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Would your 16 year old manage this journey alone?

(49 Posts)
TrillianAstra Mon 06-Jul-09 11:46:21

Would you expect them to? Would they be happy to do it or very nervous?

16 year old SIL is coming to visit for the weekend, MIL is driving her down. On the way back the train journey requires one train into London, one stop on the tube, and one train out of London again. Tickets aren't booked yet but they would allow about 45 minutes to make the change from one mainline train to the other.

MIL is saying that one of us has to go into London with SIL and put her on the last train. Is she being overprotective of her last baby? Or is this normal? What would your 16 (or 15, or 17, or similar) year old make of it?

(Obviously if SIL says she does want escorting I will go with her, but letting her make all the decisions, so she is not just following me but figuring out how to navigate the tube on her own)

madwomanintheattic Mon 06-Jul-09 11:47:52

lol. she's old enough to get married and have a baby, buy fags, but needs an escort to get on a train? i take it she isn't going on holiday on her own to celebrate the end of her gcses?

TrillianAstra Mon 06-Jul-09 11:48:45

Not buy fags acksherly - they've upped that to 18. And you need parental permission to get married at 16, do you think it looks like she'd get that? grin

LaDiDaDi Mon 06-Jul-09 11:49:26

I would have been happy to have been given the independence to do it on my own though I would have been secretly a bit nervous tbh.

MIL needs to let go imo.

Weegle Mon 06-Jul-09 11:50:39

I was regularly travelling across London (and on more than one route) at 13 - she can do it herself no problem!

GetOrfMoiLand Mon 06-Jul-09 11:51:20

I would say a 16 year old should be fine with it. DD is going to London in the summer and is travelling from Paddington to Victoria on her own (she will be nearly 14 by then) and I am confident that she will be fine with it.

Mind you, dd is confident and outgoing and loves stuff like this, not everyone is the same. Is your SIL nervous, or shy in public spaces. She may find it a daunting prospect.

ScummyMummy Mon 06-Jul-09 11:51:32

I don't have a 16 year old but am astonished at the idea that someone that old would need supervision for a train journey! SIL doesn't have special needs or anything like that, does she?

KerryMumbles Mon 06-Jul-09 11:52:24

i would think it would depend on the child. If she is confident and knows her way about then fine. If she's from country, unfamiliar with city, etc. it could prove a bit daunting. London tubes are you know....

stripeypineapple Mon 06-Jul-09 11:53:08

I think she would be fine. If she is given clear instructions and knows where she is supposed to be going.

Is she very shy? If she is unsure at any point of her journey she can always ask someone to point her in the right direction.

When I was 16, I went with a friend, also 16, to Amsterdam for the weekend. We survived, we had a good time infact and managed to work out Dutch trams, trains and the aeroplane there and home again.

She's a big girl at 16, give her a break, let her go on her own.

madwomanintheattic Mon 06-Jul-09 11:53:12

lol trillian, that's hilarious. ne'er smoked in my life so don't follow smoking legislation... but you can have a baby but not buy fags now? shock
the world's gawn mad! grin

Cies Mon 06-Jul-09 11:54:20

I grew up in rural Devon but at the age of 14 was happily taking the train to Paddington and getting the tube to my godmother's house which involved changing tube lines. It was fine. It's hard to go wrong on the tube because it's all coloured!

Has she done the journey before accompanied? If so I'd say she should be fine if she wants to do it.

TrillianAstra Mon 06-Jul-09 11:54:26

No to special needs, yes to living in the country.

Did I mention much-younger last baby?

pagwatch Mon 06-Jul-09 11:56:03

FWIW my son is just 16 and would do this with no problem. He and his girlfriend are planning a cheesy sightseeing day in London next week and will not need my help.

He also commutes into the city via rail and tube to meet his dad at work sometimes - has been doing that for a couple of years.
At the moment we are hoping to get him some extra work experience at the end of the holidays and that will involve staying away for a week and getting transport to work on his own in an area he doesn't know.It will be good for him

Your MIL is being over protective.

