Rules for 13 Year Old

Updated on May 07, 2015
J.H. asks from Plano, TX
16 answers

My daughter keeps telling me she doesn't get to do anything a normal 13 year old can do. I would love to know what "normal" 13 year old girls get to do. Some issues have come up about taking a walk alone, bed time rules, hanging out with older teens, having a boyfriend, etc. What rules do you have for your 13 year old girl?

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answers from San Francisco on


Oh, how well I remember, "EVERYONE else gets to do it!"

The others can tell you what their 13 year olds can do, I have blissfully erased those details from my memory. SO glad I'm not doing that any more.

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answers from Wausau on

My kids are newly 13 and almost 15. There are no particularly prevalent dangers where we live. Mostly I worry about vehicle traffic.

walk alone - Yes, all the time. too/from school, park, pool, teen center, grocery store... The younger one likes to ride bike or scooter. He also enjoys stopping at garage sales while he is out alone.

bed time - 9:30 on school nights, wake up at 6:15. Up to 11pm on weekends.

hanging out with older teens - Yes. My kids closest friends range in age from 11 to 19. I know them all, and I know the parents of the older teens well.

dating - nope

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answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter is 17 now, but here were her rules:
She was allowed to walk around town with friends.
She was not allowed to ride with any teenagers without permission.
Curfew depending on where she was, who she was with and what they were doing. It's the easy age that if you (or another parent) drop them off at the movie theater they'll actually GO to a movie.
I never had rules with having a boyfriend, but no going on actual one-on-one dates until 16. Prior to that, there could be group dates. My daughter was and is a really good kid, but putting that kind of restriction would've made her go behind my back and I wanted to keep the communication open and honest.
As far as hanging out with older teens, it was a case by case basis. I knew who and where, and because we're in a small community, I generally knew the parents too.
It's a fine line between being too restrictive and forcing them to go behind your back and trusting your child.

both of my kids knew that as long as I trusted them and they were honest, they would earn privileges and freedoms. If they lied about who they were with, where they were or what they were doing they would be in a lot of trouble. My son (19) now says he didn't lie to me b/c he had no reason to. I let him (for the most part) do and go out with who he wanted to. All their friends have roughly the same curfews and rules. There were times I said no to going to something, but they usually knew my answer before asking.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Not sure what's the norm near you, or the norm nowadays.

When I was 13 I was a freshman in high school. I was allowed to walk alone from about 8 onwards. At 13, I was taking the subway alone by myself to the Bronx and back. I had no bedtime, but I had to be up at 6:15 the following morning to make school on time. There were no rules against hanging with older teens, but I had to let my mother know where I was at all times. No rules about boyfriends, but I didn't have one at that time. My parents would have allowed group dates.

you know what is right for your kid in your neck of the woods.

F. B.

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answers from Dallas on

I'm in Plano. I never had rules set in stone. My daughter was a good kid, responsible, mature further age and very driven.

We communicated a lot.. Still do. When she had requests, we discussed it.

In middle school it was normal for her group to go as a group to the movies. A parent or two would drop off and pick up. I didn't drop them off at the mall. Most malls and shopping centers have rules for unattended teens. So if I was the parent driving, I fid my own thing at theall while they shopped, etc.

I allowed her to be independent. They have to learn.

My best advice is never stop talking, even if you hate what she's talking about.... Listen and communicate.

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answers from Columbia on

MNMomOfTeens could have written my answer for me!!!!

I will say this..... 13 years old is a big transition age. It's also when peer stuff takes the forefront. It's also when they loose their freakin' minds... lol.

I started answering my daughter with questions....... "a bunch of kids are going to the basketball game, can I go and what time do I have to be home?" - "who is going?, how will you get there / how will you get home (us/friends parents etc)?, when do YOU think you should be home and why?"
I found that increased her capacity to THINK about her requests before she even asked me.

Therefore - if she came to me with a reasonable, well thought out request that included a plan..... well, I was more likely to agree to it.

As far as boys.... I never said No boyfriends or dating. I have seen that be the easiest way to get a sneaky kid. What I did do... was when she told me so&so liked her, I asked what she liked about him, how he treated others etc. If she wanted to go somewhere "with him" I asked her questions that she would HAVE to discuss with him.... like who was going to pay and how they would get there. I also asked how she would respond if he wanted to kiss her etc... was she ready for that and how would she communicate that with this boy? She quickly realized that if she didn't have the ability to have those kinds of conversations then she wasn't ready to be a girlfriend. She's had a couple "boyfriends", but mostly she's hung out with a group of kids that are male and female. She's now almost 15 and easing her way back in to the world of boys.

For things like makeup - well, why do you want to wear it. Show me what look you are thinking of.... etc. I took her to Clinique at had them give her information on how to care for her skin and how to apply makeup. I didn't have a rule. Sometimes she wears makeup. sometimes she doesn't.

