Rules for a 14 Year Much Freedom to Give Them

Updated on January 15, 2018
R.K. asks from Lewisville, TX
22 answers

I have a 14 yo daughter in 9th grade. I am just wondering what other moms who have a teenage daughter allow them to do with friends. Do you let them roam the mall without an adult? Do you let them walk around the neighborhood with friends? Do you allow boys over? My daughter is just getting to the stage of asking me to do things without adult supervision and it makes me uncomfortable. I don't want to be a control freak and have her rebel later but I also don't know if she is mature enough to be unsupervised. I think the person she is doing it with also makes me uneasy because I get a bad vibe from her like she is sneaky. Let me know what you think is reasonable for a 14 year old girl.

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So What Happened?

I have received some wonderful advice, please keep it coming. In answer to some questions, no I honestly don't trust my daughter. She has made some poor decisions (nothing serious, just dumb). She is frequently not honest and will say what she needs to say to get her way or be allowed to do something even if it isn't honest. I am working on how to change this but am at a loss. I have checked out Parenting Teens with Love and Logic and have made some other good moves toward positive change. She really is a good kid and hasn't done anything major. It is just the immaturity and dishonesty that scare me. I know as she gets older she will be in situations where she needs to be able to make a good choice and I am not confident that she will.

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answers from Dallas on

~Still alive~

Former full time Mall Stalker,
Neighborhood Explorer
And had boys over or went to see them all the time.

P.S. It's called being a teenager, too old for Barbies and too young to drive.

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answers from Phoenix on

If you're uncomfortable then go with your gut. I have a 15 year old daughter and we were pretty strict. She's so glad too. We wouldn't let her roam the mall alone unless her friend's mom was at the mall too (or me!) No boys!! She did group things with the youth group at church but we know the leaders well. Never make assumptions. And don't feel guilty for going with your gut! Your daughter will thank you... eventually! =)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

Mom to mom...all we have sometimes is our instincts so always trust them, if a kid gives you a bad vibe, go with your gut. A little over a week ago I had the worst wake up call a mom could get, my "good" son who is 15 and got good grades and was academically involved in Tons of school activities was smoking pot, and I did not have any wake up call was a phone call from a police officer.

Children should earn trust, but they are still children. A good mom knows where her child is and who they are with and also checks up on their child to make sure they are where they say they are...I dropped the ball, because I felt like he was trustworthy and look what happened. I do not want another mom to have to go through this.

Kids are subject to a lot of peer pressure...I would say letting her walk around the mall but with you also at the mall and having her check in from time to time is a good idea. Or letting her have friends over so that you can supervise them. Dropping them off to see a movie.

Kids want want parents to be involved and talk to them.

Good luck to you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Well when I was that age, the answers were:
1) no
2) no
3) no

It was a small town. EVERY parent, knew the parents of the other kids. AND my Dad was friends with all the cops. Still, things happens. Unsafe things. No matter how street smart or 'good' a kid is.
And no, I did not turn into a rebellious-monster-teenager.
Just because you have 'rules' it does not necessarily mean, that your Teen will turn into a rebel. It is not, that linear.

When I was that age, this is what kids did:

1) hang out at friends homes
2) go to the Mall, but with a few friends, and the Mom of one of them, always in the Mall too. And pick up/drop off, at a certain place, with the designated Mom, there too.
3) Kids... smoking cigarettes in the bathroom. Yes, at this age.
4) Kids... smoking pot. Yes at this age.
5) Kids... making out and touching each other everywhere, in the back of school or in the back, somewhere.
6) going the movies with some friends, and pizza after. Mom or Dad, dropping off or picking-up RIGHT after, per a certain time. So.. that the kids don't have extra time to get bored and 'roam' around aimlessly.

So, these things happen.
Kids, are not always so naive. As we may think they are.
But naive or not, that does not make them a goody-kid or a bad-kid.
Sometimes, we just don't know... how much they know. Too.

GO by your Gut-Instinct.
AND watch her friends.

