Age of independence on board?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by dastewa, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. dastewa

    dastewa Earning My Ears

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    At what age would you let your kids roam the ship on their own? I have read several post where families reunited for meals after letting the kids be on their own. Is this the norm? I would tend to keep the kids with us, but if there is a lot of independent kids, I know I'll get pressure from mine to do the same.
     
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  3. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

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    You know your kids best. I think this is a decision that is best handled by you.

    Yes, there are many parents who give up their parenting skills onboard (hey, it's my vacation!), but, IMO, that isn't the right way to handle it.
     
  4. caribbeandreaming

    caribbeandreaming Mouseketeer

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    This is a great question and I'm wondering the same thing. My DS is 8, and I don't know whether to let him check himself out of Oceaneers... He's very responsible but panics easily.
     
  5. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

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    I agree that it depends on your child, but disagree that parents who allow their kids freedom onboard "give up their parenting skills onboard".

    Our personal experience is that DS was 8 on our 4th cruise on the Magic. He knew his way around the ship. We led him around then told him to take us to certain places. He was responsible at home and listens. He knew the rules. We were on the ship for 15 days that cruise and knew one DIS friend from another cruise, and made two new friends that cruise. DD didn't get the opportunity to have as much freedom until she was almost 11 and we were cruising with three of her friends from a prior cruise. The girls stuck together and the wave phones have made this much easier to keep track of the kids. She may not realize it, but I have checked on where she said she was. When we don't cruise with friends, the kids are to stay together.
     
  6. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

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    Sorry, I didn't mean that all the parents who allow their kids free run on the ship give up their parenting skills, I was only referring to those who allow their kids free run without any rules.

    There certainly are kids that can handle themselves well without having parents always at their sides. But there are also kids who need direction. It's really up to the parents to be realistic as to where their kids fall.
     
  7. sweetpee_1993

    sweetpee_1993 DIS Veteran

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    Our youngest was just shy of 14 on our first cruise so we've never done checking in/out of the clubs.

    I will say, tho, that at the parks it was a step by step thing for us. We didn't show up on one of our trips and suddenly it was "go for it". It was steps over years. Hubby & I would allow the boys to shop in the same store as us but they couldn't leave. They had to stay together. Then we would sit out 2nd, 3rd, 4th rounds on E:E and let the boys do those alone. We'd allow them to go to the game room at our resort on their own & back to the room. Next we moved to a few hours off from us together in the same park. Then we left them in a park to hit a few more attractions while we headed back to the resort ahead of them. I think it was the trip when we went on our first cruise that we finally allowed them to go places alone at WDW as long as they kept their phones handy & let us know (via text) where they were & what they had planned. At 15 yrs old my oldest son made himself a solo dining reservation with the Yacht Club concierge & treated himself to the clam bake completely solo. Paid his own dinner bill and tipped his server all on his own. That was cool.

    So now on the cruises we don't give our boys a curfew. They have to eat dinner with us and keep their Wave phones handy. No going in other staterooms. Nobody comes in our stateroom. Without our prying they will check in with us periodically or randomly join us for shows or other meals. Our youngest (now 15) is a night owl so its not unusual for him to stay out until 2 or later. One thing I do love about the cruises is how it allows our teens to fly solo.
     
  8. Jareds_mommy

    Jareds_mommy DIS Veteran

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    We are struggling this cruise with this too, Its not the my kids I am worried about, it is the fact that psycho and pedophils
    go on cruises too
     
  9. ciraulo887

    ciraulo887 Earning My Ears

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    My youngest is 7 I could not let her have run on the ship. She would get lost for sure. My 16 yo is a different story. The rules are 1. We all ave dinner together. 2. We go to every show together. 3. Not allowed to go in staterooms. Has to check in on the wave phone every hour. I do not give her a curfew.
     
  10. crundell

    crundell Mouseketeer

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    I hear ya on this! Which is very scary, IMHO.
     
  11. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

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    That is why the first rule is not to be by yourself if at all possible. DS is taller than me and is a senior belt in TKD, but it is DD who I am more worried about. We have talked to both of them about the psychos and pedophils so they are aware of our concerns, as well as so they know how not to make themselves targets. They know how to politely go the front of the line at GS if they are in trouble or feel someone is following them. Thankfully, DS is fairly protective of DD and when they are together on the ship now I know that he will be keeping an eye on her....not that they would want us to think that they actually like each other or get along IRL. ;)
     
  12. flateacher

    flateacher Mouseketeer

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    ^ This... is why my daughter who is 11 will not check herself in or out or be able to go about the ship herself. Even with a friend I believe children are targets without adults present. But this is our own families personal beliefs.

    So just know if you do not allow it you are not the only one. And if I am the only one so be it. I am ok with that. :)
     
  13. mom2jcg

    mom2jcg Mouseketeer

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    We have three boys that were 7, 9, and 11 on our first cruise. Initially, we did not give them permission to check in and out, but after they learned the ship, we did. HOWEVER, they had to always be together and always have the wave phone. We would not have let them go individually, maybe not even if there were just two of them. We never felt pressure from anyone else, it was just what we felt like they could handle and what we were comfortable with. They did spend most of the cruise hanging with us, though.
     
