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Argh. Half term, 14 yo boy, wants to 'hang out'...

(29 Posts)
isitabiofilm Sun 27-Oct-13 17:59:04

I am inclined to say no to my 14 yo who has asked if he can 'hang out' in a local village with some mates, while we are at work. He has no particular plans, just to meet up with a mate and go to an unspecified girl's house. I have said I have no problem with him going to someone's house if I know where he is going to be, and for how long and somewhere where I can find him if need be. Or for him to have his friends over here. Or to meet them in town and do something specific like go to the cinema. Or book a badminton court, go swimming etc..

But general hanging out, with people unknown, in a village with lots of 'teenage boy hanging out type problems cos there's feck all to do there' that is a bus ride away, for an unspecified amount of time, or in some girls house with no discussion about whether her parents are expecting a bunch of teenage Boys to be there. I don't think so, but since he's my first ever teenager, except for the irresponsible one I was many years ago, perhaps you can advise me if this is ok and I'm just being an arse.

Strumpetron Sun 27-Oct-13 18:01:28

He's 14, I think he needs a bit more freedom to be honest. Kids don't always have to make plans, or have something specific to do. It's just socialising with friends.

I was off gallivanting everywhere at that age.

Strumpetron Sun 27-Oct-13 18:02:15

Has he got a curfew? Is there a reason you'd 'need to find him'?

ssd Sun 27-Oct-13 18:03:58

he wont do what suits you forever

lljkk Sun 27-Oct-13 18:04:59

Let him go. Make sure his phone is charged up & ask him to reply to texts within 10 minutes.

isitabiofilm Sun 27-Oct-13 18:08:01

Yes. I thought you might all say that. grin

So I just breathe, and don't conjure up images of pregnant 14yo girls turning up at my house. Or policemen dragging him home by the ear for throwing fireworks at old ladies..!?

God, I need LESSONS.

Strumpetron Sun 27-Oct-13 18:09:38

Aw you're bound to be worried! But you can't keep him in the house because of what 'could' happen.

Just give him a curfew, tell him to make sure his phone is charged and to answer all texts and phonecalls, and try to relax! grin

ElephantsAndMiasmas Sun 27-Oct-13 18:18:54

Well, you know your son and his friends. Is he likely to be getting together to play some kind of horrendously incomprehensible computer game (if people still do the thing where they connect their games together to make one big game)? Sitting around watching crappy films and chatting about people at school? Or smoking weed in someone's garden shed?

I would probably want to know the name of the girl and her address "in case something goes wrong with your phone and we need to get hold of you".

And have a sniff of his clothes when he comes back

AMumInScotland Sun 27-Oct-13 18:20:36

Yeah, you just have to take a deep breath and let him

But you can say to him "Look sunshine I am trusting you here. If you mess up then it will be much harder to convince me the next time. If you are unhappy about what people are doing, you leave. If you don't like the people your mates are hanging out with, you leave. If you think if I heard about what happened later I would take a fit, you leave. Got it?"

BoundandRebound Sun 27-Oct-13 18:24:21

You have to let go

It hurts but less each time you do it its easier

But we have mobiles now

Sparklingbrook Sun 27-Oct-13 18:29:03

Yes, i own a 14 year old DS and I know what you mean. I think AMum has it exactly right. Read the riot act and let him show you he can be trusted.

And YY to knowing what he will be up to. Mine would be at other boy's houses playing PS3 and eating probably.

Claybury Sun 27-Oct-13 18:32:27

I'm not so sure. My DS15 started going out a lot age 13 and I was relaxed about it. Only to find out at 14 that he'd been smoking weed ( now moved on to stronger stuff) for some time. I'd made assumptions about where he was/ other parents control etc. now I'm finding it hard to lay down the law. (Easier to let reigns out than to tighten them) he was having sleepovers so we wouldn't see him stoned and the friends parents knew about the drugs but didn't tell me.
Personally I would advise setting a few rules /curfews you can agree on with him and not allowing sleep overs without a landline no. I didn't do this and I regret it.
Of course your son might not be like this at all, but then I thought mine was more sensible....

Pickle131 Sun 27-Oct-13 19:04:15

I agree with claybury. My 13yo DS said he was going to a friend's house last weekend, wasn't specific about which, ended up hanging out at a girl's house watching an age-inappropriate film, playing an age-inappropriate game, and when I took the mobile off him - turns out he'd been bragging about alcohol and girl-related things, quite likely untrue but that's irrelevant. In my son's case, he's failing to make sensible decisions when given trust. I'm all for giving him as much responsibility as he can prove trustworthy with, but he's not ready for it. Just 'hanging around' was never good in my teens mid '90s. Aimless freedom meant drinking, drugs, smoking, stealing, sex, vandalism, theft. At 13-14. I won't allow hanging around for my son any more because I can see where it'll lead. I believe also that at his age there's less risk of the boundary setting backfiring into open rebellion.

