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Old 02-27-2007, 04:12 PM   #1
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dfroman1166 HB User
Question Freedom and the 11 yr. old

Hello,
I've posted here several months ago in regard to my son who is an 11 yr. old honor student and basicly a great kid. He's been making lots of new friends in middle school- some I know and some I don't know.
My problem is (again!) he's been wanting more and more freedom lately. He's always been trustworthy. Recently he's been hanging around with some boys who's parents allow them to roam the neighborhoods! This is very scary for me. We do live in a smaller city in Connecticut. Two days ago he was with a friend and I called to talk to him and the mom said "there outside" and I asked to get him so I could speak to him and she said "I'll have to call you back, there at city hall" I was appalled! City hall is off of a busy street about 4 streets down from where they live! I got into the car and retrieved him from city hall. He was very apologetic and said that he knew I'd be upset. He also said to me in a calm rational tone that "everyone" goes there and lots of other parks and places and he thinks that he's old enough to go to.
I did some "mom investigating" and found out that - YES most of his friends do go to these places unsupervised! These are good kids from good homes- one dad is a city police officer and another mom a 7th grade english teacher!
I don't know what to do! I don't want him to miss out on the fun with his friends but I still feel like 11 is too young to roam the streets!
He does carry a cell phone and I do trust his judgement but accidents happen! Please- if there's any moms or dads out there with 11 yr olds what do you think? What is your 11 or 12 year old doing or going with friends? What happened to staying at the house and having fun? Why the wondering?
THANKS

 
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Old 02-27-2007, 04:29 PM   #2
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tigerlilyx61 HB User
Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

Hi dfroman. I definitely hear you on this one. I too think 11 is a little young but...he is a good kid with decent grades and you said he was trustworthy. There's got to be a way to give him a little freedom while giving yourself some peace of mind. If he has a phone and he wants to go to city hall would you be O.K. with him going if he called you first? And then have him call BEFORE he leaves to come home? And I'm sure you've talked to him about how to stay safe. And about how much you love him and you wouldn't want to ever see anything bad happen to him. The thing is bad things happen to adults. I am always hearing about this or that person that was abducted or vanished without a trace. I have an 11 y/o too and I live in a very small town with like NO crime and I am still hesitant. I have let her walk to the local store with a friend before. It's maybe a 1/2 mile round trip. Luckily for me she would rather be inside on the computer. I don't know if that's good or bad But when my now 19 y/o was 12ish she would sneak out in the middle of the night to walk around our little village with a friend of hers. That used to really bother me. Unfortunately it is one of the thie problems parents are faced with as their children enter these years. Good luck.

 
Old 02-28-2007, 05:51 AM   #3
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

My problem with that age and wandering around by himself is not whether or not he's a good kid and trustworthy with good grades, but whether or not he will know what to do if something were to happen - for instance, god forbid, somebody tried to grab him or one of his friends. That is what would be on my mind (my oldest is 6, but I have twin 12-year old sisters). My mother does not let them wander around. It's so hard trying to give them freedom, while at the same time keeping them safe. I don't want my son to get any older.

 
Old 02-28-2007, 06:16 AM   #4
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dfroman1166 HB User
Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

Yes...I agree with luv. I don't trust other people there are alot of freaks in this world - small town or not.
With that said I need to figure out some kind of common ground. I Feel like the cell phone is a very valuable tool in a situation like this. I can't agree to allowing him to go just anywhere. I need to come up with certain guidelines I guess. He's already allowed to be in our neighborhood and walks to the deli down the street. The main issue is when he's visiting his friends and there parents rules and guidelines. Communication is key-he is getting older and should be allowed certain freedom.

 
Old 02-28-2007, 06:18 AM   #5
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

I just heard on the TV the other night that fewer than 100 children are "grabbed" off the street each year. The guy said that more children get struck by lightening. I know that this isn't comforting if it is your kid but should we really live our lives in fear? Arm him with some info about running in the opposite direction that the car is facing, screaming, and staying in a group. There is safety in numbers.

 
Old 02-28-2007, 06:39 AM   #6
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PinkPiglet HB User
Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

My 11 year old isn't out hanging around town. My 14yr old has some freedoms that he and his friends have earned but not the younger ones.

