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would you let a 9 year old alone at the library? - Page 5

Poll Results: Is it OK for a 9 year old to attend a book club alone at the library?

 
  • 76% (119)
    Yes. Sure. Why not?
  • 6% (10)
    Hmmm. Not so sure
  • 5% (9)
    Absolutely not.
  • 10% (16)
    Maybe.
  • 1% (2)
    The Proverbial Other
156 Total Votes  
post #81 of 109

Our youngest is 9yo and she can definitely go to the library alone.  It's usually not for a class, but I do set a time limit generally so they don't mill around bored goofing off after a long while.  Her older brother at 12yo (an aspie) has only been allowed the same this year as he has a lot of difficulty with boundaries--he couldn't handle it at 9yo.  All that said, we live about 2 blocks from our library and dh and I run a retail business on the same block as the library and we live in a fairly small city where all the librarians know my kids by name.  It could depend.  I voted yes anyway because for the most part I think yes especially for a formal class.

post #82 of 109
Thread Starter 

so thursday afternoon was movie afternoon. the last harry potter. dd just HAD to go. so i went in to talk to the librarian. it was a different librarian altogether. i asked her if dd can watch the movie by herself and i go home. so dd would watch the movie by herself. librarian said it was upto me. there is no supervision during movie time. so she reminded me there would be no staff at the community room with is right next to the gate. she said she personally wouldnt do it, but it was upto me.

 

so i left dd there. and then came back to pick her up. i kinda sign languaged to her where we would be, but i think she was too intent on the movie. so while i read and waited for the movie to finish i got engrossed in the book. so i went looking for her and she was in the children's section perusing the titles. 

 

this is not the main branch of the library but it is one of their biggest branches. there is always a tonne of people in there. however what i found very interesting is that this library in the afternoon and early evening is full of kids and teens. i see them crossing the road alone and be in the library alone. so maybe this branch because of its youth members have a different take on supervision than other libraries. 

 

thanks Velochic for checking the official policy. 

 

oh and btw we are new there. so the librarian had never met my dd before. however dd is a big kid and she easily passes off for a tween. 

post #83 of 109

Personally, I would plan to stay in the building.  How long can book club possibly be, first off?  Second, I am of the mindset of the "what if?"  Where I live, the libraries we go to are pretty far from anything else I'd go to, like the grocery store.  What if I got in a car wreck and couldn't get back to my child?  He would be scared, and it's not the librarian's responsibility.  But here, the preschool storytimes and the puppet shows things like that allow the parents to leave the child in the room at the program while parents browse.  Preschool storytime is 3-5.  I personally have only done the 3-5 storytime a couple times.  I've noticed at these things, lots of parents are in the room, if not right next to their kids.

MAYBE I would walk downtown if I was leaving a child at something at the downtown library here.  

Mine are 7.5.3.1 and I would stay in the room if I took any of them to storytime or anything right now.  Even just the 7 and 5.  I've taken my 7 yr. old to play Wii at one branch, he goes in the room alone.  He still comes to find me and have me watch him play a set.  He doesn't want me to not be there for long!
 

post #84 of 109

Wow, I didn't know there were still places where anyone would leave a 9 year old alone in a library. There was a case in the last place I lived (Redmond, WA) of a child of 7 being molested at the library, and after that they made a rule about not leaving children (not sure the age but it was something like 12) alone in the library. I would think a book club might have an adult running it which would be totally different. My almost 9 year old would not be comfortable being left at the library for a book club, but he has separation anxiety.

On a related topic, we have been reading some of the Beverly Cleary Books, and often kids as young as 9 are left alone or allowed to walk around the neighborhood alone. The books date mostly from the 50s and 60s, a few from the 70s, so maybe things have changed, or maybe Portland is really that kind of town still. 

post #85 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

On a related topic, we have been reading some of the Beverly Cleary Books, and often kids as young as 9 are left alone or allowed to walk around the neighborhood alone. The books date mostly from the 50s and 60s, a few from the 70s, so maybe things have changed, or maybe Portland is really that kind of town still. 


This was pretty typical when I was growing up in the 70's in a city on the other side of the country but that's actually pretty similar in size to Portland.  Most, well really all as far as I know, kids were free to roam the neighborhood from a pretty young age.  I remember doing so from as young as 7.  Lots of times me and my best friend had her younger sister with us who would have been 5, although she couldn't go as far as us.  No one thought this unusual as far as I know.  By the time I was 8 or 9, I was walking several blocks to a business district with a library and shops, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends.  Again, no one batted an eyelash.  

