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Too young to be by themselves at night? WWYD?

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
I just discovered a 'friend' leaves her 11 year old daughter alone in their apartment at night so she can go out to a bar - "only for an hour" (granted, it takes her at least 30 minutes to get there, so likely 2-3 hours hours in total. It's in an apartment in one of the crummiest neighborhoods in the city, and I believe she leaves after her daughter has gone to bed.

I'm just stunned that she seems to think this is okay, I would have been terrified to wake up and discover I was all by myself at 11 years old. Even if I knew my mom would be leaving. I don't know, maybe this is an acceptable thing? I didn't think this was even legal...

What would you do?
post #2 of 87
I would say it depends on the situation and unless you feel she would be better off being cared for by someone else I would leave it alone. I was home babysitting at that age and my kids are home alone at night if we go for dinner or out for a drink and my oldest is 11. They are fine. They know what to do in an emergency and they have a phone.
post #3 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by dianna11 View Post
I just discovered a 'friend' leaves her 11 year old daughter alone in their apartment at night so she can go out to a bar - "only for an hour" (granted, it takes her at least 30 minutes to get there, so likely 2-3 hours hours in total. It's in an apartment in one of the crummiest neighborhoods in the city, and I believe she leaves after her daughter has gone to bed.

I'm just stunned that she seems to think this is okay, I would have been terrified to wake up and discover I was all by myself at 11 years old. Even if I knew my mom would be leaving. I don't know, maybe this is an acceptable thing? I didn't think this was even legal...

What would you do?
Flashback. This was me when I was 9-10. My mom would leave me alone, at night, in apartments in the crappiest neighborhood to go to the bar and I would be absolutely terrified. 20 years later, I still remember, in detail, the nightmares I used to have.

Sadly, it is legal, unless there can be a proven safety issue (which I'm sure there can be).

And, no, I don't think it is acceptable whatsoever, having lived it firsthand. I have huge issues w/ my mom and this is only one of the reasons. How sad.
post #4 of 87
Can you make it clear to the girl that if she is ever scared or worried she can call you? Not to take the responsibility on yourself but to give her an adult she can trust.
post #5 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
I would say it depends on the situation and unless you feel she would be better off being cared for by someone else I would leave it alone. I was home babysitting at that age and my kids are home alone at night if we go for dinner or out for a drink and my oldest is 11. They are fine. They know what to do in an emergency and they have a phone.
I agree. I think it would depend on the kid.

But I would worry. It's not only the fact that the child is home alone and might be afraid if something were to happen, but someone could break in the house and try to hurt the child. Plus, what if something happened to the mother like she got abducted or had a car accident. Then what would the child do when mom never comes back? So bad things can happen all around. I worry sometimes when I go to the store and leave the kids home with DH that if something happened to me and they never saw me again. I could never leave them alone at night like that with no other adults around.
post #6 of 87
It wouldn't have bothered me at 11. I doubt there is much more danger when the kid is in bed at night than there is during the day. As long as she has her mom's cell phone number, and another number to call if she needs help or is scared for any reason, I think it's fine.
post #7 of 87
I was home alone, even babysitting, but that age. I think it really depends on the kid---there is a vast range of maturity among 11 year olds. How does the kid feel about it? If you are worried, maybe you can ask her and/or offer to have her come to your house every other Friday or something.
post #8 of 87
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for your responses, I feel a lot better about it. My kids are still tiny, so I really don't know what the world of 10/11 year olds is like.

Some times, I think that this girl is 10 times more mature than her mother I guess if anyone would be okay on their own at night, she would.
post #9 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by dianna11 View Post
Some times, I think that this girl is 10 times more mature than her mother I guess if anyone would be okay on their own at night, she would.
That's not the worry, though. Sure, she probably won't do anything to cause harm (start a fire, for example), but what about someone else harming her? I was a very mature child but I was scared of people breaking into my apt. and hurting me, especially being in a horrible part of town.