My parents, ALWAYS also made our home, the 'hang-out' home and we could invite our friends over ANYTIME. Many of my friends, were even more open with my parents than they were with their own parents.... asking their advice etc. And that way, my parents got to know my friends, monitor what is going on and the vibes.

all the best,

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Our 13 year old is almost 14 - she knows the rules - we dont do the roam around the mall or go to friends house that we dont know the parents....
We are luck she is a cheerleader for school and a local gym and to be honest our daughter would rather be we with us than out with the girls.... and after hearing some of the kids talk at the football game ( not cheer leaders just kids from school I am glad) stick to your rules.
Our daughter came home the other day and told me she is not alone some of the other girls she knows has the same rules.... I think she kinda likes the rules we are a good excuess to do things she knows will put her in a bad place. just my two cents

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answers from Dallas on

It's tough to let them go and I agree you have to, but like the other moms said, you have to trust your instincts, do it in small increments and in situations that are likely to end well to build their confidence and yours. Once thing that helps mitigate that no" answer is to say that it isn't forever, it is until you gain more skills in independence. I need to know you are safe.

Having said that, no, somewhat no, and no are the answers for my daughters on the above questions.

Physiologically, kids' brains aren't fully developed until they are 24. No, I'm not saying keep her home until then, but I am saying that they don't have the advantage of fully developed thinking at 14. They look, walk and talk grown up but they aren't. Give them their freedoms in small steps, with clear expectations. Let them have a series of successes. You will both feel better.

I would let my daughter go to the mall and wander with her twin and friends (never alone) if she had some martial arts training....but even then, I'd be in the mall somewhere myself. Even with that, what a waste of time. Kids need to be engaged in productive activities. My 14 y.o. twins run a nice business pet sitting, sew, help me cook and care for and train their own animals. They have friends and go to each other's houses but don't hang out at the mall. Frankly they think it is a waste of time and money.

Walking around the neighborhood....we live in the exurbs where properties are larger 2-8 acres. Mine are twins and only go together, with phones and they know every house on their route. We have allowed them to ride horses to a friend's house about a mile away on our country roads. They tell us exactly what streets they are taking. They call us when they leave the barn, when they arrive and when they are leaving their friend's house to come home. They are excellent riders and again know most of the neighbors between our house and theirs. They carry an airhorn, can ride fast and are long distance runners. While I hated letting them do it, and they were the last of their friends to get this privilege, they have been doing it for about 4 months now successfully.

Just this week I was heartbroken watching Dateline about this beautiful 19 y.o college girl being abducted in broad daylight right off the sidewalk only to be found dead in the woods 4 years later. She certainly had more sense and brain development than a 14 y.o.

Boys? Ha! No boys until I was 16 and my kids know, no boys for them until they are 16. Period. Here again, it is a brain development issue and also, dating is a prelude to marriage. You don't think so? Would you ever marry someone you haven't dated? Probably not, at least in this country. They need to know that they can date, but at an appropriate time. If a co-ed group of kids wanted to go to the movies or to an activity supervised, sure. That is age appropriate.

Trust your instincts, do it in small steps so you both get comfortable and guide her to productive activities and teach her life skills - cooking, cleaning, gardening...not all the time, but with a portion of the time. Do it together. You would be surprised at how much kids at this age like to do adult things together. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

One word, NO!
Young teenagers are at a very delicate age. They want to be with friends, but if you give them too much time with friends they will disconnect from family and connect to friends. We all know that the teenage years is the time when we need the most guidance from loving parents, but also the time when disconnect can happen all too easily.
No, I would not allow boys over. No, I would not allow unsupervised time with friends. Instead volunteer to take them to the mall, then keep your distance but stay close enough to supervise.

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answers from Youngstown on

I think 14 is an age to start giving some freedoms but only where you are comfortable. I would offer to take her and her friends to the mall and then let them shop by themselves but stay in the mall too. Only allow her to go over to friends houses that you know the parents and their rules are the same as yours. As for allowing boys over I would say not yet. But if and when you do allow it never in her bedroom and always supervised. Not watched but be around. There was a mom who posted on here today asking about how to help her 14 year old who is now pregnant. I would err on the side of caution and keep my daughter safe.

