At what age would you let your kid make independent decisions for themselves?

Submitted by bearishgurl on June 1, 2013 - 11:01am
Age 6: I'd let him/her ride their bike to the corner grocery store and talk to the neighbors without me being present.
11% (1 vote)
Age 9: I'd let my kid ride the local bus without me after showing him how.
0% (0 votes)
Age 10: I'd let my kid choose their own clothes (within reason).
44% (4 votes)
Age 11: I'd let my kid go to a concert or movie with friends if an adult transported them to and from..
0% (0 votes)
Age 14: I'd let my kid attend a school dance.
22% (2 votes)
Age 15: I'd let my kid choose their own classes as long as they satisfied the A-G reqs for college entrance.
0% (0 votes)
Age 17: I'd let my kid choose the colleges they wanted to apply to if they have a chance of acceptance and we can afford it.
0% (0 votes)
Age 18: It's hasta la vista, baby ... my job is DONE! Have a nice life!!
0% (0 votes)
Never: I need my kid at home with me until age 30 or beyond because he/she is my sounding board & I can't function without them
22% (2 votes)
Total votes: 9
Submitted by bearishgurl on June 1, 2013 - 11:09am.

Carried over from the "delete" thread:

CA renter wrote:
bearishgurl wrote:
. . . It is these same families with kids who have only been allowed to watch 2-3 (prescreened) channels on TV (or none at all) who end up with a rebellious MS-aged child, pregnant teen or a HS-aged son secretly stockpiling weapons in his bedroom. In the past decade-plus, over-the-top "child-centric" and/or "helicopter" parents have proliferated enormously in the US, cranking out mostly inept social misfits (at the very least) in the name of "protecting them" from "bad influences" (read: people not like us). . . .


Where in the world did you get this nonsensical view from? Please provide data to back up the claim that children of attentive parents have worse outcomes than those who spend less time with their parents...and more time in daycare or after-school programs, especially when you're talking about mid-higher socio-economic groups. I'm dying to see this research.

The most solvent and stable households that I've known tended to have a SAHP. Not sure where you're getting your information from, but if you look up the research on having SAH parents vs. "latch key" kids, you'll see that those with parents at home tend to have better outcomes.

BTW, you ought to ask teachers what they think about those after-school programs.

CAR, I wasn't referring to those households who could AFFORD to have a SAHP prior to voluntarily incurring the monthly bills they now have and KNOWING they could pay them into oblivion if that SAHP never became employed. I was referring to those households who, by hook or crook "qualified" for more house than they should have purchased (even with a fixed-rate mortgage) and then later, however it happened, had only one working parent but the same monthly bills except for higher utilities and taxes.

There were/are THOUSANDS of HH's like this in SD and one parent losing a FT job is a major contributor to foreclosure. I think you and I both agree that able-bodied parents need to support their children legitimately instead of avail themselves into oblivion of social services paid for by taxpayers. The welfare reform act of 1996 provides for TANF benefits for only five years which can be consecutive or not. It behooves a parent collecting TANF to use as little as possible if they can now get hired in a FT job because they don't know when they may need it again periodically if they should lose jobs in the future. If they waste the five years collecting TANF and continually dropping out of mandatory volunteer work for experience that their social worker has set up for them, they will be cut off but their kids will still be eligible for food benefits and Healthy Families. In any case, the TANF benefits are so low now that if the recipient has to show up 2-3 seven-hr days per week at a county office to do filing as a requirement of collecting benefits, they could actually make out better by getting a FT job, getting paid for it and keeping EBT benefits, free Head Start and before/afterschool care and Healthy Families coverage for their kids. The Welfare Reform Act is designed to encourage work, not sitting home and collecting.

The parent extremism I am referring to here is NOT the SAHP who is trying to help their kids with homework after school and shuttle them around to soccer, etc. It is delusional parenting borne of religious zealotry and extremism. And it is NOT Middle-Eastern or African immigrants in the US who I am referring to here. It is American-born parents who run a household of religious extremism who I feel are damaging their children, or, at the very least, adversely affecting their social skills and ability to cope with the "real world" after they become adults. I don't want to mention any particular religions here because not only do I not want to offend anyone but I KNOW that these particular types of parents are NOT representative of the teachings of their churches but have taken those teachings to the extreme, ESPECIALLY with their children. And I'm not talking about parents of toddlers, here. I'm referring primarily to parents of kids aged 11 and up.