SharpLily Sun 27-Oct-13 19:09:02

Thing is, if you don't start to loosen the reins he'll 1) start to rebel and 2) never learn how to behave independently. At that age kids differ vastly in levels of maturity - do you trust him to behave? I'd go with AMum's idea: innocent until proven guilty. Put the onus on him to justify your trust but be vigilant and come down hard if he lets you down.

isitabiofilm Sun 27-Oct-13 19:21:26

Ah, so I'm not just being an arse? Heh. Actually saying no was quite useful, because he went off on one about how unreasonable I am etc.. And this shifted into a fairly mature conversation about boundaries. Part of the problem is we don't actually know him all that well, because he doesn't talk about stuff very often. I try, but he either clams up or kicks off. So it was quite refreshing to have an actual discussion. He'd been to a friends party on Friday, incidentally, the same one he wants to hang out with. The parents were there, but dis told me he was one of only two kids who were not drinking alcohol. I said I was proud of him and asked him why. He said, because you told me not to. And I reminded him that I hadn't. In fact, his dad and I told him we were exposed to lots of drinking and stuff at his age any got ourselves into scrapes we regretted, but that we understood he'd be exposed to lots of stuff he might want to try. So what I actually said was to try it if he really wanted to, but not to feel he had to, just to be cool, or because someone else was pressuring him. And he needed to be aware of the consequences of getting drunk etc..

So that was a good result. I just wanted to have a similar conversation about what hanging out meant, but when he just kicks off about how much we are idiots etc, it's very hard to engage his mature side. I have told him endlessly that if we can talk, he can persuade me that he already understands the issues. It's bloody hard work.

Strumpetron Sun 27-Oct-13 19:22:51

pickle and claybury just because your sons didn't behave as you expected doesn't mean the OP's ds won't. He has to be given the opportunity, it shouldn't be withheld from him just because others haven't done the right thing. That's hardly fair. Plenty of kids are perfectly well behaved and just enjoy themselves

At 14 he needs to be given some freedom, if he abuses it then only then should it be taken away. He needs to prove himself. Like sharp said he could potentially rebel later on and a little bit of independence can really make a teenager. It's a learning curve like anything else.

I wish I could be 14/15 again grin no worries, just hanging around aimlessly with friends the days drifting by. Years of his life he'll never get back, and some of the few he'll have that he doesn't have to worry about exams, etc.

Strumpetron Sun 27-Oct-13 19:24:52

isita you sound like a lovely mum yano. I remember ring exactly the same at his age (only 8 years ago!) it was rarely I opened up to my parents. He'll get there, he might even surprise you (in a good way of course wink )

MaryZombie Sun 27-Oct-13 19:29:02

Oh God.

Have the words "playing fields", "drinking cider", "bonfire night" and "everyone else does it" come up in conversation yet?

You have to let him go. Make him look at bus times and give him a set time to head home.

And try (I'm still trying) to make him realise that if he texts you and let's you know what he's doing you will be much more likely to let him do it. So if you got a text at 12 saying "at village, having vodka chips), another one at 3 saying "in X's house, playing PS2" and another at 4 saying "on bus home", you will be very very happy.

Instead of disappearing for ten hours and not answering his phone [bitter]

Strumpetron Sun 27-Oct-13 19:30:58

MaryZombie laughing at vodka chips!

MaryZombie Sun 27-Oct-13 19:31:07

Having said all that, ds2 is now 15 and has had quite a bit of freedom, and has not (to my knowledge, or to dd's who keeps an eye) ever done anything without telling me. Some kids are naturally pretty good.

Some aren't of course. But forbidding him from going won't make him stay at home in that case.

SharpLily Sun 27-Oct-13 19:33:17

Quite, Mary. If my parents said I couldn't do this or that, I just lied and did it anyway - and I wasn't a particularly rebellious or difficult teenager. It's what they do.

isitabiofilm Sun 27-Oct-13 19:37:37

Don't put more ideas into my head! Everyone does it is a regular refrain. To which my standard reply is usually, yeah, the ones who don't need any GCSEs... The cider/fireworks combo is the one, along with pregnant girls, that is looming largest right now. But it IS all imaginary on my part for now.

Yeah, regular text updates are the way to go. I have said he can go into town with said mates, where there is actually stuff to do.

Claybury Sun 27-Oct-13 19:38:49

I agree staying in touch number 1 priority. My son was brilliant at it. He got away with all sorts though, we never had cause to worry ! Mobiles are great aren't they - you can be anywhere though when you are texting ! He rarely answers my calls, presumably so I couldn't hear wild party in background. ALWAYS texted me back.

You do have to let him out, I think, but set some ground rules. I'm sure I never said to my 12 year old 'yes you can go out just don't smoke weed'. Things that are obvious to us maybe need spelling out to them.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Sun 27-Oct-13 21:03:25

Also maybe a good idea to say he can have his friends over and then end up being in for part of the time if you want a look at them. As a teenager one or two of my friends' parents were extremely suspicious (mostly wrongly) of what we were up to, and they were always the same ones who wouldn't let their kids have friends over. The ones who did had the sense to look at us and realise that drinking 4 alcopops between eight and playing board games wasn't exactly setting us up for a life of debauchery and crime.

isitabiofilm Sun 27-Oct-13 22:44:23

Rofl though at sniffing his clothes when he gets back. Oh god, that's one of those transitioning to being parent of a teenager that I am going to have to do, aren't I? Like the moment when they're taller than you, and realising you no longer want to wash his sheets for him because you would rather just not know stuff...

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