Age of independence on board?

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

  1. tinkerbell 766

    tinkerbell 766 <font color=purple>If I can't fly, let me sing. Or

    Sep 12, 2007
    My son will be 13 and a half on our cruise and will be given some freedoms with rules. He will be allowed to check himself in and out of the Edge - provided he keeps in touch with us, via the wavephones, and let's us know where he is (and who with) all the time. He will have ground rules too. The most important being you never enter anybody else's cabin and allow NOBODY to enter ours without us being present.
    We live in a very safe small village in rural England and, although DS is used to certain freedoms, he is also aware of the acute dangers that some adults can present. He would never allow himself to be alone with an adult or engage in social interaction with adults he doesn't know (except the likes of policemen, teachers or in the case of the cruise, youth councillors).
    I feel it is you who knows your children best, and depending on their age and personalities, maybe a cruise may be a good opportunity to allow them small freedoms in a relatively controlled environment.
    Sometimes, when a child is of a certain age and nature, one can do more harm by clinging on too tight, and one needs to safely, gradually and sensibly begin to let go. This is the stage I am at with my son, but I really do not feel I am 'giving up my parenting skills' during the cruise. Quite the contrary, in fact I am using them to help my son move gradually on to the next stage of his life.
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide this advert.
  3. momto2js

    momto2js DIS Veteran

    Oct 9, 2009
    My oldest is 6, and is starting to earn a little independence a bit at a time at home. He now walks home from the bus instead of me standing outside waiting for him. We travel frequently and have moved a lot so he is pretty good in new situations. For him, after a few days, I could see him going somewhere specific to get something while I waited somewhere else.

    In the future, when he has more freedom, I have considered printing tee shirts that say "if my behavior is bothering you, please call XXXXX" on the back. And making him aware that my phone better not ring!!!
  4. lady9

    lady9 DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2006
    On our first cruise DD was 10 and loved the kids club. We did not give her sign out privileges at that time. We planned for the same thing last year when she was 11. However, she outgrew the clubs and fit in better at Edge which does not have any sign in/out, kids are free to come and go as pleased. Fortunately we were on the Magic and our stateroom was just down the hall from Edge. We made a rule she stayed in Edge or went to our Stateroom but called up to let us know she was going there so we could meet her. Toward the middle of the cruise we did allow her to go with friends to get ice cream then straight back to Edge. It was a bit nerve racking when she was out of our sight and was not quite the relaxing cruise we had hoped for. This summer we will be on the Fantasy. Since Edge is in one of the funnels, I'm not sure how we will handle her coming and going. We have all the rules in place like other posters have said, but you can never be too careful IMO. I think sometimes you just have to get there and see how your child does with some freedom, start slow, you can always give them more freedom as the week goes on if you feel it is appropriate.
  5. PaceFamily

    PaceFamily Wife and Grumpy

    Mar 8, 2011
    Our son was 11 when we went on our first cruise. We decided to allow him the ability to "run" the ship but had rules. No eating ice cream all day, nowhere by yourself, keep in touch via the wave phone, and follow the rules.

    We were disappointed to discover that he did break some of the rules. Ate ice cream 3 times in the first day. This was discovered because he didn't want to eat at dinner. Also, he went to the pool with some friends from the club. Found out he (and the others) were doing flips into the pool.

    Needless to say he lost some of his freedom. Agree with others. You will need to base the level of freedom on your child. How much responsibility do they show. Our son had a great time even with the limits and we will try this again on the upcoming cruise. He says he learned his lesson.
  6. mammacaryn

    mammacaryn Don't be a JERK!

    Oct 20, 2009
    You know your kid.

    Give them the freedoms you would at home.
    This is a floating town, a town you are visiting. There will be all kinds of folks, good and bad. Disney "pixie" dust doesn't keep the bad away.
    That being said I would probably consider some freedom on the ship once my kids were at least pre teen----11 or 12 maybe. Definitely not before that.

    I also wouldn't allow my kids to roam the mall alone before that age.

    You know what it right for your family.
  7. sweetlovin'

    sweetlovin' DIS Veteran

    Jan 20, 2006
    You know, I never thought about this before. Mainly because my kids say, "Can we go watch a movie or can we go to the pool?" I've never heard, "Can I go..."

    My 13yo might end up saying this (only my 10 and 8yo have been on the cruises) When he was reading the Navigators I brought home, he did mention doing the sports deck activities in the Edge. I just told him next cruise (which won't be for a while) we'll have to synchronize our watches. :lmao:
  8. luv2sleep

    luv2sleep DIS Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Good analogy about the mall. I live in a quiet middle to upper class suburb. Some creep assaulted an 11 yo in the mall bathroom here. A parent was at the mall but let the child go to the bathroom alone. Definitely not an unusual age for that. However, this unfortunate thing happened. i think the child was a boy. Another boy was 8/9 when his mom let him go into the beach bathroom at a local beach here. Some creep assaulted and killed him with his mom standing right outside. She didn't hear anything. I will rethink the age now since what you said triggered these memories
  9. JimmyJackJunior

    JimmyJackJunior DIS Veteran

    Jan 10, 2005
    My daughter was 8 when we went to Alaska and got the run of the ship. She had her wave phone at all time. We are going to Europe this summer and it is going to be a no for my 7 year old son as he has not shown the ability to make good decisions yet. All depends on the kid.
  10. k3chantal

    k3chantal DIS Veteran

    Sep 7, 2011
    I would never imagine that we would have allowed our 11 year old son the freedom we allowed him on the ship. But, he was great about informing us through the wave phone where and what he was doing and always came back exactly at the time we requested. Our one rule was that he had to eat dinner with us and give himself time to dress appropriately.