These are parents who:

-won't ever let their children enroll in a public school, even if they want to go to one;

-won't let their kids ride LOCAL public transportation after showing them how;

-won't let their kids learn how to swim (a necessary life skill, IMO) because they are not allowed to wear bathing suits;

-won't let their kids have even a voice-only cell phone and all of their calls on the home phone are screened;

-won't let their kids troll the internet where the computer is not within sight of a parent (they could always install a filter if they are worried about what they might see);

-won't allow their daughters to wear pants, jeans, shorts, skirts too much above the ankle, sandals, short-sleeved or sleeveless tops or any neckline below the collarbone, no matter what the weather;

-won't allow their children to even talk to any other child with whom they have not yet personally vetted their parents and the home the child lives in;

-have hand-selected a few shows on only 2-3 channels on TV that their children can watch and personally monitor 100% of their kid's TV watching or the parents have never had a TV (which is OK if the kid is exposed to the world in other ways);

-will not allow their kids to attend dances at school (if they are enrolled in school);

-will not allow their kids to meet their classmates at a fast food restaurant after school occasionally because what they serve is not on the family's menu of allowed foods;



I see (and sometimes talk to) some of these kids pretty often and feel sorry for them but their parent's behavior is "legal" and not considered "child abuse."

This type of parent is more prevalent back east (rural and semi-rural areas) and in rural flyover America but I have seen SEVERAL of these kids here with zealot parents who turn 18 and RUN as fast as possible, only to end up found months/years later with a new child and their adult "partner" in MX, battling addiction on the street in Portland, OR or SF, CA, by the police or in the back bedroom of a house in Encino after a secret cry for help to a neighbor that they were kidnapped and drugged into a "porn-production ring."

These "victim kids" eventually come of age and see what's out there in the world and want a taste of it, realize their parents have been holding them hostage all of their lives, but practically speaking, can't handle themselves in the "real world." They have no survival skills and usually can't function in college, either, because of the "diversity" of students, instructors and campus life in general.

And we have to ask ourselves why there are so many "kids-turned-adult" still living with mom and dad at age 30 (unheard of in past generations). It's not always about a bad economy or student-loan debt. It is likely some of these helicopter parents won't let their kids go and have brainwashed them into believing they can't succeed in life if they leave the home or have made their kids too afraid to try anything new through censoring them all of their lives.


Boys from a particular religious group of parents in suburban and rural "flyover America" come to mind here who engaged throughout the '80's and '90's in kidnapping area pets and livestock and secretly holding ceremonies to kill, mutilate and sacrifice them. In addition, several boys from this same type of overzealous religious household in the same geographical areas ended up killing one or both of their parents as they slept.

Some of these ostracized kids-turned-adults ended up living in fortified bunkers in rural "God's country" (ID, MO, WY, ND) because they were too unsocialized to succeed as a productive member of society. When you actually delve into their histories, their wacky parents deserved 95% of the blame for this.

I've compared the family backgrounds of boys who routinely engaged in animal-sacrifice years ago and they were extremely similar. As I recall, it was a fascinating study. The parents all appeared to be "upstanding citizens" in their communities and had no idea what was going on with their sons. This wasn't due to them being "too busy." It was due to their extreme tunnel vision and being hell-bent on religiously indoctrinating their children in every way, shape and form.

When I'm able to re-locate the background references to some of these most notorious young criminals in history, I will post them here.

I believe kids who have not been properly socialized are too "impressionable," often lack self-confidence and thus are more likely to fall victim to a predator. Shutting them away from all that a parent thinks is "evil" will never teach them how to handle the situations in life that they will undoubtedly be faced with. They HAVE to learn if they are ever to successfully navigate college and/or get/keep a job.

Yes, paramount, I DO believe in the "free range kid" concept. I didn't know what that was until you mentioned the term in the "delete" thread and I searched it and came up with these links.