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answers from Boston on

At 14 I was already babysitting regularly for younger kids, so a 14 year old is usually old enough to be responsible for herself. My friends and I were also allowed to ride the subway into Boston and spend the afternoon there alone at 14. I had a boyfriend who was very much allowed over.

So the long and short is that I think you should give her freedom. Let her learn to be responsible in the 4 years you have left with her living at home. I am sure it sounds crazy, but the day-to-day aspect of parenting is drawing to an end for you and your daughter - she needs to learn how to make good decisions for herself.

The nice thing is that now everyone has a cell phone. I think a good way to start giving some independence is to require frequent check-ins. And of course if you think something "fishy" is going on, talk to your daughter to make sure you're both on the same page. But it's time to loosen those apron strings.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think a lot depends on your child and her maturity level. It also depends on her friends.

I know her friends. They have been to my house. I've met the parents.

Here are some of the things I allow my 14 year old to do...
go to the local mall with friends
walk around the neighborhood by herself (she walks to school which is farther than a walk around the block, and always brings a cell phone)
boys are allowed over when were (hubby or I) are home

The point is I trust her and I trust her friends. I have checked up on them and they've never given me any reason not to trust them.

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answers from Dallas on

Dear R.:

I have a 15-year-old daughter, also in 9th grade. I've had a lot of the same freedom issues. It is difficult to judge what's the right amount of freedom and what's out of control.

What my husband and I have done is first off, compliment our daughter on her maturity and good sense. But we do remind her our rules are for her protection because while we trust her, it's everybody else around her that I'm not so sure about!

On roaming the mall without an adult, the answer is no. An adult will be at the mall, but she and a friend or two may shop on their own, as long as they check back with the adult at previously agreed times. She gets a mix of freedom to roam and adult supervision that we can both be comfortable with. Also, depending on the size of the mall, she and her friends may be limited to only certain stores or a portion of the mall.

Walking around the neighborhood is yes, only in daylight, as long as I know exactly where, that she and friends stay together and she has her cell phone. We, again, have exact times she has to be home.

As far as boys coming over, the answer is always no, unless an adult is home. Also, even with an adult home, no boys in her bedroom. Everybody stays in the den or other common areas.

I'd also throw in I let her do things with her girlfriends with minimal supervision because I know all of them and their parents. I don't get any bad vibes from them. If I was getting a bad vibe the supervision would be much tighter.

Make sure your daughter knows ALL of your rules up front, you have not only told her, but had a discussion about why they're important, also. Listen to your gut. If you've got a bad vibe, supervise more as needed. Our job as parents isn't to be popular; it's to keep our children safe. Every child needs different levels of supervision at different times.

You're on the right track. Welcome to those teenage years!! Let's all hang on tight!

L. F., mom of a 15-year-old daughter just learning to drive!!

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answers from San Francisco on

