Young teens and older friends...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Young teens and older friends...
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Mon, 05-30-2011 - 1:42am

I know most of us have kids who

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Mon, 05-30-2011 - 10:30am

Since dd20 graduated at 16, we had these issues in high school quite regularly. Not to mention, we were pretty strict. We have gotten a bit looser, but the first always has the toughest rules, right? ;)

So, we had our share of missed R rated movies, not being allowed at certain parties, etc... It was hard, but at least she, like your dd, had a group of friends with similar interests (art, music) so for the most part, she was included. She still has issues at times when all her friends go to bars and she can't even get in. Our dd20 did rebel (she never thought of it that way, but we did) by dressing older early on. We had quite a few "discussions" over the years about what she wore, make up, etc...

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Mon, 05-30-2011 - 3:10pm

My approach to this has been coloured by my feelings that adolescence is an artificial construct, designed to keep young people dependent and out of the workforce (and out of risky situations like financial independence, parenthood, etc.) for a number of years beyond when they're developmentally programmed for independence. I think young people are capable of, and benefit from, and typically deserve more responsibility and independence than they tend to get.

Also, I was that sheltered eldest child who was radically accelerated and I have some emotional baggage left over from that experience. My mom once hired one of my high school senior concert band clarinet buddies to babysit me! I was almost 13, my band friend was 16, and my mom did say that Beth was really there to babysit my younger siblings (6 through 10), not me. But still...

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 05-30-2011 - 6:19pm

I think one of the biggest mistakes parents of "gifted" children make, is equating intelligence with emotional maturity.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Mon, 05-30-2011 - 6:51pm
Are 17-year-old boys dangerous? I don't think I got that memo.

Miranda
(who knows some of the most amazing 17-year-old young men)

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 05-30-2011 - 7:56pm

I've read the articles but I don't have the same concerns at all.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 05-30-2011 - 11:02pm

I know plenty of 17yo boys myself.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Tue, 05-31-2011 - 1:34am

Oddly enough, my kids' close friends who are 17-year-old boys are totally into intellectually stimulating conversation ... even with younger people. That's one of the advantages non-age-levelled environments: people have friends all the time who are considerably older or younger, with no snobbery about younger or older people. It's the only way to have a large enough social pool that you can find people with common interests. Last weekend a 15-year-old girl sang a duet at a community event with her 21-year-old close friend, who happens to be a guy. No one thought it odd or inappropriate. They both love singing, and have known each other for years. My 14-year-old ds has two close male friends locally: one is 10, the other 41. That's normal here. I happen to think it's wonderful, not scary.

When it comes to finding groups of like-minded teens, my kids need to look farther than our tiny little town of course. And in those situations I probably have less control over my kids' interactions than you do in your more urban centre. My 14yo just got back from a week in another province with a group of 61 young people from 13 to 22, within a larger festival of 500 youth. My 17yo heads out in a couple of weeks to spend the summer 2000 miles away on a university campus with a hundred 16 through 28-year-olds ... and an entire campus of university summer session students. I don't know the peers in either of these situations: but I know my kids.

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Tue, 05-31-2011 - 12:44pm
Obviously, we come from very different places. I can see you haven't had a chance to experience this sort of community and i'm sorry for that. Thing is, art communities are like this. If you like statistics, kids heavily involved in the arts are the least at risk for all the issues you mention like teen pregnancy, drugs and alcohol. How can that be if they are also so heavily multi- aged? Like I said, I grew up in this environment. I still have friendships from those days including a girl who was 8 and sitting on my lap during post rehearsal note sessions when I was 18. I have friends who graduated 5 years before me. I was never offered a drink or drugs or solicited by these kids. My boyfriends were all with a year of me. We've grown up and where do we send our kids? Yep, we send them to multi- age theatre communities and they feel the same sense of family as we did.

I will continue to let my kids hang with their multi- aged theatre friends and be grateful they have this. We have our family bounderies as do othersand the kids are good about following them. This weekend they planned a big theme park trip with kids ranging from 9 to 24. Just love it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-21-2003
Wed, 06-01-2011 - 11:51am

Great post, MM. For my part I tend to be very conservative if safety is an issue and very liberal otherwise. I'm the mom who let DS watch Borat at age 9 -- because I felt confident that he would "get it," and I was right! It's one of his favourite movies and he's watched it many times since.

DS is now 13 and I'm considering letting him go to a multi-day adult Scrabble tourmanent on his own (driven by a trusted adult) in the U.S. I would have more reservations about letting DD do this even though she's a year and a half older. That's because DD is reflective and absent-minded, while DS has his wits about him. So I agree that we parents have to tailor what we allow and restrict to the individual children we have.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2009
Wed, 06-01-2011 - 6:30pm

It's interesting, as I've noticed this year that I allow my 10 yr old more 'independence' than her 13 yr old classmates get from their parents. Independence and trust I must say. I know they're all relatively young and it'll all be different in a few years time, yet I'm thinking if she's building up good friendships and healthy relationships with people now, she'll still be at the very least able to make wise decisions later on. And she does this more easily with older kids. I'm not keen on age-thinking at all, so I don't see the developments my 10 yr old goes through now as 'too soon' or 'dangerous' or 'pityful, shouldn't she still be a 'kid'-ish.... She travels to school and back home usually with her big sister, but some days alone. (no, there's no law here that forbids this... I know this is different in other places). We always joke about the dangers I want her to be aware of, keeping it light... But I know I don't really have to... she sees very well what social 'tricks' teenagers play on each other and she's always commenting on 'strange' decisions some of her school mates tend to make... The girl could write a book on it if she wanted to!

Now my 12 yr old is very tall and 'developed' for her age, long blond hair... We live in a university town, tech colleges, so lots of boys... and I see young students looking at her, personnel at the cinema flirting with her etc. She hasn't got a clue so far! We have to carefully inform her of those 'risks', but for now she's at an age where she wants to hear nothing about these kind of things... she's just happy with her (also multi-aged) friends... But I feel there's a bigger risk there, as her self-image isn't as sturdy as DD10s is, and she's responding to flattery much more... So for now I just stimulate her female friends, knowing they'll give her the 'information' she needs, what to look for... Peer to peer works so much better...

As with movies... I'd rather let her watch a teeny chick flick than a violent movie that's supposedly fit for older kids... And she doesn't care much for them, so that's good.

Suzanne

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