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brooke765

Only daughter

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We're taking our only (child) daughter who is 13yo on a 5 night to the Bahamas in Jan. My question is how comfortable are most people letting their kids this age roam around unattended? And do u give them a perimeter or something? Since she doesn't have siblings or friends going, I just worry a little. She's outgoing for the most part and can usually make friends pretty quick, so I'm banking on her meeting a few at the young teen club on our Carnival ship. She's typically very responsible and I trust her, we let her off on her own with friends we know, but we're usually fairly close by. But we don't really have any experience to draw on for a situation with newly made friends and a small city to get lost in... thoughts? We were thinking of buying the chat app that the ship offers, but have read that service can be spotty. Any other tips appreciated.

 

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So I don't have kids myself, but I was a 13 year old on a cruise once. I would say that if you don't feel the need to worry about her at home, you shouldn't worry about her on a cruise. I did a 4-day on Carnival Triumph back in 2005 and pretty much was allowed to roam freely. Now that the Carnival Hub app has the chat capability, it's even easier. Just tell your daughter to text you every hour or so to check in and let you know where she is at the moment and you'll be just fine.

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Once on board you'll know how comfortable you'll both feel and go by that .... so play it by ear.

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9 hours ago, brooke765 said:

She's typically very responsible and I trust her, we let her off on her own with friends we know, but we're usually fairly close by.

Remember, its not HER you have too trust. It's the 2+thousand plus 'strangers' and the odd crewman she'll be seen by and will see her. My wife and I are amazed, on many of our 20+ cruises when we see some kids, even younger than thirteen, roaming the decks and hallways alone (sometimes tagging along with older kids) or just laying down in the elevators at 1-2 a.m. On one cruise when I asked one young lady, 'Miss, where's your friends or parents'. She grinned ,shrugged her shoulders and said, 'I dunno, somewhere on the ship'. When the door opened, my wife turned to me and said,  'I do NOT want to leave this child alone'. We have a twelve year old grand daughter and I knew what she was thinking, neither did I. The little scamp walked out with us and when I asked her if we could take her to her cabin, she replied, 'Oh no, Ill be fine, see ya later !!' and darted down the hall. My wife and I felt sick and truly hoped she made  it back to loving parents. I guess kids today are given more freedom than I and my younger sis were given when we were that young.

 

Mac 

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3 hours ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/28-family-cruises/

remember - a cruise ship is a small town full of strangers. How comfortable are you with that?

 

do a search on this board and the Family board with the words "free roam what age" and you will be able to read previous discussions....

Thank u for the other thread link. I will def go look at that!

 

I agree that its not her I'm worried about, but all the other ppl. I know for sure she won't be out all hrs of the night without us! I like the idea of the teen club and am fine with her being there as much as she wants since there is some crew supervision. And she definitely wont be allowed to go running around in the bowels of the ship, even if she's with other kids. But i also don't want to be that helicopter parent on top of her every move. She'sa good girl and deserves some freedom ...such a dilemma

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5 minutes ago, brooke765 said:

Thank u for the other thread link. I will def go look at that!

 

I agree that its not her I'm worried about, but all the other ppl. I know for sure she won't be out all hrs of the night without us! I like the idea of the teen club and am fine with her being there as much as she wants since there is some crew supervision. And she definitely wont be allowed to go running around in the bowels of the ship, even if she's with other kids. But i also don't want to be that helicopter parent on top of her every move. She'sa good girl and deserves some freedom ...such a dilemma

The teen clubs are great for introducing teens to each other and hosting some activities, but I’ve found they spend more time doing things in their friend groups, pool, sports deck, arcade, buffet, karaoke.... I’ve had all ages of teens on ships, and never had an issue. There really is a finite amount of public spaces, our paths crossed all of the time. It helped that we have 5, so were always running into some of them and could inquire about the others. My kids know public areas only.

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You know your child best...but I wouldn't have any issue with her coming and going on her own for SPECIFIC purposes.  I don't think aimless "roaming" is ever a good idea.

 

She will likely find another child or two that will sort of "hang" together for things outside of the club.  

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I would give the same freedoms and rules I give at home.  Stay in public, populated areas.  Set a curfew and enforce it.  Ours is when the teen club closes or there are no more appropriate activities for the night, it's back to the cabin, unless they are with a parent.  Never invite anyone into her cabin and don't go into anyone else's cabin.  Have her go to the teen club on the first night. Choose a ship where there are many activities in public spaces outside the teen club she can attend with her new friends.

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Set some guidelines (no going into other people's cabins--EVER, no bringing people into your cabin, a reasonable curfew, must be in your cabin a set time prior to dinner and eat as a family, etc.) and let her have fun.

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That is a question that doesn't have only 1 answer.

 

A 13 yo who grew up in a community of 100 people would have a different answer for a 13 yo who grew up in NYC and took the subway by themselves to school every day.

Different environments, different culture, different levels of self awareness.

 

Only you know your child.

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How does she do with packs of teens?  It isn't unusual for roving groups of experienced teen cruisers to wander freely.  It isn't unusual for "summer camp" type romances to spring up.  

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8 hours ago, klfrodo said:

That is a question that doesn't have only 1 answer.

 

A 13 yo who grew up in a community of 100 people would have a different answer for a 13 yo who grew up in NYC and took the subway by themselves to school every day.

Different environments, different culture, different levels of self awareness.

 

Only you know your child.

