Concerns About Unsupervised Activities for Young Teens?

I have concerns about a 13 year old girl and her 14 year old friend being dropped off at concerts/theme parks with no adult supervision. Are her dad and I overreacting or is this neglect?

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I have a 13 year old stepdaughter (turned 13 in June) whose mom dropped her and a friend off at a theme park (when she was 12) for the day by themselves with no adult. Now we found out that she is dropping her and a friend (who is 14) off at a concert on Friday night again with no adult supervision. She has been dropping her off at the movie theater for a year now and we do not agree with that, but when we found out about the theme park and now a concert the movies seem insignificant (even though it's not).

Her dad has no say in any of this as it just makes the mom mad and it's an argument and she does it anyway. Mom's argument is that daughter is a responsible girl. We also figured out that daughter is not lying to her dad and I about these "ventures" she just neglects to tell us and then she slips and that's how we find out.

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I need to say that I have grown children and I know that times are much different than when my children were young, but I am horrified on so many levels and just don't know what to do. The stress of worrying about these little girls is overwhelming. I personally feel like this is a form of child abuse/neglect.

My question is: Are her dad and I just being overprotective and overreacting or is this the way it is with teens these days? How many parents out there feel that it is OK to drop your 13 year old daughter and a girlfriend off at a concert or a them park unsupervised and pick them up when it's over?

By Oliver J

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October 2, 20140 found this helpful

Personally, I think it depends on how responsible the kids are and the situation. My daughter is 14 and very responsible. I would be comfortable dropping her and a friend I trusted at a concert (with cell phone), stick around nearby, and be waiting to pick her up at a specific place and time the end of the concert -if- it was an appropriate concert and a venue I was familiar with. Security at most concerts is very tight - it's probably safer than dropping them off at the mall.

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The theme park would depend on the situation. We have a small local theme park that my daughter has been to many times - it is family friendly, secure and I would be comfortable letting her go there if I was in the general area (and she had her cell phone)...

However, there is a large festival in the city that takes place when a lot of naval ships and sailors are in town and draws all sorts. There is no way I would let my daughter go to something like that with a friend. Ultimately in your situation, you will need to talk to her mother, let her know your concerns and hope to come to an agreement (though I know that's not always an option). Legally, it is not neglect, there's not much you can do to force the issue.

Honestly, I would be more concerned about the fact that she's lying to you. That is something I do recommend you address (and if my daughter were caught lying to me, I would be far less likely to allow her to be in those types of situations unsupervised).

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October 4, 20140 found this helpful

I would not, especially at concerts where predators are just waiting to entice young girls. A neighborhood movie maybe but even a theme park can be risky.

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October 5, 20140 found this helpful

When my best friend and I were 14, our parents could drop us at a movie, or even a theme park with no worries, we were mature and did what we were told. BUT, that was 33 years ago. Things have changed a LOT everywhere, and in this time, I would not leave kids that young, especially females, alone anywhere EXCEPT maybe a movie theater, and only then with the expectation that I would be waiting for them when the movie was to be over.

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Other public places with lots of activity, like a theme park or mall/shopping center, are too much for young teens alone, because there are far too many predators wandering around these days. And a concert? Absolutely not. Music affects different people different ways, and someone who is not completely mentally stable from the start may be even less stable after a concert, no matter what the genre. Music is a mood-changer, and evokes memories, whether good or bad.

Put it this way: if they are not old enough to have a license to drive themselves to these crowded places, they are not old enough to be left alone there either. A prime example of when leaving your teens unattended goes wrong: On the first night of Fright Night '14 at our local Six Flags theme park, just outside the entrance a huge fight started; many injured, one 15 year old boy in a medically induced coma facing several surgeries.

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In later interviews, it was determined the incident was inspired by some movie.

Many parents who had dropped off kids were in complete panic for hours, not knowing if their kids were safe or not, because emergency personnel had the road blocked off miles in either direction while they evaluated the injured people and transported them out.

That wouldn't have happened 33 years ago! I wouldn't call it parental neglect to do this, as most teens have enough sense by that age to be in those places alone successfully, but perhaps irresponsible, or naive, or lazy, depending entirely on the situation.

I would say most cases are in the naive category-simply parents falling into the "they're mature enough, they'll be ok" frame of mind. The teens are ok, it's just some members of the rest of the public that are NOT! Keep your babies safe, people!

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October 9, 20140 found this helpful

I say "No Way". I think the parents stating that their young teen is responsible is not facing reality. I don't know how many parents have made that statement and they have no idea how their teen would react to a predator.

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I can't see any teen that age able to fight off a predator. And I think leaving one at these events is child neglect and laziness. My two cents worth but I was called overprotective by a neighbor when I wouldn't let my three year old play in the front yard with another child and that was in the 70ies.

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December 1, 20140 found this helpful

I wouldn't leave kids this age alone in these venues.

The problem is, these kids often act mature and roll their eyes at adults who treat them like kids. But they are still kids in one important way: If they get in trouble or think they might be in trouble, they are much more likely to try to hide or cover up the problem than to tell an adult. They're way too afraid of getting grounded or some other punishment than the real life consequences which they don't really understand yet.

Most kids this age are just sheltered enough, and have seen enough Disney movies, to think that nothing really bad can happen to them. That kids are somehow always magically protected or saved at the last minute. Parents warn them, but it doesn't really sink in. They haven't yet experienced enough of real life to feel those warning bells that go off and let most adults know that there's something bad or shady happening. And even if they do, they aren't experienced enough with those warning bells. They are likely to put it down to something else, like excitement, or to allow an older or more gregarious friend override their better judgement.

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July 31, 20170 found this helpful

To me, this is absolutely not acceptable. Even though teens are more mature in some areas, there are a lot of evil people out there. Young kids don't have the maturity to always deal wisely with certain situations and danger.

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