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Forum -> Parenting our children -> Teenagers and Older children
Complete independence for 18 year old
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amother
IndianRed


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 2:56 pm
OP, you know your own daughter. If you think she’s mature enough for this, Iceland is a great place to see how she does. Iceland has one of the lowest crime/murder/rape rates in the world. She has higher chances of any of those happening to her in NY than in Iceland. The only thing to worry about in Iceland are polar bears and volcanoes.

Go over your daughter’s itinerary to see if she has it well planned out, make sure she has travel insurance and that she knows emergency numbers for Iceland, including police and medical. Go over general safety rules with her to be extra cautious.

Be in touch with Chabad if Reykjavik to check in with your daughter periodically (please make a donation if you do this though. Not really so nice otherwise. Off tangent, but if your daughter has room in her suitcase, ask the Chabad if you can bring any cholov yisroel stuff for them)

My parents trained us to be independent and although we didn’t have the money to explore our independence in this way, if we had had the means, my parents would have let us do it. They let my sister go to Ukraine with a friend at 19 and Ukraine is significantly more unsafe than Iceland.

While I might hesitate for your average 18 year old, if she’s very mature and responsible, go for it. It’s an extremely safe place to try out ones independence
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amother
Maple


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 3:00 pm
I think you should tell her she can go next summer when she's out of seminary. You are not saying no, just not now. This year, she can find somewhere scenic in America.

18 yos are babies. Their brains aren't nearly finished developing like a 40 yo mom's is. Even the most mature 18 yo... it doesn't matter.
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mommyhood




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 3:10 pm
nicejewishgal wrote:
so I know she's trustworthy, responsible, smart, and knowledgeable. she's travelled in the past, although this will be her first time going herself to a place with limited Jewish infrastructure. I know she wouldn't do anything too risky or dangerous.

but on the other hand, with everyone on here saying she's too young, I'm starting to doubt myself. I'm sure the wonderful Imas here aren't just trying to deprive or limit their kids' independence. I'm sure y'all have reasons not to allow your kids to go. and yes, there are cases in which immature kids get themselves into trouble. don't think my daughter would. am I putting to much faith in her? don't thinks so rly... I wouldn't let her go to an unsafe place and I know Iceland is fairly safe.

so I think she's mature enough to go but I got a bit scared to be honest. (DD's pretty attractive... think that's problematic?.....)

She can be all those wonderful things and still get lost or overwhelmed or confused if things aren’t working out the way she planned and there’s no local support system. Especially without full internet access and familiarity of how to use a smart phone. It’s not just her age it’s her lack of experience.
To give an example, we had an emergency stopover kn a country we never planned on being in and the people without working smart phones were having a really hard time communicating and figuring things out, if there weren’t frum people on the flight that were happy to help them they would have been very limited.
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sequoia




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 3:39 pm
amother IndianRed wrote:
OP, you know your own daughter. If you think she’s mature enough for this, Iceland is a great place to see how she does. Iceland has one of the lowest crime/murder/rape rates in the world. She has higher chances of any of those happening to her in NY than in Iceland. The only thing to worry about in Iceland are polar bears and volcanoes.

Go over your daughter’s itinerary to see if she has it well planned out, make sure she has travel insurance and that she knows emergency numbers for Iceland, including police and medical. Go over general safety rules with her to be extra cautious.

Be in touch with Chabad if Reykjavik to check in with your daughter periodically (please make a donation if you do this though. Not really so nice otherwise. Off tangent, but if your daughter has room in her suitcase, ask the Chabad if you can bring any cholov yisroel stuff for them)

My parents trained us to be independent and although we didn’t have the money to explore our independence in this way, if we had had the means, my parents would have let us do it. They let my sister go to Ukraine with a friend at 19 and Ukraine is significantly more unsafe than Iceland.

While I might hesitate for your average 18 year old, if she’s very mature and responsible, go for it. It’s an extremely safe place to try out ones independence


It’s not that bad Wink
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amother
Lightgray


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 3:53 pm
I so surprised at this thread, I traveled with friends all over Europe from about 18.
Iceland is literally one of the safest countries in the world and is also not known for it's crazy night life, more nature...
Would those of you who are shocked by the idea of letting an 18 year old travel would let your teen travel across the US on their own because this is much safer.
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amother
Lavender


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 4:27 pm
amother Lightgray wrote:
I so surprised at this thread, I traveled with friends all over Europe from about 18.
Iceland is literally one of the safest countries in the world and is also not known for it's crazy night life, more nature...
Would those of you who are shocked by the idea of letting an 18 year old travel would let your teen travel across the US on their own because this is much safer.


