How much supervision is enough? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 10-25-2013, 05:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is kind of related to the drinking thread but I have more thoughts unrelated to thinking.

How well do kids have to be supervised?

For instance, at some age you can sleep in while your kid(s) are awake. How old do the kids have to be?

How old do your kids have to be for you to soak in the bath while they're awake?

How old do kids have to be for you to be really busy in another room while they're playing somewhere else?

How old do kids have to be for you to be mowing the lawn while your kids are alone inside?

How old before kids can play in the yard without you outside with them? How old before they can play in the neighborhood with other kids without a parent?

How old do kids have to be for you to go next door to chat with a neighbor while they're playing at home?
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#2 of 28 Old 10-25-2013, 05:37 AM
 
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We've always lived in really small houses, hard to get in trouble when mom is only 5 feet away from every room.

 

Ds was about 4 when I started letting him get up without one of us being awake.  He's the sort of kid that it would never have occurred to him to do something he shouldn't.  He just didn't have it in him.  When dd started getting up without me at about 2, ds would give her some cereal and they would watch tv together.  

 

By necessity I had to take the dog out and leave ds in the house, so he was 2 when I started doing that.  I can see the play area from my window, so at about 4 I let them play out in the "woods" alone.    I just let dd go super far (about 150 yards away, but there are houses in the way so I can't see where she is) last week, she's 8.  Ds is almost 13 and he has the run of our town, as far as his bike will take him.  There is one street he's not allowed to cross, heck, I hate crossing it in the car.  

 

My answer is always going to be "it depends on the kid".  My nephew couldn't handle any sort of responsibility, my ds was made for responsibility.  

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#3 of 28 Old 10-25-2013, 12:36 PM
 
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I have a related one?  My DD1 is 7.5.  Can I leave her and my 16 month old DD in the car to dash in to pay for gas?  Any longer?  It would be so cool to leave a big kid playing a video game with a sleeping toddler for a few minutes to run an errand.  I trust my DD, and my mom did this stuff all the time- even left my brother and I in the car while she grocery shopped at like 6 and 8 when we were fighting.  I am wondering when nosy old ladies won't go grab a cop on me.  Or at least when that cop would laugh her off.


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#4 of 28 Old 10-27-2013, 08:28 AM
 
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This is kind of related to the drinking thread but I have more thoughts unrelated to thinking.

How well do kids have to be supervised?
YOu know I am going to say depends on the kid, culture, if there are siblings... But you are asking concrete questions, so I will give you concrete (and too long) answers of what has worked for us.

For instance, at some age you can sleep in while your kid(s) are awake. How old do the kids have to be?
Since 3 and 5. Our rule was you had to stay in bed until 7am, but if you woke up after that you could go downstairs and play. They came up whenever they needed us. Come to think of it, neither have come up to us in probably a year. They are now 7 and 9. This is obviously on weekends, on weekdays we are all up together for school and work. DS, the oldest, found out very early on that if he did not disturb us or wake us up, it meant more time on the computer for him. I also think this is probably early, but the reason it happened is one weekend morning at about 6am I woke up to music and asked DH if we had left a radio or tv on. No, DS, then 2.5 and still in diapers and with his teddy, had gone downstairs, turned on the computer, browsed to his folder and launched some game. I figured if he could do that, then maybe it was ok. I think at the time we said he had to come ask us first, and then when he was able to tell the time on the clock, which was around 3, then he could go down by himself if it was 7am or later. Before that he had to wait, which just meant he went back to sleep. DD was only 1 at the time, and sleeping with us, so a non issue. A year later they were sleeping together, so then the rule was he could go down if he didn't wake her up. And then at some point she was also up and they just went down together. I am very happy that DH and I get our time to sleep in, or whatever, on weekend mornings.

How old do your kids have to be for you to soak in the bath while they're awake?
Can't remember, maybe the same age? Though I would wait until DH was home if I wanted a bath, otherwise there would be constant interruptions, which sort of defeated the purpose of a bath.

