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How much freedom should teens get?

My son and I are not getting along at all. He feels I am too strict and bossy-he feels he has not freedom (he's 12 hello) He asked me to let him go to the mall and hang out with this friends. Don't know how much  to give him...

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Asked by schoolfirst at 10:40 AM on Feb. 21, 2011 in Teens (13-17)

Level 2 (7 Credits)
Answers (14)
  • Depends on the teen. If you think he's mature and worthy of your trust, give him some leeway. But if he's not worthy of trust then don't. There is no one catch-all recommendation for kids.

    Answer by CraftingMama at 10:41 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

  • I remember when I was that age my parents let me go to the mall with friends. I feel nervous when I think about letting my kids do that though. I don't know why. It seems like things have changed a lot since I was younger. Not sure if that's true or not or it's just because I have kids to protect now.

    Answer by Snewo at 10:43 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

  • I think at 12 he should be allowed some freedom. He has 6 yrs to learn how to take care of himself and do things on his own. A little bit of freedom like maybe 2 hours with friends at the mall isnt going to hurt anyone, and will teach him some responsibility for himself. By the time my kids are 15 yrs old I expect them to know how to make themselves something to eat, do dishes, go into a grocery store with a list I make them and come out with all of it (short list), respect a curphew, and what not. Otherwise I think I would be sending complete idiots into the world and we have enough of those out there lol.

    Answer by gemgem at 10:45 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

  • We don't live near a mall, or walking distance to anything for that matter... Our 14 yr old son doesn't do anything outside of family time. He has friends, but hasn't earned the right to do things because he can't keep his attitude, and grades in check. It seems when ones going good, the other falls off... So we keep him home, unless he's at school. We've told him to get it right by the time he's 16 or there will be NO driving, or part time job, or cell phone. We're really strict, and at times I feel like we shouldn't be, but then I hear stories from other parents about their kid drinking, smoking, getting caught doing things they shouldn't, and they all give too much leeway, and don't even realize what the problem is.... They have given the kids a sense of entitlement, and are paying for it.

    Answer by MrsLeftlane at 10:46 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

  • I think 12 is too young. I didnt go anywhere until at least 14.

    Answer by L0vingMy3Girls at 10:48 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

  • BTW, our son knows how to cook, clean, drive, change oil on a car, change a tire, do dishes, laundry, cut grass, weedeat, etc etc..... So I don't really think going to the mall is going to give a teen a sense of responsibility,lol.....

    Answer by MrsLeftlane at 10:49 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

  • Depends on the kid, the city, the freinds, and your relationship. My son is only 8, but very responsible, so i can see letting him do that at age 12. My mom let me stay home alone when i was 12 b/c i was responsible, but i know some teens that are immature, lie, and do not display common sense, so they need more supervision.

    I would sit down and have a long talk with him about his wants, your expectations, consequences for rules broken, the rules of coarse, and situational events and how he would handle them. You need to make sure that he understands lying is unacceptable and that you need to be able to trust him. Given that, he needs to know that he can come to you. say, for example, he's at the mall with his freinds, and one of them steals or does drugs, he needs to be able to confide in you w/o you getting mad at him. And you need to be able to tell him what consequences are to him if he is with people who do this.

    Answer by boobarandbell at 10:50 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

  • You got to play it by ear, give a little and go from there, if they are responsible maybe a little more next time, but 12 is way too young in my book for the mall.

    Answer by older at 11:00 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

  • Go to the mall with him and do a little shopping yourself and give him a hour by himself. I couldn't let my 12 year old just go alone, not in today's world.

    Answer by aheuszel at 11:07 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

  • That greatly depends on the child. If he's responsible and has proven that he knows right from wrong, and can make the right choices, then let him go. If he's proven otherwise then you have reason to be strict and bossy. You are the parent, so you have to gauge whether your son is capable of going to the mall without a parent. If you don't let him have any freedom though, then he can't show you whether he's responsible or not. Make it clear to him that you're giving him a chance to show he's capable of behaving himself. That he's responsible and will not let you down or dissapoint you. Let him know that you don't want to regret your choice to let him go to the mall. Then let him go. Make sure he checks in at a certain time, be home by a certain time, etc. Just allow him freedom to go out with his friends alone.. If he proves he is too immature and irrisponsible then back to lockdown he goes.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 11:21 AM on Feb. 21, 2011

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