For things like "older teens".... well, who are they and why does she want to hang out with them? My daughter played volleyball and when she was in 8th grade they did conditioning with the high school on saturdays as part of a mentoring program. So, she has developed friendships with girls from all grade levels and still sees them now that she's in high school. Also - in high school the classes are not necessarily by age.... so she has sophomores and juniors in her geometry class as well as in her electives. If she can tell me why she likes this person and uses good judgement about where they go etc.... then why does it matter that they are a few years older.

I do take her phone at night. It's plugged in to the desk at 8pm and she can only use it for homework-related tasks (to google definitions, ask questions etc). I do monitor her texts and instagram, so I can see the conversations that she has and that tells me about her friends and their maturity level.

I will end with this...... In high school - which is right around the corner for her - she will have to make ALL KINDS of grown up decisions. You want her to be ready. You want to keep the lines of communication open so that she can talk with you instead of hiding from you or listening to you lecture *(not saying either is happening now, specifically). So the more you can say "I see that you are growing up.... let's transition together" the easier it will be when she has to make actual, hard decisions.

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answers from Dallas on

Your daughter's complaint sounds like a variation of "But all my friends are doing it!"

So before you question your rules, I would consider that she will likely push back on whatever rules you make (it's her job as a teenager, right?)

ETA: I typed this the same time as Rosebud. Great minds think alike :)

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answers from Jacksonville on

Depends on the kid, and where you live. We don't have "set" rules for our 13 yr old really. As things come up, we address them.

She walks home from the bus stop (alone most of the time). I am home most of the time, but sometimes not. She is allowed to walk from school to a friend's house (a mile away), if she is going home with that friend for whatever reason. She can browse in the book store alone, while I shop in another store next door (she has a phone). She can stay home alone and prepare her own dinner (just not overnight). She can go for a run alone (in the neighborhood).
She doesn't have a boyfriend, but it really hasn't come up. She texts with a couple of boys, but says they are only friends. She texts with her female friends in the same manner.
She no longer has a set bedtime. She is aware of what time she has to get up in the morning (and lately sets her own alarm and gets up on her own and gets a shower before I even roll out of the bed myself), and she knows how late she can stay up without being exhausted the next day. She has stayed up later than she should to complete a homework assignment that took longer than she thought it would. But mostly, she goes to bed on her own around the same time every night (@10:30 pm). She gets up at 5:50 a.m.

She spends the night with friends on occasion. Last weekend a group of them went to see Age of Ultron --parent dropped them at the movies and went and had dinner with her husband, then picked them up when it was over--then they all went back to their house for a sleep over.

My daughter is pretty responsible, and always has been mature for her age, generally speaking. She takes martial arts, piano, participates in concert and jazz bands, jr. Beta Club, youth group at church, and babysits on occasion.

Is there something in particular that your daughter wants to do that you are saying no? I don't understand the "she doesn't get to do anything a normal 13 yr old can do" comment. There must be something more specific going on here. What have you told her "no" about? I'm guessing more than one thing.... maybe you could elaborate on what those things were?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

context is everything. what works for your 13 year old girl might not be the same as for the one who lives in a busy inner city, or the one who's raised on a farm, or the homeschooled one, or the one in a super-religious family.
for me taking walks alone would be required let alone 'permitted.' who can stay sane if they don't have some solitary time, and not just locked in a room somewhere?
bedtimes would only be in place if the kid had trouble self-regulating. but as they hit the teen years they should be starting to be aware of their own circadian rhythms and responsibilities. if i had to battle a kid out of bed every day i might have to impose a bedtime, but i'd be much more inclined to have a discussion and help my kid work out for herself how her sleep should be handled.
kids who hang out habitually with older kids can certainly be setting themselves up for trouble, but in a broad sense i think it's healthy for kids to have friends of all ages. schools have made us think that kids should only hang with age-peers, but beyond a certain point that's limiting. obviously kids find much in common with kids their own age, but i wouldn't make rules about it unless i saw trouble.
i never prevented my kids from having girlfriends. the way the 'relationships' looked changed over time. i think it's kind of ridiculous to inform teenagers they 'can't' form bonds, including romantic ones. doesn't mean you're giving them carte blanche to have sex.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have a 12 year old boy. He has been walking/biking alone for a few years. Bedtime is 10:00pm on school nights, unless there is a reason to be up later. Bedtime on the weekend is whatever time is reasonable depending on his activities. If he needs to be up early on Saturday morning, then he needs to go to bed at a reasonable time, if he doesn't have to get up then bedtime doesn't really matter. The question of hanging out with older teens hasn't really come up, but I wouldn't be opposed to it. He does participate in many extra-curricular activities with older teens. No girlfriend yet, but he is pretty busy. I wouldn't be opposed to him going on a date or to a dance with a girl. He is pretty responsible, babysits younger kids, is pretty involved in extra-curricular activities and a good student, so he has never given me a reason to distrust him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Well, first of all, normal is all relative. I think it in part it has to do with the norms of where you live. What might be a norm here in Seattle might not. fly in the south. All, what might work for my family, might not work for yours. However let me tell you what my brother and I do for my 13 year old niece.