 

Before we had kids, my husband and I couldn't figure out why people in our neighborhood were walking similar aged kids to the bus stop in our quiet residential area.  Then once we had kids, we realized how much parenting had changed although I don't think the world is any less safe now.  

 

 

edited for spelling 


Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/8/12 at 2:52pm
post #86 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

 

 

Before we had kids, my husband and I couldn't figure out why people in our neighborhood were walking similar aged kids to the bus stop in our quiet residential area.  Then once we had kids, we realized how much parenting had changed although I don't think the world is any less safe now.  

 

 

 


Actually, I believe that statistically the world is far SAFER than it was in "the good old days." We only perceive that things are somehow much more dangerous and scary.

 

post #87 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

There was a case in the last place I lived (Redmond, WA) of a child of 7 being molested at the library, and after that they made a rule about not leaving children (not sure the age but it was something like 12) alone in the library. I would think a book club might have an adult running it which would be totally different. My almost 9 year old would not be comfortable being left at the library for a book club, but he has separation anxiety.

On a related topic, we have been reading some of the Beverly Cleary Books, and often kids as young as 9 are left alone or allowed to walk around the neighborhood alone. The books date mostly from the 50s and 60s, a few from the 70s, so maybe things have changed, or maybe Portland is really that kind of town still. 



What!?!?!  That is where I live (the Redmond library is the library we use all the time). When did that happen?

post #88 of 109

I think it happened two years ago. It was in the local paper, the Redmond Reporter. My ds was 7 at the time and he's almost 9 now. I can't find it on Google but it struck me at the time because I didn't realize people ever left their kids alone there. Hmm, but I did find this article from the same time: 

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/theblotter/2013203869_police_two_girls_fondled_at_bo.html

post #89 of 109

If the program was supervised with sign in and out, I would do it, but I don't feel that my son is ready otherwise, and he's 9.

 

I don't know about your library, but it seems that most libraries attract a lot of homeless people...think about it....free A/C, shelter from rain, free bathrooms, free chairs to sleep on, free computers, books, music, etc. Many homeless people are mentally ill and/or have addiction problems. We used to live on the same street as the library and weird people were always knocking on our door, asking for handouts or asking if they could do any work around the yard. One man asked if I had a weight for his fishing pole...he had no shirt on and sores all over him...another guy asked if I could tell him where the police station was, and he was on foot...there was the lady with several small children that wanted to put them to work raking our yard for money.

 

I saw an old man talking to himself outside the library once and he had this lost look in his eyes. He took out a bottle of mustard from his bag and started rubbing it all over his hands. Then he took out a pair of scissors and started fondling them...I called the police because I was afraid he could hurt someone or himself, but they said they couldn't do anything.

 

I was attacked by a mentally ill person while walking home from school when I was 15 (my neighborhood was very safe...strictly residential, no crime...this guy just simply fell through the cracks of the system. Institution let him out for a visitation weekend and he didn't return and they never called authorities to bring him back in). Because I have a past experience with being attacked and because of the bizarre people that hang out at my library, and because my son is not ready to be independent yet, I would say no, unless it was a structured, supervised activity...but your situation may be different. 

post #90 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCVeg View Post


Actually, I believe that statistically the world is far SAFER than it was in "the good old days." We only perceive that things are somehow much more dangerous and scary.


Yeah, I think a lot of it is due to mass media coverage starting with a couple of highly publicized cases in the late 70s/early 80s and now the internet. I fully admit to falling victim to irrational fears after hearing about such stories.  I read about an incident on this very board a few of years ago that I still can't shake.  I think about almost every night when I'm locking up the house even thought I know it's so statistically unlikely it's not worth fretting over.  Between that and the changed social norms, I don't see my kids having the same freedom in childhood that I did which I find kind of sad.  

post #91 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

 Between that and the changed social norms, I don't see my kids having the same freedom in childhood that I did which I find kind of sad.  



We can fight back, push back about these social norms. 

I have seen too many teenagers be, in my opinion, completely incompetent ... can't navigate anywhere (never rode their bikes by themselves), unwilling to walk, bike ride or take a bus; and the overweight statistics for my state are shocking.

 

post #92 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmarroq View Post

If the program was supervised with sign in and out, I would do it, but I don't feel that my son is ready otherwise, and he's 9.

I don't know about your library, but it seems that most libraries attract a lot of homeless people...think about it....free A/C, shelter from rain, free bathrooms, free chairs to sleep on, free computers, books, music, etc. Many homeless people are mentally ill and/or have addiction problems. We used to live on the same street as the library and weird people were always knocking on our door, asking for handouts or asking if they could do any work around the yard. One man asked if I had a weight for his fishing pole...he had no shirt on and sores all over him...another guy asked if I could tell him where the police station was, and he was on foot...there was the lady with several small children that wanted to put them to work raking our yard for money.