This is always so hard to start letting them have independence. Part of the decision you need to make is do you trust your daughter? Do you start to give her freedom and then have consequences if she makes mistakes or do you assume she will make mistakes and limit her freedom? There is a difference to both approaches. The first you assume your child will make good decisions; the second you assume your child will not make good decisions. These assumptions are being made before they have made bad decisions. Would you want to be judged before you had done anything? I think the difference in the underlying message is very important. I have decided to trust, until that trust has been violated. When they make a mistake there are firm consequences. It's really hard sometimes, but I think the undrlying message that I trust you to make good decisions is very important. I think so many of us parents are so scared of teens making poor decisions that we have illusions of how much control we really have. I was reading somewhere that if we prevent them from making all mistakes we hinder their learning. Most of us learn the most from our mistakes. Teens naturally think they are invincible. (Which scares us). This may be necessary for them to separate from us and become their own person. The idea that we can prevent them from making all mistakes is crazy. We need to be clear on our expectations of them and gradually let them have more freedom with consequences when they make poor decisions. Personally I want them to gradually have more independence and responsibility while they are still living with me. I don't want them to go away to college and suddenly have independence and responsibility. I know of too many kids who go wild when they suddenly don't have Mom and/or Dad around to set the limits. I think kids do better when it's a gradual process. So yes I allow my daughter at 14 to go to the mall. She was dropped off and picked up there (she is now 17). I would also limit the amount of time she could be there. I would let a boyfriend over when a parent is present. It's better to have him in your house. You don't want them sneaking around. Walking around the neighborhood really depends on the neighborhood and for how long. Good luck! This is so hard.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughters are not at that age yet but what I can say is that I'm going to watch my girls like a hawk. I remember those times and also know of all the trouble I got in to by making poor decisions and hanging out with the wrong peole. Looking back at my pre-teen/teenage life and know that if i would have choose a different "bff" my life would have been tremendously different. Do i blame her for everything that has happened, no. Because I made those decisions. I am not trying to scare you but all I can go by is what I personally experienced and I will NOT let that happen to my girls. Granted we are raising our girls in a Christian home which I didn't grow up in.
Wow, i am really babbling. What i am trying to say is just go with your gut. Watch her and check up on her as often as you need to. If she says she's going to be somewhere, go and make sure. She doesn't need to know you did, just check up on her.

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't know your daughter, but at 14 the answers to your questions should be yes, yes, and yes.

If you are too controlling, you are going to have rebellion. Hopefully you have raised your daughter to make good choices even if some of her friends are "sneaky."

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answers from Dallas on

I know you are looking for specific boundaries but I would recommend the Love and Logic materials for teens that they have. You will not always be there to uphold boundaries for your child so this resource is great at teaching parents how to teach the child that they are responsible for their decisions. It truly prepares the kids for being on their own.....just thought I would share.


I know you are looking for specific boundaries but I would recommend the Love and Logic materials for teens that they have. You will not always be there to uphold boundaries for your child so this resource is great at teaching parents how to teach the child that they are responsible for their decisions. It truly prepares the kids for being on their own.....just thought I would share.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have a 16 yr old. And I think that freedom comes from trust.

If she is being dishonest with you then she doesnt deserve the freedom. Kids can get into alot of trouble and not realize it until its too late.

Try sitting down with her and list out the the things that she wants to do and tell her that when you start noticing that she is being honest about things then she can earn the right to go to the mall unattended. Give her a cell and start slow, let her run the neighborhood but call and check on her often and tell her the first time she doesnt answer that phone then all privlages are gone. My 16 and 9yr old both have phones and you can bet when I call they bend over backwards to answer.

As far as having boys over, I dont see an issue with that, as long as they stay in the living room where you can see and hear everything going on. I'm saying stay in the room with them, but be in ear shot. This way you can get to know who shes hanging with, and feel comfortable with that person when the time comes to date. I actually dont allow dating unless I have been around the boy.

Always, Always trust your intuition if you have a bad vibe about a friend, then dont let her hang with that person. Sad to say but you have to be a control freak to a point. Kids just dont mature as fast as we want and they make mistakes. My oldest has not done things that her other friends got into trouble for, soley because she feared me. But that fear has also brought trust, she confides in me and she knows I"ll be honest with her. IT was a rough start, but we get along great and shes the best teenager.

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answers from New York on

im 15. My mom is really free with me. she believes she has to let me make mistakes. i go to the mall with friends. she goes to the gym nearby. or we simple get dropped off. its 20 minutes away from our town. my mom allows boys to come over. Not a big deal. Boys are humans too and they can be our friends. I had a birthday party 10 girls 10 boys. no big deal. my mom allows me to go over their houses as well. I live near nyc and am now aloud to go with my friend as long as my dad is at work that day. and i call her on the hour. which is completely fine. my mom says that she is strict but not too strict. i can't come and go as i want. i go to the movies with guys and go for dinner. i go to school with them... my very close friend has a mom that doesn't let her do anything AT ALL. and she is planning a rebellion against her. so i don't see what good that does. so umm yeah be chill with your kids and once they lose your trust take away their privileges.

