Tell Nationwide about your DC’s moments of independence for a chance to win a £300 voucher. NOW CLOSED

(228 Posts)
RebeccaEMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 21-Oct-16 10:16:27

As DCs edge closer to their teenage years, it can be an uncertain time for parents who have to decide how much independence to give to their teens and when to give them that little bit more responsibility.

In the below ad, spoken word artist Isadora speaks of the freedom she felt when she first received her own house key. For many tweens and teens, being given their own house key signifies a new level of independence. To celebrate their FlexOne current account for 11-17 year olds, Nationwide would love to know what moments made you realise that your own DCs were growing up.

At what age did you make your DCs responsible for their own house key? How did you feel the first time you trusted them to walk to the post box or the local shop on their own? When did you feel confident enough to leave them on their own in the house for a period of time?

If your DCs are still small, what moments of independence do you remember from your own childhood and teenage years?

Everyone who posts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw, and one MNer will win a £300 Love2Shop voucher.



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OP’s posts: |
CMOTDibbler Fri 21-Oct-16 16:58:24

Ds started being able to go to the post box or local shop from 8, bringing himself back from holiday club at 9, and the same to/from school. He's only let himself into the house once but was massively proud of himself for the half an hour till our babysitter arrived

Revealall Fri 21-Oct-16 17:28:09

We live in a very safe town and I was a nanny for many years ( lots of experience with children). So if I'm honest I really wasn't that worried when DS had a key aged 10. I'd seen lots of children on the road to independence
I used to leave him at that age for short trips. Now at 12 I'll leave him for an hour to go running. I will also leave him early evening if I go out but I'm back for bedtime (8.30-9.00).
I won't leave him to cook or eat alone. I am a bit paranoids about choking. For everything else there are neighbours....

BeeMyBaby Fri 21-Oct-16 17:32:28

When we were at the airport for our most recent holiday, DH had gone to take the car back and had left me with our baby, two DDs and 6 suitcases. Unfortunately I wasn't able to manoeuvre all the suitcases to wait in line at the nearby cafe so I allowed my DDs (4&6) to go order themselves (within shouting/viewing distance) so they took the money and ordered for themselves. Sounds easier than it was, they felt very independent!

tooneedyme Fri 21-Oct-16 18:19:09

My ds is only 4 but wants to grab at every inch of independence possible. I allow him outside to go on his skooter when I am able to watch him and is told, "If you can see me, I can see you and if you can't see me, you've gone too far."

LifeIsGoodish Fri 21-Oct-16 18:39:44

The summer before my youngest started school, we were on holiday in France, and all 3 dc became quite confident going alone to the campsite shop to buy our breakfast croissants etc, and choosing alone from the buffets at restaurants. They learned useful phrases in French, too, of course. Perhaps, with him being my youngest, I didn't really twig that dc3 was managing a level of independence similar to his older siblings.

A few days after returning home, dc3 started school. He was bitterly disappointed that Reception children had to have packed lunches in their classrooms, and did not get to have school dinners in the dining hall with the rest of the school, until half-term, as it was considered too overwhelming and challenging for the little newcomers.

One week in, the Head Teacher phoned me. Apparently dc3 had gone to her and politely explained that he was perfectly capable of managing a tray in a self-service restaurant "and I can do it in French, but I won't, because we're not in France here".

She was charmed, and asked if I would be comfortable with him eating outside his class, with the bigger children.

It made me realise that my baby was growing up and I was missing these wonderful moments because I was lumping him in with his older sibs and taking him for granted.

asuwere Fri 21-Oct-16 19:28:48

DS1 has asked for a key but as I do the school runs with the younger DC, he doesn't actually have a need for one yet, I had one when I was about 9 or 10 but I don't remember it being a big thing, I just got it as my mum left for work before I left for school.

I do remember the first time I had to send DS1 to a public toilet on his own when he about 4 - it was in Tesco, I had a trolley with DS2 and DD in it (and shopping) and he really needed and said he would be fine. I was standing right outside and he was fine but was a really looong few minutes!


hungryhungryhippos Fri 21-Oct-16 19:36:50

I still remember the excitement of being given my own key to the house! And walking home from school on my own for the first time, I got lost and my mum nearly had a heart attack!

CopperPan Fri 21-Oct-16 19:53:56

DS2 needed his own key from age 10 when I was stuck doing an afternoon shift one day a week and I couldn't get any childcare. He had the house to himself for an hour before I got home and was very pleased to help himself to snacks whilst waiting for me.

