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Dad Is Outraged When Lego Store 'Detains' His Son

The Short of It

Is 11 old enough to shop solo? The Lego Store says no. One dad is outraged that staffers at the Calgary, Alberta, Canada, location detained his son for being in the store without an adult.

The Lowdown

For the past two years, Doug Dunlop has allowed his son, Tadhg, now 11, to shop at The Lego Store in the nearby mall by himself. The boy has spent thousands of dollars he's earned through odd jobs and babysitting on Legos there, Doug says, in a blog post.

But Sunday, when Tadhg was seen shopping solo, the manager called security, which detained him until his dad could arrive to pick the boy up. The store says their policy is that any child younger than 12 should be accompanied by an adult.

"The manager and security guard both said he was well-behaved and did nothing wrong," Doug says. "They are trying to couch it in a child-safety veil, but it's really all about questioning kids' competence. I'm not sending him to a construction site without a hard hat. I am aware that there are child predators in the world. But I'm also aware that they aren't in a crowded mall trying to remove a child who is old enough to scream from a crowded store in a crowded mall on a weekend. It's obviously a ridiculous scenario."

The Upshot

As the debate over whether or not parents should be allowed to practice free-range parenting rages on, this story brings up a really interesting question: At what age is it okay to allow your child to do things on his own? I'm not an expert, but I'm willing to bet it's different for every kid—some become very responsible and independent earlier than others. Is it okay for businesses' policies and area laws to decide that age or should it be the parents alone?

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