23 answers

13/14 Year Old Supervision? or Not?

I have a 13 year old daughter and we have set rules about her social activities; we supervise them. If she wants to go with a group of friends to hang out at the mall or movies or a ballgame, we either take them and remain in the vicinity or make sure another adult will be around with them. Many of her friends are different. Their parents dump them out at the mall (which is on the other side of town) and leave them unattended for hours at a time. Their parents will drive and drop them at ball games, each other's houses, even boys houses whether or not adults are present. I've discussed this with a friend quite a lot who totally believes in the drive and drop mentality. She feels the kids are old enough to make their own decisions and learn for themselves. She admits she had no restrictions herself at that age but in the same breath goes on to talk about drinking all the time beginning at age 12. She readily admits to driving with older kids to the Drake area and asking total strangers to buy liquor for them when she was young and often skipped school herself. Her daughter can be a sweet girl but is also prone to temper tantrums and very rude language toward her mother to get her way. A perfect example occurred just this weekend; there was an 8th grade dance for which the kids all dressed up, had their hair done, painted their nails and looked so cute. My friend arranged for a limo to take a group of kids driving around town after the dance for two hours. She was charging the kids each $15 to pay for this limo. I voiced my concerns about including parents in the details, having a list to check off for the kids that should have been included, and a chaperone in the limo. She poo-pooed my concerns. Sure enough, what should have been 19 kids turned into 25, which was too many for the size of the limo. Some of the kids were out of control and caused damage to the limo, pulling down lighting, squeezing toothpaste all over, and breaking the drink holder. Now she wants to call up all of the parents and demand even more money to pay for the damage. I disagree. I feel it should have been handled in a more adult manner to begin with and if a chaperone had been in place, it never would have happened. My daughter is not lacking for friends or activities and her friends not only seem to respect my daughter's rules but often voice agreement to us when we take them places or we decline invitations.

My question is, should 13/14 year old kids be loosely supervised (not hovered over but near) or should they be given free reign to gain independence?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Ok, so here's what's happened to date; and I'm sorry this "drama" has turned so sour but sometimes it just does. This Mom, who was responsible to arranging and handling the limo deal, has not yet talked to the limo company nor the driver regarding possible damages. She has spoken to family of the driver who tells her the damage was not that bad and the lights and things were repaired without cost. In doing the simple math of how much the limo cost vs how much she collected, either the driver got a bigger tip than what the limo cost itself or she pocketed money. Knowing that there was A) no serious damage per her source and B) that she had collected more than adequate funds, I told her I will not pay more money. After getting the same response from several other moms she tried to collect more money from, she apparently became upset and angry. This Mom, this role model of adulthood then proceeds to tell her 13 year old daughter that another girl, a best friend of the daughter and who's mother is a dear friend to mom, that this other girl performed a "lap dance" on the limo to the nephew of the driver.

The daughter proceeded to tell my daughter and several other kids at school on Monday "my mom said *** did a lap dance for *** on the limo". My daughter, I am so very proud of her, told the girl to not talk that way about her friend and then told the girl in question what was said very, very privately. The girl told her mother about it, she was upset by it all. That mother was livid and is waiting to talk face to face with the "responsible mom" about the whole thing. Several girls verified that this "lap dance" never took place.

My question is; why would any parent say such a thing to their 13 year old daughter about another girl who has been near and dear all of her life? WOW.

She called me just now and tried to pin it on me! I simply told her "I'm out of it. This is your mess to handle." While she was still yelling at me and threatening to bring her sister over to "get it all straightened out", I hung up on her. I feel badly about hanging up, that's terribly rude and I wasn't raised that way. I had nothing to do with any of this latest development and I will not allow redirection to me for her problems to occur.

Friendship over. I'm not going to allow my daughter to hang out with her daughter any longer either. Not because her daughter is horrible or any such thing but I don't want my daughter to become a target of the mother and I can see bad things coming up for this family as they get deeper into the teenage years and I don't want my daughter involved.

WOW. I'm overwhelmed about all of this. I don't feel right discussing this with anyone as it seems like destructive gossip to me and so I thank you for allowing me to go through "therapy" here with you.

