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Should I let my 15 year old daughter go on holiday without an adult?

(117 Posts)
Countryhousewife Mon 06-Jun-11 13:06:59

I am getting alot of pressure from my DD about being allowed to go on a post GCSE weeks holiday to France with her boyfriend (16) and a few other people, with no adult present. I asked for details of the trip so I could make an informed decision, but she says there are none, they will just see when they get there and flies off the handle. She has assured me that she will not be sharing a room with her boyfriend! She is at a school where lots of the kids are spoiled with this kind of end of term freedom, but I think she is too young to go away like this. She is apparently the only one not allowed to do this sort of thing and it is causing alot of tension and arguing in the house. Help what should I do, does anyone have any advice or experience of this kind of problem and are we being too strict?

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Mon 06-Jun-11 13:11:12

Well, I wouldn't. But not because I don't trust my DD, but I don't trust everyone else she might be with. And teens are notoriously easily influenced. Then again, I'm probably too old fashioned!

And by the way, I very much doubt she's the only one not allowed to do this sort of thing ...

webwiz Mon 06-Jun-11 13:11:15

I would say no - if she can't talk about it rationally she's too young to go!

reddaisy Mon 06-Jun-11 13:13:27

I would say no too. I didn't have my first holiday without adults until I was 18 and the summer after A-levels. They think they know everything at 15 and they know sod all. How would she pay for it anyway? I had to pay for all my holidays.

reddaisy Mon 06-Jun-11 13:15:04

Oh, and I wanted to go on holiday with my friends after our GCSEs when I was 16 and my mum cunningly (although I didn't realise it at the time) said if we could find four friends to go then I was allowed. Only me and my best friend could afford it etc so we didn't get to go. Mum later said she knew I wouldn't be able to find four people to go but it made it look reasonable!!

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 06-Jun-11 13:20:10

I would say "no" too, especially as there are no firm plans. How is she going to pay for it? Where will they be staying, what will they be eating, who will be with her...?

uselesscamhs Mon 06-Jun-11 13:20:14

Interesting that she is ''the only one not allowed to do......'' I've heard this soooo many times from my DS and it's rarely true.

Maybe you could talk with some other parents to find out if it's true wink

IMO she's too immature if she can't discuss it sensibly and 'flies off the handle'

SenoritaViva Mon 06-Jun-11 13:23:49

I would tell her because she is being incredibly immature about it (fighting etc.) this has proved to you that she is simply not ready. I would be very worried about the lack of plans and 'going with the flow'. I am a seasoned traveller/backpacker and this kind of approach, I don't think, is all that appropriate for a first holiday.

Countryhousewife Mon 06-Jun-11 13:25:48

I am feeling that my gut reaction is to say no to this, even though the backlash will be unbearable. She has no idea of the cost involved and just says "I will pay you back", expecting us to stump up. She is supposed to be finding a saturday job this summer when she turns 16, but is not looking too keen at the moment, so I am not sure how she would pay us back, as pocket money only stretches so far. Don't think I could rest while she was away either in case something happened to her. She is quite un-worldly. Your Mums idea sounds good, and I would try it if I didn't think she would make it happen! If it was all girls going, I don't know if I would feel differently, but it feels wrong to let her go with her boyfriend at this age. I was 18 before I went on holiday with friends, but they all want to run before they can walk these days.

slhilly Mon 06-Jun-11 13:26:20

I did a trip like this when I was 16 and was fine (more than 20 years ago now...)

Not only was I fine, so was everyone I went with. No-one got harmed, to my knowledge - except for the sunbathing, as this was at a time when people didn't take as much care about sunburn as today. We lost a camera, which was a bit annoying, but nothing worse happened. We barely even spoke to anyone more than a year or two older or younger than us. However, everyone got drunk quite a lot, no-one slept very much, and there was a lot of sexual activity (ie including, but not restricted to, sex). We had a great time.

I think you need to work out what information you need to know, to make your informed judgement. You say that your daughter won't be sharing a room and I think you're implying ("thank God") - are you concerned that the holiday atmosphere may cause her to engage in sexual activity she'd otherwise steer clear of? If so, can you have a frank conversation about it? What other potential harms are you worried about? And what information could help you decide if your worries are justified?

CestTout Mon 06-Jun-11 13:27:22

We went away at the end of our GCSE's but we went to Great Yarmouth, within two hours of home so if needed we could get home/parents could get to us fairly quickly.

Would be concerned about them going to France alone, can any of them speak proper conversational french? Would they be going somewhere that will have lots of french speaking english? How are they getting there? If by air Ryanair do not accept unaccompanied minors under 16 years.

