Sydney, 14, has lived in Port Washington, NY her entire life. She enjoys dancing and hopes to pursue a career in writing, the performing arts or medicine.
Is your son or daughter begging you to let them do things that you just aren’t too sure about or comfortable with? Here’s the teens perspective on when it’s appropriate to start doing the following:
Dating – 8th and 9th grade
Letting your teen go on a one-on-one date with someone for the first time may seem… scary, which is why I think that double dating is more appropriate until high school. These can start in 8th grade and I find it much easier anyway. There are much less awkward silences when you have a friend with you!
Wearing Makeup to School – 7th grade
In my school most girls started wearing makeup in 7th grade. I’m in eighth grade now, and there are still many people who do not wear makeup yet, so there really is no need to. Just remember that less is more. You don’t want to look like you’re on your way to a wedding every day! Of course, for some, the horrible skin that often comes with being a teenager starts before 7th grade – so cover up is always an option.
Using Public Transportation Without Supervision – 9th grade
Trains, taxis and buses, oh my! They’re crowded with all kinds of people and this makes you a bit nervous. But your kid is just DYING to meet up with their friends in NYC for the day, and if they miss out they will be left clueless of every inside joke! Still you’re hesitant. Here’s an idea: send your teen with 1 or more of their friends. This way, you know that they’ll all stick together.
Get a Facebook – 6th grade
As time goes by, the Internet becomes more and more a part of everyone’s life. It has quickly become the center of social life for teens. Facebook isn’t a dangerous place – that is, as long as you’re careful. Make sure that before your teenager joins the millions on the site, they know whom to “friend” and who to ignore. Having 1 mutual friend with someone does not make it okay to accept them on Facebook. Facebook is also a place to make or break a reputation and it’s easier than one might think. So, please, no inappropriate pictures or cursing on your Facebook page until, well… Never.
Walk Around the Mall with Friends – 6th and 7th grade
This depends on the mall: how crowded or big is it? If you’d still rather not completely leave your child alone at the mall, stay and shop a little. You deserve to splurge a little, you fantastic parent, you! Not a shopper? Many malls have beauty salons, so get a mani pedi. You can always also tag along behind your teen and her friends. Just try your best not to be seen by them – so embarrassing!
Parties – 9th and 10th grade
I’m not talking about birthday parties at Chuck E Cheese’s or the local art studio, because those are a thing of the past. I’m referring to the parties that you probably fought with your parents about going to as well. The ugly truth is that starting in high school, these parties will likely have drinking and who knows what else. The other ugly truth is that not ever attending these parties could result in being at the bottom of the social food chain. The most important thing is to make sure that your teen is self-confident. This way, they won’t feel obligated to do the wrong thing in order to make friends. In 9th grade, I believe it’s okay to let your teen start going to parties with kids their own age, and not too many of them. Also, check to see who is going. Are these kids bad news? Even when your teenager is a good kid, if under aged drinking or drug use is happening at the party, your child will be guilty by association, like my mother always tells me. So do a background check on the party and save these parties for 10th or 11th grade, when teenagers will, hopefully, be mature enough to make smart choices for themselves. Calling the parent of where the party will be held is a good idea until you feel comfortable with your child being at a possibly unsupervised party. But you didn’t hear it from me.