The 11yr olds around here spend time at each others homes and sometimes head down to the local corner store but the only place they "hang out" is the park across the road.

The 14 yr olds head to the local Walmart and sometimes the mall downtown. They head to the swimming pool and McDonalds but even then most of them don't hang around city hall or other areas where there's no need to be.

I think at that age peer pressure can really be hard, even on the good kids. It just takes one kid to start the "I dare you" type thing to start the ball rolling. Some kids are strong enough to walk away but most want to fit in and will go along with things.
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Old 02-28-2007, 06:40 AM   #7
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

From the time the child could talk-which was VERY young I have taught him how to be safe in any situation.
When he was 6 yrs old we were shopping and he was (i thought) right beside me. Before I even realized he was gone I heard him sreaming and crying MOM!! Where are you!! I've instilled saftey in him so much that he was freaked out because he coulden't see me! My point is that I can't do anymore than I have in regard to safety,drug use ect..
I need to let him fly a little After all thats what parenting is all about-we teach them then they fly. There only on loan to us! I'ts very scary to realize that. We want to protect them from every hurt or disappointment.
Thanks for your help! Oh..pinkpiglet -city hall has a skate park. I agree that he should not be just "hanging out". Thats when the "i dare you's come into play. At least I think? I'm new at this tween thing!

Last edited by dfroman1166; 02-28-2007 at 06:43 AM.

 
Old 02-28-2007, 07:28 AM   #8
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

Ah, didn't realize there's a skate park! LOL Then yes, my 11 yr old MAY be there if they were interested in that sort of thing. That's where perspective comes in. Our city hall has a great parking lot for skateboarding but it's not really allowed, just used that way. *grin*

In regards to the skate park - Are there a lot of older teens there? Are the high school kids smoking? Whats the language like? Any chance of drugs being around? Are parents supervising?

Our skate park is always supervised. I don't know if that helps with everything but at least they try. There is no smoking allowed and if anyone is thought to be under the influence the police are called. They are just trying to keep it clean.
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Old 02-28-2007, 07:49 AM   #9
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sannah View Post
I just heard on the TV the other night that fewer than 100 children are "grabbed" off the street each year. The guy said that more children get struck by lightening. I know that this isn't comforting if it is your kid but should we really live our lives in fear? Arm him with some info about running in the opposite direction that the car is facing, screaming, and staying in a group. There is safety in numbers.
I agree that the parents of those 100 children won't feel comforted by that. I know I shouldn't, but I do live my life - maybe not "in fear" - but fearful that harm will come to my children or my sisters. I would still worry if it were 2 kids grabbed off the street a year.

Last edited by luvmy2kids; 02-28-2007 at 07:51 AM.

 
Old 03-01-2007, 12:58 AM   #10
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

i dont have an 11 year old child so feel free to disreguard my opion on the basis that i have 7 years to go before i get to where your at but i think 11 is to young to be going places unsupervised.. its not about trusting your child its about not trusting the many weirdos out there.. your son may not make you mother of the year for cramping his syle by not letting him go to places like his friends but im sure it would be better to have a son whos mad at you for a short perriod of time than no son at all! He proably thinks hes old enuff and wise enuff and he probably no's by heart what to do if he meets someone dodgy or if someone offers him drugs but knowing what to do and actually doing it can be harder.. what if he panicked and forgot what he was told? what if he got caought up in the moment and didnt want to sound rude to the stranger asking him to help get something out of the car?.. I know you need to give him some freedom and im gonna try and think up some ways for you give him a little room to move that doesnt involve him being places without supervison.. when i come up with something ill get back to you

*puts thinking hat on*

by the way you sound like a wonderful parent not wanting to spoil his fun and keep him safe at the same time..

