(Closed) What age do you let kids start to be independent

posted 9 years ago in Parenting
Post # 3
2031 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I think if you did it last year, and you could see him the whole time, I don’t see why this year is any different.  I don’t recall doing anything by myself like that until I was about 13, but then again it was being dropped off at the mall or something…not being watched by anyone.  Did his mother freak out last year too?  Or is it just this year?  Can you tell her that you’ve already committed to volunteering, but she’s welcome to join her son and stand by his side while you and Fiance work?  It might not be comfortable, but if she wants him to be constantly supervised when he’s already done it ‘alone’ he’s going to be miserable…so maybe let her deal with that part?  

Personally, I’m crazy protective of my nieces, but if I could see my 12 year old niece the entire time I think I’d be OK with it.  She also has a cell phone (for emergencies, but it came with texting) and could text to ‘check in’ without looking like a baby in front of her friends.  Could he maybe borrow your cell for the evening if he doesn’t have his own?

Post # 4
3770 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 1999

I have a 10 year old and at the school picnic last year a couple of her friends had parents volunteering and the kids ran around. We still keep an eye on her though, from a distance. This year we will still do the same. We are “over protective” and pretty strict with our kids and that is a decision we as parents make on a daily basis. My thought is, is there any harm in watching them a little closer? In this case no.


Post # 5
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I would feel okay about being present but not next to my child at all times for something like this – I personally think your suggestion of volunteering would be appropriate. I’m a fairly protective parent (my daughter is almost 8 and a half, so younger than your stepson) and like to be able to have her in my line of vision at all times, but I don’t necessarily think I should be right with her. Kids need room to grow and learn to make decisions, and doing so in a controlled environment (like a school event where you and other parents can supervise) is a good first step, in my opinion.

Post # 6
247 posts
Helper bee

I think age 12

Post # 7
672 posts
Busy bee

I don’t think anyone can say an exact age and be honest with you. Every child is different, so they handle these situations differently.

I know I was a latch key kid by 3rd grade, walking to and from school on my own (about half a mile), making myself snacks, and going out to play with neighborhood friends until my mother got home after 6:30pm. On the other hand, I wouldn’t trust my nephew who is nearing his 12th birthday with half of that responsibility. He’s not responsible at all, even factoring in his age. With the paths he’s taking, I’m not sure that I would trust him even at 15. By that time, he’ll obviously have to be somewhat independent, but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. But his sister who just turned 4 shows every sign of being ready to handle responsibility at a much, much younger age. If she keeps it up, I’d trust her even during the most rebellious teenage years to make at least somewhat reasonable decisions.

In that kind of environment, I’d let a 12-year-old version of my neice run around with her friends all she wanted. I would keep an eye on my nearly 12-year-old nephew. It’s not because I’ve overly cautious for his safety, but because I know he’d be likely to act up in a very bad way and it’s not another volunteer’s place to have to punish or find a time out type corner for someone under my watch.

Post # 9
672 posts
Busy bee

If your FI’s gut instinct is to give him some freedom, but he’s only willing to cave to avoid rocking the boat, then encourage your Fiance to follow his instinct. As a boy, he would benefit from a male role model to give him cues on socialization with other boys.

Like you said, there’s not really anything you can do directly. But, you can encourage your guy to do what he thinks is best for his son while he is in his custody.

Post # 10
7581 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2010

I think 10 is a good age. I was babysitting at 12. I think the problem with a lot of kids these days is that parents feel like they need to be on top of them at every moment. What happened to letting your kids play outside by themselves? lol

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