How old do kids have to be for you to be really busy in another room while they're playing somewhere else?
1 year maybe. I don't think there is a specific time because it comes naturally. First, when they are really little, pre-walking, they want to be with you so will complain unless they are in the room with you. At least mine did. At the just walking stage, ugh, that was too much work for me to be busy with anything else. After that then if I had something really busy to do, make a nice meal or whatever, I just did it. They were constantly in the same room or coming in and out so often that it is hard to be really busy with anything else anyway.
Didn't you know that all mothers have an extra set of eyes in the back of their head? :wink And I just listened. No noise meant I had to drop everything. Noise was good. And arguing that started escalating I attended to. Quite early by asking them how they could resolve it themselves. Can you each take a 5 minute turn? Luckily I have two that rarely fight. 
I started painting again, which required hyper focused attention, when they were 4 and 2, but that was only when DH was home, otherwise it was impossible. Now they are nearly 7 and 9 and I can paint even when they are home. Though I find that if I spend a lot of time with them, then spend time for myself painting, it goes much more smoothly than if I don't. I am also surprised by how often some kids at this age are still interrupting or running in and out to mom and dad. My DDs friend honestly is in every 5 minutes asking if she can do x or y. Drives me bonkers.

How old do kids have to be for you to be mowing the lawn while your kids are alone inside?
Ha, don't have to answer. Ask DH. He said 3 and 5. 

How old before kids can play in the yard without you outside with them? How old before they can play in the neighborhood with other kids without a parent?
Our backyard leads to the soccer field, with a playground direct to the left - visible if I am standing in the soccer field, but not from in the house. I let them go over there by themselves at about the same age, 3 and 5, but I would come over after 20 min or so just to make sure everything was OK. I also did this more out of respect to other parents than the needs of my children. Other parents might be there with their kids 24-7 and maybe felt they had to be responsible for looking after my kids as well; which they didn't but that really isn't the point. So if I went over and another parent was there I would clearly say when I was leaving that they were fine on their own, but if the parent felt otherwise then I would keep more of an eye out, perhaps going back for a book and bringing it back to the playground. 

How old do kids have to be for you to go next door to chat with a neighbor while they're playing at home?

Same. 3 and 5. 

 

Funny, I think this post makes me look like I'm raising free-range chickens. I guess I sort of am. However, what is funny is that my DD has a new friend down the street, named Oliva. But I have taken to calling her Pippi because OMG she is always on her own - just appears on the doorstep, can Lea play, can we now both go over to Marias house... Yes, fine. Does your dad know where you are? No, doesn't matter. Do you need to be home for dinner? Doesn't mater. After my DD went over there one day and came back at 3pm I asked her if she had lunch at Olivias, only to be informed that Olivia never ate lunch, they picked an apple. Never even met Olivias far until 3 or 4 weeks, and many play dates later. But a really nice guy. And when my DD went over there, she came back with air in her tires and the seat on her bike moved up. Hurray for Olivias dad. So I guess is no matter your parenting style, someone else's can always surprise you.

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#5 of 28 Old 10-29-2013, 10:01 AM
 
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"Supervision" has been something of a non-issue for us because our son prefers to be with people (especially me) and simply was not willing to be alone at all while awake until he was about 4 1/2.  Now at 8 1/2 he is willing to be alone some of the time and rarely does anything we wouldn't have let him do if we were watching.

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 How old do your kids have to be for you to soak in the bath while they're awake?

I started this when he was 2 months old!  But I'd put him in his infant seat on the floor next to the bathtub and talk to him.  Later, he would play in the bathroom while I was in the tub or shower.  I remember when he had just turned 2 years old and just started watching TV, one of the first things he saw was "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", and I got to take a long soaking bath while he pretended to be the grinch, gathering up toys in the bath mat and skulking around! :D

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 How old before kids can play in the yard without you outside with them? How old before they can play in the neighborhood with other kids without a parent?