TheCowardlyLion Mon 06-Jun-11 13:27:38

I agree with those who say that she is clearly not ready to go because she refuses to discuss it rationally. If she was mature enough to go, she would know that the most likely way to get you to agree is to be able to give you all the details, inc phone numbers of accommodation, etc.

noddyholder Mon 06-Jun-11 13:27:42

We have had several rows about this and ds is 17 and wants to go to barcelona to skateboard.

reddaisy Mon 06-Jun-11 13:30:08

Definitely do not pay for her! If she feels she is grown up enough to be going on holiday without any adults then she should be grown up enough to get a job and pay for it like adults have to.

Maybe tell her that if she gets a job and saves up then you will discuss it but not until then.

reddaisy Mon 06-Jun-11 13:30:40

And staying in the UK would be a better idea, camping or something.

reddaisy Mon 06-Jun-11 13:31:33

And of course she will be sharing a room with her boyfriend!

SenoritaViva Mon 06-Jun-11 13:31:46

Aaah, then can you not use the money issue? Say that people save for the holiday and pay for it prior to going rather than getting into debt?

I agree with others that maybe staying in this country might be better. She doesn't sound ready if she is un-worldly.

asdx2 Mon 06-Jun-11 13:32:02

I let my dd go on a post GCSE holiday with a mixed group of friends however they were in this country, I booked the accommodation myself and she was already 16.
There were no disasters, they travelled by train spent a lot of time on the beach (couldn't get served in pubsgrin) and generally mooched about.
Maybe as a compromise you could offer a similar option so long as her behaviour improves.

ringringringring Mon 06-Jun-11 13:32:25

I wonder whether holiday parks/hotels etc would allow unaccompanied 15 year olds to stay? Especially with a boyfriend, as she's under the age of consent, were they to share a room once they get there.

And what's the position on travel insurance - she won't be covered on a family policy (as you won't be traveling with her) and I wonder whether she'd be able to get a policy for traveling on her own, at her age?

She also has no credit card for emergencies etc.

My gut instinct would be that 15 is too young (likewise, my first holiday was after A Levels) but there might be some practical obstacles that are entirely outside of your or her control that you could use to back up a refusal?

slhilly Mon 06-Jun-11 13:32:41

Just read your post re the money. Can you use this as an opportunity to learn? ie
- be clear that if she wants to go, she must pay for the bulk of the cost herself (I personally think it's not unreasonable for her to hope, if not expect, that you'll help pay something towards the costs. She's only a teen and if you were taking her away, you wouldn't presumably ask her to pay for her part of the hols)
- work through with her what it would cost. Nothing to exact, but a ballpark figure - help her get her head round the different expenses involved
- work out a plan with her for how she pays for it ("So it's going to cost £700. We'll pay your travel, that's £150. You'll need to raise £550 yourself. Let's think how you can do that"

Countryhousewife Mon 06-Jun-11 13:32:46

They can speak quite good French, enough to get by on anyway. My concerns are definately sex (not sure if this is already happening, but hoping not), drinking and getting into some sort of trouble, being bothered by someone who sees they are unaccompanied, the list goes on.... She does lie and I know lies to us frequently by altering details to get what she wants. Am I panicking too much?

Finallygotaroundtoit Mon 06-Jun-11 13:36:09

She's 15! A child. The law requires you to protect her!

No way. If there was an accident or someone latched onto a group of naive vulnerable youngsters with no place to stay, the consequences don't bear thinking about.

Incidently wasn't the mother of the 15 year old who drowned in Goa after being raped, prosecuted for neglect? She breezed off and left her daughter with 'friends' - and they were adults.

SenoritaViva Mon 06-Jun-11 13:39:54

I don't think you are panicking she is grinding you down. You probably can't stop the sex between the boyfriend, that's going to happen, but some of the other worries are perfectly legitimate. Sihilly has some very good points.

What about telling her not this summer but offering to go away as a family and she can invite two friends for a long weekend (one of them could be boyfriend). This could make you less evil (or simply just embarrassing I suppose!)

hogsback Mon 06-Jun-11 13:43:15

I cycled round France with two friends after O-levels. We cycled and camped and stayed in youth hostels and ate lots of cheese and drank lots of wine and smoked lots of gauloises. It was fun. This was pre-mobile phone of course and as long as my parents got a postcard and a phone call now and then they were happy. I think people are bit overprotective these days.

ringring - age of consent in France is 15, not that it's really relevant. Youth hostels in France (Auberges de Jeunesses) are very friendly places and fine for unaccompanied teenagers.

Countryhousewife Mon 06-Jun-11 13:43:17

You are quite right, I remember the Goa story. The pressure is enormous though and I am very emotional and tired at the moment as am living with the turbulance of a 15 year old hormonal teenager, which is so draining. She is also quite fragile, and has self esteem issues which she is getting help for. She does wear us down, so eventually it is hard to say no. It is very difficult to stay focussed on the issue at hand, stick to your guns and not get confused when she talks, or rather shouts, at us and tries to confuse us with plans others are making for their trips or tell us we are the most restrictive parents on the planet and we are so unfair. We also get the, when I am 16 I can do what I like and you can't stop me. Thinking of hiding her passport actually.

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