  14. tchrrx

    tchrrx <font color=red>Blame it on the plastic cow I ment

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    DD was 11 on our first cruise and will be 13 on this one. We would walk her to The Edge the stairs at the bottom of the club and text her (or she could text us) when it was time to go. I did allow her to go watch a movie alone, but I walked her into the theater so I would know where she was sitting. Then, about 30 minutes into the movie, I went and peeked to be sure she was where I had left her. I planned to meet her at the end of the movie, but I timed it wrong. She called me and told me that she had exited out a different door, but stayed in that area until I walked down to get her. I imagine we'll have similar rules on this cruise. She is very trusting and naive, and while I've tried to explain to her how nutty people can be, I don't know if she'd see the warning signs until it was too late.
     
  15. MikeAndNick

    MikeAndNick If you can dream it, you can do it.

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    Our first cruise was when my son was 8 and he could check himself out of the Kids club but the staff would page me when he did so I knew he as leaving. At age 10 was our second cruise and he had full run of the ship but there were only 20 kids on the ship so everyone knew where the kids were. After that and still at 16 he has run of the ship but I know what he is up to 80% of the time. With Disney having phones now that we carry I call or text him to make sure where he is and who he is with.

    He has freedom but not unbridled freedom, same as at home.
     
  16. Pwac

    Pwac Mouseketeer

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    I think that really is a question only you can answer and the answer might be different for each of your children at the same ages. I have a cautious child who follows the guidelines if they are explained ahead of time and the consequences are outlined. I have another child who sees a friend in every stranger and tends to get a bit distracted. Different rules for different needs. I am, however, a big fan of children learning independence because I eventually want mine to leave home and have a life of their own. We work toward that daily in different ways for different children. Good luck!
     
  17. Minnie321

    Minnie321 DIS Veteran

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    We cruised for the first time two weeks ago and I felt the same way - I have two children DD11 and DS15 - wasn't really worried about my DS (funny thing is he stayed in the Vibe more and DD became the wanderer). I did end up letting my DD check herself in and out - but we had rules: never ever ever go to anyones stateroom and as a matter of fact never be in the halls where the staterooms are unless you are on your way back to ours - which she was not allowed to do without someone in our room; Never bring anyone to our stateroom; they both had to call me if whenever they were moving from one location to another (which DD took a little extreme - once she had called and said they were going to the pool - then she called to tell me she was going to get a drink - on the same deck - but hey at least she was following my rules). It really turned out Ok - funny thing is my DD is very shy, and not one to spend alot of time at other people's houses and would certainly never spend the night out - she is just a nervous child like that - the weekend we returned she spent the night out for the first time - I actually think that little bit of freedom helped her realize that she didn't have to be so worried not to be around me all the time. Disney Cruise was good therapy - that is how I justified booking another one - just joking!!
     
  18. DynamicDisneyDuo

    DynamicDisneyDuo DIS Veteran

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    And they teach in schools, work/shop in the same stores, coach kid's sports, hold leadership positions in churches. If the kids are young, absolutely have rules and not allow them too much freedom. Eventually, they have to learn that there is bad in the world and how to avoid or deal with it when it comes calling.

    Kids aren't the only ones who have to fear "psychos." Someone acting violently due to mental illness is far less likely to be discriminate about their targets than pedophiles.
     
  19. luv2sleep

    luv2sleep DIS Veteran

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    At a certain age (not there yet) I'd feel comfortable with my son's ability to get around safely. However, I don't know when I'd be comfortable doing that given the possibility of pedophiles on board. Take them (pedophiles) out of the equation and I could see giving him freedom to roam the ship for brief periods of time at around 9/10.
     
  20. sunryzez

    sunryzez Mouseketeer

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    I do not think you will feel any pressure to let your kids go off on their own. My dd is almost 11 and I would not allow her to sign herself in or out or go anywhere on the ship by herself. She has adhd and I know would wonder off where she shouldn't and the ship is WAY too big for her. However our friends came with us and her boy is only 9 and she allowed him to sign in and out and he did just fine. And, my daughter never once asked why he could do it and she couldnt. I told her the rules going into it and she was so happy to be on the cruise she didnt care.
    I also worry about other passengers as well, you never know who is on the ship and I would not feel comfortable letting my kids go off on their own until I knew they would be able to handle any situation without an adult present.
     
  21. Lobofan5

    Lobofan5 Mouseketeer

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    My kids were 11 and 14 on our first cruise and we saw them for meals and excursions. My 11 DS loved the kids club so much he skipped Costa Maya and stayed aboard all day.

    My only rule was that they were to stay away from railings. No climbing..sitting..anything near the rails (oddly enough falling overboard was my only concern)

    On our next cruise they will be 14 and 17 and I'm going to add in the 'no stateroom' rule that I read about here. Great idea.
     

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