We used to have a neighbor girl, 5 houses down, who was 4 years older than my son but enjoyed playing with him.  She spent a lot of time playing in the front yard.  (On our side of the street, back yards drop off in a steep hill, so front yards are safer for playing.)  When he was 3 1/2, we started letting him go into our front yard by himself, and she would come over to play with him.  They had to stay where they could see our front door.  We'd check on them every 15 minutes max.

 

Once he was allowed to cross the street alone at age 6, we began letting him go over to see if his friend on the other side of the street can play.  They might stay at her house or come back to ours, but if they want to go anywhere else they need to get permission from her parents and us.

 

Here's some detail on how we've been allowing him to walk farther from home alone.  It's a gradual process.


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#6 of 28 Old 10-30-2013, 10:01 AM
 
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Not to be a Debby Downer but we had a CPS investigation launched on us when our 5 year old left the house one morning to walk around the block on her own.  We had the 7 am rule as well - she could play quietly until then upstairs.  She never gave us a reason to suspect she'd leave.  We heard her go into the hall to te bathroom and figured she went back to her room to draw like any other day.  She snuck downstairs and went out the back door.  We found her a few mins later (she left a few minutes prior to 7) but a neighbor called the police to report a wandering child, and they opened a case for possible neglect.  That was the ONLY reason.  Our home was clean, the kids well dressed, very nice neighborhood, intact family, private preschools, up to date on ped visits, everything.  They closed it a few months later after several legally required home visits, but it's pretty much traumatized me.  We alarmed the doors, the stairs, everything.  We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={

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#7 of 28 Old 10-30-2013, 12:24 PM
 
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We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={

Terrible experience, I can see how that could make you extra cautious in return. But you are KIDDING ME - A 12 YO?! Isn't it 15 you can get a drivers permit in the states? So a 12 yo can't be by themselves or walk around the block, but 3 years later same person can drive a car down a highway at 65mph! See, that to me, would be child endangerment, to expect a 12 t be treated like an infant and then expect all that growth, all that maturity, all that responsibility, to happen all pressed in a 3 year span. 

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#8 of 28 Old 10-30-2013, 02:52 PM
 
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I totally agree.  It's nonsensical.

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#9 of 28 Old 10-31-2013, 04:27 PM
 
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It really depends on the personality and maturity level of the child, if they are the predictable or who knows what they might do type of child.  Also, if you have good child safety locks you know they can't pick, and how big your home is, etc.  My boys are 8 and 5, we have 3 different types of locks on our doors (including a door knob that is child proof and darn near adult proof).  I know my boys are fine if they get up in the morning and get themselves some juice and a granola bar and sit down to watch some cartoons while I sleep in for 30 minutes.  We have a small home so you can pretty much hear whatever is going on in one room of the house on the other side of the house.  I know them so well that I will just sense if they are up to something.  We also have a fenced backyard so I allow them to play out there while I am cooking dinner or doing dishes because I can see them run by out the kitchen window.  I just stick y head out the door and check periodically.  I have left them inside to mow the lawn before, but I check every 10 minutes of so to make sure they are ok.  I am a big believer in mother's intuition, so I say the real answer to this question is "what does your intuition say?"


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#10 of 28 Old 11-01-2013, 02:04 PM
 
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Not to be a Debby Downer but we had a CPS investigation launched on us when our 5 year old left the house one morning to walk around the block on her own.  We had the 7 am rule as well - she could play quietly until then upstairs.  She never gave us a reason to suspect she'd leave.  We heard her go into the hall to te bathroom and figured she went back to her room to draw like any other day.  She snuck downstairs and went out the back door.  We found her a few mins later (she left a few minutes prior to 7) but a neighbor called the police to report a wandering child, and they opened a case for possible neglect.  That was the ONLY reason.  Our home was clean, the kids well dressed, very nice neighborhood, intact family, private preschools, up to date on ped visits, everything.  They closed it a few months later after several legally required home visits, but it's pretty much traumatized me.  We alarmed the doors, the stairs, everything.  We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={


I have had horrible experiences with CPS and ridiculous neighbors myself and this is what I am always fearful of! That I would let my child do something that I know she is capable of doing and someone would call CPS on me and frame the situation completely the wrong way! You have my sympathy!