Natsku Fri 21-Oct-16 19:54:14

I have a 5 year old begging for her own key already (not going to happen, she loses everything and isn't going to be letting herself in for a couple years yet)

Didn't get my own house key until I was 13 by which point I was already used to a fair deal of independence so there was never that 'big moment' but I fondly remember being sent to fetch my older brother from the tennis court a few roads away when I was about 9. Nothing better than the feeling when you're walking down the road by yourself thinking you are completely free.

defineme Fri 21-Oct-16 21:25:51

Last year I was poorly and my 10 year old twins were delighted to take over the task of making chicken fajitas for tea. Dd decided to wear rubber gloves to prep the chicken because I have banged on about hygiene so muchgrin they have always done bits and bobs of cooking with me, but I was blown away by them producing a delicious meal from scratch whilst I snoozed on the sofa!

noeuf Fri 21-Oct-16 22:07:52

Door keys and a bus pass at secondary school! The long Summer holiday provided time to practise a bus ride and open the front door. Three down one to go!

leanneth Fri 21-Oct-16 22:19:32

Not sure yet at what age we will give our children house keys. I think I got mine at secondary school age so probably will do something similar- but this depends on our situation and their maturity at the time!

voyager50 Fri 21-Oct-16 22:38:27

When I was first allowed to go to my Grandparent's house on my own was when I first felt independent - it meant crossing a busy main road and I felt very grown up!

TheImpossibleGirl Fri 21-Oct-16 22:45:46

We have a 3-tier school system in this area, so my DD got a key and a mobile phone in year 5, younger than many, as she were getting the bus to/from school every day.

I felt guilty about her letting herself in while I was still at work, but she loved that little bit of time in the house alone. She was very sensible and really enjoyed the independence.

WowOoo Fri 21-Oct-16 22:52:19

I remember having the key when I went to secondary school. It was nice to have a parent free chill out before they came home. I cooked dinner for my mother - my first one for her was cold fried eggs on cold toast. She told me she'd be home at a certain time and I had it ready on the dot. She was a bit late and I'm not sure she was impressed by my meal choice!

My eldest son wants a key, but won't get one for a year or so. He can't even close the front door after himself properly yet.He's got a lot to learn.

StarOnTheTree Fri 21-Oct-16 23:07:19

DD3 (9) has just started walking home from school on her own. My friend said that on the first day my DD walked home she left the playground with her head held high, the air of confidence around her was obvious.

Since then we went to get a key cut for her and she loves letting herself into the house even though I'm there anyway.

jodiecw Fri 21-Oct-16 23:15:29

My 7 year old surprised me a few months ago by making her and her older sister dinner. Her baby brother was only a few months old and still feeding a lot so I was running late making them something. I notice she's not in the lounge & gone quiet so go to investigate. She'd got a chopping board out & used a non sharp knife to cut some cucumber (she was particularly proud of this) & cheese. She'd made them a cheese sandwich with fruit and veg on the side.
Still makes me smile as when I walked in on her I said "oh sorry honey are you that hungry" and she replied "it's OK mummy you were busy with the baby so I thought I'd help you by making us food".

richteaaddict Sat 22-Oct-16 05:42:56

DS had some troublesome teenage years, but in the last 6 months he has gained 5 GCSE grade c and above, got an apprenticeship and passed his drivig test, he has turned his life around, and is heading for a bright future.......2-3 years ago, i would have said prison would have been the only place that could have saved him from himself..............i am one very very proud mummy. DD is tonight babysitting for my friend...........when did she grow up, again i couldnt be prouder

catgirl2 Sat 22-Oct-16 07:51:47

My little ones are 5 and 2 so not much independence yet although school has been an exciting step. I grew up in the countryside so keys were not really a thing for me as we lived on a farm and it was always busy / the house stayed unlocked. I do remember being jealous of my friends house keys though - such a novelty! My first taste of real independence was passing my driving test (3rd time lucky) it was a huge deal for me as there were no buses etc. where we were. My mum must have worried about us so much but she hid it well!

Rigbyroo Sat 22-Oct-16 09:26:57

My two are still tiny but I remember the first time I was allowed to go to town on the bus with friends. I thought my mum would say no, which she did initially and then decided I needed to start being a bit more independent. I was banking on her saying no really and I was terrified. I came home and told her I didn't think I was ready for it!

BeMorePanda Sat 22-Oct-16 11:05:32

I don't really remember getting a key. The back door was always unlocked.

I also walked myself to school age 5 - after the first month or so. I don't recall this being unusual where I grew up.

Dd1 is nearly 9 and pushing for more independence at every opportunity. I've left her at home briefly while I pop to the shops. That's about it. It's very urban here. The roads are my biggest worry.

BeMorePanda Sat 22-Oct-16 11:07:04

I also remember catching the bus to ballet classes on my own age 6.

There is no freaking way my dds would be doing this.

Strawclutching Sat 22-Oct-16 11:23:08

Being able to go off on a Saturday on my own. It seemed so glamorous and exciting. I see flashes with my 3 year old if she goes off with friends on her own. A look on her face of triumph!

kateandme Sat 22-Oct-16 11:55:47

got a key when we went to sceniors school.
left on my own wasn't really a must because always with my older sister and I neither fussed for it.
It came naturally,whether my mum would say she and dad discussed it in depth I'm not sure.but from wha ti can remember it was more of a itl just happen kind of thing and so it did when they saw we were ready.say if they went to the shops or just needed to pop out etc.
it was certainly not as big a thing as it seems to be now due to the world we live in!
we never really wanted mum and dad out the way to be left either,thankfully those teenage yearning didn't hit us haha.
15 I think was the time for mates round on our own.
walking to school was year 5 and 6.
I think that first day of sceniors was a definite change in what we did on our own.

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