New to parenting a teenager(17 Posts)
Help! We have just taken over full-time care of my almost 15yo dss (unplanned and suddenly). Other half is doing most of the setting limits but we are a bit out of our depth. How late do people let their children of this age stay out if they are travelling home by bus? Any other tips I need to know about? We take his phone/xbox etc off him at night otherwise he would stay up all night but don't limit it during the day at the moment as we are taking things slowly dealing with one thing at a time.
I have a ds (1) so I am used to worry about him being ill etc, but am finding it hard to deal with a new type of worry about the teenager being out and what he might be up to! arggghhh
Omg, talk about in at the deep end!
Everyone will say different I expect, but I would say 9 on a weekday and 10 on a weekend. But I am quite tight!
I don't limit screentime during the weekend, but I do turn off the WiFi to get homework done, etc
I'd agree with those times, TickTock. I also had a rule that I needed to know roughly where they were (e.g. which friend's house). Later nights could be negotiated in advance e.g going to cinema, but I needed to know how they were getting home, who they were with etc.
You will know from your baby that parenting is a huge learning curve. Straight in at 15 is tough.
MN will give you a wide range of views on the amount of freedom to allow and this topic will always get replies from people who actually have teenagers (as opposed to those with toddlers who think the same principles apply). I'm guessing he's had problems?
I guess it depends where you live. Parenting older teens means a lot of night time taxiing where we live as there is no public transport, not at 15 though.
At 15 I would always want to know exactly where they were.
While I wouldn't have a problem with them being a bus ride away in the daytime I would not be comfortable at night.Mine are a little older now but at 15, as long as homework is done I would let mine go to a friends on a school night but expect him in bed by 10.
Weekends I would let them stay out later as long as it was all pre arranged and I knew exactly where they were. Bedtime was whenever they wanted on weekends, I found that freedom was popular.
I have a DS who is 15. I don't have a "one size fits all" time limit about how late is OK, because it depends on the area where he is, what he is doing and whether he is making his way back with friends or alone.
If my DS was travelling back from town by train, I don't think I would want him getting a later train than the 9.30 one if he was on his own (15 minute train journey that would mean he'd be home by 10). I'd be OK with a bit later if I knew he was travelling back with a group of friends (but wouldn't expect him to be out after 10 if he had school the next day unless it was for something special). On Saturday evenings my DS regularly meets up with a group of friends at the house of one of the group. There is no convenient bus route between the houses of most of his friends and our house, so the issue of getting the bus back doesn't arise. I often end up driving to pick him up some time between 11.30 and midnight (OK for me because I'm a bit of a night owl so would not be in bed by then anyway, and his friends are no more than a 10 minute drive away.) I have sometimes given him money to get a taxi home if I want to be free to get to bed a bit earlier. I am OK with my DS being out that late knowing that he is at a friend's house. I would not be OK with him simply wandering the streets at that hour. I always want to know whose house he is going to. Whenever he goes out I expect my DS to let me know where he is going, and to text me if he moves on somewhere else. I expect him to keep an eye on his phone and reply promptly if I text him.
Thanks for all your replies-very useful for me as I don't know anyone with children this age. I think we are expecting him back at roughly similar times to all of you. He is in bed at 10 on school nights and when he wants at the weekend but has to be home earlier. I do think that he is just hanging around with friends outside some of the time when he goes out and I don't feel very comfortable with that. He also seems to spend a lot of time out with friends at the weekend. Obviously a contrast to a one-year-old! and I suppose what teenagers want to do.
Yes, SecretScwirrels he was not being well looked after where he was before and I think there were very few limits in place so when we set boundaries he tends to say ''so and so let me do it' which is annoying. Guess it will take time.
hanging around with friends outside This worries me more than the home time.
At a friend's house watching a film or gaming is fine. Hanging around the streets is never a good idea. I'd think carefully about restricted online access too much because if he's chatting on social media at least you know where he is.
One tip with teens is to pick your battles. Ignore the less important stuff like messy rooms and chores if you can.
How to enforce rules which have never been in place before? I don't know. It's hard enough when you have had 15 years of good groundwork.
I wonder if you might find help on the fostering topic?
Thanks SecretScwirrels. Yes, hanging around doesn't sound good does it. I am not sure about this so will investigate further
I have had a look at Step-parenting and might post there when I get the chance. Didn't think of Fostering though so will have a look at that too.
You've a tough job! I moved in with a step teenager quite a few years ago - I found it harder than toddlers!
It's hard but if you and DP can, I'd agree some really basic safety rules right away and start off strict and take a bit of flack. But choose only a few. Hanging around outside would be number one.