(Actually I need to fess up. Last time we went up to London together I got flustered using the machine and he had to help me get the right ticket. I spent the rest ofthe journey doing the 'I used to commute for sixteen years before you were even born thank you very much' blush.

GetOrfMoiLand Mon 06-Jul-09 11:56:25

Cies - same as you, grew up in the wilds of Devon but managed to fathom out the tubes. I found it exciting - it was wonderful to see some life and activity, not just seagulls and sheep!

notcitrus Mon 06-Jul-09 11:57:23

A 16-year-old should be able to do it, but 45 min to do a Tube journey to catch a last train worries me for anyone - what if something goes wrong?

If it's 1 stop I assume it's Euston to KKings X or vice versa, in which case I'd suggest walking (especially if there's any engineering work). And ensure she has a ticket valid for the tube in advance. If she's never used the Tube before, buying tickets can be complicated.

If it were a 90 min gap, I'd say no problem.

TrillianAstra Mon 06-Jul-09 11:57:57

We're going to ask if if she actually wants escorting or if it is just her mum being paranoid and protective. I suspect the latter.

I might suggest that we go down to London earlier and have a mocch about one of the free museums, to give her a good bit of tube practice, that way she can say 'don't be ridiculous Mum, I changed 5 times and went to South Kensington and back and Trillian didn't once have to tell me what to do'.

TrillianAstra Mon 06-Jul-09 12:00:04

The ticket will be a through ticket valid for that tube journey as part of the longer journey notcitrus - obviously if we're going anywhere else we'll have to buy some more. (and yes Kings Cross to Euston) It won't be the last train of the day.

lou33 Mon 06-Jul-09 12:02:04

at 15 i was travelling from essex to liverpool street and then getting the tube to kew gardens in west london, and back, i am sure she can manage it if she plans the route

RustyBear Mon 06-Jul-09 12:06:56

The first time I allowed DS to go to London with his friends & no adults was 28th August 2003 - he was 15.

The date is relevant, because it was the day of the massive power cut that paralysed the Tube across most of London.

He was left stranded, but managed to work out how to get to Waterloo on foot, then discovered that though some trains were running he had no chance of getting on to the platform, let alone the train. So he walked to the next station down the line, got a train back to Waterloo & then simply stayed on it when it went back again. It was going to Guildford rather than Wokingham where we live, but he reckoned the main thing was to get out of London & he knew he could get a train from Guildford. At that point he rang us & we actually went to pick him up from Guildford.

It was pretty much a baptism of fire but I was proud of the way he coped.

pagwatch Mon 06-Jul-09 12:09:19

ooh practice run is a really good idea Trillian. You can see how she does and she will be able to judge how confident she feels.

Merrylegs Mon 06-Jul-09 12:12:43

She is 16. She will be fine.

TrillianAstra Mon 06-Jul-09 12:15:56

That's pretty impressive Rustybear, well done your DS! My mum is a nervous traveller and would never have managed that even as an adult!

Loshad Mon 06-Jul-09 12:29:15

i think she'll be fine - my 15yo ds1 would manage this and he's a typically disorganised teenaged male. In fact he's flying by himself to france next week (well with a 15 yo friend) and I'm sure he'll make it there grin. (disclaimer - he is staying at an aunt's house once he gets to France not just the two lads by themselves)

LovelyRitaMeterMaid Mon 06-Jul-09 12:32:42

I went all over the country visiting universities when I was 17 by train. I would have felt very silly if someone had escorted me around the place - going by train on your own is fun.

DH when he was 15 went skiing with a friend (and I think friend's family). Not sure how but they ended up missing the transfer back to the airport and managed to get back home to England despite very limited money. DH said he did smoke a lot of cigarettes as well grin

mumonthenet Mon 06-Jul-09 12:34:50

Your idea of a practice run is brilliant Trillian, that way she gets your support but can also get the great buzz of independence when she does the return trip on her own.

I always use our trips (airports/trains/tubes/buses) as practice for my kids so they don't feel complete duhs when they have to do it on their own.

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