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Should you know where your 11 year old is at all times? £2 charity donation for every answer

(265 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 03-Aug-13 09:26:47

We've been working with the charity Railway Children with the help of Aviva and they would like to know how you tackle the difficult balance of keeping your children safe and giving them enough freedom.

In particular they'd like to know:

Our ability to keep in touch with where our children are and what they are doing is greater than ever because of mobiles, but as we relax our hold on them and allow them to have greater independence how can we ensure that they stay safe and make the right decisions?

At what age do you allow your children more freedom and independence and what parameters do you set them?

What discussions do you have with your children about safe behaviour, safe people and safe places to encourage them to keep safe when they are away from the home?

Aviva have kindly agreed that they will donate £2 to Railway Children for every valid comment posted on this thread (up to a maximum of 3 times per user). Railway Children work with UK children who have run away from home and end up living on the streets. Part of their work focuses on preventative education, encouraging children to think and talk about safe people and safe places to help them to make the correct decisions when they are away from the home. You can find out more about the charity and more ways to get involved here

thanks MNHQ

PS please note your comments may be used on the Railway Children pages on MN as well as elsewhere.

passedgo Sat 21-Sep-13 22:29:35

We live in a fairly rough part of London but my dd has been playing on the street since she was 8. There is a group of them but they stay close by. Now she is 13 Iet her go where she wants to as long as she has her phone, knows where she is going and is meeting friends. She has a good sense of danger but isn't scared to try new things.

passedgo Sat 21-Sep-13 22:37:57

My older daughter never played out because there were no other children around who were allowed to. Now at 15 she is far less confident than her sister, she also has less physical confidence . I worry about her slightly more.

edam Sat 21-Sep-13 22:54:40

We started letting ds play out when he was four or five - in a group of children in our street (quiet cul de sac). At that age, I was keeping an eye on them, as were the other parents. As he/they got older, I hovered less and less - if there had been an emergency, I'd have heard the yells...

Once or twice I had to walk round the street to find him, knock on a few doors until I found the right one (the kids go in and out of the houses, so he might be playing at Callum's house, or Richard's, for instance).

Last summer he turned 10 and we startd letting him walk up to school alone after half-term (he volunteered to go up early to sort out the school fruit) . Gave him a (simple, non-smart) mobile and he calls or texts us to let us know he's got to school safely.

Now he's in Year 6 we are allowing him to walk to the shop alone - only when arranged (as in, he can't just decide he's going down there, he needs to ask us first).

I have always, always always drummed road safety into him since he was a toddler, though, reminding him/showing him how to cross the road properly. In the hope that constant repetition will mean stopping, looking and listening both ways before/while you cross becomes second nature, something he does automatically.

edam Sat 21-Sep-13 22:57:48

if we had a corner shop, I'd have let him walk to the shops a while back, btw.

febel Sun 22-Sep-13 16:06:41

I agree with first answer, though mine are older than that now, would like to know where they are, my reasoning being when they said why was that until they are of age I am responsible for them, and if an emergency occurred I would like to know where they were...and a mobile phone can be OUT of charge or signal or they don't hear it. I don't know if mine did always tell me exactly were they were truthfully but I think they did and they didn't have form, as it were, so I trusted them. They also had to be back at a certain time, and if over half an hour late, were grounded/phone taken off them etc Mobiles are useful but are no replacement for actually knowing where kids are, and also cannot be used as a safety aid, as I always said to my kids, someone attacking you (worst scenario!) isn't going to stop whilst you phone for help!

TwoStepsBeyond Sun 22-Sep-13 16:16:21

Mine is 13 now but has been going out with friends for 2 or 3 years. He would ask if he could go as far as the football field, I'd agree then he'd text and ask if he could cross the bridge and go to the nearby shops. Sometimes I would drop him off at the skate park and he'd call to be collected from a shop a mile away.

Now he'll go into town on the bus/bike and be out all day, I trust him to be sensible and I'd rather have him out and about being independent than cooped up playing xbox all day.

PoopMaster Sun 22-Sep-13 16:43:40

I have 2 DDs (aged 2 yo and 12 wo), but have been a Guide leader for several years, the Guides being mostly between 10 and 12 years old. I have found a massive difference in innocence/maturity between the 10 and say 14 year olds who eventually leave us. So many changes seem to take place in those few critical years in terms of independence, peer pressure etc. Based on what I've observed with these girls I would certainly want to encourage a lot of discussion during that age bracket with my own daughters in order to keep the lines of communication open. My own experiences with my mother have taught me that once those lines are damaged it can be very hard to repair them.

In terms of the OP, based on the girls I know of that age I would certainly want to know where an 11 yr old was at all times. All our Guides at this age have mobile phones for this purpose, so that seems to be the norm.

whattodoo Sun 22-Sep-13 20:38:44

My DD isn't 11, but I hope that she will be responsible enough to make sure we are aware where she is at all times. I hope I have the discipline to ground her if she goes 'off radar'. And I hope the threat of grounding will deter her from doing it in the first place.
I make a point of knowing all her friends and their families, I suppose this might be unrealistic at 11, but the better I know her social circle, the more confident I will feel.

Mojavewonderer Mon 23-Sep-13 21:57:00

Yes as I have just downloaded an app so I know where she is at all times.

shannon1 Wed 25-Sep-13 14:44:21

I have 3 boys between 7 and 12 yrs . We have a house rule that they must always tell me where they are. This is to keep them safe , and also allows them some freedom . It is important to teach them self responsibility , at the same time as giving them boundaries. It has worked so far.

ataraxia Sat 05-Oct-13 12:25:56

I don't have an 11 year old but at that age for me my parents didn't need to know exactly where I was at all times, but generally so - i.e. school, a friend's house (which one), riding bikes etc

ataraxia Sat 05-Oct-13 12:27:11

Would be wary of relying on mobile phone contact - kids aren't necessarily where they say they are!

Rockinhippy Thu 10-Oct-13 00:28:17

Yes within reason, to know she is in the care of other sensible adults or safe with a sensible group of her friends is enough. she's very sensible, I trust her, so I don't need the finer details, but she has a mobile phone & keeps in touch anyway smile

I do think its sad though, I was totally free as a kid from a young age, but grew up in the country at a time when roads just weren't anything like so dangerous - we live in a city centre, busy roads, dodgy people, so sadly it's very different for her sad

Rockinhippy Thu 10-Oct-13 00:28:58

Mine is 11 btw

CheekyChimpsMummy Fri 11-Oct-13 09:45:38

Yes. I would trust my child to make the right choices when he's out by himself, but I don't trust other people. When ds is old enough to be out on his own, I will ensure that I know where he is at all times

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