No, I wouldn't be comfortable with my 18 year old fresh out of high school daughter, traveling on her own across the US. I'd only be comfortable with traveling in a group to a city with a large frum population.
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amother
Scarlet


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 5:46 pm
By the time I was bat mitzvah I had flown from NY to Miami and Toronto on my own multiple times to visit relatives. In 10th grade I was allowed to take the subway into Manhattan with a group. By the summer after 11th grade I was able to commute to an internship by myself. Going to Israel for seminary was still a major learning curve. I can't tell you how many times I got lost the first month or so even when people gave me directions in English.

By the time I finished my year I considered myself very savvy and independent. A couple of friends and I went home after seminary via Italy and while we had a good time, we ran into a few spots of trouble. For example, despite all our planning and good intentions, our train from Florence to Rome got delayed and we missed the curfew for the kosher hostel. We ended up stranded in the Rome train station late at night amongst very unsavory characters. One slick guy even approached us to offer us transportation to a nearby hotel, which thankfully we were smart enough to decline. This was over 25 years ago, so it was long before cellphones were ubiquitous. B"H we had a tour book with hotel listings and were able to call from a phonebooth and find something nearby with an available room. I think I only told my parents about that incident a year ago and they were horrified even though I'm now in my 40s and obviously survived the experience.

I don't know that I would feel comfortable with my 18 year old daughter navigating a foreign country by herself or with an equally naive friend unless they've already had significant travel experience closer to home or in Israel.
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amother
Lemonchiffon


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 7:19 pm
I think it is age appropriate once they can finance their live on their own, including the trip.
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mommy3b2c




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 7:28 pm
amother Dahlia wrote:
I wouldn’t go to Iceland by myself.

Is she going to join a group? If so, no issue at all. Is she or she an a friend going to backpack? Not a good idea.

FYI, general secular 18 year olds are not nearly as independent as people here seem to think. My coworkers kids either live in dorms or at home and commute. They know their friends, comings and going and pay their bills. The exception are the ones from dysfunctional families with children who had to grow up fast.

DD is 22. She had a college degree and a job in the corporate world. She vacations with friends, but it is a group and she checks in with us.


This . I know lots of non Jewish people who still live with their parents in their 20s and even 30s .
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sequoia




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 8:18 pm
This is so weird.

This may be the weirdest thread ever.

What’s with all this fear of traveling to safe countries but no fear of actually living in inner-city America?
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amother
Lavender


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 8:29 pm
sequoia wrote:
This is so weird.

This may be the weirdest thread ever.

What’s with all this fear of traveling to safe countries but no fear of actually living in inner-city America?


The country may be safe, but it's not safe for a young girl that's not a seasoned solo traveler & doesn't know her way around.
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amother
Clear


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 9:04 pm
This is a super cultural topic, most people in the US will say no it's not age appropriate but in isreal and for sure in Europe it's a ridiculous question most kids travel by themselves way before that.

It really depends on the kid, but while traveling this past summer I met quite a few post high school travelers from both Europe and isreal and they were doing just fine and had the best experiences of their lives.
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chestnut




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 10:14 pm
No way
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amother
Grape


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 11:16 pm
OP.
This is not about age, this is about stage.
Here are some questions that must all be answered affirmatively. If even one is a no, then that is the muscle she should be working on flexing this summer in a more controlled enviroment. Helping young adults learn how to flex indepence muscles is the opposite of babysitting. It is care, concern and a belief in eventual growth. It is the equivalent of going to a gym with a good trainer for the first couple of times.
1) Can she build her itinarary all alone? including sleeping arrangements, transportation between destinations and day trips?
2) Are her friends parents aware and supportive?
3) Can she make a list of all the odds and ends she needs on the trip and put them together? (Adapters if needed, cc's as needed, local currency, cell phone plan ect.
4) Is she capable of packing on her own?
5) Has she or her friend navigated an airport before?
6) Has she been in high stress situations before and navigated them independently?
7) Is she saavy enough to deviate from plan and set a new one safely on her own?
8)Does she sound confident when she describes her plans to you?
9) When you are not involved at all, is she capable of having a productive day? How about a high stress productive day?
10) Is she aware of the dangers women might face and is she confident in navigating them? (Crash course is not what you are looking for here, there needs to be a bone deep understanding, maturity and confidence)
11) Can she navigate public transportation successfully?
12) Has she been exposed to other cultures? Does she understand that other cultures have different appropirations?
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amother
Electricblue


 

Post Wed, Feb 21 2024, 11:30 pm
I haven't read the entire thread so apologies if this is repetitive.

