How Old Should a Girl Be To Go Places On Her Own?

Category Advice

My mom is smothering me and I feel like I can't grow up because I am the last baby. I would really like some freedom. How can I ask for freedom? She has already turned me down more than once. All my friends parents are allowing them more freedom, but my parents just don't understand. I need to grow up, I am 13 and in 8th grade please tell me your opinions. Thanks


Rachel from San Antonio

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August 17, 20070 found this helpful

First I would urge you to look at their side of it. Check the newspapers and tv news for stories of beautiful teens being abducted. You can see why they are concerned. They want you to live to grow up. Maybe a group outing with you and your friends with someone's parents or one of your older siblings could be planned. My 4 sons are 52, 50, 47 and 30. I had a real problem letting that youngest one out of my sight simply because things had changed so much from when his brothers were teenagers. Fortunately the older sons were a lot of help and he got through it. He grew up to be a fine man, a Houston Firefighter, and a great daddy to a girl who is now 4 and 3 quarters. You will do just fine too. Just be thankful your parents care and haven't let you loose to run the streets.

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August 17, 20070 found this helpful

You sound like a very intelligent 13-year-old! (I say that because of your writing skills and because you thought to ask advice from a group of adults.)


Since you are intelligent, I think you can understand when I say that "growing up" can happen in many ways. It doesn't necessarily require that you be able to go out on your own. You can "grow up" (I'll use the word "mature" from now on) by learning to obey even when you don't like what your parents say, by learning to compromise, by understanding that both you and they have needs, by learning how to communicate your desires and listen to what they have to say, and by showing that you are a responsible person by living a responsible life at home and at school. Those, by the way, are all skills you will need when you go out and get a job.
My 16-year-old and I have an agreement that if she proves to me she is responsible by doing what I ask (for example, if I tell her to be home by 6:00 and she is) that she is proving to me that she is old enough to go farther afield.

If she proves she isn't responsible (i.e. she comes home at 7:00 when I said 6:00) then she is proving to me that she is not old enough to go far by herself. (We live in Japan so she won't be able to drive until she is 20; we go places on bus, train or bicycle.)
Ask your parents for their opinions on how you can show them you are mature enough to go places on your own, and then live up to their expectations. You get the added bonus that you will mature and learn good life skills.
And don't expect too much understanding from your parents if you aren't willing to understand their side of the story. The more you try to see things from their side, the more responsibility and maturity you show, and they might be more willing to see things from your point of view.

Have fun growing up. Enjoy what you do have!
Lots of love,

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August 18, 20070 found this helpful

My friend says to her kids, "your body is mine until you turn 18". consider that your parents want to do the responsible thing for you. They are not trying to stop your fun but keep you safe.

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August 18, 20070 found this helpful


I understand your situation. I am 23 years old and am the "baby" of the family. I felt the same way when I was 13. Luckily I had an older brother to plead my case that I was old enough to do certain things. As cliche as it sounds the best way to be treated like you are a grown up is to ACT like a grown up. Even if you don't agree with the rules your parents have respect that they have them in place because they love you. Little things like obeying family rules, doing well in school, and showing respect to your family will go a long way. I use to plead to my mother that "so and sos parents let them..." and my mother used to reply "well I am not so and sos parent!" Even if you act like a perfect lady and they do not loosen up just relax.


Before you know it you will be grown up and will have spent so much time stressing you will have missed out on some good years. That being said I must confess that looking back I am so happy and THANKFUL my parents were as strict as they were. Because of them I didn't have problems with alcohol or drugs. I did well in school and got into college. I didn't date the "wrong" kind of guy. I didn't get into trouble with the law. I hope this helps.. Good luck!

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August 18, 20070 found this helpful

You've gotten a lot of great advice here. I hope you listen!

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By Kathy (Guest Post)
August 21, 20070 found this helpful

I would have to agree with most of the people and their posts. It depends on YOU and your maturity. I have a 14 year old daughter and a 12 year old daughter. We have set the rules and my oldest has already lied and been punished. She does not get much freedom and I know it makes her angry, but I can't trust her till she rebuilds it. I do let her go to the mall, but I am there too, even if she goes to different stores, we still have "meeting" times she must obey and check in.


My 12 year old is pretty mature. I can trust her still. I let her go to movies with her friends alone, but I take her right before and am waiting when the show gets out. It truly is FOR YOUR SAFETY we have these rules. Even as the intelligent young ladies you are, its the OTHER people out there we worry about!!

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By Debbie (Guest Post)
August 21, 20070 found this helpful

Sweet girl,
I don't think you understand there are men out there looking for a young girl alone to take for themselves. You are puting yourself in danger if you go anywhere alone.
The thing is, your parents know how charming a bad man could be to fool you into getting into his car. Please trust your parents to guide you. God gave them to you to take care of you until you can do it yourself. You have forever to be on your own, let them protect you while they can. : )

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August 21, 20070 found this helpful

Here's a test. Ask your friends parents how they decide to give their kids freedoms. Maybe you'll find out they don't have as much freedom as you think. Or maybe you'll find out what your parents are looking for to give you more freedom.
You don't tell us what your mother turned you down for. Try talking to your parents. If your the youngest they've been down this road before. What did they do for your siblings?
Most parents don't sit up at night trying to find ways to be mean to their kids. Honest...but don't let it get out, we kinda like that our kids think that ;-)
Good luck, and congrads on having parents that care if you live or die

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By k (Guest Post)
August 22, 20070 found this helpful

I know it's impossible to get now, but just trust your parents to know what's best for you. I felt the same way growing up, but I look back now, and I am sooo thankful. They've been where you are now (hard to believe your parents were young) and know what you're going through. I think they know what they're doing. Other than that, just as others said. Follow their rules exactly and you'll get far with trust and priveledges.