I think Lenore Skenazy nailed down to a T the concepts I'm trying to explain here. She's right on.

Submitted by no_such_reality on June 1, 2013 - 1:50pm.

I'm not even going to read.

When I grew up and rode my bike to the store, the library, the pool, I did it on roads with 1/100th the traffic on the arteries around here.

I did it on single lane road that were wide, having enough room to park a car, have 1/2 a lane width next to it and then the lane of traffic.

The drivers weren't texting, applying makeup, screaming at a contractor on their cell, or running maniacally their next unrealistic appointment.

Most importantly, they were doing 30 mph. Not driving in a 45 or 50 mph zone and doing 60. They weren't distracted trying to make the next light, frankly, there were 3 lights over about a 5 mile ride.

I'm not going to worry about my kids judgement, I'm going to worry about the adults judgment which frankly, in SoCal is pretty f-ing poor IMHO. Adults around here whether, 30, 40 or 50 mostly act like a bunch of spoiled narcissistic teenagers.

Submitted by Scarlett on June 1, 2013 - 2:36pm.

Very true. But let's take the traffic out of the equation (hypothetically) and worry only about creeps and such - assume your kids can walk and cross safely to the grocery store (not sure how often that situation exists - certainly not in any of the places we looked to buy - but I digress), and that they even have a cell phone for emergencies. At what age would you let them do that?

I am just curious. I don't have an issue with whatever age parents let the kids do that or other things, each with his own style and comfort zone and it depends a lot on the circumstances and locations. So I am not going to launch a crusade.

Since I asked it's only fair I give my own reply which is: In my current case and location, 6-7 would be too young to walk to grocery store alone, but 10 wouldn't be. Talking to neighbors without us present is no problem at age 6.

Submitted by no_such_reality on June 1, 2013 - 3:33pm.

Age 6, late kindergarten/ first grade, too young IMHO for most suburban SoCal.

Age 10, grade 4 hopefully okay. Maybe not depending on child awareness and neighborhood.

Age 12 grade 6 better be capable, aware enough to go to corner store. Should be able to do a movie, with friends, with one of the parents dropping the group off and picking up.

The questionable ones come in on at what age do you let the group go to the mall and say D&B's?

Submitted by UCGal on June 1, 2013 - 3:53pm.

I have to agree with NSR.... traffic is far worse now. I'm much less worried about creeps - they have always been around.... I remember a flasher in his car when I was walking home from grade school over 40 years ago. We're just more aware now because of the 24 hour news cycle. But the same dead end street we played touch football on as kids now has idiots driving 45mph to bet to their house 20 seconds sooner.... kids be damned.... Drivers have changed.

We're debating having our son ride the bus home from middle school near Balboa park... I did similar trips when I was his age and took ballet lessons at the Prado in the 7th grade. Friends think I'm nuts.

There are some interesting articles about "free range" parenting.... In order to teach yourkids to be independent you need to give them the lessons then let them USE that info to develop confidence.

Submitted by sdduuuude on June 1, 2013 - 4:40pm.

I didn't answer cuz the answers are not mutually exclusive.

Submitted by carli on June 1, 2013 - 7:32pm.

Agree with sdduuuude. And also because some of the stuff in BG's post above is wacky. Too much strangeness to even address.

I used to love this site but now, when I stop by, it's all BG, all the time, and most of it is just her random musings/opinions.

BG, I don't mean any disrespect, as it's obvious you've got lots of great life experience to share, but whatever happened to the motto of this site, "In God We Trust. Everyone Else Bring Data."???

Submitted by CDMA ENG on June 1, 2013 - 7:56pm.

carli wrote:
Agree with sdduuuude. And also because some of the stuff in BG's post above is wacky. Too much strangeness to even address.

I used to love this site but now, when I stop by, it's all BG, all the time, and most of it is just her random musings/opinions.

BG, I don't mean any disrespect, as it's obvious you've got lots of great life experience to share, but whatever happened to the motto of this site, "In God We Trust. Everyone Else Bring Data."???










P.S. I would give you more +1s but then I would be just liket the before mentioned!

Submitted by PCinSD on June 1, 2013 - 8:48pm.

Grabs the popcorn and pulls up a chair . . .

