Would you allow your 13yr old to go and stay with people you don't really know?(34 Posts)
My 13 yr old has a sporty hobby which he spends nearly all of his spare time either doing or editing videos of him doing it. This is a fine thing, he is keeping very active which is something we are happy about and actually the videos are pretty good too.
However it is a hobby that only a few of his local friends are interested in , he has made other friends a bit further afield who seem as obsessed as he is and I am happy for them to come here for the day or for him to go there but there are a few of them now talking about having a meet up in the summer and staying at someone's house who I haven't met . Obviously I would meet them on the day but other than that they will be a stranger .
My first reaction is to say no way but I don't know if I am over reacting or if he is really pushing it.
Up until now he has only stayed at homes where I have known the friends and the parents for a long time .
Is this just the age he is and a hurdle I just have to get over ?
So it's people that he's met many times (in real life) but you haven't met them?
I think you should let him go.
Did this not already start happening when he started secondary school?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Some he will already have met a couple of times but not at the house they will be staying in .
We had one sleepover in yr 7 where I had only met the parents briefly but I felt different about it because it was still very local . This will be over an hour away.
I am happy to be told that it is all normal and I am being a bit of a drama queen by the way its just all a bit new to me.
He really has had a tight knit friendship group since reception (about 10 of them) so I think that is making it harder too.
Does everyone think I am wrong to be anxious about this ?
I would really appreciate some feedback.
I would say if it wa local it would be fine as you could check out more easily whether are. However given they are an hour away and you know nothing about the family i would suggest that your DS gets the phone number of one of the parents. Call them to check it is okay for your DS to stay. If they sound way then agree to let him go but with the proviso that if, when you re dropping him, there is something about the house or family that makes you concerned, he is taken straight home. I am sure it will be fine but putting a few things in place, and making sure your DS understands what these are, should keep him safe and alleviate any worries you might have.
It's normal to be cautious, that's just being a caring parent. Could you phone the people he'll be staying with and speak to them, just to say hi and to thank them for having your DS to stay? At least then you'll have had some contact, which might allay some of your concerns.
Since starting high school, DS has wanted to visit his new friends' houses, sometimes for sleepovers or birthday parties, and we don't necessarily know the parents, but have always texted/called to say hi before he goes. We won't do this forever, obviously!
I probably wouldn't tbh or I'd insist he kept his mobile on him at all times and have some sort of code for a response if he wants to come home now.
Would it work for you to potentially offer to host the sleepover? Are the others more friendly/know one another?
I wouldn't, you don't know if these parents have the same values as you. What if they're allowed tech in their room all night and, egging each other on, start watching all sorts on the internet? Very vulnerable age.
I agree that if you speak to the parents first then it will be ok. It's no different to DC staying with friends from secondary school...most of them don't know one another's parents etc.
I wouldn't let him go. This is different to sleepovers with school friends. You don't know them or the responsible adults. I would suggest he goes for the day and you will drop him off and pick him up. But then I'm protective parent living in a bubble.
Thank you , you have made me feel a lot better about this .
I will definitely be speaking to them first and we will be taking him to the house so will meet them then .
Just all new territory for me .
jo1000 Surely they could do that in anyones house at any time? Does that mean 13 yo boy should never have friends to stay over? I think some simple precautions are all that are needed. You need to start letting children of that age have some independence.
user we really don't have the room to have 4 extra in the house otherwise that I what I would offer and up till now when it has been him meeting one of two at a time that is exactly what we have done .
So far all the boys have been a delight to have here so that's a good sign.
Not sure why it's different to any secondary school sleepover.......
well yes i would at 13, by the time they are in secondary i found my dc friends were far and wide and i had to trust their judgement
There may be a couple of pitbulls living in the house, they may be heavy smokers, alcoholics antisocial behaviour.
At 13 I would have wanted to meet the parents myself, and ideally visit the house.
For those saying you wouldn't allow it what is your main concern ?
I do generally live on the assumption that most people are good people so for me I think it's the fact he will be over an hour away .
My son is 15 now but he has been doing this since he was 13.
I'm fine with it - I trust his judgement. I don't insist on speaking directly to the parents or meeting them but I do make sure we communicate by email or text so I know exactly who he is staying with, where they live, how we can communicate in an emergency and that they are happy with the arrangements too.
Giving DS a little more responsibility at this age is good for everyone.
If it's an hour away, at least you can go with him and check it out. And make sure he knows that if he is at all uncomfortable, he just needs to text and you'll come and get him.
Having said that, we did let our 13yo daughter go and stay with complete strangers in a foreign country, when she went on exchange to Germany with school. Sure, her teachers were around to help out if needed, but we had never met her exchange partner's parents or siblings and she spent a lot of time at their house. There was no "vetting" of families as far as I could tell.
Was it terrifying? Yes. Did she have a fabulous time? Yes!
I will meet the parents at drop off and I will also call first . My ds will be told that if my instincts tell me something is up then he won't be staying but I suspect that in reality I will drop off , have a nice chat with perfectly normal and actually extremely generous parents and go away feeling a little nervous but happy that he will have a ball without me .
The more I am talking about it on here the more I am realising that this is just another normal hurdle I have to get past and we have been lucky not to have the issue earlier.
It really depends on your son.
How sensible is he? Do you trust him to make wise friendship choices? Do you talk to each other? Would he call you if there was a problem?
My DD at 14 started going to stay with a friend she had met on the Internet. I met her mom and we spent the day together and she is really nice. They live an hour and a half's drive away from us so don't see each other very often. I drop her part way and have never been to their house.
Almost 2 years on the friendship is still really strong. She is now my DD'S best friend and it's the best thing I ever did.
OP- sounds sensible.
It is a hard time, letting the rope go slowly, my oldest is 19 now, he is abroad working and travelling for a gap year- I don't even know which city he is in!!
So from that position that you are in there has been a lot of unraveling and judgement calls over the years.
It is hard, but at 13 I don;t think kids have the adult sensibilities to sense when other adults are OK or not.
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