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Old 11-21-2012, 11:48 PM   #1
jjje
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Letting kids roam wild and free?

Could some people give me some input on how much freedom you let you children have on the ship? I've been reading accounts of people's trips and it seems lots of people let their children have a lot of freedom to come and go as they please and when they please. Don't worry, I'm not asking for parenting advice just wondering how other people handle this with their tweens. My son is 12 (but he's a very young 12) and he is looking forward to doing his own thing on the ship.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:52 PM   #2
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You know your kid better than anyone else. Can you trust him to roam freely? Some kids will behave no matter the situation. Others will push or over-ride their boundaries just because they want to see how much they can get away with.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:59 PM   #3
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Oh, he's a super kid and follows rules to a ridiculous degree. I don't have anything to worry about as far as he goes. I guess I'm more wondering if it's safe or if I let him go off on his own will people think that's weird and will he be the only kid wandering around alone. We've never cruised before so I don't know what's "normal".
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:14 AM   #4
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I'm with the above that you know your son. He will have a choice between 2 kid programs. The Lab is for kids 3-12, but activities within that group are intended for specific ages...like 9-12. This is primarily designed for elementary age kids, and requires registration and signing in and out. The Edge is for kids 11-14. To participate in this group, the kid must have "roam the ship" ability and there is no signing in or out (kids can come and go as they please). It is primarily intended for middle school kids. You can visit both areas on the first day and decide which is more appropriate for your child.

A Disney cruise is a small sampling of people from all over. There ARE bad people on DCL ships, but there are also CMs around. You can set rules. The first time my DD was allowed to sign herself out our rule was that she had to be either in the programming or return to the cabin. This was before the days of wave phones, so we then graduated to her having to leave me a note on the sticky paper in our cabin indicating where she was going. And then the obvious--never go into anyone's cabin and never invite anyone into your cabin.

The other concern is peer pressure. I'm a firm believer that 1 teen brain + 1 teen brain = 0 brains....as in "where did they come up with that idea?" I know there was a time when my kid would do things in a group that she NEVER would have done alone. You don't know the kids that your kid may be hanging with on the ship.

All of which brings us back to "you know your child better than anyone else." No, he won't be the only kid not roaming the ship at all hours of the day and night, even if he'd like you to believe that he is. There are FAR too many parents who believe that a DCL cruise means they can take a break from parenting!
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:58 AM   #5
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My older child was 8.5 on our cruise, so she was not out wandering around. There were, however, large numbers of children wandering the ship. Seeing them out and about--and seeing their behavior--gave me lots of food for thought. There definitely was a "pack mentality" about their behavior.

I didn't see anything truly dreadful going on--but there definitely were some eyebrow raising behaviors...things that I know my children would have been in trouble for.
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:04 AM   #6
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Rules for Kids thread.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread....rules+for+kids

Old thread, but still applicable imho.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread....rules+for+kids

FWIW - Funny
We allowed our DD11 probably the most freedom she has ever had, if she followed some rules. Such as, call/text us on the wave phone, etc. upon all movements about the ship. She did so religiously for days. We were impressed.
Only problem was I had the phone at one point and was clueless about the vibration alert for well over an hour or more. Our DD11 eventually found us, and she laid into the us, the parents, like we would her, if she would have violated the rules. It was a priceless moment that I only wish somehow could have been captured on tape/video. I quote "Where have you been, why haven't you answered the phone, didn't you see the default to cabin message, this is unacceptable, what have you been up to, where have you been this whole time, what have you be doing, were you together the whole time, where is the Wave phone? is this going to occur again? how am I suppose to follow the rules if you don't. etc." It was a VISA / Kodak moment. PRICELESS

Last edited by Bear3412; 11-22-2012 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:29 AM   #7
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Oh, I'm a little embarrassed that I missed those threads. Thank you!
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjje View Post
Oh, I'm a little embarrassed that I missed those threads.....
Don't be embarrased, they were buried deep in the Disboard abyss.
We expect no one with 11 posts to find such archives.
It took me a year to figure it out.
I'm happy to resurface them for all to enjoy.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdb in AZ View Post
You know your kid better than anyone else. Can you trust him to roam freely? Some kids will behave no matter the situation. Others will push or over-ride their boundaries just because they want to see how much they can get away with.
The bolded describes my kid. He is only just about to turn 6 but his personality is quite clear. He's a boundary pusher and he's a pack follower. I saw people who let their very young children have sign in/sign out privileges. I can't see doing that with mine but maybe they have great rule followers as children.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:05 AM   #10
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When I was a teen/tween I used to get SOOO sick of my mom saying "It's not YOU I don't trust... it's the other people."

