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17 year old dd wants to go camping with mixed group of friends (2 females and 6 males). I'd be more inclined to agree if it was on an organised site with adults around if something goes awry but she tells me this is going to be wild camping in the woods.
There will be alcohol, they'll take some food and light a fire.
The mix of alcohol and fire I have qualms about but she's not shown herself to make great decisions in the past six months - nothing awful but enough to make me have concerns that she'd be sensible.
She told me last week and when I expressed reservations and concerns sulked and engaged in immature behaviour. It's tonight and she's still upset I haven't said yes. I said that she could have her friends around here at home but really she wants to go wild camping.
AIBU to have said no and explained why? AIBU in not letting her go? I'm fully aware that she'll be off to uni this time next year but that's a whole year to develop appropriate maturity ...
I understand your reservations completely. I had a similar dilemma with DS17 back in May. He and a group of male friends wanted to go wild camping in the New Forest.. wild camping is not allowed in New Forest. However all the other parents were ok about it so I rolled over. They got themselves organised very late and didn't leave home until 1800 so didn't pitch tents until around 2000. They came home tired and dirty but happy and uninjured.
He hasn't asked to go again so I'm glad I let him as it stops the nagging. Obviously I had a sleepless night of worry but sometimes you have to let them go.
Lots of issues here.
Wild camping is technically illegal in much of the UK. Scotland and parts of Dartmoor are OK. In practice though, they would be unlikely to get into trouble if they are responsible. There are websites which explain this.
It is legal to drink alcohol from age 5, but they can't buy it until 18. It is pretty normal for 17-year-olds to drink alcohol.
I would be worried because you say she makes poor decisions - on the other hand, she needs to practice. IME there isn't much difference in maturity between ages 17 and 18. Girls actually do most of their growing up between 13 and 14.
Technically, at 17 she can leave home and live independently - without your permission. She can also get an adult passport - without needing your counter-signature. And Eurostar treats age 16 and up as adults. So in principle she could go abroad with her friends and I don't see how you could stop her. At least she's planning to stay in the UK so can get home easily if things go wrong.
As a DofE supervisor I was involved with the planning for a group of 15-year-olds wild camping - with permission - in the New Forest. Not quite the same, because I was in the area, but I wasn't actually with them (about an hour away) so they had to cope - and they did. (No alcohol though - that I was aware of, at least.)
Difficult. I would ask her to do a "what if" risk assessment. If she can come up with a backup plan in case things go wrong, she should be OK. And like I said, she could just go anyway, without your approval.
Thanks for the replies. Not in Scotland but in England. She said they're camping wild because they can't afford a site (though I think this is a bit of a red herring really. There are reasons why campsites are not keen in groups of teens).
In response to her risk assessing, she says they've all got mobile phones.
Poor decision-making by her and this group of friends .. nothing dreadful but just not sensible. So things like some of them drinking and then going swimming in the river; me saying that she could invite her friends around here prior to them all going out for the evening and some of them 'smuggling' vodka in, on which dd got very drunk in space of an hour whilst I was downstairs with younger dd.
These past two weeks, she's presented as a sullen teen whilst on a family holiday , not engaged with us nor helped with household tasks (though to be fair, she neglects this at home as well).
Oh I don't know, her level of maturity just doesn't seem to be especially high and she often comes across as a sulky 13 year old rather than a 17 year old young woman.