Allowing 13 year old DD to go out on her own(28 Posts)
We have just had another big discussion about going out on her own. He dad says she is not to, I am totally afraid of not being able to contact her/her not contacting me to let me know where she is and that everything is okay, and she is trying her utmost to convince me that even if her phone runs out of charge and I can't get hold of her it doesn't mean she's been abducted. Just don't know how to start, how to get to where we feel comfortable and it is normal for her to be out and about and free to come and go as she pleases. Is the age important? Is it all down to the individual? In a quandary; realise a lot of it is down to my fear, but also need advice on how to gradually build up to allowing her to go out on her own. Just need advice on sensible boundaries, what is reasonable.
Where does she want to go? By 13 most kids are allowed out with friends into town, cinema, meals etc. IME this usually starts at about 11 when they start high school.
Or do you mean at night?
It is worrying but it's an essential part of growing up, you need to let her spread her wings. We have loads more contact with our teens with mobiles etc than our parents ever did. What is your DH afraid of?
It's not clear what boundaries you have already. E.g does she walk home from school alone, go into town on weekends with her friends? Or are you asking about her going out late at night?
Or are you saying she has no freedom at all?
What do you mean "go out"?
If you just mean into town to hang out with her friends, get a McDonald's, have a look around the shops etc. then I think 13 is completely fine. Fuck me, I was heading into Birmingham City Centre "on my own" (i.e. to meet friends) when I was 10 back in the days before mobiles
If it's just going into town etc. then I actually think you need to let her do it. At my school, the kids who weren't allowed out by their parents were bullied mercilessly.
I'd definitely let her out, mainly because you don't want her feeling like she is trapped and can't do things like her friends can. If she has her phone on her, she will be OK. I'd recommend you suggest her taking her phone charger out with her so when she's somewhere with plugs she can charge it. A lot of restaurants the young ones go to such as Pizza Hut and Nando's have plug sockets in their stores so even if it's not died from battery yet, she can top up the charge. You want her to have respect for you in the long term (as the teenage years are hard) and for that to work, you have to show respect to her too (which is allowing her to go out!) x
Need more information, details about what you mean by out
I think it's wrong to have a blanket ban on a 13 year old going out, but putting som terms and conditions on it is totally reasonable.
So you need to know who she is meeting, roughly what the plan is, and get an undertaking that she will text if plans change (eg: my DD and friends have some places where they hang out, and I'm Ok with her going to any of those or close friends' houses, but she has to let me know if they go somewhere else, and she has to stay with at least one other person).
You need to agree what time she will be returning and how. If she wants an extension, you need to agree what is the latest time she can ask for it.
And you can restrict further depending on time of day, completion of homework, other commitments etc.
By 13, she should already be going to the cinema / shops etc with her friends, on the road to independence. If you mean “out to hang around the city streets in the dark doing nothing concrete” then no, I wouldn’t let her v
My DDs are 13 and 14 and are allowed to go out on their own to meet friends etc. (Not at night though , or rather they are allowed ot go to a firends house on weekend nights but they get lifts).
We live in London and they use public transport quite happily (tube and bus) to meet friends at Covent Garden, Hampstead etc. or to go to a friends house (if not in walking distance).
They are supposed tolet us know roughtly where they are (and how long they will be) including a call if there is a change in plan. They are also supposed to have their phone charged so can be contacted. There have been a few occasions where a phone has run out of charge and it has caused me a little anxiety, but I have explanined why i have been anxious and they seem to get it and have impoved at keeping thier phone charged (with help of portable chargers) or at least texting me or calling me from a friend's phone to let me know.
Charge thing, that tops up a phone charge when out. Someone will come along who remembers what they're actually called.
Does she never go outside by herself? At 13? I'm worried what life lessons she's missed out on? Crossing roads? Not flashing cash? How to seek help if there's a problem, and from whom?
Keeping a wary eye out? Feeling confident to be assertive, or turn on her heel if someone speaks inappropriately to her?
She needs to learn some stuff, fast.
What age do you think your DH will 'allow' her to go out? I think you're setting yourself up for some rebellion here and deceit.
Independence is an evolving thing with pre teens/teens.