    You have to do what feels comfortable for you and your child. That specific son is very responsible and mature for his age and I knew he would not push his boundaries and do anything inappropriate. My middle child would not want this freedom and we will not encourage it even though he will the same age of his brother when he was allowed to roam on our next cruise.

    Good luck and I hope you enjoy your trip!
  11. pjacobi

    pjacobi DIS Veteran

    Jan 20, 2001
    Even Cinderella had a curfew!

    It's usually safe to grant kids some independence at 2PM.

    Bad things usually happen when kids are running around at 2AM.

  12. cdelong1

    cdelong1 Registered

    Jan 8, 2013
    DD who will be 12 will be allowed to check herself out (but probably won't) DS who is 10 will not be allowed to, he is still too impulsive :)
  13. Magic3forme

    Magic3forme Grand Slam club members

    Jan 26, 2005
    our son turned 9 on the cruise last year and we gave him check out/ in permission... when he left the club, they paged us...
    the wave phones are great too.. he was able to text us and tell us his location... he normally went to get ice cream, then to the cabin.

    we do not give him charging on his kttw though. :)
  14. Heyriddle

    Heyriddle Mouseketeer

    Mar 4, 2011
    Our DS was 10 on our last cruise. We considered allowing him to check out himself but found that he kept getting lost on the ship and couldn't find the room without help. So, that changed our plans. Basically depends on the kid. Our teenager, on the other hand, had a great time and enjoyed the independence. He came back each night to shower and dress for dinner with the family. After dinner he was back to the Vibe and not back to the stateroom until 1-2 am. This is something that is NEVER allowed at home so it made vacation special. Somehow he also managed to get up most mornings and go running.
  15. pjacobi

    pjacobi DIS Veteran

    Jan 20, 2001
    See cruisejunkie link below for assault that occured outside Vibe on wonder at 2AM.

    Assaults can occur at any time, but more likely late at night when not as many people are arround.

  16. rentayenta

    rentayenta <img src=

    Feb 28, 2007
    My son will be 12 on our trip and is very responsible. Having said that, like others, it's not him I'm worried about. As of now, I have no intention of allowing him to roam around the ship alone unless he meets buddies his age and they stay in a group. Even then they'll be solid perimeters/boundaries set.
  17. JnDRader

    JnDRader Mouseketeer

    May 29, 2012
    Every child is different. Last June my just turned 10yo daughter was miserable in kids camp. We were worried but decided it was time to give her some responsibility and freedom. She thrived. She called to let us know where she was on a very regular basis. She was never late for a meeting time. In fact, she was always 10-15 minutes early. We were confident she'd do fine but we were surprised at just how well she did.

    I should also note that she was almost always with friends. Either those met pre-cruise on the board or those traveling with us. Not sure we would have allowed her to roam constantly on her own.
  18. DVC SSR Owner

    DVC SSR Owner DIS Veteran

    Jul 20, 2010
    I would not leave my child unattended for this very reason. Passengers on cruise ships have a false sense of security. Read and you will be shocked what goes on during cruises.

    We are staying on the ship in Nassau too. Rapes and murders happen there at an alarming rate. We would rather enjoy the safety of the ship!
  19. DynamicDisneyDuo

    DynamicDisneyDuo DIS Veteran

    Oct 14, 2009
    Cruise ships are like a floating city, containing both good and bad. As long as precautions are taken and common sense used, the risk of becoming a victim is slim.

    It is far from alarming and no more so than any large city in the United States. Cruise passengers and other vacationers are far more likely to be the victim of a robbery than any other violent crime. As long as they stick to the tourist areas, that is the biggest danger.
  20. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

    Feb 25, 2003
    And your reason for responding to the post in this way was??? The Vibe has scheduled activities until 2 a.m. It's not like the kids were just roaming around the ship. On the new ships the Vibe's entrance is out of the way. It's real simple to have a rule for the kids not to leave alone, or to contact the parent to come get them.
  21. MoukyMouse

    MoukyMouse Mouseketeer

    Jan 6, 2013
    Thank you for the honesty! While reading this thread, ALL I could think is when I was a kid I most certainly would've "explored" the ship outside of the parameters my mother set forth. I knew not to go in strangers rooms, but would think "certainly mom wouldn't mind me just going to the room of a kid my own age/gender...surely she just meant scary old men's rooms...what mom doesn't know won't hurt her...i feel safe". I see this same independent mentality in my kids & for that very reason will NOT be giving my boys check out/wandering privileges. My oldest will turn 11 on the cruise & my youngest will turn 9 on our last full day onboard. I can just see my oldest trying to go where he's not supposed to just out of curiosity. However, the same curious son would probably get independent privileges as a teenager.

    Also, I'll say this. I certainly hope everyone's kids are as well behaved as they think they are, because even though this is a Disney cruise doesn't mean the entire ship is a daycare. I will be very disappointed if my expensive cruise is ruined by a ship overrun with hoodlums.

    I agree with most of the pp where as it really depends on your kid. I just hope my oldest in the Edge won't feel too smothered when his new cruise friends can just leave, but he can't - I'm sure I'll hear all about it for the entire 4 night cruise.

Share This Page