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To think a 7yo is too young to go out unsupervised? Please help!

344 replies

QueenMas · 12/08/2015 11:48

Please help, I feel sick.

I have just found out that when DD is at her Dad's, he allows her to go to the park on her own with her friends. She only turned 7 a couple of weeks ago, going into year 3 in Sept.

Her father lives semi rurally, on an estate in a quiet village. There isn't much around apart from fields and a couple of shops. I live in Greater London, so a big difference.

I wasn't entirely comfortable with him allowing her to "play out"; although come to terms with it as the children play on the green directly outside their houses (which are in a semi circle), and they have floor to ceiling windows at the front of the house so can be watched at all times.

But now, I find out that she goes to the park without him. It's only around the corner, however it means crossing a road and of course she is completely out of sight while there. AIBU to think this is inappropriate for a (just turned!) 7yo?

I have tried to speak to him about it, he does not see the problem. He hates me so much, he takes anything I say as "causing trouble" rather than thinking of our DD's safety! He eventually "agreed" not to let her go, but I don't trust that for a second, he lies constantly. He is spiteful and would tell DD not to tell me. Only last week, I had to take DD to A&E after she fell off her bike, I thought she had broken something. I called and called, and text to tell him. He did not reply. Who doesn't reply when their child is being taken to hospital?! But he was annoyed with me so didn't care.

I've sent him a video to try and show him my concerns
although I doubt he will watch. As well as stranger danger, I worry about her crossing the road. About not being "briefed" correctly about what to do in an emergency. I feel that she is FAR too young to be out and about unsupervised, she was only 6 a couple of weeks ago fgs!

What can I do? Other than stopping contact, but is that reasonable? I feel this is neglecting my daughter Sad

OP posts:

QueenMas · 12/08/2015 11:53

Also, to add:

I've spoken to a friend who is a social worker, she says there is no legal age limit for being left alone. Basically, he can be charged with neglect due to lack of parental supervision, but only if something actually happens to her!

I'm so worried, she's still so young and naive Sad

OP posts:

BikeRunSki · 12/08/2015 11:53

We're semi rural. DS is 7 in a month. He can play out in the street (very quiet curl de sac) and can go to the shop with other children from the street (8.5,10). The shop is 200m away, with no main roads to cross. That's it. He is not mature enough to go out further by himself. He still thinks that everyone is lovely, all cars stop telepathically and there's a trail of breadcrumbs home....


TwinkieTwinkle · 12/08/2015 11:56

It's not neglect at all. If I were your ex I would seriously resent the implication I wasn't caring for my child properly. You also only have your daughter's word on it. Perhaps he pops out to check on her every so often. Stopping contact would be ridiculous.

I really think yabu.


Lucie99 · 12/08/2015 11:58

I think you are justified in being concerned but you say that it is just round the corner and she goes with friends. I'm assuming the road that she has to cross is fairly quiet too given the description you have given of the location. Assuming that her dad knows where she is and who with I think it would be ok and assuming your DD can be trusted to be sensible. My child is five and plays outside with friends with me watching/listening out for them. I imagine when he is seven I'd let him walk to the park round the corner.


timefortiggy · 12/08/2015 12:00

Sorry i agree with twinkie


DawnOfTheDoggers · 12/08/2015 12:00

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DeandraReynolds · 12/08/2015 12:03

Is it normal for other 7 year olds where he lives to go to the park without adult supervision?

If his parenting is broadly in line with other parents where he lives then it's probably ok.

If your DD is the only 7yo going to the park and the others are all 12 then I'd be more concerned.


gabsdot45 · 12/08/2015 12:06

I think YABU but I don't know your DD. My DD is 7, She'll be 8 soon. She's outside right now with her friend playing around the estate. I can't see her but I'm not worried. She goes from here to her friends house and I'm happy with that.
I'm sure it's difficult not to be involved in how your DD is parented when she is with her dad but you have to trust him. Presumably you chose to have a child with this man, you now get to live with your choice. You can talk to him about it but when she's with him he makes the rules.


NotEnoughTime · 12/08/2015 12:07

I think you are def not unreasonable.

I would not be happy either with the situation you have described.

Personally, I think age 10 is early enough to be out of sight of a responsible adult.

Flowers for you-I would be upset too.


TheMaddestHatter · 12/08/2015 12:08

Hi there, my daughter is the same age.

We live in a flat on a very busy road. The park is only a ten minute walk from us. But due to having to cross two busy roads to get there, I won't be letting her go without adult supervision until she's a bit older (I'm thinking maybe 9-10). However, there is a small shop at the end of our street which I let her walk to every Saturday after dinner to get a sweet. There are no roads to be crossed, although she does have to walk alongside the busy road.

I've been doing this for a few weeks now and it has really boosted her confidence. I'm trying to build up some independence in her.

