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Old 12-01-2009, 08:42 PM
 
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Wow. That's a pretty big reaction. What about being responsible for our own children? If it's my decision, I take the consequences. It's not someone else's job to decide I'm doing something wrong and report me...

And I realize you were talking about your neighbor. But really, what about letting people parent their own children?

.
Well, first of all - I would never call CPS short of true abuse situations - but my DH has a right to his own opinion, no? Claiming that the vast majority of adults would agree with him was maybe a bit of an exaggeration - but the people in my circle who I've mentioned this situation to, agree with him, so that's where I'm coming from.

Also, I do have a 'big reaction' to my neighbors situation b/c it's not similar to yours in that they have left her home alone for 20 min. one time. They leave her home frequently, and she has expressed multiple times that she is afraid when this happens - and it is often hours and hours until someone comes home. These people are very well off, with a million dollar home and a ton of hired help so I have no clue why they don't ask someone to watch her. AND, she does things such as cooking grilled cheese on their 8 burner stove in their gourmet kitchen while she is home alone - fine for a kid her age, under supervision, though. Just so you know, there's a lot more to the story - but I do have every right to be judgmental in this situation, b/c it ends up impacting me and my family (who often watches the child).

You can do whatever you see fit when raising your kids, yes, but do be prepared to have people disagree when you make decisions such as what you did. Clearly, not everyone is comfortable leaving a young child at home with an even younger sibling - for any amount of time.

I just personally see the risks outweighing any potential benefits and would have taken the extra 2 minutes to toss the kids in the car.

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Old 12-01-2009, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, first of all - I would never call CPS short of true abuse situations - but my DH has a right to his own opinion, no? Claiming that the vast majority of adults would agree with him was maybe a bit of an exaggeration - but the people in my circle who I've mentioned this situation to, agree with him, so that's where I'm coming from.

Also, I do have a 'big reaction' to my neighbors situation b/c it's not similar to yours in that they have left her home alone for 20 min. one time. They leave her home frequently, and she has expressed multiple times that she is afraid when this happens - and it is often hours and hours until someone comes home. These people are very well off, with a million dollar home and a ton of hired help so I have no clue why they don't ask someone to watch her. AND, she does things such as cooking grilled cheese on their 8 burner stove in their gourmet kitchen while she is home alone - fine for a kid her age, under supervision, though. Just so you know, there's a lot more to the story - but I do have every right to be judgmental in this situation, b/c it ends up impacting me and my family (who often watches the child).

You can do whatever you see fit when raising your kids, yes, but do be prepared to have people disagree when you make decisions such as what you did. Clearly, not everyone is comfortable leaving a young child at home with an even younger sibling - for any amount of time.

I just personally see the risks outweighing any potential benefits and would have taken the extra 2 minutes to toss the kids in the car.
Your neighbors situation does sound odd. Thanks for realizing every situation is different I mean that with totally no snark at all.
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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I did - before I left the house. I said 'what if I leave you here with DD while I take Daddy to work?' And he looked at me with a look of surprise and delight and pride and said 'yeah, sure Mom.'

Sounds like you did good then .

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Old 12-01-2009, 09:01 PM
 
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Your neighbors situation does sound odd. Thanks for realizing every situation is different I mean that with totally no snark at all.
oh, I totally realize every situation is different and I will fully admit that the neighbor girl was on my mind when I read your OP - so that influenced my opinion a bit.

We're all doing the best we can, and considering your screen name I'd guess your kids mean the world to you.