 
Old 03-01-2007, 07:50 AM   #11
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

Thanks for your resposes!
Well my indifference has come to an abrupt HALT! Yesterday afternoon when my son was getting out of school we had an agreement that he was going to walk to his friends house- the same one that I found out they were at city hall. Anyhow, I specifically told him to call me when he was leaving the school and then when he got to the friends house. Well ,no phone calls PERIOD! So I got into the car at around 3:15 to go the route from school to friends house and found them horsing around in the middle of the street with some 7th graders! Not only that- apparently the elementary school bus driver had stopped and was threatening to call the police on them because they were throwing snow balls at the bus!
WOW!! I feel like one of those moms that always say "MY SON would NEVER...." Well...HE DOES!! Then to top this off he somehow snuck his razor scooter to school that morning (my hubby got him off in the a.m.-DUH!!) and was doing his crazy stunts in the road UGH! I called the mother of this other child and guess what? SHE WAS NOT HOME!! She's a school teacher! And she allows her son to roam all over town-not only that she's not even home. Needless to say hes not allowed over there until I can figure out what the rules are in there home. My son was very upset and was crying and apolgising but I'm very upset at his behavior. He knows the rules!
Another thing that I found out is that this friend was hit by a car in the neighborhood last year and she still allowes him to roam around unsupervised! UNREAL!!
Thanks for your help! I've got my answer-no roaming without supervision! Unless it's in his neighborhood and his boundries.
Dee

 
Old 03-01-2007, 08:47 AM   #12
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brook65 HB User
Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

Hi I haven't read this whole complete thread so forgive me.

I have an 11 year old son, and I can understand how you feel.


He has recently stated high school, and catches the bus home , when he first started at this school I was worried about him having to cross roads to get to the bus stop. Until my family members all said that they were crossing roads and walking to school etc at a far younger age, I realised that I had to give a bit.

My son goes to his friends house after school, and sometimes walks their dog with his friend,but although it does concern me, I have to remember that if I try to be too overcautious, he will start to resent me, and feel embarrassed in front of their freinds.

My rules are, he always carries a phone, always has it switched on, and always comes back before it get dark. I also believe in safety in numbers, as long as he is not alone and with other children I feel that I need not worry so much.

I also trust my son to be sensible, and have also realised that kids grow up a lot quicker these days, which is not necessarily a good thing sadly.

Another thing is to always make sure that your son tells you if he is going anywhere else, for instance when he had left his freinds house.

Good luck

Last edited by brook65; 03-01-2007 at 08:51 AM.

 
Old 03-01-2007, 09:16 AM   #13
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

I'm sorry he's doing this but I'm glad you found out, I'm glad it was something this simple rather then something a whole lot more serious and I'm glad you found out before things escalated.

Edit: Don't forget though that they were just being 11yr olds. Kids that age do things without thinking. I keep my eyes on the fact that common sense will eventually come back when they are 20 or so. LOL
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Last edited by PinkPiglet; 03-01-2007 at 09:20 AM.

 
Old 03-01-2007, 03:23 PM   #14
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

Awww Dee...my heart goes out to you<3 I think you are doing the right thing by not letting him go to this friends house. They are still VERY young and the temptation to do stupid, silly stuff like what you descibed is ever present. I live on the same street as the elementary and middle scool of our town and I can't tell you how many times I have seen kids right around this age daring cars, throwing snowballs, walking in the middle of the street. I think a lot of it is the age but I also think you have to be on top of it like you are. I would be extremely upset if I EVER found out that my kids were doing this stuff. Although I'm sure they have...teehee. Is there any way this friend could come to your house? That sounds like it would be the safer option. And as far as the phone goes...just wanted to let you know that my 2 older daughters who are now 20 and 19 forgot to call me up until as old as like 17. Grrr. I wanted to pull my hair out!!! I think it is just constant reminding until they get it...which they finally did. But it takes awhile. Maybe some kids get it quicker than others but both of my older daughters were honor/high honor roll students, involved in band and chorus yadayadayada...you get the picture. So they were/are very responsible too. Good luck and let us know what happens.

 
Old 03-03-2007, 07:51 AM   #15
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Re: Freedom and the 11 yr. old

Talking from experience...just because the dad is a police officer and mom is a school teacher....doesn't matter at all. Plus he's only 11. I agree, he should not be allowed to roam.....not this day and time. i don't care where you live. My son (16) knows a boy who's mom is also a teacher, junior high, and she smokes weed with her 15 yr old!!!!!!! I say go with your instincts always!!!! And teach your son that just because someone else is doing it, even if everyone is doing it, doesn't make it right. Pere pressure works that way............teach him that now..............it will get harder as he gets older. My son is 16 and all his friends can stay out til midnight on the weekends.......not mine..........11:00.......he gets so mad at me.........but oh well, he gets over it!!!
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