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What age did your tween/teen start having their own life?

My 11 y/o is gone almost all weekend, every weekend. I always know where she is and she checks in all the time but I wonder if I'm giving her too much freedom too young. She has NEVER been in trouble and is an honor roll student. Whatcha think?


Asked by Anonymous at 2:35 AM on Jan. 30, 2011 in Tweens (9-12)

This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • I was 11 when I started hanging out with my friends out of the house. I did just what your dd does; called to check in, never in trouble....
    I think it's good to give kids some freedom. My parents gave me freedom and their trust. I never felt the need to rebel because there were few things I wasn't allowed to do (within reason). Good luck!

    Answer by myree85 at 3:25 AM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • She is your your decision. I can tell you I never let my kids have anywhere near that kind of 'freedon' at that age. Weekends were family time at our house. An occasional sleep over of one night..home by noon the next day is one thing. All wekend, every a recipe for disaster. Expect her to fight you if you change now, but stick to your guns. Really, you know your answer or you wouldn't have phrased the question the way you did. Trust your gut.


    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 2:40 AM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • My son started at that age too....11.
    But now I wish I would've implimented more family structured time sooner.
    Because as GrnEyedGrandma posted it's a fight when you try to change their style later.
    On the other hand..the minute your DD starts to give you any flack, you have quite a few options to take away from her as a consequence.

    Answer by Missikat75 at 6:05 AM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • One of my daughters (that's still at home) is 10 and is a total social butterfly. If someone isn't at our house spending the night on Friday, she's at somebody elses house. I have no problem with this at all. She's always texting, knows 1/2 the kids in her middle school and just started going there in August - that's just her. My 13 year old is much, much more reserved. She has 3 or 4 close friends, 1 or 2 she's comfortable having spend the nights with. She's just a homebody and content being that way. The go to different schools because they went to the same elementary school from pre-k to 4th grade and the 10 year old wanted her own "identity". "I'm not going to be Claire's little sister anymore!" They crack me up.

    Answer by etown2reds at 6:47 AM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • It's your choice, and it's good to start letting them have more freedom, do things with their friends, etc. But, I would still make a point of there being family time, too. Something like, no, I'm sorry, you can't go stay all night at ___'s house, you stayed over at ___'s last night. Tonight is family time.

    Or, ok, you can go to ___'s house, but you need to be home by ___ for dinner.

    Also, encourage her to be the one having friends hang out at your house. Our house has always been a "hang out" for our teens and their friends. You'd be amazed at how much you learn about what's going on with them and their friends, and how comfortable they and their friends will be with talking to you simply by being willing to let them hang out there, providing a few bags of chips, some soda, etc... :-)

    It's good to give freedom, but not so much that she does end up getting in over her head, kwim?

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 7:34 AM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • By the way - I do have to say, I would be cautious with the whole "it's my life" and "have their own life" sort of thing. Whether you mean it or not, that sort of sends the signal out that they have full control over / say over what they do, who they do it with, etc - and can make any "interference" that you might make if things start to get out of control.

    Adults "have their own life". Tweens, and yes, even teens, do not. They have some control over some of it, and as time goes on, they get more control over more of it, but they shouldn't be entirely "going their own way" - even if they do check in all the time, etc. It all too often leads to disaster. It might be her life, but you're the one currently responsible for it, kwim?

    Enjoy the ride as far as the whole tween and teen yrs go :-)

    btw - I recommend a very good book about raising tweens and early teens - it's called "The Roller Coaster Years"

    gl! :-)

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 7:39 AM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • I'm curious: how are the 10 and 11 year olds above traveling during their free time with friends? My 10 year old has also shown a desire to spend time with friends, but I drive him where he's going or a buddy is dropped off at our house. As yet, they've never been without a parent - not necessarily in the same room, but within the same building.

    Answer by Dr.Donna at 8:12 AM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • My kids have always had their own lives. My oldest rarely spent weekends with us after she was 7 (she was always at her BFF's house). Now that we've moved to this great neighborhood it's even better. My 10, 9 and 8 year olds are always off playing with their friends. they check in occasionally but otherwise they are off doing their own thing (as long as they behave).
    As to Dr.Donna's question...they walk. My kids are free-range and get themselves to and from their friends' houses. Right now they all live within walking distance (most of them on our loop--our street goes in a big circle). My 9yo son's one friend lives a few blocks away on the other side of the park in a trailer park. He walks over there or his friend walks here when they want to play. All the kids in our neighborhood "house hop" going from house to house as they get bored or get kicked out. It's just like when I was a kid and I love it.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 12:45 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • I think it is a kid by kid basis. My 15 and 13 yr olds are homebodies, my 10 yr old stays close to home but still likes to play with friends on weekends and then my 8 yr old is go go go 24/7. When they are 13 is when I give them more freedom like being gone for more than i day and an overnight usually. But my 10 yr old is very mature and handles being away very well. I get calls from parents asking to have her over because she is so well behanved and gets on their kids when they aren't. She even gets on them for eating food she considers unhealthy. She cracks me up!

    Answer by derosia_mama at 12:06 PM on Feb. 1, 2011

  • Both my boys were given more freedom at about 12. We live in a very small community and most of our community keeps an eye out. We are close to all the parents of their friends. Most times the boys are either with friends or their friends are at our home. I think freedom is okay within reason. My boys have to check in, my boys have to be home at a specific time and if they are going to be late they need to call me to ask permission. Most times they are at home and friends stay over. When they start to run too much and it seems like I'm not seeing them, that's when I take a minute to put their freedom and family time in check. I simply ask when they plan to fit me into their busy schedule, and they will change plans or rearrange plans to make sure I get a weekend night with them. I think if you set boundaries and aren't having issues it's okay, the rules in my house are Keep In Touch, Stay Safe and Show Respect.

    Answer by blessedwboysx3 at 3:40 PM on Feb. 1, 2011