I totally agree that there isnt a cut and dry answer. That there are levels of comfort based on each kid and their experience. I guess I'm basically just asking what are most ppl's guidelines during their cruises. I've only gone on one other cruise with adults, so want paying attention to kids. I know what I'm comfortable with at home, but cruises are their own kind of environment. Especially at this bridge type age where they arent little kids to hover over but guess I'm not ready to let run completely free yet either.

 

She's good with groups, usually finding 2 or 3 kids that she really bonds with. She's typically more of a leader than a follower, tends to stick up for kids getting picked on. She has a boyfriend 🙄 and not trying to be naive about the romance part, but really don't think she would interested in a flirty type thing.

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We took our kids on their first cruise when I believe they were 13 DD and 15 DS, they have gone on several since and now are old enough to pay their own way. That first cruise we had the comfort of knowing that they were going to be together. But we had established rules. Leave the kids club, you need to come to our location and we will go from there. No freelancing.

*It depends on your parenting style - we are old school. This is how we did it*

Set up rules and structure before hand and let her know that they are fluid. Be honest with your gut feelings, knowing since you are on vacation you will  be more lenient. Some believe it's wrong to upset their child and will be more lenient. We feel this is where problems can happen.

This is how we parented, so it was no surprise to them.

 

Edited to add: Since she is 12, she is old enough to have the serious discussion of why you are making these decisions.

Edited by Mike981

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On 11/18/2019 at 7:30 AM, Itchy&Scratchy said:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/28-family-cruises/

remember - a cruise ship is a small town full of strangers. How comfortable are you with that?

 

do a search on this board and the Family board with the words "free roam what age" and you will be able to read previous discussions....

 

It is not just a small town with strangers.  It is a small town with strangers, many of whom are consuming copious amounts of alcohol which is easily available virtually anywhere.

To the OP, no one here knows as much about your daughter's maturity level nor how she was raised as you do.  You need to make that judgement.  There was a big thread here a while ago about a 13 year old girl (or maybe 15?) who had freedom to roam.  She was allegedly plied with drinks by a group of men and ended up allegedly being gang-raped by them.  I say this not to scare, but you have to consider whether your daughter would be vulnerable to something like this.  You can't assume there won't be wolves there.  Creepy people cruise, too.  And they look for those who might be vulnerable.

On the one hand I'm glad we never cruised when my daughter's were that age.  On the other hand I had no compunction about sending one to a 6 week language school in Mexico when she was 16, and sending the other one 2000 miles away to college when she was 17.  But I was fully confident that while they would probably do some stupid things, they wouldn't be disastrously stupid things.  And even then there is no sure thing - they were still subject to the omnipresent risk of someone using force majeur to hurt them.  As they would be if they never left home.  But I was comfortable knowing they wouldn't do anything that would make them the vulnerable member of the herd that attracts the wolves.  On a cruise at age 13 we probably would have given them some scope for roaming, but with pretty strong structure and limits.


Being a good parent is hard.  But incredibly rewarding, if you pull it off.  

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21 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

Being a good parent is hard.  But incredibly rewarding, if you pull it off.  

 

 

So very true. And conversely, being a a bad parent is incredibly frustrating.

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22 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

On a cruise at age 13 we probably would have given them some scope for roaming, but with pretty strong structure and limits.


Being a good parent is hard.  But incredibly rewarding, if you pull it off.  

That's what being a good 'parent' not an adult who WANTS too be thir child's 'friend' (as a lot of todays parents want to be) they seem to rather be a 'buddy' (thus, bringing themselves down to the 13-14 year old child) rather than a adult figure.

 

Mac

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I am attempting to be a good parent...LOL. which definitely has its own set of frustrations. I am also a very firm believer that we are the parents and not friends. I really really appreciate everyone's input!! And many of those ideas of how to handle basic situations will be put into practice. My girl has a good head on her shoulders and i feel pretty confident that she will abide by the rules we set up and not be sneaky. My main worry is that she's tall and looks older than 13 and her mature looks could be misconstrued. But we will scope out the situation and make our rules based on that and some of the suggestions I've gotten here. I know we will have a great time. Thank y'all!!!

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11 hours ago, brooke765 said:

I am attempting to be a good parent...LOL. which definitely has its own set of frustrations. I am also a very firm believer that we are the parents and not friends. I really really appreciate everyone's input!! And many of those ideas of how to handle basic situations will be put into practice. My girl has a good head on her shoulders and i feel pretty confident that she will abide by the rules we set up and not be sneaky. My main worry is that she's tall and looks older than 13 and her mature looks could be misconstrued. But we will scope out the situation and make our rules based on that and some of the suggestions I've gotten here. I know we will have a great time. Thank y'all!!!

Good luck, Brooke ! Have a FANTASTIC cruise 😁

Mac

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I think the single most important situation to anticipate is what to do if a crew member seeks her out and tells her they need her to go somewhere to meet you. How can your daughter know what is legit? Perhaps a code word? Perhaps Insist on staying in public areas rather than entering any corridors? Perhaps insist on an accompanying person? But figure out something that works for all of you, and remind her as needed.

 

If I learned anything about human nature from practicing criminal law, it is that creeps, like the phone scammers we are all getting called by, create disorientation in their victims. Their ability to do that allows them to then offer a helping hand or an reassuring presence. The victim naturally relies on the "helper" and has a difficult time being skeptical. Your daughter is old enough to be taught how to spot predators and avoid or escape them.

 

Making your daughter aware of difficult stuff can help her handle all types of things. Just like other things you do for your cruise, being prepared for these thing can leave you confident and allow you all to enjoy yourselves.

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