14 year olds - how far are you happy to let them go on their own?(15 Posts)
I have a (just turned) 14 year old.
We live on the Isle of Wight. At the moment she has (I think anyway) a fair amount of freedom. She gets on the bus and toodles about all over the Island
She now wants to go shopping in Southampton with her friends - we have rubbish shops, she wants the bright lights of Primark.
I'm really not comfortable with this. It feels too far away, although distance-wise it's not really any further away than if she was the other side of the Island.
I quite happy with her doing her own thing over here, if anything goes tits up we're never that far away from her, but if anything was to go wrong in Southampton it'll take a while for us to get over to her, what if the weather turns and the boats are cancelled/what if she gets lost/has an accident/all sorts of unlikely what ifs?
I did consider offering to go over with them, do my own thing for the day, and then meeting up with them at home time, but I think in DD's eyes this would be worse than not going at all.
I really don't know, that little strip of water feels huge right now, and obviously, all the others are allowed to go
My dd will be 15 in February. I let her go into town, walk with her mates into the woodland ten minutes walk from our house, and go over to friends houses across town.
But; I will not let her venture into our neighbouring city, a 15 minute train ride, on her own just yet, I don't feel comfortable with that, it's just feels a step too far and out of my control. This is despite the fact that across town is a reasonable distance and would take a while to get to.
I get where you are coming from OP.
Personally I'd probably find some urgent appointment that takes me to Southampton on that day, (travelling separately) but I'm a wimp.
Do you know anyone in Southampton who could be an emergency contact if anything did happen?
Let her go, just make sure she knows what to do if anything goes wrong.
Tricky. I'd probably be in Southampton too at the end of a phone if necessary!
She's an island kid. Has she been to the mainland much at all? The reason I ask is that as a mainlander holidaying on your beautiful island it felt very much like a step back to my own childhood in the 1970s - a much less pressured , safer place. Am I wrong?
If I'm right I think maybe a trip over with her as a " shadow" would be the best thing as a first off.
We did this with out eldest on the train - she travelled on her own but I travelled too- in another carriage, going to a coffee shop whilst she did what she did then home again with minimal contact .the level of contact I'd expect for a 14yr old on a big day out, if I was home would be a text to say " got the train " arrived and got the right one back. Etc.
Yes, she does go to the mainland regularly. We have family and friends over there, we all go to Southampton or Portsmouth fairly regularly.
I do feel more comfortable letting her have more freedom here. If she gets on the wrong bus she won't end up in Manchester, she's fairly confined to a small area. A couple of times she's lost her bus ticket and we've had to go and pick her up, it would be a bloody nightmare if she lost her boat ticket.
I am quite tempted to go over too, just get a different boat and she'd never know I was there.
Shamla that's an ideal plan. Set the level of contact you'd expect if you were home and make sure she knows what that is then invisibly shadow her. She'll never know and you will feel happier. You only need t do it the once after all.
I think you should let her go.
Just make sure she has the number of your family / friends in Southampton in her phone, and check they are around that day, in the very unlikely event she should need them.
It's always a bit of a worry the first time you let dc take the next step, but, tbf, it doesn't sound like this is unmanageable
Go with your gut reaction. If it doesn't feel right then don't let her go. Or as others have suggested let her go, but only when you are also going over. What if you agreed to her going, against your better judgement, then something happened. You would kick yourself. I know you want to make her happy, but at the end of the day you are the adult.
It sounds like I would let her go. She knows exactly how the ferries work, how to get to the mainland using public transport and the routes to walk to get to the shops she likes?
I think you probably need to know that there is an adult contact "in range" for emergencies, at the very least. Thinking about it, by that age I often spent holiday days free-ranging with my younger sister in the city where I grew up - but that had started with busking near where my father worked, or doing holiday challenges in the museum, and gradually increased. Also, from 11 I was catching the train into said city regularly for school. My eldest is currently 13 and I think I'd have similar uncertainties to yours.
If I were in your shoes I would be telling her that she could go and that I would be going on the same ferry with her and meeting her to catch the ferry home. You are the parent and you understand the dangers of the world and also the silly little things that can go wrong too. It's understandable that your DD wants to stretch her wings and go completely alone. But as she hasn't done this before then it's your rules this time and then you can have more confidence if her going alone next time. You don't need to bend to her wishes as you have more knowledge and experience than her.
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