Am I Being Too Protective Of My 10 Year Old Son?

G - posted on 07/08/2014 ( 4 moms have responded )




I have an 18 year old son that would like to take his brother (my 10 year old) to a very large water park about 30 minutes away. My older son doesn't drive so one of his friends would take them all. My 18 year old is not responsible. He barely passed high school (I know school isn't for everyone) but he's also never held a job and doesn't help with ANY chores around the house. He isn't a bad kid, he just is somebody who acts first and then thinks later. I worry that my younger son will be with a group of 18 year olds. Some of my fears are: my older son will see a cute girl and leave my younger son alone while he gets a phone number or not stay with his younger brother at all times. I could see my older son getting talked into going on a ride for just a few minutes while the younger one is alone. Just last week a convicted child molester was arrested at this park. For as irresponsible that the older son is - the younger one is extremely responsible - an old soul. He "gets" things that his older brother doesn't. My husband is only concerned about him being driven there by our older sons friends -- not what will happen in the park.

My question is -- do I let the 10 year old go? I don't want to be over-protective but I also don't want to put him in a situation that would worry me to death. I know he is responsible and disappointed -- am I being overly protective??


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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/10/2014




Since you didn't really give any examples of HOW your 18 YO is irresponsible enough that he and his 10 YO brother couldn't enjoy a day together, I'll say this:

When my kids were 18 & 14, the 18 YO drove them cross country 1000 miles to take his brother to language camp and attend with him. They traveled together, in a vehicle, passing through 4 states one way. They actually exceeded my expectations. The younger brother has the personality traits to fill in where the older lacks, so they balance each other out beautifully.

If your 10 yo is an 'old soul' they'll be fine.

Chet - posted on 07/09/2014




I agree that this is a really tough call. Not knowing your kids, it's difficult to separate out what are rational concerns, and what is overprotection.

You say that your older son acts first and thinks later, but you didn't really give any examples of that. Having trouble with school and failing to do chores around the house aren't examples of impulsive, unsafe behaviour. A convicted molester arrested at a local park has nothing to do with this. The vast majority of child molesters aren't convicted and they target kids they already know and have repeated contact with. They aren't trolling around water parks (that are loaded with parents and security staff) looking for random kids.

Do you have any examples where your older son put your younger son in danger? Has he left your younger son unattended in the past? Is your younger son wary of being ditched by his older brother?

If you younger son is tall enough to go on all the rides, and he's the sort of kid who would want to go on all the rides, I'd be pretty inclined to let him go. If both of your kids are going to go on the same rides then there shouldn't be as much of a risk of them being separated.

Also, if your ten year old is trustworthy and you tell him to stay with his brother, a certain amount of flakiness on the part of the older brother shouldn't be a huge problem. Moments of inattention from the 18 year old can be compensated for if your younger son makes sure to follow him everywhere. Since your older son asked to take his brother it seems unreasonable to expect would that he would ask to take his sibling and them completely ditch him at that park.

And the thing is, It's a water park. There are life guards and staff everywhere. Silly or risky behaviour normally gets you kicked out. They make announcements to reunite people who get separated. It's not like they're going back country camping.

Anyway, don't hold your kid back from situations that would "worry you to death". Hold your kid back from situations that he legitimately couldn't cope with.

Jodi - posted on 07/09/2014




I think it depends on the 18 year old. As an example, I would have left my younger 9 year old with my stepdaughter and her friends when she was 18 in a heartbeat. She was a really responsible kid, and I did, in fact, allow this many times. My son (now almost 17) however, I'm not so sure. He tends to get more caught up in his own thing than taking on the responsibility. Don't get me wrong, he's a good kid, but he and his mates can be a bit silly. Admittedly, there is a maturity difference between girls and boys at this age, but it's also in the personality differences of the child. Only you can be best judge of whether your 18 year old is ready to take on that responsibility and put his brother first and mates second.

Kayla - posted on 07/09/2014




This is tricky. My kids are still very young. But I can still offer my opinion. I would be very much like you, and be super worried about letting him go. It's clear that you don't fully trust that your 18yr old will keep his eyes on your 10yr old. I think the better question here though is do you trust your 10 year old enough to know what to do if it turns out he is left alone because of the scenarios you suggested?

Would he know what to do if he couldn't find his brother? Would he know what to do if he was approached by someone who is possibly dangerous? If the answer is yes to those questions, then I would let him go.

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