one once every ten mins as its just a little estate road so not busy at all.

TheChaoGoesMu Tue 05-Mar-13 16:13:38

Not sure really. It depends what its like where you live. I couldn't do it here, but I let my 5 yr old do it with a little group ranging from 5 to 8 when we were in france.

Meglet Tue 05-Mar-13 16:15:21

My gut instinct is yes. You can see the park and the road isn't busy.

My 6yo DS has played out the front (out of my sight) with some slightly older children. If there was a quiet park and a road I think would be tempted to let him do it. I know we did when I was a kid, there was a big group of us though.

DeepRedBetty Tue 05-Mar-13 16:21:18

I let mine go when they were in Year 5. But they're twins, and had very strict instuctions to stay together - and I got an older lady, a friend of mine who they didn't really know very well - to go and spy on them check they were behaving the first couple of times too grin

mercibucket Tue 05-Mar-13 16:30:43

You have to go with your own gut instinct on this one, I'm afraid.
I might, if he was a mature 7 year old. I definitely would at 8, but then I am happy enough with our local area. I don't let mine take phones out with them though in case it gets lost or broken

SusannahL Tue 05-Mar-13 16:31:04

This is a very interesting discussion as I have often wondered if my now gownup offspring were still children ,if I would give them the same freedom they enjoyed when they were young.
Mine played outisde under the conditions which HerNibs described. I had plenty of freedom as a child as did my mother. It is so sad that this generation of children is the first not to be given the same amount of freedom to just 'be children' - ride their bikes, climb trees etc.

The point is are we living in more dangerous times now ? Clearly there is far more traffic, but ARE there really more 'weirdos' out there or are they just reported more?

I would say yes let your son prove himself to you to be trusted. He will feel so proud and grown up!

Kendodd Tue 05-Mar-13 16:36:30

I would let him go.

I would be terrified doing so, but I know that that fear is irrational, not risk based, so if I didn't let him go it would be for my benefit (spare me the fear) rather than his. I know there is a tiny risk but I think the benefits for him far outweigh this. Of course this all depends on the child.

I remember seeing on the telly once that 25 years ago the average eight year old could play half a mile from home unaccompanied, now they are not allowed out of their garden without an adult.

FeelsSad Tue 05-Mar-13 16:47:48

I have done so with my two and have no regret at all. There is no way I would have been able to spend that much time at the park.
I started with a short time. 5 minutes more on their own after a trip to the park. I knew they were ok to cross the road. They always have time by which they have to be back home. Started with 5 or 10 minutes. Now building up to 30 min.
It is working well and giving them some independence.
What I would be looking at is who s going to the park but from our description there seems to be quite a few young children, perhaps some friends from school t

thinking1 Tue 05-Mar-13 16:47:59

Agree we give our children much less freedom than I certainly had as a child. It's very sad.

My 8 year old plays out with his friends, he rides his bike with them, scoots, plays in the park. He knows when to come home, and he knows not to stay out on his own. I can't see him at all. Sometimes I let him go to the football pitch around the corner with his brother who is 6 - conditions that they stay together, they only go there and nowhere else, and they come back if there's a problem.

By 12 they'll need to walk to school across town by themselves. How will they manage that if we don't let them out at all until they are over 10?

Personally I don't think there are more "weirdos" out there now. But there is a more powerful media.

FeelsSad Tue 05-Mar-13 16:51:07

.... Some friends from school to play with.
No phone for either. I think, apart from the risk of the phone getting lost or broken, it might also attract the wrong sort of attention.

5madthings Tue 05-Mar-13 16:55:59

Yes I would let him, start by going together then you go home and he can stay an extra ten mins and then come home etc. Its good to start building their independence gradually and a park opposite your house is perfect for that!

nickelbabe Tue 05-Mar-13 16:58:10

I think it's the road that bothers me - that's why i suggested him going on ahead of you so that you can test how well he uses the road when he thinks he's not being watched. smile

Smudging Tue 05-Mar-13 17:11:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WowOoo Tue 05-Mar-13 17:25:56

I've let my almost 7 yr old go with a very sensible 12 yr old boy to the local skate park.

On his own I wouldn't because he's not sensible enough, yet.
He can't be trusted to cross a road on his own. This is my greatest worry. Not the weirdos, but crossing the road. There are some scary drivers out there.

HerNibs1980 Tue 05-Mar-13 17:59:07

Yes I do think its awful that we even have to question this nowadays. When I was a kid I used to go down the local Beacon...(huge hill surrounded by fields), and have a wail of a time with my mates. Some of my best memories came from there. Its such a pity that our kids are so imprisoned. sad I think I may try him bit by bit and see how he goes as he will be 8 in 5 months, is sensible for his age and I dont know...i just trust him you know?....its just others I dont trust.

abbyfromoz Tue 05-Mar-13 18:06:33

No sorry i wouldn't... It's a shame but better safe than sorry... If you know one of the other parents who are with their child at the park perhaps you could ask them to keep an eye on him? 7 is still so little...

Mintberry Tue 05-Mar-13 18:14:48

If you trust the area, I would say go for it. 7 was the age I remember being let out to play by myself (also on a quiet estate) and in all the areas I've lived in since this seems to be the general trend.

I know some people get very paranoid, but you should use your best judgement. I think a little independence can be a good thing.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 05-Mar-13 18:22:53

But why are children today not as free to roam? The risk from cars is greater but the risks of being murdered by a random stranger is no greater now than it was 50 years ago.

atrcts Wed 06-Mar-13 02:02:19

I wouldn't. A 7 year old is vulnerable even if they're well behaved and trustworthy!

I think of parents like the little girl April who was recently allowed to play nearby because 'all the other kids can' and it had always been safe, and how much they tragically must wish they'd have chosen a different path.

I know just because it happens to one parent it doesn't happen to them all, but at 7 I wouldn't take that chance.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Wed 06-Mar-13 03:03:13

My nearly 8 year old has been playing at the park next to our house (no road just over a fence) since he was 5 so I would if you think they're sensible enough.

My ds has a phone too so I can ring him if he goes to a friends house and I need him back, but he doesn't carry it all the time.

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