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To think 8 is far too young to be at the park alone?!
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MummyWallflower · 24/06/2019 19:20

I've just come back from the park. I decided to take my son to the park for a quick run around before bed. Shortly after getting to the play park a boy cycles up to us and starts playing with my son. I looked around for his mum but couldn't see anyone. Waited another 5 minutes and still no-one. At this point I decided to get my son to ask him some questions...

Turns out this boy is 8 and in Year 3 at a local school. I enquired if his mum was there and he said no, she is at home. We then played for a bit before I subtly asked if he lived locally, come to find out he lives a street away from us. I then left with my son and encouraged the boy to come with us, he proceeded to cycle in the middle of the road! My immediate thought was road safety so I said we should all cycle on the path. I then watched him cycle and go back to his house safely.

For the record, we live 5 minutes from the park, so it is very local and safe. This boy had no qualms about talking to me and my son; I could've been a predator or pedofile. He also was cycling in the middle of the road, which of course could lead to him being injured or hit by a car!

AIBU that it is completely inappropriate to allow an 8 year old boy to cycle to, play at and then cycle home from the park alone? Particularly as it was 6.30pm so already getting late. I do know the school he goes to so I am considering reporting this to them in the morning. AIBU?

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BethanyGilbert · 24/06/2019 19:21

I teach eight year olds. Loads of them play out at the park by themselves. It’s light in the evenings now so I don’t see the harm.

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Lazypuppy · 24/06/2019 19:21

YABU

Talk about wrapping kids up in cotton wool these days.

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zafferana · 24/06/2019 19:21

I agree OP. I have an 8-year-old DS and I'd never allow him to go to the park on his own. I help out in his class once a week too and it's not just him - it's the whole class who are too young and clueless to be out alone.

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Teddybear45 · 24/06/2019 19:22

Not a problem as he was just 5mins away, and why on earth did you tell him to cycle on the footpath? You cycle on the road!

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isabellerossignol · 24/06/2019 19:22

I wouldn't let my child do it, but I think reporting it to the school is very over the top. Loads of children that age are out and about on their bikes at this time of night where I live, I never give it a second thought. You'd be laughed out the door at my kids school if you reported an unsupervised 8 year old to them.

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Lazypuppy · 24/06/2019 19:23

@zafferana what are you doing to teach your child not to be so young and clueless?

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ICanWearMyBoobsUpOrDown · 24/06/2019 19:23

My 8 year old goes to the park alone. YAB ridiculous to consider reporting a child being allowed to a park 5 minutes from his home Hmm

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LL83 · 24/06/2019 19:24

Yabu. Can't have this conversation again.

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MummyWallflower · 24/06/2019 19:25

An 8 year old doesn't have enough sense to be out alone. He didn't even have a friend or sibling with him. He was quite happily chatting to me, clearly hadn't been told not to talk to strangers. What if I'd of been a Myra Hindley, would the attitude be the same then?!

I told them both to cycle on the path as I didn't have a bike with me and didn't feel comfortable letting an 8 year old boy cycle in the MIDDLE of the road. Clearly no road sense to keep to one side either!

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ReganSomerset · 24/06/2019 19:26

I think you're being a bit ott, OP. It's one of those things - yes, there is a risk, but there's also massive benefits to being allowed to play out like that. Better than being stuck in front of a TV.

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gatsby2019 · 24/06/2019 19:26

When ds was 8,he went to the park, and beyond, on his own, so did his friends. I can't imagine what his reaction would be if I said I was going to the play park with him

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CherryPlum · 24/06/2019 19:26

It depends on the individual child, they are all different, with some more mature or more practical than others. Some are very trustworthy but don't like being left alone. So it's hard to put a precise age on when children should go to the park/corner shop/home alone.

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Unihorn · 24/06/2019 19:26

You are being utterly unreasonable.

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AbbyHammond · 24/06/2019 19:28

I only let my 8 year old out if he's with a friend. I don't think an 8 year old going 5 minutes to the park alone is a big issue, but I would probably have let his mum know if he was cycling in traffic.

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ICanWearMyBoobsUpOrDown · 24/06/2019 19:28

Maybe your 8 year old doesn't have enough sense to be out alone, but mine, and plenty of others I know do, mainly because they aren't wrapped up in cotton wool and given appropriate amounts of independence at age appropriate times.

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MsAwesomeDragon · 24/06/2019 19:29

My DD was playing at the park on her own at 8. I can literally see the park from my window, but even if it was a bit further away I would have let her go with a friend at that age. She's 9 now and is often out playing with her little gang of mates, they don't all need constant supervision, it's a judgement call that parents make about their own children.

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SoyDora · 24/06/2019 19:29

The cycling in the middle of the road thing is worrying, otherwise YABU.
My friend has a very sensible 8 year old who is allowed to the park on his own, and to the shop to pick up milk etc.

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cocodash · 24/06/2019 19:29

YABVVU. He's 8, 5 mins from home and out playing at 6.30pm in height of summer.

When I was 8 I was miles from home on my bike until it was dark.

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Indie139 · 24/06/2019 19:29

Yanbu

An 8year old was abducted from a park local to me last week. He was found with a stranger who tried to go in the bushes with him and was spotted by passers by. I have an 8 year old and wouldnt let her play anywhere where shes out of my vision. Not about wrapping them up and keeping them in a bubble. Its simply just not as safe as we would like it to be. I personally think my 8 year old is too young but i guess everyone is different

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MummyWallflower · 24/06/2019 19:29

So an 8 year old cycling in the middle of the road, not over to one side, and talking to strangers is having sense then?

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Treaclesweet · 24/06/2019 19:30

You are being absolutely ridiculous.

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Treaclesweet · 24/06/2019 19:31

Talking to another mum at the park with a kid?

Honestly I think you were being pretty creepy asking him so many questions and getting him to follow you.

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Instagran · 24/06/2019 19:32

YABU. He's eight, it's broad daylight. Children are wrapped in much cotton wool these days.

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gingerginger2 · 24/06/2019 19:32

Not atall unusual where I live. Which is good!

Depends entirely on the child and the environment I think! Some 8 year olds are totally fine to do this, some absolutely wouldn’t Be.

Cycling up the middle of the road is actually probably pretty safe when it comes to being visible. 630 pm isn’t late at midsummer. You were obviously a mum with a son with you and probably not dangerous! Sounds fine to me, but hard to say 100% without seeing the park/ knowing the kid.

We live next to a park and it’s always full of kids from 4/5 years old up. The majority of them are totally fine, look after each other, are called in regularly and are happy to be out playing. Some are obviously too young or are neglected and I have reported some of them. Three of the kids that i’ve Reported have subsequently been taken into care ( not just because of my actions, other things too) .

There’s two kids at the moment I worry about. But beyond keeping an eye and being kind, there’s not much I can do. There is a big community of kids and families that have them on their radars. Hopefully they’ll be looked after by the community.

My two both have special needs. I would absolutely love them to be playing out. Sadly I have to be there too , but I try to be surreptitious so they get the benefits of feeling independent and confident with their peers .

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greensnail · 24/06/2019 19:32

Mine were both very capable of playing at the park by themselves at age 8. I never taught them not to speak to strangers either, just not to go anywhere with them but no harm in having a chat. They're much more at risk statistically of being hurt by someone they know and you never know when you might need the help of a friendly stranger.

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