Submitted by CA renter on June 2, 2013 - 6:01pm.


I love what the "free-range kid" people are advocating for, but would add that it depends entirely on the character of the individual child, their physical environment, and family environment.

As a child, I attended an extremely religious Baptist school (because of the busing debacle in LA, and the academic reputation of the private school, not because my parents were particularly religious), and as a currently homeschooling family, we've met many religious parents who homeschool their children for religious reasons (we don't, FWIW).

We've known quite a few *very* religious families, but have to say that your characterization of their children couldn't be further from the truth. Their kids tend to be the most well-behaved, respectful, hard-working, and healthiest kids we've known. I only know of one girl who got pregnant before she was married, and haven't known a single child from these families who stockpiled weapons or engaged in any kind of violent or criminal behavior. All of the adult kids from these families have grown up to be very responsible, hard-working adults, whether they work outside of the home for wages, or inside the home with their families as SAHPs. Many run their own businesses. None have ever been on welfare that I'm aware of (I don't think welfare is a bad thing, BTW, as long as it's used for the right reasons).

And none of what you've described could in any way be construed as child abuse. To the contrary, I'd say that these parents are some of the most involved, loving, and concerned parents around. While I might not agree with every parent's child rearing choices, it's not for me to try to outlaw or judge others simply because they choose to raise their own children as they see fit. Abuse and neglect have very significant meanings, and alternative parenting styles to NOT constitute abuse, no matter how much you or I might disagree with them.

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on June 2, 2013 - 6:57pm.

CAR: Excellent post. I've coached hundreds of kids in a decade of coaching and I've seen all walks of life, along with varying socio-economic backgrounds. To make such a broad-brush set of assumptions smacks more of personal bias, then anything rising to the level of fact-based analysis.

As a product of 12 years of Catholic school, I attended classes with my fair share of screwed up kids, but I also knew plenty of kids fitting this same description in public school as well. I knew poor kids, middle-class kids and rich kids, and they all were normal and screwed up and everything in the middle.

Brian (God rest his soul) used to routinely come on this board and inveigh against fat, conservative Christians as part of his self-declared war to "eradicate redneck culture". He also saw himself as an intelligent, open-minded Progressive. He was none of those things.

Being a bigot is easy. Being accepting is hard as hell.

Submitted by bearishgurl on June 2, 2013 - 10:02pm.

Allan, if you are insinuating that I am referring only to "Christians" who I believe are doing a disservice to their children by denying them almost everything, you are wrong. I don't have any prejudices against fundamentalist Christians ... or any other religion, for that matter. I actually have over 120 relatives strewn about that infamous "bible belt." Yes, they were VERY lucky. Only ONE completely lost their beautiful 3300 sf brick home they built themselves and two beloved horses on 5 AC in the May 20th tornado.

However, when I see a LOCAL teenage kid's downcast eyes and resigned expression when their wacky, constantly-prostelyzing-to-anyone-who-will-listen parent once again tells them they can't go the mall/movies/swimming, etc, that can't watch TV at so-and-so's house, they can't spend time with a friend or that group of friends, they can't pet that dog, they can't wear that top their friend gave them, they can't eat that, they can't take off their jacket/sweater/vest, etc and even chooses the books they MUST read, I truly feel sorry for them and KNOW they will bolt at the first available opportunity. Where they bolt to will be secondary. All I can tell you is that they will be out of there. I've seen all this before and know how it turns out. I've even seen these wacky parents argue incessantly with their less-wacky parent-partner over what is appropriate for a 14 yo to be able to do. The wacky one always wins unless the less-wacky one gets up the courage to prepare to take legal steps against them. Even then, the wacky parent doesn't change.

It's sad and there seem to be quite a few of these parents around today ... many more than I remember when I was growing up. They aren't following the "real" teachings of any "religion" they profess to be. They're carrying whatever they have picked up along their religious teachings to the extreme and using their "religion" as a cover for acting out their neuroses.

And btw, I too was raised Catholic, as were my parents. Believe it or not, there are parents out there today who claim to be practicing "Catholicism" but what they are actually "practicing" is a very EXclusive, cloistered. witch-hunt-type existence. I feel sorry for their victim-kids also. And believe when I say I know the difference.