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Old 12-01-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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I haven't read the entire thread, but saw enough comments to get the general gist of it. Personally *I* wouldn't leave my 7 yr old son home with his younger sister for a few minutes because he doesn't have the skills to deal with situations that may arise and because to be frank, he's a raving coward like I was at that age. Otherwise, I really think it depends on the child. We have regressed our children significantly in this country to the point where I do see that it is to their detriment when they get older. I can't tell you how many grown boys I meet rather than "men", and it does have a negative impact on them. If you raise your children to have responsibility from an early age and they are capable of dealing with situations, then no, I don't see any issue with it whatsoever.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:32 PM
 
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Please, no flaming, okay? I'm just wondering if there are any Mama's out there with really responsible 8 year old boys who would leave them with a eight month old baby for less than 20 minutes to run their spouse to work. Because that's what I did this morning.
I would've done it. I grew up in a farming family, and by 8, I had tons of responsibilities, including watching after 3 cousins who were 4, 4, and 3. I don't think age necessarily makes one unable to watch after others. OTOH, I'd be hesitant about leaving a couple of 13-year-olds I know with my kids.

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Old 12-01-2009, 10:46 PM
 
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I have not read all (or even most) of the replies. Just to answer the OP's question of whether or not I would do it.....


Ummmmmm...... NO. My first thought is what if you were in a car accident? That is much more likely then a kidnapper coming to the door, etc. Can you imagine you son's worry and anxiety when you did not come home after an hour? If you say he would not become anxious because he is so mature, then I would say that *not* being anxious is a sign of immaturity when there is clearly reason to worry. Not to mention how CPS would have loved to have heard about how the police went to your door and found your scared 8 year old at home alone with your infant. That would be a whole other bag of worms to contend with.

I my opinion, you dodged a bullet this morning.... don't pull the trigger again.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're all doing the best we can, and considering your screen name I'd guess your kids mean the world to you.
Absolutely. And I think it's really interesting that we're encouraged to trust our 'Mama instincts' when it comes to knowing what's best for our own children, but when we do, sometimes others can not see beyond their own biases of what 'they would do' in that situation. Not talking about you, I've read some of your other posts and I think you're pretty level headed. Some people, tho...

What really gets me is that no one can know another person's reality. So, for someone to say that I should or should not have done what I did, bothers me. For someone to say they wouldn't have done it, is another thing altogether. Anyway, I digress.

I don't really think I'd do it again, but I'm glad I did this time. For many reasons, which I won't get into here.
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Old 12-02-2009, 12:41 PM
 
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Ummmmmm...... NO. My first thought is what if you were in a car accident? That is much more likely then a kidnapper coming to the door, etc. Can you imagine you son's worry and anxiety when you did not come home after an hour? If you say he would not become anxious because he is so mature, then I would say that *not* being anxious is a sign of immaturity when there is clearly reason to worry. Not to mention how CPS would have loved to have heard about how the police went to your door and found your scared 8 year old at home alone with your infant. That would be a whole other bag of worms to contend with.
Wouldn't most children call mom to see what was up though if she was gone too long? When I was taking night classes and DS was 3, he would often call me while I was driving home from school because he was scared (his dad would be in the bedroom putting his sister to bed). Honestly my kids aren't mature enough to leave totally alone, but even at 3 my son knew how to call his grandma and that if he didn't get ahold of me while DH was in the other room he would call her. I would hope that an 8 yr old who's mom felt he was responsible enough to stay home alone with a younger sibling would know to do the same!
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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Just a question:
If child services were called, would they really take the kids away or is that just part of people's what-ifs??

And for the record, I trust the mom's judgment. Not all kids are responsible by the "legal" age and some are responsible way before that. I don't think a loving mom would put her children in danger.
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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And for the record, I trust the mom's judgment. Not all kids are responsible by the "legal" age and some are responsible way before that. I don't think a loving mom would put her children in danger.
Sorry, I have to say that this just isn't true. We're foster and emergency care parents, and I see lots of parents who love their kids but still put them in danger. (Moms and dads.)

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Old 12-02-2009, 01:36 PM
 
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Just a question:
If child services were called, would they really take the kids away or is that just part of people's what-ifs??

And for the record, I trust the mom's judgment. Not all kids are responsible by the "legal" age and some are responsible way before that. I don't think a loving mom would put her children in danger.

