How to Know When It’s OK to Leave Young Teens at the Movies alone
By Elizabeth of Busy Mom
1. First rule is that there are no standard rules.
Believe it or not, there will come a day when you are faced with the prospect of leaving your first precious snowflake somewhere without parents, and the movie theater will likely be your first foray into this adventure.
Since 8th grade, going to the movies with friends has been an issue with my oldest child. I’ve found that each scenario is different and when she argues that “I did it last time”, I tell her that there are no rules and I decide what’s OK each time.
2. Develop your response to the age old argument, “Don’t you trust me?!”
Speaking of “trust”, trust me, you’ll need it. When you have to tell them they can’t go to the movie unless a parent goes, you’ll soon be able to recite something like, “Of course I trust you, but there are potential situations where adult decision making is required.” Unless of course, you don’t trust them, and then you just say, “no” when they ask. Much more efficient.
3. Consider the time of day and location of the movie.
Many of my decisions about the movies are based on the time of day and the location of the theater. She knows there are a couple of places she won’t be able to go without a parent until she gets out of college.
4. Where there’s one group there’s another.
Remember this: if they are going with a group to the movies, there are likely other groups in the plan. You not only have to ask, “Who’s going?” but you have to learn to ask, “Who else are you going to run into?”
You may be fine with them going with the group of kids at hand, but there will usually be auxiliary kids (and funny how they never seem to have a ride home) there you might not be as comfortable with.
5. If you’re not sure, buy your own ticket and be inconspicuous.
Accept the fact that, for a few years, you may end up seeing a bunch of movies you have no desire to see, but you’ll be able to supervise from a distance. Hint: walk into the theater before they do, otherwise they go right to the last row so you can’t sit behind them and see what they’re doing.
Related Tween & Teen Posts:
Published November 5, 2008. Last updated October 9, 2017.