When are your kids old enough to go out alone?
Whether it's down the street to a friend's house or over to a neighborhood park, when do you think kids are old enough to venture away from home without mom and dad?
In my opinion it depends on the child's maturity. Hopefully each parent out there takes time to teach them to pay attention to their surroundings, have a cell phone with the GPS chip on etc...but I personally never let mine wonder off alone unless they are over 18. Call me parinoid, but I just don't like the idea my kids having something bad happen after I have worked so hard to protect them all these years!
Wow... Tough question and like so many that answered below ~ I believe there are very many factors to lead you to your child's best age. That said, I believe the age for children to just walk to a neighborhood friend's alone would be 13. And only if your 13 year old were well educated to look out for all sorts of possible dangers. My ten year old and I volunteer for an organization that raises funding and awareness for the AMBER Alert program. We've volunteered with this terrific organziation for five years so my little girl is pretty savvy when it comes to her surroundings and her safety. One parent below mentioned being afraid because she didn't know the fathers of her child's friends. I firmy believe that it's our responsibility to develop a good and strong relationship with all moms and dads that our children befriend. Males aren't the only gender that abuse children. One parent also stated that more abductions occur in small towns. The facts do not confirm that statement. No town is automatically "safer" than another because of it's size. To all those that state you're an overprotective parent - let me share words that a friend of mine often tells me when I make that claim... "There is no such thing as a parent that is TOO protective of their child(ren)." The wise woman that often reminds me of this is not only a member of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but she heads up the AMBER Alert (abducted children) program. In my opinion, if you feel you are overprotective of your children ~ it confirms that you're doing all you can to ensure their safety. And that's our job. :) Have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday with your families!!
So many comments address only the issue of abduction. Although it is a concern, it is probably the least likely risk for the kids. I am more concerned with my kids' ability to cross a busy street, or stay away from dangerous things along their route (high voltage boxes, big dogs, risky litter, etc). When they are mature enough to make good choices surrounding these issues I let them go beyond the cul de sac. As they get older I expand the areas they are allowed to go it alone. As they demonstrate good judgement and responsibility they will get to go further.
My son was allowed to go to the corner store last year (he was 10); same goes for going to/from school - we live in NYC but in a safe, very family-friendly neighborhood ;now that he's 11 he takes the bus to school and is allowed to go to a playground by us on his own, but only when it's light out and he always has his cell phone. As a school social worker, I have worked in a very tough neighborhood and saw much, much younger children (as young as 1st grade!) out on the streets unsupervised. I strongly feel that this is inappropriate - whether it's at home or outside, children this young are not yet able to make decisions in emergency/crisis situations; for that same reason I feel they should not be made responsible for supervision of younger siblings. We place ourselves and our children at risk doing that...
It all depends on your neighborhood and your child. I let my 9 year old meet up with friends at the park in the neighborhood, but I also know that 6 of my friends live around the park and will keep an eye out. Additionally, I have a rule follower in my oldest, so I know that he will not stray from the guidelines I have given to him. My younger child, on the other hand, may not be ready at the same age.
Actually statistics show that the world is no more dangerous now than it was 30 yrs ago...the only difference is media attention. There has always been bad people in the world and always will be. So, for someone to say that when we were kids it was safe for our parents to kick us out til the street lights came on but it isn't now, that's totally untrue. Kids need to be taught safety and guidelines, what we expect and don't expect, and what to do in an emergency but they also need to learn how to be independant and how to think for themselves at some point. You are not doing your kids any favours by 'hovering' over them, it just prolongs their ability to be confident and independant. Our job is to teach them how to live in the real world, not create a bubble around them. I'm not saying let a 5yr old roam the neighborhood alone, but independance should be taught gradually with more every year.
In my humble opinion it is not really the age it is the level of maturity of the child in deciding if they are ready to venture on their own.
I would like to say I agree with most and that it depends on the maturity of the child and the neighborhood; but as someone pointed out, no neighborhood is immune. We would all like to believe that a child that follows the rules, has a cell phone, and calls when they are supposed to will be safe; but in reality if someone were to abduct a child a cell phone would be the first thing they took from the child and ditched. And it doesn't help to have people call you if your child didn't make it somewhere on schedule.
Like most of us, I am an over-protective mom who is trying to find a balance between the paranoia that consumes me every time my daughter leaves my sight and the level headed woman who wants to raise a healthy, safe, aware, and self-confident young lady.
Good luck to us all.
Depends on their maturity, size, and ability to follow instructions.
If I see that my kids can't complete little tasks that are requested of them at home, then how in the world can I trust them to do what I expect when I am not around.
If a child is on the smaller side he could be easily abducted or bullied by bigger kids.