If there is anything the boy likes, sports, martial arts anything, get him into a good club and drive him there and back. Keep him busy with physical stuff like that. He'll be pretty vulnerable emotionally too so if you give him lots of activities to boost him up. Otherwise he might just want you all to piss off with 'don't hang around outside' rules. Also get his friends over at weekends. One or two at a time. Get to know him. Give him a good space - his bedroom, or spare room to make his home. If you manage to get his trust you'll be able to negotiate rules and stuff.
Wow. Quite a steep learning curve!
Welcome to the teenage board though - loads of great advice on here so keep coming back.
I agree with others who say I have never had a fixed time - it depends what they are doing. If they are doing an activity that doesn't finish until 9.30, then that's fine - they won't obviously be in at 9 but, as long as I know where they are and that what they are doing in acceptable or even positive, then the time is less important.
I think the 'hanging around' is more concerning. Particularly now in the Winter. I would get him to invite a friend over rather than have him 'hanging' in parks or on street corners, or try to persuade him to get involved in something. I realise that might be more difficult if that's not the way he's been brought up, but there may be an appealing hobby - rock climbing or something ?
DS is 14 (year 10) and he goes to bed at 10 school time and whenever he wants at the weekend/school holidays.
He joined the gym as he knows I don't agree with hanging around on the streets in the dark so he tends to go to the gym 3-4 times a week (or at least that is what he tells me ). He also has a couple of hours job 3 days a week at his insistence which I am happy with as it keeps him busy besides the money benefit.
Weekends he tends to go out into town with friends for a few hours on a Saturday or hangs around some friends house but I do pick him up by 9 pm unless there is some sort of a party and I have spoken to the parents in which case I pick him up later.
I have to say I am dreading summer as he will want to be out more which makes me anxious more, gone are the days when I was happy that he is out getting fresh air, now I am wondering constantly what he is up to even though in theory he tells me where he is but at this age there is no guarantee he is where he says he is.
Good luck, the "pick your battles" advice is the the best, my standards and expectations are now much lower than when he was 12...
Thanks all for your replies and for the welcome Backforgood. He goes to the gym too - which I thought was weird for a 14 year old but it turns out there is a session for people of his age. He is probably going to start football training too one weekday evening.
Weekdays seem to be going pretty well so far and he goes to bed on time and gets to school on time which is great as he had a problem with this before so we are really pleased.
I did find the weekend stressful though. I think he was hanging around on Friday night because he went out to a local shopping centre and came home at 8 when the shops would have closed at 6ish. He wasn't happy that we had made him come home at that time. He then said he wanted to stay over at a friends house on Saturday. I thought he might be using that as a way of getting to stay out later, but we did manage to talk to the other guy's dad (after asking for his number repeatedly) and it turns out he was where he said he would be. He spent a lot of Sunday daytime hanging around with friends too, so we would like to get him involved with something at the weekend - maybe football again.
I am not looking forward to the Easter holidays for similar reasons Fleurdelise and I am hoping there are some activities he can get involved with - maybe more football.
He has also asked to go to two parties in a few week's time and we have said we will think about what time he needs to be back and get back to him. Him even asking in advance is a step forward though because I am pretty sure he is used to just going out and nobody asking when he will be back or saying anything or planning ahead at all - so feeling quite positive at the moment and posting on here has really helped
Regarding parties: ensure you talk to the parents of the DCs holding the party to make sure they are there. We realised last year that some parties were unsupervised. As to the time to be home after a party I confirm with the parents the time the party would finish and pick him up then or have other parents doing the rounds, again, confirm with the parent doing the pick ups that they are indeed doing it.
It sounds like he is at least somewhat welcoming limits. ime, teens LIKE rules. They want at least a semblance of absolute boundaries & guidelines for right or wrong. They are keen to find positive role models and moral systems.
Is there a room in your house you could convert to become a teenage doss den? To let him invite his friends back there? Downstairs where you & OH can keep half an eye on him with his mates. Better than hanging on street corners.
covewove71 that all sounds like a promising start.
The minefield of teenage parties has been the topic of many a thread on teenagers. Have a look at some.
I'm guessing you live in a town or city rather than rural?
Be prepared to deliver him (so you know where he is) and pick him up. At 14 I think 11.30pm is probable reasonable.
There is a dilemma about alcohol. Most parties of 16 year olds involve alcohol. At 15 it's not so common but it does happen. Less likely if they are 14. You need to be prepared for this if not for these parties then for later.
There is always one who gets drunk on vodka.
The usual thing is that the host provides soft drinks and the guests take their own drinks. My two were allowed to take a couple of beers or ciders from age 16.
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