I saw an old man talking to himself outside the library once and he had this lost look in his eyes. He took out a bottle of mustard from his bag and started rubbing it all over his hands. Then he took out a pair of scissors and started fondling them...I called the police because I was afraid he could hurt someone or himself, but they said they couldn't do anything.

I was attacked by a mentally ill person while walking home from school when I was 15 (my neighborhood was very safe...strictly residential, no crime...this guy just simply fell through the cracks of the system. Institution let him out for a visitation weekend and he didn't return and they never called authorities to bring him back in). Because I have a past experience with being attacked and because of the bizarre people that hang out at my library, and because my son is not ready to be independent yet, I would say no, unless it was a structured, supervised activity...but your situation may be different. 

I'm sorry, I'm trying really hard to let this go but something about it really bothers me. It feels like you are stigmatizing homeless people & those who are mentally ill. greensad.gif I guess given your experience it makes sense for you to be afraid (and I'm so sorry you had to go through that), but most homeless or mentally ill people are harmless or only a danger to themselves...
post #93 of 109

Libraries? what about popular stores?

 

Yay for this seven-year-old who fended off a possible abductor in a major box store:

 

http://gma.yahoo.com/video/parenting-26594265/little-girl-fights-off-abductor-in-walmart-28242481.html

post #94 of 109
I havent read the entire thread, but I would totally leave a 9 year old at the library alone. With a cell phone. When I was in 5th grade (around 9-10) I went to our library alone, and I remember thinking how awful my parents were because they wouldnt drop me off at the HUGE mall with my friends to walk around by ourselves and eat in the food court. Now that, I cant imagine doing until my kid is at least 13 or 14.
post #95 of 109


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


I'm sorry, I'm trying really hard to let this go but something about it really bothers me. It feels like you are stigmatizing homeless people & those who are mentally ill. greensad.gif I guess given your experience it makes sense for you to be afraid (and I'm so sorry you had to go through that), but most homeless or mentally ill people are harmless or only a danger to themselves...


Sorry! I thought it might come across that way. I mentioned that I was worried about addicts as well as mentally ill people.... but I know that I rambled on about all the "weird" folks in my neighborhood too...I went off on a tangent and didn't mean to connect the two. 

 

I know that we will come across mentally ill and addicted people everywhere in life, but since my library is known to attract them, I am able to have a little bit of control over his chances of running into a dangerous situation or witnessing something disturbing while he is unsupervised (at least until he is a little older and able to understand the dangers). If I know the "chances" are higher of something disturbing happening in a particular place, I try to be with my child when he has to go to that place for now. 

 

Sorry if I sound like I am stigmatizing. I am sure there are many homeless addicts and mentally ill people who are not a threat.

 

I do not blame the man who attacked me when I was a girl at all. It was not his fault. He attacked many people over the years that he was in and out of hospitals. It's a shame we can't do more for homeless people who need mental healthcare and addiction recovery help in this country....so many fall through the cracks....but that's a whole other thread!

 

post #96 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

I'm sorry, I'm trying really hard to let this go but something about it really bothers me. It feels like you are stigmatizing homeless people & those who are mentally ill. greensad.gif I guess given your experience it makes sense for you to be afraid (and I'm so sorry you had to go through that), but most homeless or mentally ill people are harmless or only a danger to themselves...

It didn't strike me that way. It struck me as good judgment. A nine year old isn't qualified to make the judgment as to whether or not other people's mental health issues or substance abuse problems make them harmful or harmless. As such, dropping her off in a place where such people congregate is an exercise in poor judgment. I find that to be a valid point to the discussion.

It doesn't necessarily speak to the thread starter's circumstances, but it is at least applicable to the library of the person who posted, and might be something to consider for others using this thread to stretch their own parameters for their children's independence.
post #97 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post


This was pretty typical when I was growing up in the 70's in a city on the other side of the country but that's actually pretty similar in size to Portland.  Most, well really all as far as I know, kids were free to roam the neighborhood from a pretty young age.  I remember doing so from as young as 7.  Lots of times me and my best friend had her younger sister with us who would have been 5, although she couldn't go as far as us.  No one thought this unusual as far as I know.  By the time I was 8 or 9, I was walking several blocks to a business district with a library and shops, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends.  Again, no one batted an eyelash. 