If he is not mature enough to see dangers around him... basically willing to dart out into the street with out looking just so he can save his ball; then he is not old enough.
My oldest is 10... but there is no way I would ever let him be alone and yet he has shown way more maturity than most 15 year old boys I have seen lately.
I let my 9 year old son walk or ride his bike to a friends house with his cell phone and we have strict ground rules that he needs to call me the minute he is there which is about 2 blocks. We live in a rural small community with a lot of children around. I believe in being protective but I also believe in giving children their independence too. I come from suburbia Detroit and when I was growing up my mom would say, "Don't come home til the street lights come on". I realize these times are much different from the 70's and 80's but I also feel we need to let kids be kids and let them swing on swings and skateboard and just be- without hovering parents. I still walk him to the bus stop every morning and pick him up from the bus stop but he is ready for a bit of independence.
I won't let my kids (9 and 8 yo) out on the street by themselves period..... I'm over protective and the last thing I want to hear is someone kidnapped them and did something bad. They are not even allowed to go outside the garage if I'm not watching Them to play. Even when we are somewhere at the beach, mall or restaurant. I don't let them wonder around or go to the restroom by themselves. Call me "over" but at least they are safe and being protected. You never know who is out there and what they are capable of doing...
i thinbk thats ahard one cause there world is abit of a messed up place with so many untrusting pepole i have got one baby and a nine year old son and there is no way i would let him venture away frrom home and i dont even know what age i feel ready to lethim out its sad that are kids cant be safe x
if your child is mature, and you are in a safe environment, such as a gated community, then maybe when the child is 12. and even then I would suggest the child be in a group of other children his or her age. not to sound paranoid but anything can happen, even in the safest of communities. just be smart be educated and educate your children. I have a 7 year old. at the end of the day I have him bring the trash to the dumpster, but I stand at the bottom of the stairs and I watch him throw the bag into the dumpster and I watch him walk back to me. I also wait for him at the bus stop when he is getting on to the bus and when he is getting off of the bus. then after that I go to work. when he is at the park I am at the park with him. that's just how it is now. I remember when I was a kid we could walk to the park with our little sisters and brothers with out any problems or worries. we don't live in that time anymore. it said but it is what it is.
I think I’ll be able to send them to their friends houses by the age of 6 when they can express exactly what happen with them and they can use a cell phone but I had to drive them their and to Know the family very well
But I want let them to go alone before the age of 17
I think it depends on your childs maturity, friends, neighbourhood, etc. My children are 18, 13 and 9 so of course different rules for each of them. We live in a small town of about 6000 people. They have areas they are allowed to go to. We live a block from the school & playground and so the 9 year old can meet friends there and go a few blocks in either direction of our house to another playground or friends houses. Not allowed to go past a certain street. 13 year old has more freedom, still monitor how far she is going and with whom. She does have a good group of friends though. Of course the 18 year old has almost free run. We do have a curfew for her and need to know where she is and who she is with. Cell phones are fantastic inventions and I am very willing to pay the money I do to give me peace of mind. I dislike when I see 4 year olds biking down the street with no parent around in a neighbouring city. You would not leave that child home alone for a half an hour, but on a bike down a street is ok? That upsets me.
I think that it depends on your childs maturity. I started letting my son go to the park with friends when he was 9. He is now almost 12 and he rides his bike everywhere. The only rule is he must check in and have his cell phone on him at all times. He was going across the street to a friends house since he was 5. I although watched him walk across the street and made sure he went into his friends house. When it was time for him to come home I would make sure he got across the street safely.
It depends on the child. With all 3 of mine from a very early age I have pointed out where friend's houses are so they know where to go in case of danger. My youngest girl is very less adventurous than her older sister. I let them start by going to Grandma's house who rings when they arrive and leave. They are allowed further a field once they have mobile phones and if they don't ring or come in when supposed to they know they'll be grounded. They then feel they are in control.
ummm, if you ever want your kid to grow up to be independant, i should hope you stop before theyre 14. if your still walking them places, and driving them places at 17 ask yourself what they would do if you ended up dying the next day..theyd be kind of screwed, dont you think?
7 or 8.
Ok EVERY SINGLE PERSON HERE IS A RACIST PRICK NOT ALL MEN ARE RAPISTS YOU GOSSIPING ASSHOLES
The thing I don't understand, is that in New Zealand, our laws state no child is to be left home alone under the age of 14 years old. Yet it seems to be okay for them to roam the streets? It makes no sense to me. My boy is only just turning 3, but at this stage I do not feel comfortable at the idea of him being unsupervised before he is 12.
my kids play outside without me being right there. They are 9,7 and almost 5. We live on a private road with 9 houses on it, 7 are occupied. one is for sale and the oter isn't the right house for what we are zoned for. It's safe for them to go play out in the yard, walk to neighbors. My 4 year old plays outside during the school day sometimes. We do have a creek that runs through property(everyone on our side of the road does) and they know not to go past the topper for hubby's truck. If we lived where I grew up maybe just on our street not out in the town. It's nice living in a smaller community than a bigger one(i grew up in Boston). It depends on your community, your trust in them, how they act. My kids will never be able to walk to school, it's to far from us to walk. If it would make u feel better and you can afford it get the oldest a prepaid cell so u can keep up with them
Depends on the kid -- a sensible, responsible kid will be ready sooner than a scatterbrained one. Also depends where.