Now that I am the one worrying about my kids, I laugh at myself for ever thinking what she was saying was a cop out. While giving kids certain freedoms is an awesome learning experience and Disney runs a great ship (ooh, a pun!), I would be very hesitant to allow my younger teens/tweens to have full run. There are wonderful people everywhere. Sadly, the flip side of the coin is also true. Endless hallways with private rooms on a ship full of carefree kids and parents lulled into the dreamlike state that is Disney... easy pickings for predators.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:10 AM   #11
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I let dd go around, but surely not wild and free. She usually had a purpose(going to check out the shops, going to get ice cream, detective game ect...) and always had the wave phone. We also traveled with people we met on a previous cruise, so usually she not alone. Helped too that we were on the Dream previously and the layout is very much the same.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear3412 View Post
Rules for Kids thread.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread....rules+for+kids

Old thread, but still applicable imho.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread....rules+for+kids

FWIW - Funny
We allowed our DD11 probably the most freedom she has ever had, if she followed some rules. Such as, call/text us on the wave phone, etc. upon all movements about the ship. She did so religiously for days. We were impressed.
Only problem was I had the phone at one point and was clueless about the vibration alert for well over an hour or more. Our DD11 eventually found us, and she laid into the us, the parents, like we would her, if she would have violated the rules. It was a priceless moment that I only wish somehow could have been captured on tape/video. I quote "Where have you been, why haven't you answered the phone, didn't you see the default to cabin message, this is unacceptable, what have you been up to, where have you been this whole time, what have you be doing, were you together the whole time, where is the Wave phone? is this going to occur again? how am I suppose to follow the rules if you don't. etc." It was a VISA / Kodak moment. PRICELESS
Absolutely Brilliant! As you said, priceless!

To the OP.
I am a cautious parent. I was worried about leaving our 12 year old with the 'come and go' privileges in the Edge. She is very mature and responsible but I still worried she'd get lost or something!

Well...my friends couldn't believe it when I came home and told them...she'd been in the clubs until 1am and come back to the room by herself! Admittedly she had called from the club as she was leaving (waking us!) so we knew she was on her way. This was totally outside my normal comfort zone, but I felt so happy with the club and the 'feel' of the cruise environment that I totally relaxed about it.

Go with your gut once you're there. That Mother's instinct comes in to play regarding our child and the environment.

Have fun!
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:59 AM   #13
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We are also very cautious, somewhat overprotective parents. DD12 is VERY responsible & acts much older than 12. Still, we had long talks with our her about the "rules." We knew some of her new friends wouldn't have to abide by rules as strict as ours, and wanted to be sure she knew what we expected of her beforehand.

DD was only allowed to roam around if she had at least 1 friend with her. She was NEVER allowed to use the elevators. (We liked the idea of her always being in the open PLUS she burnt off some of the calories from the never-ending pizza.) She was never allowed to go to our stateroom, or anyone else's. (When she needed in the room we just met her somewhere & went with her.) We didn't like the idea of loooooong hallways. She had to be respectful of adults & others. We did let her stay in the Edge late, but when she was ready to come back to the room, we'd meet her in the hall. We met friends on the cruise, who told their daughter to never drink her beverage, once she left it unattended. They'd even practiced it at home. Like others have said, you know your children, and what they are capable of handling.

**Oh, one more thing...DH & I had taken a 10/6 cruise on the Magic, and were taking the kids with us on the 10/27 sailing. Had we not seen how the ship operates and become so comfortable with it & Disney in general, we may not have been so lenient with DD.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:57 AM   #14
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It amazes me how much people let their guard down because it's DCL. On our first cruise we rode the elevator with a five year old who was going up to get ice cream by herself. We were mortified. All we could think was what would stop some evil person from taking this girl, hurting her, and throwing her overboard. We know from all the reported incidents of crimes on cruise ships that there really isn't that many security cameras. Many of those cases relied on witnesses (i.e George Smith case). DCL doesn't do background checks on people when they book their ticket. And unless your child is in secure programming it is not the responsibility of other CMs to look after your child so they won't.

OP I am not giving you parenting advice but you did ask if you thought people think it is weird and we do. You know your child best. Good luck on your decision and have a great cruise
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:09 AM   #15
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ship is a micro big city with all the temptations and dangers lurking. be afraid, be very afraid with " the precious."
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