At what age should I allow my daughter to go to the mall with her friends without a parent? She is 12 and going into grade 8.

Lori - posted on 08/14/2012 ( 44 moms have responded )

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At what age should I allow my daughter to go to the mall with her friends without a parent? She is 12 and going into grade 8.

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HEATHER - posted on 08/15/2012

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My oldest daughter is 11 and going into 7th grade. I go to the mall with her but then go our separate ways, but we are both "in" the mall. I make sure she is with a friend and has her cell phone and we check in with each other every half hour, even if its by text. I make it clear the first time she doesnt check in she loses her privledge and go home. This has worked thus far and seems to keep everyone happy. Gives her freedom, but I am still close enough just in case she needs me.

Anna - posted on 08/15/2012

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I agree with many of the Mom's here about maturity and the area you live in. However, as parents it is our job as parents to prepare our children to function successfully in the world. At some point we all have to take a risk and allow our children to venture out and see the world on their own, it is a huge part of growing up, discovering how to function in the world, to start figuring out where you fit in the world.

We lived in a Chicago-area suburb when our daughter turned 12 and wanted to go "hang" at the mall. We compromised, since it was such a busy and large mall. We had a 20 minute check-in (by text or call was sufficient), her father and I were in the mall (as some Mom's have suggested), and there had to be at least 7 other kids with.

I find it a little frightening that a few mom's say they will never or not before they're 15. I have seen what happens to those kids as they get older and struggle to gain their freedom from their over-protective parents. "Most" kids will rebel, start lying, and will do anything they need to to 'prove' to their parents they are old enough to function on their own. It's not pretty and usually doesn't turn out well when the parents eventually find out.

Remember, as parents you're job isn't to hold on to them, monitoring them at every age, but instead encourage them to venture out (safely) to discover how to function in the world without us; and we, as parents have to be prepared to support and guide them when they need it.

Best of luck to you Lori!!! ;)

Jodi - posted on 08/21/2012

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Believe it or not, there are no more "perverts" in the world that when you were a child.......look it up.

Lori - posted on 08/16/2012

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It depends on where you live, how much you trust your daughter and how well you know her friends. My daughter went to the mall with friends in 6th grade. She was extremely mature, respectful, responsible and sensible. I knew her friends well and trusted them. I felt confident that our mall was a safe place.

Jodi - posted on 08/15/2012

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I agree that it depends on where you live, how big the mall is, what your trust relationship is, who her friends are, what their plans are, etc. I'm not going to say that 12 is too young, because it may not be for your daughter and your particular location and the purpose of the trip. Our local cinema is in the mall, so I have been known to drop my kids off at that age to see a movie and then have an ice cream or something, then pick them up. But I've always known who they were with, etc, and they have had phones.

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Becca - posted on 09/09/2012

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my daughter is 13 i let her walk around by herself if she has 3 or more friends with her

Esther - posted on 09/08/2012

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yes, she should most deffiantly be allowed. A mall is a social place she can go to meet friends, eat food, look at clothes and hang out. I wouldn`t understand any reason a parent wouldn`t allow their child, espically if they`re going with a friend. If you start becoming to strict with your girls they will start lying to you because they think you will always be against them instead of trying to understand them. Before you let them go you should let them know that you trust them, not to talk to any strangers or older kids and to stay inside the mall. That you`re trusting them and that you hope they have fun. Always try to understand your kid instead of judging them, fighting with them or going against them. And if you can try to trust them as much as you can and talk to them a lot because when they get to highschool, grade 9 and grade 10 and on they start to get secretive and by being non nagging or strict they`ll know that they can come to you for help and support at all time. Be strict at times but sometimes if you`re to strict and set to many rules even if you tell them that they can talk to you, they won`t. They`ll lie and hide things. so be very open and always listen before you talk.

Sophia - posted on 09/08/2012

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I like to drop off and pick up. And you explain to her she cant leave the mall even if her friends do.... And if she does then changes will be made. She will not be allowed to shop on her own until you feel she can follow your rules .

Marivic - posted on 09/08/2012

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I think a 12yr old is not yet capable of handling oneself especially in a crowded place. More so, she is a girl.... better allow her when she is 16.

Julia - posted on 09/07/2012

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deffenetly not at 12, unless shes going with a friend thats at least 18. if i were you i would wait until shes 15 or 16

Jessica - posted on 09/07/2012

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I think 13 to 14 would be an ok time to let her shop with her friends as long as your somewhere in the mall.

Raeanna - posted on 09/07/2012

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as long as she has a ide here and back i would let her. i was at that age and if u dont give her some freedon she might try to go behind your back and do it

Kim - posted on 09/06/2012

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I think it depends on the area you live in. If you are in a smaller or suburban area I think it's fine just set a time limit on how long she can be gone. It also depends on the maturity level of your daughter and her friends.