My DD started coming home from school on her own when she was nearly 9 (end of grade 3), going to school alone at about 9 and a half (middle of grade 4), and has just recently started going to the local playground on her own (she'll be 10 in 3 months). She'd been running out to the corner store, literally within sight and call of our building, since about age 7.
We've found a watch is essential: if DD's going out to the park, we want to know what time to expect her back so we know when to worry (so far this has not arisen), and that means she needs a way to know what time it is. It's also important that kids know their way around the neighbourhood, know some basic safety rules (cross at the lights or crosswalk, walk your bike across the street, don't go into people's houses you don't know, don't go anywhere with a stranger, never chase your soccer ball into the road, etc.), and -- IMO, and I worry about this because my kid is short -- be tall enough to be seen by motorists. I'm not afraid off DD being abducted but I do worry about her being hit by some asshat driving while texting and yelling at their kids in the backseat :P
kids should be to go out a long to house party that older kids like 17 and 18 and some time kids should go out to party alone when they are 12 and 13 where there are kids that are there ages so i be live that all kids should be happy an have safe fun
I do not like the idea of my child at any age being "alone". Being without adult supervision is one thing, but it is totally different to be alone. I firmly believe in the buddy system. When my 2 oldest children went to the same school, they walked home together. When my oldest moved to the next school, my middle child walked home with a friend to her house, and then I picked her up there. I have dropped my sone off at the ice skating rink or the ball field when he was 9-10, knowing that he was meeting friends there and that there were other adults in the area that I knew and trusted. In addition, any time he goes somewhere, he takes his cell phone.
Maybe a yr or 2 after they start high school, but up until then I am keeping mine glued like super glue to me. There are too many dangers. Stupid drivers, kidnappers, sexual preditors. I know one lady at my kids school who works in domestic vielence refuge who says she loves helping people yet lets her primary school kids walk home alone (age 5 and 10 and both girls) cause she is still at work. I wouldnt take advice from her if I was in a womans refuge. They created after school care for that purpose. It makes me uposet when I see primaryt kids walking home alone. I drum it into my childrens heads the dangers of the world, even if people look at me like I am crazy. What would hurt more?? me saying loudly STOP LOOK LISTEN AND THINK at a crossing or being hit by a car. I relise one day they will venture out on there own and its my job to prepare them for knowing how to safely cross a rd or dont talk to that sick old man in the woolies que who keeps saying your a pretty 9 yr old.
Good for those parents who lives with their families.For me as an OFW,all the care that a mother should be giving to her son/daughter is being passed on to the grandmother or grandfather.So? it is basically on the childs' maturity that we get to determine whether we allow them to go out alone,of course just in the nearby store,playground....
perferrably at 13 but it also depends on where you are living. And how mature your child is. for example my oldest who is 21 now was responsible at the age 10 in a bigger city now my younger one when we lived in a small town they could go play with out my assistents at 5 but in the bigger city that we live in now i will not allow them to go with out eachother untell they are 13.
I am an over protected mother. I guess. I walked woith my daughter to school. I have daughters. When my oldest daughter turned 11 I bought her a cell phone. I still walk my girls to school. I let my oldest daughter walk home. she needs to call me when she is on her way. My youngest baby is 4 and goes to preschool. Next year My oldest one is going to middle school she needs to take city bus. when live in a great city. It will be hard for me. :(
Depends on their maturity and also their understanding of stranger danger and what to do if approached by a stranger.
I have a boy aged 9 1/2 and a girl aged just 6 and I have let my son go off with his mates a couple of times but I don't trust his mates after a incident where a friend of their came along and they allowed this lad to hurt my son. He is not mature enough to go off on his own but I will allow both my children to ride round the block as long as I can see them.
My daughter will probably be about 10 years old before I let her go off alone or with friends because she is more mature and outgoing but I will keep an eye on my son for a bit longer, maybe 12 or even 15. Both children are aware of strangers and I keep checking they remember what to do if a stranger approaches them but I would never wanna put them into that situation.
About 10 years ago, I found a two year old girl wondering about by herself and when I took her home, her mother started having a go at the girl's five year old sister for not watching her. A five year old can't look after themselves, let alone a two year old.
