What are some reasonable privileges or freedoms for a 12 year old?

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Tricia - posted on 07/19/2014

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Thanks!! The learning curve was steep for us from the start and hasn't gotten easier. We live in a very rural area. Some of the things I'm wondering about are:
- Since he is ADHD/ODD, we do not allow caffeinated drinks.
- We put strict limits on electronics. He has multiple game consoles, kindle fire etc, but we don't let him play for hours on end and no electronics after 8pm.
- We enforce sleep hygiene. All toys, books etc are in a separate room. His bedroom is just clothing, bed, simple decor.
- He is not allowed to be home alone (we have animals to protect and he has started a fire that took out a big chunk of wooded area near our house).
- No internet. He has downloaded porn, at home and at school, as well as given out personal info to strangers.
- He's never alone with other kids. He was almost certainly sexually abused and has touched/spoken to kids inappropriately (nothing too serious, but still worrisome)

Are there any of these I could/should ease up on? I understand that almost anyone with tight restrictions will challenge those restrictions and I want him to safely grow into independence. I'm just not sure what normal (and I use that word advisedly) kids his age are allowed to do that he is not, not sure if we are unreasonably strict. My childhood was quite different. I never had a curfew and had few rules, but my friends thought my parents were super strict because I policed myself. I also had older siblings to watch and learn from. My husband had harsh consequences for bad behaviour, but enjoyed freedom similar to what I had.

Thanks so much for all the responses!!

Jodi - posted on 10/16/2009

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My son has just gone 12, and I have started allowing him more freedom and privileges. In allowing him these, however, he knows that if he breaks any of the rules, that will be it. If I can no longer trust him, he loses it. So far so good.



Basically, he is allowed to ride is bike to a friends house (after I have verified her is welcome there, LOL), he is allowed to go with his friends to the local basketball courts, football ovals, shops, and skate park. Part of the deal is that he must take his phone, he must be home by the agreed time, and if he tells me they will be at the oval, that's where they must be. If they decide to go elsewhere, he has to ring me and talk to me about it first. He is also allowed to go to the movies with his friends, I just drop them off, help them buy tickets (because then I can have some control over what he is watching), then come back to pick them up. I don't stay around at all. He has his phone - if he needs me, he can call.



Hope this helps!! And good luck!



Edited to add: BTW, this is all ONLY during the day. Any privilege I allow him, he has to be home by 5:30pm. AND I have to know who he is with.

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User - posted on 10/16/2009

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Quoting Cynthia :

im replying to this because at 12 years old myself had very strict rules and was not aloud to experience things by myself, i constantly felt as if my parents did nnot trust me. And no matter how hard i tried i couldnt gain thier trust...i started running away from home just so i could hang out with my friends. It ended me up in serious problems...i rebeled away from my parents just so i could be a normal teenager...I recommend that you talk to him or her and give her a chance to have the freedom, with rules and if she breaks the rules she loses the privilage. I am 20 years old today with two children. i do not have a good relationship with my mom and at 14 i moved out of theyre house. I have held resentment towards my mom because she did not allow me to experience the preteen or teenage years. I hope this helps...I truly believe if you give your child a chance to experience things by him or her self she will learn indenpance and to respect you. And thats stays life long.


I understand all to well about the feeling of not being trusted when you are still a child, and yes at 12 yrs old one still is a child. I didn't feel like a child at the time but now that i'm 31 years old with three boys of my own, one being 12 right now, i more understand that, it's not the children that parents do not trust, it is the crazy world that we live in. There are good people and bad people in this world and sometimes it is impossible to tell the difference until it is too late. My kids will have to grow up soon enough and have responsibilities that they wish they didn't have and go through things they should never have to go through, but right now, while they r still children, I plan on protecting them from as much unnecessary pain and suffering as I can, until I havwe to let them go.I lost my mom in June of this year, and believe me I wish that she had lived long enough to see me truly grow up and understand these things. I only hope that she is looking down from heaven and happy with the way I turned out, and the way I'm raising her grandchildren. I think she would be proud.

Cynthia - posted on 10/16/2009

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im replying to this because at 12 years old myself had very strict rules and was not aloud to experience things by myself, i constantly felt as if my parents did nnot trust me. And no matter how hard i tried i couldnt gain thier trust...i started running away from home just so i could hang out with my friends. It ended me up in serious problems...i rebeled away from my parents just so i could be a normal teenager...I recommend that you talk to him or her and give her a chance to have the freedom, with rules and if she breaks the rules she loses the privilage. I am 20 years old today with two children. i do not have a good relationship with my mom and at 14 i moved out of theyre house. I have held resentment towards my mom because she did not allow me to experience the preteen or teenage years. I hope this helps...I truly believe if you give your child a chance to experience things by him or her self she will learn indenpance and to respect you. And thats stays life long

Deborah - posted on 10/16/2009

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Boy or girl? All of my children were free to play sports. We are christians and have always had part in the youth group. At 12, they were free to go with the group. I would never allow them to go off with a group that was unsupervised. I think it is something you and your husband need to discuss...each family has their own convictions about their children´s liberties. Are there any families with 12 year olds that you admire? Take their advice.

Carolyn - posted on 10/16/2009

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Movies with friends and no adults. As long as they follow the stick together rule. You know where I go you go and vise versa. No one goes any where out of site alone for any reason.... If it is safer for you to see another movie at the same theater You may even want to hang out in the lobby to make sure she does not leave. You could read or listen to IPod? She may except that as freedom. In the mall together but, not connected or walking together. That's all I got in this crazy world you never know?

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