It was a different era but I was 12 when I first started going to the mall on my own but I lived in a small town and the mall was just down the street from my house.

Amanda - posted on 09/06/2012

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It depends on where you live. We live in a relatively safe community and my daughter turned 13 this summer, we allowed her to go with a couple other friends. She knows the rules and that she needed to check in and answer her cell if we called or texted. We trust her, she is very responsible. I know society is what we need to be concerned with, but if she is doing what she is suppose to be doing, then even society shouldnt be an issue. My daughter has only gone maybe 3 times, and I know 1 time I was in the mall and 1 time her friends parent was in the mall, so maybe 1 time without an adult. We also only live 5 min from the mall!

[deleted account]

I think you should let her go for a short specified time. Like maybe 2 hours tops. That way she can have some limited freedom to learn to navigate on her own without your constant supervision and you can send her a strong message that you have faith in her that she's old enough to can handle herself in a public environment. As she shows she's trustworthy you can increase the time away, just keep that cell phone handy and review a game plan with her concerning safety awareness in regards to what to do if certain situations should present themselves.

Pamela - posted on 08/18/2012

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I just love the way people always say they live in a safe area and then when something happens first thing someone says is this just doesn't happen in our area. Well, it does and it can and there is no safe place. People who bring harm to our young pick places where our guard is down because we believe we are in a safe place because everyone around us looks like us? Don't be fooled. I would not allow my young child to go to the mall alone or with friends until she is at least 16and that is not set in stone.

Blanca - posted on 08/18/2012

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There are too many perverts out there that are looking for young girls to take advantage of even when they are with friends. Human trafficking is on the rise more than ever before. As a mother of an 8 year old girl, I would say only with me until she goes to college.

Sandra - posted on 08/17/2012

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I feel she is safe if she is with friends you aprove of. I let my daughter at that age they learn to grow when we let them spred their wings.

Nedra - posted on 08/17/2012

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Lori, my daughter is 13 and in the 8th Grade. I am not really comfortable with letting her go to the mall with her friends at this point. I agree with one of the other mom's who stated that they could go to the mall together, and then go their separate ways. So when I am ready to go, I can just call her on her cellphone.

Blanca - posted on 08/17/2012

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Never in the mall without adult supervision until about 16. There are too many people looking for a young girl to kidnap. Even if she is with other friends. Do not take chances with your child.

Sylvia - posted on 08/16/2012

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I start @ the age of 14 but still was in the mall walk around as long they hv there cell , & u monitor them it should be Ok ..

Kim - posted on 08/16/2012

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My daughter is 16 I just stay at the mall and let her go where ever in the mall carrying her phone so when I am ready to leave we meet up and go.

Beth - posted on 08/16/2012

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It totally depends on where you live. I grew up in a very small town, and the "mall" was a building with about 10 stores in it. We would wander around for a few hours and get picked up again. I was in 6th grade, about 11 I think.

But, I'm raising my kids in a large city, and I don't know if I'll feel comfortable letting them run free when they're 11, it's just a different scene. I have a friend who has a 13 year old daughter and will let her walk around with friends for a few hours, if she's nearby (i.e. in the same neighborhood, not across town at their house). I think riding public transportation alone in a big city is even more dangerous, so I would be driving them around I suppose.

It helps to have them go in larger groups, like 5 or 6 kids, safety in numbers. Also, it should be during the day. Hope this helps.

Tracy - posted on 08/16/2012

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Depends on maturity level, trial run go to mall with her then let her go off with friends and see how she does, may have to try this a couple of times

Jaime - posted on 08/16/2012

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For me it would really depend on where you live and what the mall is like. I wouldn't let my children go to the mall here alone until they were 16 or 17.

Sally - posted on 08/16/2012

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It really depends on your daughter, her friends, and the mall. If your daughter and her friends are responsible and the mall is small and/or has good security, go for it. If not, wait a couple more years. A possible compromise could be to follow them from a distance so they get to feel free but you know where they are and what they're up to. If is proves safe, you can increase your distance until they truly are free. Another possible compromise is to hang out at the food court while they wander so you're available if they need you but not near enough to cramp their style.
Good luck

Teresa - posted on 08/15/2012

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I have two daughter's 14 & 12. About six months ago I took them to the mall with 2 of their friends. We were in the food court and I sat away from them to give them space. Two 16 year old girls tried to start a fight with them. I was watching and the 16 year old girls were not provoked in any way. I went over and soon as they saw me the backed off. You may trust your daughter because she is mature for her age but there are crazy people out there! It depends on the child but I am thinking I will consider this at about 16 or 17.