I have a 7 year old boy. I am trying to let him grow and be more independent. He likes to ride his bike in the church parking lot next door to our house. I'll tell him to go over and I'll be there in a couple minutes. If he's not there or doing something he's not supposed to be doing, he gets in trouble. As far as going to a friend's house, he is allowed to go one block in each direction of our house by himself. The blocks are not very big. We live a block from the beach and if he wants to go play in the sand he can, but he knows he is not allowed to go in the water unless I am there. I have to agree with what the majority of the moms on here say about the individual child's maturity level. The child needs to show signs that they will know what to do if something was to happen. Not all children at the same age will do the same thing. I instill in my son what he should do if someone was to approach him before I meet up with him.
I do not think that a child should be outside unsupervised at all. My step son was 8 yr old at his mothers house in a safe neighborhood , on a street with very few cars in a nice sub-division. He was hit and killed on his bike 3yrs ago. The man was not crazy or drunk.He was a youth preacher at a church and just didn't see him. Of course you have the kidnappers ,psychos , etc but that is not always the case. Accidents happen and supervision is key.My advice is to keep your kids in your sight (or a responsible adults sight)at all times when they are out of the house. They will get mad but you are better safe then sorry.
I think it is difficult enough being an adult and going out alone. I can't imagine my child going anywhere alone. She can go in groups of 3 or more, and call me as soon as she reaches her destination. I have walked it with her and know how long it takes. If she has not called me by that time-line, I am calling her.
I do not think responsibility has anything to do with it. The guy or woman kidnapping or harming a child could care less how responsible your child is. In fact, they prey on it. To say you live in a "safe, family friendly area" is only a false security. It would be no different to set out a solid gold bar in-front of your door and saying, "I live in a safe place. I can trust no one will take it". When put into that perspective, I think people would second guess their choice. My child means more to me than any amount of money in the world. I am going to protect her at all costs. Yep, even if she says, "I hate you because you don't understand!" At least I will have the satisfaction of actually having her around to say it. No place is safe.
I just got a letter from my Daughters Highschool. A pedafile was recently arrested not to far from where we live. The letter was to inform us that when the police were going through his things they came across a note book with childrens name in it from our High School. My Daughter was one of them! I was sick to my stomach. My Daughter and I just recently had an arguement that I wasnt letting " GO " She argued that I was to strict and I never let her be grown up enough to do things her other friends do. Well.....when this letter came home and I told her that this guy could have been 3 steps behind her and caused her harm she did a quick turn around apologized and realized I was right. Dont be to quick to allow your kidsout on there own. This guy was after boys as well as girls. When they searched his tent he was hiding in they found duct tape, rope, handcuffs, and a 10 inch knife. It isnt that you cant trust your kids, its the world outside you cant trust.
well im never letting mine out till there old enough 2 look after thereselves, these days theres way 2 much shit in this world nobody is safe also years ago when my mom was 12 she had a 5 year old sister that was walkin home by herself and she got took off and murderd my mom is now 57 im very over protective i wont even let them sleep out, they are happy though as they enjoy going fishing with there dad and aslo they are still very young
I grew up in the neighborhood i now live in. It is quiet, upscale suburb and we never had any scares. Recently, a young girl from the neighborhood came home from school and surprised an intruder. he murdered her in her own home. I caution people on thinking that the neighborhood they live in safe just because it always has been. You never can tell.
I don't think it's being overprotected not to let your children go out alone. It's called being aware of the society that we live in. Also, bad things can happen in any neighborhood and to any age group. In today's society we have the responsibility to teach our children of the the dangers that can occur. My son is 10 and I'm not sure what age I will feel comfortable letting him venture out on his own. I know it won't be anytime soon.
we started when my son was about 9 1/2 we trust him and know he will follow the rules,call when you get there, call if your going to be late, don't go anywhere else without calling and asking first. baby steps help create an independance and trust he is now 11 and is just starting to be left home alone a bit and i know he can be trusted. i did it all the time growing either by my self or with freinds and relitives. yes i was more protective of my own children but we live on a busy road and they have to cross an intersection that has alot of acidents, i trust my children not the drivers
Depends on where you live, as others have said. I live in a rough part of Leeds, West Yorkshire (UK) and my 12 year old son doesn't even go as far as the local store on his own. The furthest he goes is my mother's house and that is about 600 metres from my house and if it's getting dark I watch him the whole way from my house whilst I'm on the phone to my mum and she tells me when he is within her view and she takes over - so there's not a minute he's not being watched.
If we were in a nice quiet location, it would probably be very different, but can't take that chance around here.
I agree it does have a lot to do with the neighborhood and also the age of the child