This is 2013. Kids can't function in HS, college or work/required volunteer settings with their peers when they're not allowed to even speak with most of them or put on a pair of pants (if female). How can they put on a required retail, restaurant or medical uniform if they're not "allowed" to wear pants or a skirt shorter than 2" above their ankle?

And the "wacky" parent usually presents to others as a physical, mental and emotional mess.

These families have nothing to do with "rednecks" (whatever that is supposed to mean). They are NOT. This is how I observe these situations and I'm entitled to my opinion. You would have to see these "wacky" parents in action and decide for yourself. These situations border on false imprisonment and/or child abuse, IMHO. I have never called CPS because I know it is all perfectly legal and they won't do a thing. They would rather threaten to remove a child from parents who send their 1st grader to the post office down the street. Interesting read:

Oh, and btw, I've started working on that notorious-child-criminal-with-a-wacky-parent list. I will post the links here when it is complete.

Submitted by Allan from Fallbrook on June 2, 2013 - 10:18pm.

BG: Lest you feel I was insinuating anything, let me be perfectly clear: I felt that your post was overly broad-brush and biased in the sense that it was anecdotal and not fact based.

I then went on to say, in my own anecdotal fashion, that I had NOT seen similar things and felt that certain problems, issues, etc, seemed to be more a factor of age, than a specific upbringing (e.g. Catholic, Protestant, etc), or occupying a certain socio-economic stratum.

As to my reference about Brian, that had absolutely nothing to do with you. Rather, it was to illustrate that we are all biased and prejudiced in our own ways and those biases and prejudices inform our view of the world.

I have 12 years of Jesuit Catholic schooling under my belt, including eight years of seminary school. You don't need to tell me how whack-a-doo the Catholics can get. That said, my friends from that time are, in the main, well-adjusted, successful people with families. Those that are still in the community have opted to send their children to the same schools we attended.

Submitted by bearishgurl on June 2, 2013 - 10:47pm.

WOW, Allan, you have had a LOT of training in Catholicism. I won't ask why you didn't join the clergy.

I really had no problem whatsoever with brian, even though he thought all old neighborhoods should be razed and replaced with new high-density construction :=0

Different strokes ... that's what makes the world go-round.

As far as the term "redneck" goes, I have heard several other Piggs mention that Temecula is full of them (I wouldn't know).

Contrary to popular belief, (urban/suburban) "bible belt" dwellers are NOT "rednecks." They are the most kind, down-to-earth people and very hard WORKERS (yes, the majority of women also). Most work FT well into their sixties and about 20% work well into their seventies. A good portion (half?) have college degrees as well. And very, very few of MY relatives are "fat." They work way too hard to be "fat." So whatever stereotype people have about residents of certain regions of the US doesn't really comport with reality. What I like about bible-belt dwellers is that they don't have any problem telling it like it is. They don't mince words either and don't mind discussing the "elephant in the room." And culturally, they don't come across to me as "fake" or continually "sugar coating" their words. They are survivors. And no matter how much they make, how much they have or how much they are worth, they are, as a group, very UNpretentious and also accepting of everyone.

Maybe I inherited some of those "traits" from my parents who were born and raised in the "bible belt." :=0

Submitted by flu on June 3, 2013 - 7:14am.


Submitted by desmond on June 3, 2013 - 8:41am.

It never ends. My son is coming in from Houston for a wedding for one of his close friends from High School this week. He got a text, a text, last Wednesday and the wedding is off.........$$$$$$$$$$$ ouch. She actually called him about a month ago and made sure he was attending because in was $100 a head for the reception. The bride did have her bachelorette party and is having a BBQ at her house on Saturday??? Unreal. Can you imagine her parents? Not just the $$$ but that is embarrassing........

Submitted by curiousmind on June 3, 2013 - 8:50am.