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answers from Dallas on

I'd say she's old enough to let roam the mall with friends. Either stay there yourself and give her a time to return to you, or drop her off and pick her back up in an hour. I wouldn't give her a window longer than that though. It's a long enough time to shop and gossip, but too short to leave the mall and go somewhere else to get into trouble.

If you live in a safe community and the roads are not too busy, then yes let her walk around with her friends. Having boys over is fine- as long as there is an adult home and there are no closed doors.

You need to give her some space and freedom so she doesn't feel the need to rebel. If she is hanging out with sketchy people though trust your instinct and monitor those interactions. If she betrays your trust then you revoke privelages. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to raising teenagers. They are each individuals.

Best of luck!

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answers from Clarksville on

i think you should trust her and keep a close eye on her friend because i was sneaky like that and got into alot of trouble and i have leared from my mistakes.


answers from Charlotte on

well, i find the amount of freedom you give should come with an amount of added chores and responsibility... if they can not handle the responsibility then they cant handle that amount of freedom... i don't know if you should take advice from me because i am a 14 year old myself just probably much more mature... an example of what i mean is, i pick my siblings up everyday from there after school program and daycare. i watch them from 4pm to 7pm and i clean the house and cook so i have much more freedom as long as i can keep up with my responsibility... if i were to not do my part i'd have less freedom because of how i lack responsibility.. because sometimes the more responsibility you can keep up with the more you can think responsibly so the more you are trustworthy and able. um please if this comment didn't make much sense then you don't have to bother with it



answers from San Diego on

Im a 13 year old, and I think that you should let her do all of those things but you should tell her that if you find her smoking pot or something of that sort that all her freedoms will be revoked. I personally think that we have to have the experience of good choice to make good choices. My mom is kinda strict and I find it annoying. In fact it used to be part of the reason I had bad behavior. I wanted to find my freedom where I could. But if your kid thinks like me, I think you should give her freedom so she doesn't get bored or feel like she has no opportunity to do the things she will enjoy and then get resentful. You shouldn't try to hide anything from her. You should desensitize her to the world so she knows how to take care of herself. And trust me, she wants to learn. She old enough to think for herself. And if she doesn't care about what others think and knows drugs are unhealthy I think she is fine do go out on her own. And if something happens it happens there's nothing you can do about it those crazy. Honestly all the talk about sex and cussing and other stuff is already all over the Internet. I have a friend who is pretty much a feral kid and she's more adjusted than I am and completely comfortable making choices for herself. And all those strict moms ;your child may very secretly hate you so give some room to get used to herself and breathe and release the choke hold. You have to accept that your role controlling their life is over, and if they make bad choices let them regret it later and tell them you warned them. Also all those crazy people on the street have just as much of a chance of attacking adults as they do children


answers from Columbus on

I am a solo single mom in my final few years of raising my last teenager. The short answer is it depends on your child. You know her. Trust your instincts. My now 22 year old son's sophomore year of high school was fraught with curfew issues. During that time period, I heard a broadcast featuring Dr. Kevin Leman a psychologist who has written many books about parenting children of all ages. He said that once your child turns 12 your role of parent becomes that of coach. Your daughter will be leaving home soon. At that point your daughter will be making daily life decisions on her own. As her coach you have to figure out the plays that will help her make those decisions and then see how effectively she executes them. In the middle of 11th grade I told my son that he no longer had a curfew. I told him to come in at a reasonable hour. But I also advised my son that I would tell him if he came home at an unreasonable hour. At first he was excited. His excitement was short lived. He kept asking me to tell him when to come home but I wouldn't. I needed to know how he would handle the responsibility while I was there to coach him through it. There were no more curfew issues. My daughter is now 17. She requires a different type of coaching. Bottom line: Decide what you want the end result to be, create the play book, trust your instincts.

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