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Kids at the Mall

One of the most popular hangouts for kids is at the mall or local shopping center. It may seem like a harmless place to enjoy some social fun, but when you dig a little deeper, it is clear to see that there are problems and safety issues parents should understand.

Kids at the Mall Issues

National headlines have been made by unsupervised teens and tweens who have been arrested for disorderly conduct, shoplifting, and other newsworthy incidents at malls. As a result, some malls are enforcing strict rules about when teens can be there. In some cases, unsupervised teens are not permitted to be there at all. Mall administrators simply do not want the risks associated with having groups of kids walking around the mall without parental supervision.

If your tween or teen wants to hang out at the mall unsupervised, keep these tips in mind:

  • Re-consider letting your child go to the mall if she has no money. Without money, there is nothing much she can do there. The mall is for shopping, dining, etc. All of these things require money.
  • Discuss appropriate behavior and establish rules. Your child should know what is acceptable and should be held accountable if she breaks those rules.
  • Consider setting a time limit on how long she can stay there. It is also important to know who she will be with while at the mall.
  • Keep in mind that the mall provides a false sense of security. Your child is still unsupervised, so it could be a potentially dangerous place for her to be. Make sure she knows what to do in case of an emergency or if she feels she is in danger.

If you are against your teen going to the mall unsupervised, be consistent and hold your ground. You will be glad that you did, and she will come to know you are serious about her safety. It's also a good idea to have some alternatives in mind that you can suggest, such as going to the mall when you will also be there shopping. You can offer to drive your child and her friends and make a pact to let them browse separately as long as they agree to meet you at a predetermined place and time. This way, you'll have peace of mind and your child will have fun.