My sister (a year younger than me), a friend (a year older than me), and I used to catch the bus across town to watch movies, when I was no more than seven. It was about a half hour bus ride. We also used to walk up to the local rec centre to go swimming, without an adult. That was...10 blocks, almost exactly, and we had to cross on of the major streets in our municipality. I wouldn't let my kids do that, but our municipality has also grown by a huge amount since the early 70s (dh has noticed it, even in the 10 years he's been here, and it had changed massively even before that). I don't worry much about perverts and kidnappings and such. I do worry about traffic.

 

Nobody ever batted any eyelash at any of it. It was pretty normal back then. We also hung out with all the neighbourhood kids, and we all ranged all over the place, within about a 2-3 block area. I don't remember exactly how old I was when I started doing that, but I know I did it for at least a couple of years, and we moved out of there right about the time I turned eight. Actually...we used to go down to the pool at the park without an adult sometimes, too. It was about 4 blocks from our house. Most of the kids were allowed to go there, although we all had certain rules about how many people had to be in the group, and things like that. I wouldn't be able to bring myself to do that, either. But, I honestly think my parents were a lot saner than I am about these things.

post #98 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chenchen View Post


A nine year old isn't qualified to make the judgment as to whether or not other people's mental health issues or substance abuse problems make them harmful or harmless.

this is not always true. there are exceptions to the rule. just coz they are children does not mean they dont 'know'. i dont know how they 'know' but they sure 'know'.

 

some 9 year olds, heck even 2, 3 or even 4 year olds have better judgement of 'safe' people. i am not saying this is the majority but just saying sometimes we need to trust our kids and know them.

 

some like me when i was a kid and my kid has this ability to know 'unsafe' people. i have no idea how i did it, or how my dd does it. but i trust this instinct of hers. my mom would tell me even as a one year old there were some people i would not go to. i would cry and run from them. they looked 'good' in everyway - great jobs, etc. good citizens. and later they would find something was up with them (not necessarily pedophiles - but perhaps big scammers). 

 

dd is like that. which is why i trust her instincts over mine. every. single time she has been right. i would have missed many opportunities if i had gone with my instincts rather than taking a chance with her. i have been wrong, but she has been right every single time. 

post #99 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

this is not always true. there are exceptions to the rule. just coz they are children does not mean they dont 'know'. i dont know how they 'know' but they sure 'know'.

 

some 9 year olds, heck even 2, 3 or even 4 year olds have better judgement of 'safe' people. i am not saying this is the majority but just saying sometimes we need to trust our kids and know them.

 

some like me when i was a kid and my kid has this ability to know 'unsafe' people. i have no idea how i did it, or how my dd does it. but i trust this instinct of hers. my mom would tell me even as a one year old there were some people i would not go to. i would cry and run from them. they looked 'good' in everyway - great jobs, etc. good citizens. and later they would find something was up with them (not necessarily pedophiles - but perhaps big scammers). 

 

dd is like that. which is why i trust her instincts over mine. every. single time she has been right. i would have missed many opportunities if i had gone with my instincts rather than taking a chance with her. i have been wrong, but she has been right every single time. 



I don't disagree with anything you've said here.  I put a lot of stock in my own instincts, and I can look back at instances even as a child when I know that trusting my gut saved me from some bad situations.  It's great that your daughter has those kind of instincts - they will certainly serve her well in life.

 

That said, no matter how good her instincts, I would personally judge it to be parental neglect and endangerment if a parent knowingly sent their child into a situation lacking supervision knowing full well that she was going to encounter people who might be a danger to her.  It just all depends upon the situation.  We have libraries in our town that are small and family centered, where the only people coming and going are parents and children, and then we have libraries that have a much more detached staff and plenty of people who raise red flags.  Obviously, you know your own situation better than any of us do, but I just wanted to speak to the point that being aware and wary of whom she may encounter is certainly one piece of the puzzle.

 


Edited by chenchen - 2/13/12 at 10:24pm
post #100 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chenchen View Post

That said, no matter how good her instincts, I would personally judge it to be parental neglect and endangerment if a parent knowingly sent their child into a situation lacking supervision knowing full well that she was going to encounter people who might be a danger to her. 

but isnt that a chance you take all the time you leave you child alone at a public place - even at one that 'looks' safe. 

 

i am curious - at big big libraries isnt there a children's section? i know at our main branch the children's section is completely separate - on its own floor with the librarians desk at the main entrance so no 'unsafe' looking person can go down there. even at that library i wont feel unsafe leaving my dd alone - for one because i trust her not leaving the floor and second there are security guards at both entrances. in fact they have extra security at that library - esp. around the children's section too.  

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