My parents were really flexible with me and didn't force any ideologies down my throat. I lived near a park and some tract communities within a mile or so. They let us kids and the dogs run wild wherever we wanted(as early of an age as I can remember) and I wouldn't want it any other way. The main thing that was commanded was school. They wanted me to get good grades and go to college, which was a major point of contention and created much conflict. One day when I was around 13-14 my dad, said hey we're going somewhere. We got in his car and started driving, ended up taking a helicopter to Catalina and hiking around. There is a cool botanical park out there that we ended up at, and we're sitting down on the bench. I had no idea what was going on that day, just seemed like adventure. But when on the bench he told me he was concerned/didn't know what to do - I wasn't doing what he knew of being best for me like doing good in school, being interested in school etc. He said something along the lines of 'If I let you do whatever you want and it doesn't turn out for you, how am I supposed to feel how will you look back on me? Would I feel like I let you down?'(paraphrasing). I told him something like please let me make all of my own decisions and that if there are ill consequences that he won't be/I won't hold him responsible/blame. That was it.. he got off my back about grades and relinquished the notion that I must go to college. I later went to college for a few semesters, then stopped. I now work in software and have done so since I was 17 or so(30s now). What my dad didn't realize was that by buying me a computer(s) at a young age and just being the dad he is, was giving me everything I needed to make my way. My dad later told me, that Catalina was spontaneous he had no idea where we were going when he left that day, he just started driving and that's where we ended up.

Submitted by CA renter on June 3, 2013 - 1:14pm.

Very cool story, curiousmind. Sounds like you had great parents.

Submitted by curiousmind on June 3, 2013 - 2:20pm.

CA renter wrote:
Very cool story, curiousmind. Sounds like you had great parents.

Thanks CA renter! Doing my best to possibly divert us from the next PowaySeller crowning..

Submitted by spdrun on June 3, 2013 - 2:26pm.

Grew up in a small city in NJ, most kids were walking or biking alone/with friends to school by age 10. No busing. On my block in NYC, you see kids walking to school alone, skateboarding with friends, etc. Not 100% typical of my area, since a lot of streets have more traffic, but East Coast 'tudes towards raising kids seem to be more relaxed than San Diego. Maybe if you went to a small mountain town in Northern CA, it would be different.

Submitted by desmond on June 3, 2013 - 5:11pm.

CA renter wrote:
Very cool story, curiousmind. Sounds like you had great parents.

I have more respect for parents that actually follow through and not let their kids do what they want. They use their experience to help them do the right thing. Like the Dad that told his son he was not going in the car with 5 teenagers, he was going to stay home and study. That is a "cool" parent. Saying NO is not taking the easy way out. I am sure you know that the other 5 kids are dead from a speeding accident. My wife and I said NO many times to are two kids, it is very hard, and we did not give in after. Our kids, now both on their own, are now thanking us for what we did for them.

Submitted by CA renter on June 3, 2013 - 10:04pm.

desmond wrote:
CA renter wrote:
Very cool story, curiousmind. Sounds like you had great parents.

I have more respect for parents that actually follow through and not let their kids do what they want. They use their experience to help them do the right thing. Like the Dad that told his son he was not going in the car with 5 teenagers, he was going to stay home and study. That is a "cool" parent. Saying NO is not taking the easy way out. I am sure you know that the other 5 kids are dead from a speeding accident. My wife and I said NO many times to are two kids, it is very hard, and we did not give in after. Our kids, now both on their own, are now thanking us for what we did for them.


We agree about saying "no" to our kids, and from your posts, it sounds like you and your wife have done an excellent job with your kids.

I was referring to the fact that CM's dad made a point of communicating openly, letting CM know what his/her dad wanted, and then listening to what CM had to say about it. FWIW, I've seen kids who perform better with more freedom, while others do better with more boundaries and restrictions. I've seen both ways backfire when parents used the "wrong" tactics on the wrong kids. IMHO, good parenting means really knowing and understanding your child, and knowing how to handle different situations in a fairly dynamic child-rearing environment.

Submitted by flu on June 4, 2013 - 12:26am.

Parent's advice on raising kids is kinda like taking a dump...

Your poop always smells better than someone else's.

Submitted by CA renter on June 4, 2013 - 9:15pm.

oooreallly wrote:
Parent's advice on raising kids is kinda like taking a dump...

Your poop always smells better than someone else's.

Even better is the advice from those who are NOT parents. They always seem to know best! ;)