There are a fair few children in her class who live across the road from us and I often see them out playing by the road without an adult and at the park without an adult. It seems pretty commonplace around here. And i have to say, that if i lived in a quieter area, then I may allow my daughter to go to the park with friends without an adult, too (with me lurking behind her for the first few times to make sure she is behaving sensibly).

I'm really not sure what the solution is here as I can't envisage your ex deciding to stop letting her play out without him supervising her. I guess the only thing you can do is reaffirm stranger danger stories, road safety rules, don't touch strange dogs, best behaviour at all times, walk back to Dad's house if you start to see any trouble etc etc.


enderwoman · 12/08/2015 12:09

How old are the other children that she plays with? I would be concerned if she was with children much older or younger and I live in an area where 7 year olds play out (but not at dark)


Singsongsung · 12/08/2015 12:11

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all! It staggers me on MN how many people are happy to let young children out to wander without supervision! My daughter is 9 (just) and I wouldn't let her out to roam alone. It's lazy parenting. Why not take her to the park (ESP given that he is a part time carer for her) and sit on a bench? 7 (and just 7 at that) is far too young to be able to handle the responsibility of being out alone.


TwinkieTwinkle · 12/08/2015 12:19

sing you are being massively unfair to say that. The child is in a park across the road, not aimlessly wandering around a city centre. Giving a child a bit of freedom isn't lazy parenting. That's just ridiculous.


moonfacebaby · 12/08/2015 12:24

I think it's safe for her to play on the green, but I'd probably be a bit nervous about her going off to a park where I couldn't see her.

I live in a cul-de-sac in a quiet village - my dd has been playing out since 5 or 6 (can't remember exact age). All the neighbours children play out, it's a community that keeps an eye on each other.

I have no qualms about my dd being our unsupervised at all - it's how I spent my childhood & I want the same for my kids. I honestly think it's down to the individual child, where you live in terms of road safety etc.

And without wanting to offend anyone, I am not buying into that whole fear thing about paedophiles being on every street corner - there are no more child abductions than there were 50 years ago. Besides, it's more likely to happen with someone they already know.


fakenamefornow · 12/08/2015 12:24

My daughter is 9 (just) and I wouldn't let her out to roam alone. It's lazy parenting.

I completely agree. Parenting is really nerve wracking sometimes but they have to grow and learn to be independent. I have heard that there is mounting evidence that overprotecting children is damaging their mental health, damage that can last through adulthood. I will try to find a link.

If you don't want her to go out without you because you worry too much and you feel happier with her in sight then you need to ask who's interest's your looking after here, hers to stay save or yours to not have to worry. If its the later, that's lazy parenting in my book.

BTW I know singsong intended it the other way around and I twisted it.


moonfacebaby · 12/08/2015 12:25

And Sing - I don't agree with the lazy parenting thing either - kids need some freedom & a chance to slowly develop some independence


Singsongsung · 12/08/2015 12:27

It is not overprotecting a 7 year old to take them to the park and sit on a bench watching them play! It's overprotecting them to not allow them to go to the park at all!


TwinkieTwinkle · 12/08/2015 12:28

fake well said.


MummyPig24 · 12/08/2015 12:28

I think 7 is too young. Ds1 is 7 and is desperate for independence and wants to go out alone but I feel it's too young. And as I have explained to him, it's not that I don't trust him, it's that cars drive down our road fast, older children could persuade him to do something silly or he could be abducted.


Purplepixiedust · 12/08/2015 12:28

I would be worried too, I am a worrier but it is up to him when she is with him. I would be less worried if she goes with friends. I am always more worried about DS (8) when he is alone. I am letting to begin to spread his wings. He calls for a friend on the next road and plays on her road (a cul de sac) without supervision. He can't go to the park yet as it is across a busy road. He is not allowed to wander. I can always find him. Going from A - B is not the same as roaming about. If she is sensible, sticks to the boundaries and is with friends I am sure she will be fine. Reinforce not going off with anyone, avoiding strange dogs, keeping away from anyone who appears to be causing trouble. I have told my son if he is worried while walking round to come back, or go back to his friends.


Egosumquisum · 12/08/2015 12:28

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Singsongsung · 12/08/2015 12:28

Slowly being the key word there moon. Sending a just 7 year old out alone is not, in my opinion, slow.


Egosumquisum · 12/08/2015 12:29

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TwinkieTwinkle · 12/08/2015 12:31

It's overprotective not to allow them a bit of independence. It's overprotective not to allow them the chance to develop without a parent constantly hovering. It's poor and lazy parenting to not teach your child the very basics about staying safe, so they can be on their own occasionally.


BertrandRussell · 12/08/2015 12:32

If it's a group of them and it's what all the children in the village do then you are being massively unreasonable- sorry.

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