Real Life Answers: Our Daughter is 11 – When Do We Start Letting Go?

At what age do you start “letting go” of your kids? Our daughter is 11 years old and is in the sixth grade. I would say we are overprotective parents. We take her wherever she needs to go. At home, she’s allowed to only go up and down our street and we don’t let her roam around the neighborhood like some of her friends. Because of this, she feels left out. Some of her friends have phones, and she wants one, but I tell her it’s because their parents are not always around, but we are. We stay at her soccer practices, so we don’t just drop her off and come back to pick her up two hours later. When do we start letting her hang out with friends without any adult supervision? We don’t want to stifle her development.


While there is definitely a time when parents should begin to “let go,” there isn’t a specific age. So much depends on the personality and maturity of your daughter. Despite what other parents are doing with their similarly aged children, don’t be swayed by what other parents do just because it seems that is what everyone else is doing. This isn’t to say that what they are doing is inappropriate. You simply need to parent in the way you feel is best for your own daughter. What’s clear is that at 11-years-old, your daughter still needs a firm hand to watch over her and to set clear boundaries – all the while remembering that your goal is to equip your daughter to be able to navigate and function independently as an adult.

Now, here’s the other side of the coin: you’ve said you think you are overprotective. Understand that adolescents, in general, are going to make mistakes along the way, and actually, most kids benefit from taking a few “lumps” along the way, especially when their parents help them learn from the mistakes they make. Your role will be to make sure the boundaries and expectations you set are in place to help prevent her from making the big and destructive mistakes that could affect your daughter for the rest of her life. Even then, the reality is, that kids can violate boundaries and expectations, and some do make big mistakes. This is why parents must cover their kids with a lot of prayer, even in this process of letting go, trusting that God will give them wisdom and protection to make the right choices along the way.

While you may even now take some “baby steps” in letting go, allowing your daughter to make some choices of her own, as your daughter gets well along into her teen years, and as you notice your daughter maturing, you should look to take more of a ‘mentor’ or ‘coaching’ role, who can advise your daughter and be there for her both in the good experiences and the bad alike.

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