Maybe that's just me, I wouldn't leave my children alone at night unless it was their house, LOL.
post #10 of 87
I have two points of view. When I lived in town, on the "east" side, a busy pretty scary neighborhood- I would NEVER leave my kids alone, probably even at 15 yrs old.
Now I live in a very rural area, and although we do have to be aware of wildlife, I feel 100% confident leaving my 11.5 yr old alone at home for a few hours as long as I am by a phone. The safety issue is definitely a factor for me and I feel grateful I live where I do. She has called me home at times, and I always come home immediately.
post #11 of 87
I've let my kids stay home alone during the day for an hour or so at a time, starting around age 10. I let my kids babysit by age 12.

There's a huge range of maturity for preteens. Some kids can handle being alone for a couple of hours, some can't.

SAHDS. I'm curious though- did you tell your mom you were scared of being left alone? Did she ignore your fears?
post #12 of 87
I would talk to my friend. Ask questions....is the DD aware that her mom is leaving her alone? Is there a way for the DD to get ahold of the Mom AND another safe adult? Does the DD FEEL safe in this situation? Does the Mom and DD have a written,practiced emergency plan worked out? Does the DD know what to do if something tragic happened?

IMHO, this situation raises huge red flags for me. An 11 yo,alone in the middle of the night,in a dangerous neighborhood,in an apartment building,with a mom going to a bar?

::t sk
post #13 of 87
I don't know, I was doing overnight babysitting by age 11 and had been for a while.
post #14 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nautical View Post
I don't know, I was doing overnight babysitting by age 11 and had been for a while.
Yep.
post #15 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nautical View Post
I don't know, I was doing overnight babysitting by age 11 and had been for a while.
Yep me too.

What do you mean by a "crummy" neighborhood? Is it actually dangerous or just lower income?
post #16 of 87
Eleven year old children are too young to be left alone while mom bar hops. Does this happen on a routine basis? Does the little girl know that she is alone at night? This raises so many questions and concerns. What if she gets sick? What if she has a nightmare? What if she hears something that scares her? And overnight babysitting at that age? I wouldn't let an 11 year baby sit my kids during the day let alone over night. An 11 year old is what, 5th or 6th grade? Way too young to be left alone at night regardless of the neighborhood. Why can't mom find a babysitter? If she has money to go to the bars then she should have money to pay someone to be with her child. Where is the father? Grandparents? How is this even legal? Even if she is a mature 11 year old, she is being forced into a situation she shouldn't be. It is a parent's responsibility to care for their child and not leave them alone to go drink. Sounds like mom needs some help. I'm probably going to sound like the bad guy here but I would seriously consider calling CPS.
post #17 of 87
Have no idea what it's like in Canada, but where I live there are no laws stating at what age kids can be left home alone.
post #18 of 87
I don't know if it varies by province, but where I live, 11 is the legal age for leaving a child home alone. Well you can leave your kid home alone earlier if you are running to the store or something small.
post #19 of 87
As long as the girl is OK with this, I would stay out of it. Many kids are mature enough to handle this type of responsibility by 11. And sadly, mom in the next room is not going to stop someone breaking in and hurting both of them, or adducting the kid and/or the parent. Mom could get knocked out getting out of the shower and slipping. All sorts of bad things can happen all the time -- there is no perfectly safe world.
post #20 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2goingon2 View Post
Why can't mom find a babysitter? If she has money to go to the bars then she should have money to pay someone to be with her child. Where is the father? Grandparents? How is this even legal?
My thoughts exactly! The gas to drive to the bar, the drinks(unless bought for her),the clothes to wear-if she's able to pay for all that, absolutely she should be paying for a sitter.


I live in the US, and in my state, it is legal to leave a DC HOME alone,regardless of age. Now, not in a CAR however. DC must be at least 6yo, or with a DC 14yo and older to be left alone in a car.

IMHO....it sounds like this momma has her priorities backward.
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