A few weeks ago in the NYT Lisa Belkin put up a quiz on what age would you let your kid...
Below are the questions & my answers.
See a PG-13 Movie- 6
Wait in the car -- in the West 6, in NYC, 10
Babysit siblings - 14 (but he's siblingfree)
Babysit Neighbors -14
Walk to the Store - 10 (only if he buys me beer!)
Have a Credit Card - Never
Ride a Bike to School - in NYC - Never
Stay up later than I do - 6
Use the stove - 5 (with supervision)
Stay out after I've gone to bed -- 17
Have a cell phone - I don't know (probably 10/but I'd rather not)
Watch TV without monitoring - never
Use a computer - 6
Use a computer w/o parental blocks - Never
Use a computer in room - 13 (no internet)
Wear make-up -- ?
It's interesting how much a few questions can tell you about your parenting priorities. Mine make me notice that I'm paranoid about injury, sex, and technology. I think the internet is the fall of Western Civilization. I'm pretty conservative about dating -- I think it's for adults. I'm also conservative about money -- I hate credit cards. Cell phones and computers 'bother' me although I use them both. Makeup was a big issue for me too. Many of the parents listed that they would let their girl wear make-up at 13! I thought, what a scandal. Then, I realized that I don't really understand the meaning of make-up. I don't wear it, and neither do most of my friends. My 6 year old son recently asked me what it was. To my simple mind, make-up is to allure men, which 13 year olds certainly shouldn't be doing, but perhaps it has some other, secret meaning that I'm not privy to.
They didn't ask the questions that would should my more liberal self -- Does my son know what sex & war are - yes. Does he know what it means to be disabled or gay - of course. Do I care if he he is always clean and well-dressed - not really. Do I insist he wear underwear - I probably should. Do I let him play with plastic -- only if it can't buy anything. Do I let him stay up too late- well, yes, only if he let's me sleep.