1. She may not date or have a boyfriend. She is too young. She may start formal one on one dating at 15. However she may friends that are boys and they are more than welcome to come to the house and hang out. An adult must be here or it's a no go. They may come over for dinner and then watch a video, or come over to play a game or do homework together. Her friend is also welcome to come with us to an event like a ball game or a movie.

2. She may walk to the library or to a park to meet a group of friends, but she must call us once she arrives, and then when she leaves to come home. Both places are just two or three blocks from the house, and on occasion I will walk over to check on her She knows that if we ever find that she is not where she is supposed to be, or if she is not home within our agreed upon time, there are consequences.

3. She is to come right after school (unless it's a scouting day) to do chores and homework. Once she is done with those she is allowed to talk with friends on the phone and to be on the computer. One afternoon a week she is allowed to have a friend home after school for a snack and some friend time, along as her grades are up.

4, Bedtime is 9:00 because she has be up at 6:00 of school. No discussion on that.

5. Curfew: She is not allowed out at night because of school, unless it is a special event. Then the curfew is negotiable, but usually by 8:30. Weekends. Curfew is negotiable, depending on event, but generally 10:00pm.

6. Weekends are much more flexible, and she gets to see more friends then,along as she is caught up on homework, chores and family obligations. She comes with the family to church and Sunday school, and she has a lots friends from there there that she likes to hang with on the weekends.

7. All other rules are flexible, and are on an as needed basis. So far she's been a good kid and doesn't push the boundaries, and because of that we can be flexible with her requests and we will change things if we feel appropriate.

I think this is fairly normal for for many 13 year olds, but I'm curious to hear what others have to say.

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answers from San Francisco on

At 13 my girls had cell phones. They were allowed to hang out "downtown" for an hour or two after school with friends (usually only on Fridays.) They had a few boyfriends but that was really just at school, there was no dating at that age, but of course they could spend time in groups together (and there were school dances after all.) Bedtime varied by child but lights were out by ten, even if they weren't sleeping.
My kids never expressed an interest in hanging out with older teenagers, that would be troubling to me. They stuck with their own friends and age group.

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answers from Chicago on

When my girls were 13, no boyfriends but they did have friends that were boys. No makeup except lipgloss, nail polish, may be a little mascara. They walked home from school together, alone or with a friend. They could go by a friend's house alone if closeby. They had gone to movies without me as well. It all depends what it is and what is going on, and on the child.

I will say that some parents can be overly cautious. I know a woman who would drive her kids to school every day, and pick them up---3 blocks from home. They could not be outside by themselves, or even the 3 together with out adult supervision. Could not go to the corner store as a group, could not go to a movie with friends with out her or her husband accompanying them. At the library, the kids had to stay with her, could not go to another section by them selves. The oldest is 14 and the only easing she has been given is she gets to walk the block from her school to her brother's school with her friends.



answers from Beaumont on

Okay. I have a 13 year old boy. He can walk alone but we have a close-knit, small town neighborhood. In bed at 9 during school, 10 in the summer. No hanging out with older teens and no dating whatsoever. Apparently I'm strict as well. :) BUT...that being said, he's my wild child so he needs a pretty firm hand.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I am too controlling but I bet I don't have to call the police and report a missing child because they weren't being watched well or didn't have curfews.

I do not let the kids go about town at all. Too many creeps out there. Period. As for going to the mall and hanging out sure...I will go and be on the grounds and if I see you acting stupid or anything you won't go back another time your friends want you to go.

Bedtime, 10-10:30 weeknights. No boyfriends. Not real ones. They start having fake ones around age 8. It's harmless because it's not real. I tell her all the time that boys ill come to our house to pick her up and if he's a good boy then we might extend their house for certain activities.



answers from San Francisco on

1. School night bedtime is 10:00 p.m. Weekends there is no bedtime.

2. Laptop is only used from 8:00 - 9:30 on weeknights and is "turned in" to me; on weekends she can use it until whenever.

3. There are no boyfriends - she is too young. But when the time comes, any boy who is interested in her MUST come to the house to meet myself and grandpa. She will not be going anywhere one-on-one with a boy until she's older - not sure if it will be 15 or 16, but definitely not at 13.

4. She walks alone every day home from school. If she wanted to walk somewhere alone other than home from school, that would be fine, but she really isn't that in to walking. LOL!

5. Only mascara, light eye shadow and lip gloss.

6. As for "older" teens, her brothers are older teens. She doesn't really hang out with them and their friends, but if she wanted to I would be okay with that because the brothers would be there. They are more strict than I am when it comes to boys!

7. No phone calls after 9:00 p.m. on school nights.

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