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By louel53 (Guest Post)
August 23, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Rachel -- I am a teacher in a K to 12 school, and have 3 sons of my own --18, 21, &24. I think 13 is old enough to begin to go places on your own, but my situation is different from yours because we live in a small rural community. The 13 year olds in my community go to school dances, to the bowling alley, to our ski hill with older siblings who have to do the driving. They go to our local shops on their own; we don't have a mall. The town is about 4500 people, and the school I teach in is in town of 500, so we are very small. I would think you should be able to go to the library, to ride the bus to go to the mall with friends, to go to a local Dairy Queen or someplace like that for a snack with friends. But, I don't know what your city is like. What you should not be doing is going out after dark to "hang out", to go to unsupervised parties, bush parties or whatever the equivalent would be in your part of the country. You should not be going places to hang out with older teens who are likely drinking and may be using drugs.

Perhaps there is a youth group that you could belong to. My oldest son joined a teen group that was associated with a local church. One of his friends belonged; we did not go to the church. They did all sorts of activities every Friday night -- bowling, movies at people's houses, movies, ballgames, picnics and games at local parks, something different each week. This was for teens, and was open to all kids in the community. It was supervised by their youth pastor, so all of these activities we well chaperoned. Perhaps this is the sort of thing that would make your parents feel secure in letting you do.

If you feel that your parents are truly smothering you, maybe you can get an aunt or one of your siblings to speak to your mom and dad on your behalf.

The other people who have suggested that you show your parents how responsible you are by doing chores, doing homework without being nagged, helping out your mom without being asked, and so on are giving good advice.

If it is something like going to the local mall by yourself or with friends that you are wanting to do, perhaps you can negotiate rules that you can all live with . For example, you could be very specific about the place you are going (mall and nowhere else), the time you will be home ( and don't be late!!! Moms are professional worriers), and perhaps you could take a cell phone so that you could phone home at intervals, if you ran into a problem, or just to check with mom so that she knows you are okay.

Again, without knowing the specifics of what you want to do, I can't give much more advice. If your parents are extremely overprotective (ie drive you to school and pick you up even if you are close enough to walk; never let you go to a friend's house, never let you go to school functions for your age group such as after school parties or dances or basketball games or whatever; do not let you take part in field trips at school; don't let you join activities such as Guides) then you should possibly talk to your older siblings, to a favorite teacher or school counsellor, your youth pastor if you belong to a church, to an aunt or a grandparent. There are some parents who are unreasonably overprotective; I have had experience with some as a teacher who were so "protective" and had so many rules that I thought they were actually abusive, as they treated their children like prisoners.

However, most parents are just worried about the dangers in the big wide world and want to keep you safe.

Good luck. Have fun. Grade 8 is an interesting year!!!!

Louise, from Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada

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By Lynn (Guest Post)
August 23, 20070 found this helpful

I feel the exact same way. My mom won't let me go out alone even with friends. She only wants me to go with an adult. But all my other friends go alone. Im really stuggling too please help..

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By lil moma (Guest Post)
September 7, 20070 found this helpful

You are young and I hope you are not trying to grow up too fast, cause once you grow up you are going to wish you was a kid again. So just talk to your parents explain things. I'm sure they will understand.

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By Aeowyn (Guest Post)
September 26, 20070 found this helpful

I am a fairly young parent at the age of 27, so I can remember being a teenager like it was yesterday. When my parents yelled, and were strict with me about not staying out too late or not going out by myself, I thought they were just being mean. I can now tell you that I know FOR A FACT-they did that because they loved me more than life itself, and they wanted me to be safe. I also know now that there are far more dangers out there than you realize. The world is in fact a dark and scary place, and you should be so gratful to have parents that want to protect you under thier loving wings. I love my children more than life itself and I watch them so carefully to keep them safe. You must understand that your parents love you and are doing what they do because it is in fact the best thing for you.
Don't worry, it may seem like an eternity now, but you will be grown up soon enough, before you know it. You will look back and be amazed at how fast the years went by. I promise you.

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By katherine (Guest Post)
November 27, 20070 found this helpful

I know how you feel. My mom and dad won't let me do anything. They won't even let me go on the porch. If you believe it or not I'm also 13 and in the 8th grade so I know what you're going through. And hey if you find something that works please tell me.

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By amanda (Guest Post)
December 17, 20070 found this helpful

i feel your pain. my parents are the exact same way. im fourteen and a freshmen in highschool and most of my friends are fifteen already, but my parents treat me like a little girl. they all go places in groups but i have to have and adult there. its so dumb. i hope you figure out something that works.
try seriously talking to them and not getting mad. that might help. idk. good luck.

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July 2, 20100 found this helpful

I'm 14 years old & I'm going to 9th grade this year & since I was in 8th grade all my friends got to go the movies or mall or the beach in a group by themselves without adults. So I would ask my parents & they would always say. I'm sick & tired of them saying no to everything. What can I do to get freedom in my teenage life?

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May 22, 20130 found this helpful

13 is plenty old enough, as long as your with a group of friends. I'm not saying you should go off to Paris! But the mall, shopping, movies, that is age appropriate. Explain to your mom that your responsible, and it's part of growing up. Compromise!

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