At What Age Should Your Child Be Able to Do Things Alone?

July 14, 2011  |  


Poignant questions were brought up yesterday by many women on our Facebook page after an update I did on the site referencing this straight A student’s murder. They questioned whether 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, the North Carolina teen whose body was found in a river after visiting family in Baltimore, should have even been allowed to go on this visit by herself. Many thought that maybe if she went with another family member, then she might not have wound up venturing out of her sister’s home alone, nor been allowed to. The minute she was allowed to step foot out of that home in Baltimore by her lonesome, that was it. She went missing for four months, only to have her body found in April in the Susquehanna River.  This very intelligent young lady was no little, naive kid.

I’m sure the older the better when determining when your child should be able to walk the streets, fly planes alone, or do whatever they want to do that could use some supervision. But how can you really prevent terrible things from happening? You can be over 20 years old and still get abducted walking back from class on a college campus, so it’s hard to say if there’s ever a perfect age to let your child do anything. The talking to strangers conversations from back in the day obviously don’t go that far anymore, and you have no control over who or what is out in the world encountering your child. One of the easiest and best options is to instill in your child the need to make good choices. They don’t understand your fear, they just see you being too “overprotective,” so setting into their minds the need to go with their first instincts and not believe you can trust any and everyone because you can’t, is a good start. However you go about it though, precautions need to be taken so that what happened to not only Leiby Kletzyky and Phylicia Barnes, but the large number of kids that go missing and are hunted down every day doesn’t happen to your child.

When do you think is a good age or time to let your child be more independent?

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