When are Kids Old Enough to Go to the Mall or Movies Alone?


At some point we have to let go of our kids and let them start becoming independent.  Unfortunately, that exact time is not specified in any parenting book, ever.  There are lots of opinions and ideas, but only you can decide when your kid is old enough to venture out on their own.

I posed this question to a group of moms and of course there were so many different answers. (I’ll share my opinion with you at the end.)

“Depends on the kid. My son had to wait till he was 14, but my daughter was 11 or 12. Just depends on their individual maturity level.”

“My parents left me in 7th grade to shop and 8th grade to the movies with a group of friends. Of course the world has changed some since then.”

“Hmm…I think I was 13 or 14. These days things are so different though! I don’t know!”

“Never…I would never drop my kid or let them go anywhere alone! even with friends. We live in a sick, sick world and it scares me to think about it. Just my honest opinion.”

“The mall is a never the one here I don’t feel good about. If they want to go I take them and stay in the mall. The movies they were 15 or with another adult besides us at 12! They have never gone with just a group of friends.”

I cannot tell you how old I was when I went out with friends alone.  I do remember being 15 and riding with an older friend to church or football game.  In the end these are the most common thoughts on allowing kids to go to places without their parents.

  • Kids should always be in groups, never alone, not even in pairs.
  • It depends on their maturity level.  Some 12-year-olds could handle the movie theater better than some 15-year-olds.  You know your kid, go with that gut feeling.
  • Parents or a trusted adult should drop off and pick up. It’s probably not the best idea to call Uber or send them on public transportation until they are at least 15-16-years-old.
  • If you are super worried about it, let them go “alone.” That means you let them think they are alone and then follow them. Then you can see what they are doing and if there is anything that bothers you, you’re there.  Eventually, they need to experience some independence. When they are 12 they are only 6 years from being an adult! Let them go a little at a time and it will be easier for everyone in the long run.

How old do you think kids should be before you let them go to a movie or the mall without adult supervision?



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