thread: How much freedom for a 13 year old ?

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Feb 2009
    In the poor house...

    How much freedom for a 13 year old ?

    Like the title much freedom would you think is reasonable for a 13 year old ?
    I am just trying to work out if I am being over protective or not. I guess at 13 I was having sleepovers with girlfriends...watching movies etc but I wasn't roaming far and wide.
    I have only just started letting DS1 go for bike rides around the block by himself.
    Other kids seem to have been doing this for such a long time.
    I had a conversation with a friend about her DS, who is also 13, going to a large skate park with 3 of his friends. Heaps of people "hang out" there and you see some pretty "interesting" stuff. Anyway...these boys were going without adult supervision. She asked me what I thought and I said that I didn't think I would cope very well with that. I would worry the whole time that something could happen and I don't think I'm ready to let my DS do that yet. She said that you have to let go at some point.
    These boys ride/scooter quite long distances for hours on end while their parents work (school holidays and weekends) and the kids stay home or do what they like within reason.
    I'm not judging them at all ! It's up to them how they parent and its up to me how I parent but I wonder if by not really letting my DS do some of these sort of things am I holding him back or smothering him ?
    I don't want him to resent me.
    I like to know where he is and that he's safe but I guess I can't keep him wrapped up in cotton wool either !
    What do you or what will you think is fair ? A little help please xo

  2. #2
    Registered User

    Jan 2008
    Central Coast NSW

    How much freedom for a 13 year old ?

    I think it's reasonable for 13 year olds to be at a skate park (or shops, sports field, movie etc) during the day and in a group (ie not alone) of known kids. As long as the parent knows where they are and has a way of contacting them.

  3. #3
    BellyBelly Member

    Apr 2008
    Home, where else??

    It depends on how reliable and mature the teenager is. I agree that it is OK for a responsible 13 year old to go to a skate park with friends but they must be contactable. If they are not responsible, they need to know why they are not trusted to be away from adult supervision for any length of time so they can work on it.

    My nephew is 15 years old and my sister has only just let him go to a skate park with friends. He did lose friends as they couldn't socialise outside of school so they found other, more convenient friends. I know this hurt him a lot and my father had to step in and talk to my sister about letting him go. My sister is a single mum BTW. He is a responsible boy who has looked after his 2 sisters for years (getting them ready for school, making lunches, making sure they do homework etc) and IMO my sister was smothering him.

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Aug 2006
    On the other side of this screen!!!

    How much freedom for a 13 year old ?

    I really think it's a question of scale. If it's occasionally with a small group of known friends for short periods, that's quite different from roaming around by themselves or in a large pack for hours and hours day after day. It might also depend on what their friends are like and what sort of standards their families keep. I know that sounds judgy, and maybe it is, but 13 is pretty young still. The risk-taking part of the adolescent brain develops a lot sooner than the sensible part, and even if your kid is "sensible" there's a good chance at least a couple of the others are not. Maintaining a few parameters around the socializing reduces the potential for escalation of risky behaviour due to boredom. JMO but my DD is 14 and plenty of her friends are still socializing in semi-supervised ways, so other parents obviously feel the same too.

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Jan 2006

    Age 11, I was out on my bike for 2-3 hours at a time. Some days (age 12+) I'd leave home at 11am, call my mum at 3pm and let her know I was staying the night with *insert approved female friend name here*. It wasn't always a known, approved friend. It wasn't always a female friend, for that matter. I would return home after lunch the following day. Or maybe the day after, after a second phone call.

    When my child is about 11, I would be happy with him out on his bike with friends for a while. I would ask the route they plan to take, there are some good cycle tracks around us. I would be happy for them to come back to my house and chill in the garden/sitting room. Or for them to go to a friend's house and do the same... and I would call/text the parent to check that this was what was happening. (Just like my mother did for my little sister.)

    A skate park that you feel there may be drug taking? No, I wouldn't allow that. Ever. But if it is just children being a bit silly and your child is responsible, why not? With rules and boundaries (eg mobile phone on at all times and answer when it rings, curfew, must leave if X and Y are leaving...) it can be a safe, fun environment.

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member
    Add aussienic on Facebook

    Feb 2005
    Boyne Island

    My son is 13.5 (exactly today lol). Anyways. He is allowed to go for rides to the skate park or shop but must be with someone or meeting someone there. He goes fishing but we are very strict about that and only just started it at night with a friend and his dad over the holidays (I still freak about this).

    I am comfortable with him doing most things depending on who he is going with if that makes sense

    He is not allowed to wander the streets after dark but he allowed to walk next door.

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member
    Add aussienic on Facebook

    Feb 2005
    Boyne Island

    In regards to the skate park. I have always spoken to my son about drinking smoking and drug taking. He is sensible to leave if Ny of this happens or is talked about so I guess it comes down to what you have spoken to your son about