Amber - posted on 08/15/2012

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My daugther was 16 before she was allowed. Then it was with a group of friends. We went over the rules such as not leaving the mall and not talking to strangers. I also checked in with her a couple of times while she was there.

[deleted account]

When I lived in Ohio, we had malls that banned kids hanging out there under age 18 without an adult due to the trouble making. Check the mall rules.

Lanise - posted on 08/15/2012

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Times are so different now. My mother allowed me to walk the mall with my friends at 12. BUT she was in the mall as well and gave me hour increments to meet her back at. I also had her big gigantic cell phone at the time. I was pretty mature and responsible as well as a kid.

Nowadays though things are so different. I would say highschool age is a good age if they are responsible with an understanding of limits like not leaving the mall, no dipping off into isolated areas etc.

Dalyna - posted on 08/15/2012

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Personally I'm not fond of the whole hangout at the mall thing. I was once one of those teens that did and lord knows it wasn't innocent fun all of the time nor did I stay at the mall the whole time to be dropped back off later. Not saying your daughter would do the same but kids will be kids and most give in to peer pressure. My daughter is 2 so don't have to worry about this for a while but I don't think I would let her at any age just be dropped off (phone or not) and spend hours at the mall. Maybe an hour or two would be okay and she'd still have to check in. Yes, I have already accepted the fact my daughter is gonna "hate" me. Haha

Dove - posted on 08/15/2012

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15 may be a far stretch, but the only 'never' comment was mine and I clarified it. ;) My overprotective instinct says 'never', but my reality says a lot different. :)

Lori - posted on 08/15/2012

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Thank you so much. That is the best advice so far. I couldn't imagine waiting until she was 15 and going into grade 11 to finally allow her to go out on her own. There would be a good 2-3 years of her being deceitful. That is something I will not take lightly. Like I said, she is a good kid and had decent friends. We live in a nice neighbourhood. I might not let her go to the mall with friends just yet but I know it is coming soon. And I know I will be scared but I do trust her instincts. Thank you to everyone for your input. I have read all and I appreciate it very much.

[deleted account]

I think 14 is a good age if there is a big group of them but if only 1 or 2 then 15/16. It depends on how mature she is. But personally I believe 12 is too young on their own. X

Jerita - posted on 08/15/2012

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Honestly, it depends on the child. I worked in the Mall so would allow my child to go with a trusted friend when I worked. My daughter was around 15. I carried my cell with me in case needed. She knew many of my co-workers and where to turn if needed too. Keep in mind, it's their safety that matters most, how mature/responsible they are.

Lori - posted on 08/15/2012

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Yes very good advice. We have done that twice now while I was with her at the mall, her and her friends went a different way. We sent lots of texts back and forth. It was ok, I was a little bit nervous doing that but she responded every text. I'm still not sure about the dropping off and picking her and her friends up later on. I know she is responsible enough and I trust her but its society I don't trust. Scary making a huge decision like this.

Dove - posted on 08/15/2012

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Lori, does she have a cell phone? Why not give her a few short 'trial runs' while you are also at the mall? Give her a time and place to meet you (maybe start with 20-30 minutes) and see if she can follow that. I had to let my oldest have more freedom than I am ready for due to our particular circumstances and it FREAKS me out, but so far.... she is doing quite well with it.

Stifler's - posted on 08/15/2012

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Depends where you live. I remember being like 10 and going to the pool by ourselves and even younger riding around the street unsupervised and to the movies. I lived in a small town though where you weren't in crowds of people at the mall.

Lori - posted on 08/15/2012

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When my daighter starts highschool next year, she will be 13. There is a mall right across the street from the highschool. I'm not sure how I will ever stop her from going then. I don't want her to resort to lying. She will also be taking public transportation as well then. I'm pretty scared about that fact but she is a good level-headed kid with great friends. She will be going into grade 11 when she is 15.

[deleted account]

i cant see myself allowing my daughter out on her own before she's 15. i base that on her maturity level, where we live, the history of crime in our area and would also depend on how well i knew her group of friends (and their parents)

Dove - posted on 08/14/2012

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NEVER!!

Nah, I think it depends on where you live and you and your child's comfort level. I live in a very safe place, but am quite overprotective (at least I admit it..lol) and can't imagine being comfortable allowing my child to do that in 2 years. I may change my mind when the time comes though. I don't think going to the mall to 'hang out' is such a great idea as that would be more likely a time when the kids could get into trouble, but having some sort of a plan, designated drop off and pick up locations/times, and the child having a cell phone would/could also influence my decision.

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