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Leaving a child home alone for a (short) while? WWYD? - Page 5

post #81 of 85

I think, regardless of individual children and their maturity level (though, obviously that is of high importance) is that when considering these types of situations, leaving them at home alone, babysitting younger siblings, going to store several blocks away all alone, etc., is to think about whether or not you would be comfortable announcing this to other adults such as: your kid's teacher, principal, social worker, a police officer, your pediatrician/family doctor, etc.  Or, are you okay with your kid talking about it at school the next day to his friends where a teacher could overhear? 

 

I'm not saying these are all community members who should make these decisions for our kids (though they all happen to be mandated reporters), but that if you don't feel at ease sharing that information with them, maybe there is a good reason you should reconsider and wait a few more years. 

 

 

post #82 of 85

 

 

Quote:
Or, are you okay with your kid talking about it at school the next day to his friends where a teacher could overhear? 

 

 

I think you are being extremely naive if you think you can keep your child from talking to other about this and far more subjects.

 

teacher over hear far more than that winky.gif

 

In most states it is not illegal to leave a child alone.

 

I repatriable teacher, "reporter" or the like would only report actual abuse.

 

The children that live next to me live in a house that I consider filthy ( I can see right in the windows)- social service WILL NOT even look into it-it is not abuse in my state.

 

The children are not beaten, they get food (regardless of what) and have shelter. It takes far more than being home alone to get social services involved and it is not a police matter nor would a Dr report on them unless they show physical or mental signs of abuse.

 

In my state most children and given information/taught how and can call 911 starting at K level. Several pre-schools also drill in this.

post #83 of 85

I'm not saying these are all community members who should make these decisions for our kids (though they all happen to be mandated reporters), but that if you don't feel at ease sharing that information with them, maybe there is a good reason you should reconsider and wait a few more years.

 

Quoting isn't working for me for some reason....anyway, while I get where you are coming from in that you (generally speaking, not you in particular) don't want to invite trouble in the form of CPS or other "official" people in your life, I disagree.

 

If someone is not a person who should be making decisions for my kids, then they.....just don't. If *I* make a decision based out of fear of how someone else is going to react, then they essentially made the decision for me.

 

As an example, I am planning a home birth with baby #3. I don't go around advertising it to everyone, but inevitably it comes up when people hear i'm pregnant, and I tell the truth. I have no doubts that it will eventually get back to the same family members who have called CPS on me in the past. While I don't relish the thought of being investigated again and going through that drama, to me it's a cowards way out to either a) lie and hide it, which does nothing to normalize natural birth and promote change, or b) give in and do it the way this other family member thinks it should be done, just to avoid trouble.

 

No one should be apologizing for how they raise their children, as long as they are making decisions thoughtfully and from a place of love for their individual child. That basically just reinforces these arbitrary rules (about whatever-- leaving your kid home alone,  letting your kid sit in the car alone, home birthing, breastfeeding for 3 yrs, etc.). Just my two cents.

 

And to answer the original question, while I'm fine with ds playing outside alone to his heart's content, where all messes are forgiven, no way am I leaving that boy home alone for years to come! He never gets into anything dangerous because even at 3 he is trained not to touch the stove, daddy's tools etc, but I think even with a few years on him, I'd come home to find my house turned upside down. He's emotionally immature. And I imagine his anxiety would be through the roof at the thought of one of us not being accessible. I dread the day his sister surpasses him in what she is allowed to do, just because she is more even keeled. I imagine for her or any other typical kid 5 or 6 woul be ok for a few short minutes (like to walk to a neighbor's house down the street). i wouldn't get in my car and drive away before my kid was 8-ish, I think. 

post #84 of 85

Oregon doesn't have a law stating a specific age a child can be left alone.  It's based on the child and their maturity level...and discretion of their parent, of course.

post #85 of 85

I haven't read through the entire thread but I do have some opinions of this that I want to share.

 

First - when kids are left alone and when they are - by the community in general - considered old enough to handle themselfes for various periods of time is VERY much a cultural issue.

 

Being european and reading a thread like this in a predominantly US forum, I find that my opinions and what I experience to be the norm among parents in my community differ a lot from the general views expressed here.

 

First I want to say that I dont think there is a "truth" about when kids are old enough to be left alone. I think it very very much depends on the childs level of maturity and experience, the dangers in the childs environment (traffic, access to other adults who can help in case of emergencies, presence of other children who can call for help if something happens, social environment - is it a "family area" or one with more crime and social problems etc.) All those things have to be taken into consideration and then a healthy amount of common sense.

 

Also I want to say that no child should be suddenly left alone for a long period of time without having been "taught" how to manage him or herself. Being left on his/her own is something a child has to learn - it is not an ability that magically appears the day the child turns 12. It is something that needs to be practiced and taught gradually over several years

 

My son who is 7 is perfectly able to handle himself for up to an hour or two. He often volunteers to go by bike to the shop to get groceries. around half a mile away and there is only one minor road to cross - the rest of the way is on a walking path with only bikes and pedestrians. And he handles that perfectly. He likes being on his own at home and will prefer that to going grocery shopping for instance. He also sometimes goes on his bike to school together with a classmate and that is 2 miles away and that too they handle very well. So far we have never had issues of broken trust when it comes to him being on his own. Would I let just any kid do that? No ofcourse not. But I know my son is capable and so over time I had gradually helped him learn how to handle himself. I have never ever pushed him or put any kind of pressure on him. He has taken the initiative to most develpments towards more independency on his own and it has all happened gradually.

 

I know to (most of) you US moms the above mentioned will sound absolutely outragous, dangerous and irresponsible. You may try to tell me I am an unfit mother and someone should call the CPS on me. I will consider those replies extremely culturally biased, as here it is perfectly normal for children of age 7 to be given that kind of responsibility. Again taking their personal level of maturity and responsibility into consideration. The after school programme my 7 year old son is in has a list of agreements with parents as many of the kids are not picked up in the afternoon but have to walk or go on their bikes home - on their own. And we are talking kid ages 6-10 here. So the (educated) staff have a list that says - at 4pm. it's time to send Julie, Magnus, Oliver and Tina home and at 16.30 it's time for another bunch to leave. This works perfectly well and is just the way things are done here. No big deal.

 

At my younger sons daycare it is official policy, that the kids be given a lot of freedom to play and explore on their own without an adult breathing down their neck all the time and it is not unusual for me to pick him up and have to look through the "secret jungle" of bushes for him. They do have a fence all around their big garden so the kids dont leave the area, but apart from that they are free to play whereever they want. My son is 4 and loves his daycare. (and so do I - its a great daycare really!)

 

 

I wholeheartedly believe that children are capable of a lot more than adults generally give them credit for, and I believe we are NOT doing them a favor by being overprotective or by stopping them from gradually exploring their own independence from us. And I do not believe we are teaching our children to protect themselfes if we dont allow them to learn by doing. Being independent and responsible and being able to overcome and solve problems and conflicts is something a child has to LEARN. It is NOT something that just magically happens when they grow older. 

 

 

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