Featured Answers

C.,

I got the "drive and drop" parenting at that age. Honestly, it was because my parents couldn't be bothered with me. I was too afraid of my father to step out of line, so I never got into trouble. When my kids get to be that age, they can stay home alone or babysit, but not hang out with friends unsupervised for long periods of time. I think kids that age need their space, but not abandonment. Take them somewhere and let them do their thing, but stick around. Just knowing that an adult can pop into the room, the theatre, the store, etc. at any moment should keep good kids in line unless they demonstrate that they need greater supervision than that. Sometimes we just have to parent differently than the majority. Sounds like you are doing a good job.

Good luck,
S.

I think at that age it should be both. It depends on what they are doing. My daughter is that age now. My daughter is not allowed to be alone with boys without supervision. She can go to the movies with a boy with me close by. She can go to the library alone with friends. She can sleep over at a friends house with out me. However I keep a closer eye on this now because she got into trouble at another friends house because the parents were not watching them close enough. As a mom I would not have gotten an 8th grader a limo to begin with. That would be a more of a senior prom thing, not 8th grade graduation. Honestly I think other parents should have been more involved. This mother should have allowed other paents involved-did they even know that their children were in this limo?
My belief is that you need to give them some responsibility at this age so they can make better choices later. What are you going to do a few years from now if you allow her to drive? She needs to start learning a little now and gradually become more and more until she grows into a responsible adult like I know you want her to be.

More Answers

This plan you have, of monitoring every move your 13 year old daughter makes could definitely come back to bite you in the butt.

My parents did the same thing to me from the time I was 12 to the day I turned 18. Of course, they thought they were justified because my sister (5 years older) got pregnant when she was 16. Because you know, all kids are the same... NOT.

I missed out on too many things. My friends stopped inviting me to go along with them, anywhere, because they hated that my dad had to come every time. He snored during movies, he yelled at the mall, he wouldn't let me leave the bleachers at the football games... when they would go walk around during half-time, I was left in the bleachers with my dad - often times, they didn't come back.

I ran out of parent-tolerant friends by 10th grade.

Then, when a new boy in my grade moved in 3 houses down, I started to hang out with him. My parents met his and actually liked and trusted them... Obviously they didn't get to know them very well...

We became great friends and I spent any free time they would give me at his house, in his bedroom with the door shut, listening to Pink Floyd and smoking weed, with the full knowledge and permission of his parents. I did that for 3 years because they wouldn't let me do anything else.

I even missed my prom because they couldn't be there.

I guess what I'm trying to say is take a step back and look at your daughter.

I never had ANY interest in sex during high school, simply because of my sister, but my parents never asked me or gave me the chance to show them that.

Don't sell her short - TALK to her about how you feel and about how she feels. Do NOT overlook her feelings and what she has to say.

The experience you have in high school will follow you your whole life. If you've raised her to do what is right and you know that SHE can be trusted then you need to let go.

You have to give her a chance to prove herself, before she gets to the point where she just wants to rebel.

1 mom found this helpful

The only thing I'm going to say is that if children aren't given a chance to make decisions independently without authority figures hovering nearby (and nearby is hovering) then they'll never learn how to make them and understand the consequences of their actions. The mall, movies, and school ballgames are hardly dangerous places and they are good places for children to spread their wings and try out their growing need for independence.

If this mom truly believed the children were capable of making those decisions then she'd make *them* pay for the damage, as part of independence is taking responsibility for your actions and that means paying for the damage they caused - including the kids who didn't cause the damage. The choice of associations/friends is as much a decision of independence as any other, and there are consequences to choosing to associate with people who break the law/behave poorly.

Better to learn those lessons painlessly while young and the consequences aren't as harsh.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.!