If CPS found a 8 yr old caring for an infant here YES in a heart beat. It is neglect/ abandonment on the part of the infant. The 8 yr old can legally stay alone for short periods of time here but NOT care for someone. "I" would not want my children pull out of my home even for 48hrs and put in emergency foster care till you pleaded your case. Its not something I would want to put on my 8 yr old to remember not to let it slip he is left alone with his infant sibling.

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Old 12-02-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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I have a very mature and responsible 10 year-old daughter that I would not leave at home alone. That being said, this singular incident is over and you can always choose different next time. When I had an 8 year-old and infant at home and my ex-husband and I only had one car, I often stayed at home without a car if we were unable to take the children along to drop him at work (one of the children being sick, waking up late, etc.) It wasn't fun, and I am happy to have a much better financial situation and be a multiple car family (if we didn't live so far out of town, that wouldn't matter to me anyway).

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Old 12-02-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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Yes I would OP. I was also that same 8yr old & I watched my then baby sister all the time.

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Old 12-03-2009, 12:13 AM
 
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Yeah, uh, that site quotes an NBC station in Augusta that Georgia has a minimum age to be home alone. We don't. Shockingly, the source for laws on age to be home alone is going to be an actual law.
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:13 AM
 
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In our county, it's illegal to leave a child alone for more than a minute until they are 12 or older. I agree with all of the other posters who think this is a major CPS risk. The children would be immediately taken away in our area, if this were found out.
There is no legal minimum age in my state for children to be left at home, or to babysit. So I definitely varies from state to stat



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I did - before I left the house. I said 'what if I leave you here with DD while I take Daddy to work?' And he looked at me with a look of surprise and delight and pride and said 'yeah, sure Mom.'

That's sweet. I was going to say that I would ask my DS if he was ok with it and if he was I would trust that and my instincts. My DS has always been very realistic and accurate in his judgments about what responsibilities he's been ready to handle.
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:24 AM
 
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Now, I don't know that I would have done it, but I am pretty sure my grandmothers would have done it before the age of cell phones, and Caroline Ingalls would have done it leaving on a three-hour walking round trip to town in the age when we still had wolves and children cooked on wood burning stoves.
This is an old thread, but I just wanted to say that she actually wouldn't-- according to the Plum Creek book, she took Carrie to town with her at age three (explicitly because she was too little to be without Ma) rather than leave her at home with Mary and Laura (9 & 6, or something like that).... and, along the same lines, when she *did* leave them all a little later, there was a blizzard and they were almost snowed in..... and they were not allowed to touch the stove.

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Old 12-10-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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In our county, it's illegal to leave a child alone for more than a minute until they are 12 or older.
Wow. So you can't even walk down to grab your mail from the curb while your 11-year-old is inside? That's a ridiculous law.

I think it would probably be OK if the child were actually alone for 20 minutes. It's really just the responsibility of watching a baby I think is too much.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is an old thread, but I just wanted to say that she actually wouldn't-- according to the Plum Creek book, she took Carrie to town with her at age three (explicitly because she was too little to be without Ma) rather than leave her at home with Mary and Laura (9 & 6, or something like that).... and, along the same lines, when she *did* leave them all a little later, there was a blizzard and they were almost snowed in..... and they were not allowed to touch the stove.
That might have been because she was still bf'ing a nine and six year old can't do that! And even if she was almost weaned, being gone all day long with a baby still even partially bf'ing is a bad idea. So it may not have been their ages. Just saying.
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:58 PM
 
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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Love these old threads!

I'll just add that I can see myself doing that once or twice but I wouldn't make a habit of it and would worry the whole time.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:45 PM
 
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Probably, but I'd recognize that it might be illegal in my state (when I was growing up the age was 10 in Oregon) and I'd look up the law afterward before I shared what I did with all and sundry.