I have only allowed my eighteen year olds to travel overseas to cities where we have close family or other contacts they can fall back on if they run into trouble. They don't necessarily stay with them, but are in touch with them . The other condition is that they must travel with a group.

My current eighteen year-old is so far my most independent and adventurous and has several times expressed a desire to travel to a destination I don't approve of even though she is more than capable of planning and carrying out every detail....(even more capable than me).
However, although I trust her, I do not trust the rest of the world, hence my caution.
When she she has retorted that she is an adult, my response is as long as she lives under my roof I have the final say until she is 21 (or until she marries, whichever comes first.) So far she had listened.
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amother
Bergamot


 

Post Thu, Feb 22 2024, 6:34 am
However, although I trust her, I do not trust the rest of the world, hence my caution.

d.[/quote
This is the best line. And it sums up most people's reservations here.

The girl can be very capable amd trustworthy. However the world is not. And being 18 is a vulnerable place to be
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Traveller247




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Feb 22 2024, 7:12 am
I see no issue for her to travel with friends at 18. Enough girls are getting married at that age!
I travelled all over Europe and Israel starting age 18 and it was so fine! Paid it all myself as well.
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amother
Natural


 

Post Thu, Feb 22 2024, 7:28 am
I didn’t read through all of this. I think it’s specific to the person and what the parents are comfortable with. One of my children is more independent than the rest. He’s very street smart and I feel that he can navigate through situations even better than I could and he was like this from a young age. Even at 10 and 11 years old, I allowed him more freedom to walk far to friends and go around alone whereas I didn’t allow my other children. Not only didn’t I allow them, they didn’t have the capability to do it. If your 18 year old is an independent type who knows how to navigate and stay out of trouble, I don’t see a problem. If you are the type who can let her go and not worry. Then it might even be a good opportunity for her. In general though , if you are still supporting the child and she is living in your home, you can make the decision whether she go or not. If you are not comfortable with it, you should say no. However, if you like the idea and you have confidence that it’ll be a good productive experience for her then let her go for it.
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amother
Ruby


 

Post Thu, Feb 22 2024, 10:32 am
I haven't read all the replies, but I think it is totally fine. Interestingly, I am a super helicoptery parent and I kind of regret it. But at some point they have to learn how to function, at some point I let them play outside themselves or walk to school themselves, etc. My parents gave me a lot of independence and taught me proper safety etc., and I think that was healthier than how helicoptery I am as a parent. I still strongly believe that children need protection from us, but there needs to be a balance

As for your dd, she is a legal adult. At that age, I moved halfway around the world by myself. When my mother said 'what if I don't let you', I told her that I am capable of doing it whether she lets or not and she can't actually keep me from going (I said it more respectfully, don't worry).

They need to go out into the world at some point. 18 year olds can vote, get married, have jobs, rent a place to live, they can certainly travel for a summer with a friend.

What age do you think it would be acceptable for 2 women to travel? 18? 19? 20? 25? 30? Never without a husband with her?

You can't protect them from everything forever, 18 is a good time to start. I would let her go, but make sure she is doing it safely - go over all her plans with her. Where she will be staying, traveler's insurance, cell phone plan, emergency numbers in her location, having an itinerary and/or updating you about where/when she will be if plans change, a general communication plan about how often you would like her to check in, how she is traveling from place to place and is it booked in advance, money in terms of having cash/traveler's checks/credit card (more than one option), how to store documents or precious items like passport etc (is there a safe where she is staying), how to protect yourself against pickpocketers, general personal safety (I don't think walking around Iceland is more dangerous than walking around NYC, and is probably safer), how she will have kosher food, does her place to stay have any shabbos issues (cameras in the hallways, electronic key cards, etc.), find out if there is a chabad or other Jewish community and see if there is a contact there she could have as a backup for kosher food or for shabbos etc.

I think you should let her go and teach her how to do it safely, she is old enough to go off to seminary or college or get married and will need to learn these skills soon enough.
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