This is the proverbial, lets be friends with our kids, instead of being parents. I am so sick of Parents, ( I saw it when my sons were younger and see it now. Parents can't handle the rejection from their kids. Instead of laying down the law and having kids live by the rules, they are out of control! This is why the kids are so screwed up and they are running the show!
Please keep doing what you are doing, you are the only one that has enough sense in that group.
Children want and need boundaries? Where is the maternal instincts, obviously these women are repeating their childhood through her daughters. She didn't learn the first time! Whats next for these kids, going to strip joints? Sorry, I get so upset when I see and hear this. Parents grow up and take care of your children. Stop being your childs friend. They have their own friends. Get your own life and stop reliving your childhood through their eyes. Way to go and care for your daughter. She will thank you! You sound like a wonderful Mother, too bad more are not like you! I was a single Mother to three sons and my standards were quite high. I held them accountable and they paid for their mistakes, but guess what. They all thanked me and said, Mom I knew that you loved me because you cared enough!
Don't do anything different. Good luck to you! You really sound like you have it together!

1 mom found this helpful

I think at that age it should be both. It depends on what they are doing. My daughter is that age now. My daughter is not allowed to be alone with boys without supervision. She can go to the movies with a boy with me close by. She can go to the library alone with friends. She can sleep over at a friends house with out me. However I keep a closer eye on this now because she got into trouble at another friends house because the parents were not watching them close enough. As a mom I would not have gotten an 8th grader a limo to begin with. That would be a more of a senior prom thing, not 8th grade graduation. Honestly I think other parents should have been more involved. This mother should have allowed other paents involved-did they even know that their children were in this limo?
My belief is that you need to give them some responsibility at this age so they can make better choices later. What are you going to do a few years from now if you allow her to drive? She needs to start learning a little now and gradually become more and more until she grows into a responsible adult like I know you want her to be.

Hi Cindy,
I understand your concern. I believe teens need supervision almost as much as 2 year old in a way. One of my favorite books on the subject is Hold on to your kids : why parents need to matter more than peers ...Get this at a library near you! -- Author: [Gordon Neufeld; Gabor Maté] -- I have a nearly 15 year old. I believe that an adult needs to be home in the house when you have a girl and boy there and the door to the room needs to be open that they are in. My son has a girl friend. Unless I know the boy and the family I don't want them alone in my house. Teens can make some very self destructive decisions in the midst of their "wisdom". Yes they need to learn about life but with support and adult wisdom being available.
Blessings and happy parenting,
S.
mamasource business owner

C., I totally agree with you. When I was young I had rules and we followed them (99% of the time). Sure I snuck out of the house a couple of times but mostly to keep an eye on my younger brother. I found out he was sneeking out and he was determined to do it. He hung around with some trouble makers. I just made sure he didn't get in trouble himself. Beyond that I was a pretty good kid. My parents did let me go to a movie once when I was 15 with a boy. They dropped me off and were waiting for me when I got out. I was not allowed to go to friends/boyfriends houses without a parent being there. I will apply the same rules to my kids.

C.,

I got the "drive and drop" parenting at that age. Honestly, it was because my parents couldn't be bothered with me. I was too afraid of my father to step out of line, so I never got into trouble. When my kids get to be that age, they can stay home alone or babysit, but not hang out with friends unsupervised for long periods of time. I think kids that age need their space, but not abandonment. Take them somewhere and let them do their thing, but stick around. Just knowing that an adult can pop into the room, the theatre, the store, etc. at any moment should keep good kids in line unless they demonstrate that they need greater supervision than that. Sometimes we just have to parent differently than the majority. Sounds like you are doing a good job.

Good luck,
S.

I think your on the right track and your friend is asking for trouble. I wouldn't let my daughter hang in such unsupervised environments.

Malls, schools, and dances aren't safe environments when they aren't supervised. Sometime they aren't safe even when they are supervised. My husband is a cop an the things he tells me would make you afraid to drop you kids anywhere unsupervised. God gave kids parents for a reason. You need to teach and guide them to make good decisions. You can hardly teach them if you aren't there.

I get tired of hearing people say that the kids need to experience things and be able to make their own decisions. You don't send your kids into a house fire so they know what it's like and can deal with later house fires. I expect my kids to steer clear of trouble not to get into it so they know how to get out of it. That mentality is crazy!!!

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.