When to let your teenager off the leash

Today is Hugamuga’s Independence Day.

Adventure World Dec 22nd 2002 005
This is Hugamuga in 2002, a somewhat younger version – aged 8, I wouldn’t have let him go alone at this age. 🙂

Today, he met his friends on the train, travelled to Adventure World (two trains and a bus), enjoyed the day with his mates and returned home. He was responsible for organising himself, his money and his lunch. I did ask that he ring me when he left home so I knew he was on the road (and could begin worrying). He’s 13.

It was a scheme dreamed up by his friends at school. This one mate worked out the plan and invited his classmates and then whoever showed up showed up. Four showed up.

They had a blast. Roaming Adventure World in a little pack. I asked Hugamuga:

“So is it more fun with there with his mates or his family” (we go every year for a work Christmas party)
“Oh with my family of course!”
“We’ll go anyway…” I say sagely.
“Definitely with my mates!”

Yeah right.

My heart was in my mouth. Sure it’s just a mum cutting another of the apron strings (guffaws of laughter from friends imagining me wearing an apron), another step towards independence… but it was a milestone.

Not that I wrap the kids in cotton wool. I’ve let them walk to the corner shop on their own for years. I encourage them to walk to school, to their friends houses. Hugamuga rides his bike to training on his own…

Two trains and a bus.