Oh, and "probably" is based on the fact that since you were comfortable with it, your son must've had the maturity level to give you confidence in the situation. I don't mean that I'm likely to leave 8 year olds alone with or without infant siblings .
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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Wow. So you can't even walk down to grab your mail from the curb while your 11-year-old is inside? That's a ridiculous law.
I think the laws are usually worded so that "home alone" refers to the property. Also "a minute" is more than enough time to go get the mail.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:50 AM
 
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FIRST: it depends on the child. I was also a very mature 8-year-old. I think I was more like 9 or 10 when I first watched the neighbor kids (both talking, so not infants) across the street, while my mom was home, for a short time (less than two hours).

SECOND: It depends on the child. I did know a family who left their ~11-year-old boy at home while taking the younger child on an errand. The 11-year-old called his Mom, he woke up and the house was on fire. He got himself out just fine. The house was burnt to the ground, but the family was all safe (even the pets).

THIRD: I wouldn't suggest making a habit of it. 8's pretty young to have this responsibility on a regular basis.

I don't remember when the first time I babysat my then-three younger siblings while my parents were gone. Probably 11, since this was Nebraska and apparently NE actually legislated that age.

The first time or so, as an occasional responsibility, it was absolutely an honor and a privilege. "Yeah, sure. No problem."

It was the regular, more than once a week and sometimes day-in & day-out, unpaid and very rarely rewarded babysitting, throughout my teenage years, of all five sibs (two baby brothers born while I was in high school), plus acting as family chauffeur, etc. that I resented.

Since when does 15 days an old thread make?

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Old 12-15-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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Love these old threads!

I'll just add that I can see myself doing that once or twice but I wouldn't make a habit of it and would worry the whole time.
This.

As long as he was Ok with it, I KNEW the baby was going to sleep till I was back, and that DS knew what to do if baby woke up early, I might do it.

I am not into what-ifs ruling our lifes....

Moreover, the liklihood of an responsible 8 year old and a sleepping baby coming to harm is no greater in a house than in a car (what with the accident rates).

I would not do it regularly -on an emotional level it is too much responsibility to saddle a young child with.

I also think it is interesting that people are upset it is a baby/ 8yr old combo. I would be less inclined to leave an 8 year old with a toddler or young preschooler than a baby. Babies cannot get out of their crib, and are often quite safe if you put them on the floor with baby safe toys (or in an exersaucer for crawler). Toddlers though? Nope...they move, lol.
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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Since when does 15 days an old thread make?
It's all relative, but there was an 8 day laps between post #166 and #167. The thread was started November 27, the day after Thanksgiving, and I only posted yesterday.

Though I suppose that's not as bad as the periodic resurrection of the Service Chicken thread.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:55 AM
 
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Leaving a baby to cry means ignoring the baby.
I agree with chinaKat re: the CIO thing, and I'm really not understanding how LEAVING the baby at home, attended to only by another small child, while you go somewhere, is somehow better than ignoring the baby while you're there in the same house?

I also have to second the point that a PP made upthread: What if the 8-year-old is the one injured/choking/etc. instead of the baby? Who would help him?
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Old 12-16-2009, 04:31 AM
 
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i remember babysittting for neighbors with children when i was *10*. times have changed. back in the day, parents wouldn't have thought twice about leaving an 8 year old with a sleeping infant for 20 minutes.

that said, if you were to do it again, make sure there is a next door neighbor home and "on call" should an emergency arise, and that your son has that phone number written down right next to the phone.

the CPS threats, notwithstanding.

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Old 12-16-2009, 07:10 AM
 
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No... And I say "no" as someone who was a child that young left alone to "babysit" by a neglectful single father...sometimes overnight even. While nothing happened to me, it was just not a good age to be left alone—even for a few hours.

Sometimes things seemed okay, but there were times it was scary to be alone. If an accident had happened to myself or my sister, it would have not been good at all. Even though I'd just have to go to a neighbor, it'd have been very traumatic to deal with without my folks, and I could totally imagine that CPS would have been involved if we ended up at the hospital.

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