I'm not saying it isn't a worry, it is and the worries change as they get older. My 16 year old has got her first boyfriend, a slightly older lad with a car .... so now I'm worrying about him driving her about. Is he drinking/smoking weed, is he a careful driver etc etc. I'm not going to stop her going out with him but we talk to her a lot about our concerns and just cross our fingers 🤞
I agree we need clarification by what you mean "out" ?
I think that at that age she should be allowed a bit of freedom to explore- shops in the daytime, meet friends at Costa- that sort of things.
I went to a parenting lecture years ago and one of the things that stuck with me as DC have much less freedoms today than we did- the lady said " by the time we are letting them make the mistakes they need to make they are too old to make them"
What she meant is they need to grow up developing the skills- travelling, meeting curfews, coordinating outings etc.
Plus impt for your DD to develop confidence in herself ( and for you to have confidence in her and for her to know it)
It's hard letting go but better a gradual one...
Thank you all for these very sensible replies. There has been no blanket ban, no not allowed to go, but we have always done everything together, and she has never expressed an interest in going anywhere on her own. But she has suddenly flipped a switch and now wants to start, and I agree, I think with friends, going somewhere specific, with certain conditions like be back at this time, let me know if plans change etc. And yes we definitely are going to get one of those portable chargers.
My DD 14 is always out and about with "friends". I have to trust that they are who she says they are...it's hard to let go and not worry constantly.
We have a back before it's dark rule, but that's hard when its dark by 5pm.
I use Find My I Phone app to keep tabs on where she is. I try really hard not to use it unless she's late back, but it's nice to know I can find her if I need to. Also she always takes a power pack phone charger with her so she always has phone charge. TBH if she does run out she'd so addicted to her phone she pretty much runs home straight away to charge it anyway!
I think you're setting yourself up for some rebellion here and deceit.
God yeah. When I was a kid I knew a girl who wasn't allowed out, but when she was eventually allowed she used to get into stranger's cars and all sorts She just wasn't used to the freedom and wasn't in the least bit streetwise.
You need to start letting her go - it's not your job to be her friend and do everything with her- she will start to resent you both. Start gradual and work up. She needs to learn to be streetwise and independent. Your role is to guide her so she can eventually "leave" you and cope in the real world. TBH you sound a bit suffocating OP.
My daughter is nearly 14, I've started letting her do things on her own for the past 18 months or so.
Started small, we're a short bus ride from a quiet shopping centre, I started letting her go there on her own.
Then moved on to letting her go into the city centre with friends.
She has to let me know where she is or if her plans change.
Also now it's darker earlier I like her back by about 5.30 as I don't like her out in the dark.
Make sure her phone is fully charged, have iPhone find my phone on, or text occasionally and let her go out with her friends.
Maybe make some rules to say, if late, she and her friend can come back to yours and you will drop the friend home, or will pick her up from friends house so she is with friends and not alone.
Advise her of the rules i.e. phone must be switched on at all times, curfew must be observed, and let her enjoy being a teenager. I understand your anxiety but she needs this bit of freedom.
I must say I'm a bit surprised about her getting to 13 having not gone out alone before.
I presume she travels to and from school independently?
Personally I think having and using a mobile shouldn't be used as a prop for allowing independence, it should be about trust. It's the children who are not allowed out that are vulnerable because they are not developing a sense of independence and learning how to deal with different situations that might arise.
As others have said, start small. My dds meet their friends in Costa or a dessert type place that popular with teens. Or they go to the cinema. They've become more confident about going further afield and using buses and trains.
She won't be going out on her own though, will she? She won't be by herself, she'll be with her friends and she'll be fine.
The rule is "Everyone stays together, nobody is left on their own".
If her mobile runs out of charge she can use a friend's phone. If you have her friends' numbers as well, that will reassure you that you have a way of contacting her if all else fails.
My DD has a dreadful track record with phones (losing then, forgetting to charge them, etc) But she knows my number off by heart so uses a friend's phone to text or call if she'll be late.
At 13 I would absolutely expect a child to be going out with friends rather than family most of the time, and would encourage that as an important part of growing up
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