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#11 of 28 Old 11-01-2013, 08:45 PM
 
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Not to be a Debby Downer but we had a CPS investigation launched on us when our 5 year old left the house one morning to walk around the block on her own.  We had the 7 am rule as well - she could play quietly until then upstairs.  She never gave us a reason to suspect she'd leave.  We heard her go into the hall to te bathroom and figured she went back to her room to draw like any other day.  She snuck downstairs and went out the back door.  We found her a few mins later (she left a few minutes prior to 7) but a neighbor called the police to report a wandering child, and they opened a case for possible neglect.  That was the ONLY reason.  Our home was clean, the kids well dressed, very nice neighborhood, intact family, private preschools, up to date on ped visits, everything.  They closed it a few months later after several legally required home visits, but it's pretty much traumatized me.  We alarmed the doors, the stairs, everything.  We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={

 

Wow.. what a terrible story :(. All it takes is a nosy neighbor. I could see this happening to us someday. We let our kids go in the back yard by themselves (4.5 and 2.5) but we watch them through the window and go outside frequently. So they aren't really unsupervised.

 

I would love it if they would wake up and hang out alone for a little while, but that is not going to happen just yet. The 2 year old always wakes up first, and super early. If I or DH doesn't get up with her then she'll wake up her older sister, and that's no good. She also demands food first thing in the morning (after milkies, but that's another story).

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#12 of 28 Old 11-02-2013, 01:20 PM
 
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I can't tell what other parents do with their children; you know your child best and there is no one size fits all approach imo. I can only tell what I do with my kids:

 

For instance, at some age you can sleep in while your kid(s) are awake. How old do the kids have to be?

 

***My dd (4) wouldn't let me sleep once she gets up in the morning, but I am able to take a nap while she's awake (usually in front of a screen) when I'm sick. I would say this started at 4 y/o.

 

How old do your kids have to be for you to soak in the bath while they're awake?

 

***Even when they were 1 y/o I could take a quick shower, while they were in a playpen.

But with one bathroom in our house, I wouldn't risk taking a bath; sooner or later someone will start pounding on the door needing to pee *right now*.

 

How old do kids have to be for you to be really busy in another room while they're playing somewhere else?

 

***Again, this wouldn't apply to us, my kids kinda played independently as long as I was in the same room with them. Ds started to want to be by himself around 5 (but very rarely).

 

How old before kids can play in the yard without you outside with them?

 

***We have a fenced yard, so we started around 3.

 

How old before they can play in the neighborhood with other kids without a parent?

 

***7 or 8? Ds can ride his bike around the block by himself (he's 8) and he went to the park alone once. There aren't many kids who are allowed to go outside by themselves in our neighbourhood, so he has few kids to play with.


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#13 of 28 Old 11-02-2013, 01:31 PM
 
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My dad said he used to wander around the neighborhood for hours by himself (and to play with other kids) when he was as young as 4.  All the neighborhood kids did.  He said he would even take naps-in a field, lol.  No one worried.  Everyone came back at the same time every evening for dinner.  I wish I had lived in that era. 

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#14 of 28 Old 11-02-2013, 01:47 PM
 
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Oy! this thread makes my head spin. My child is only a toddler so I haven't had to deal with some of these questions yet. But, since becoming a parent, I've reflected on some of the things my parents let me do as a kid and wow! the world has changed! I used to literally wander off around our rural neighbourhood, by myself, for hours. No cell phone. I can remember doing this as young as….9/10 ish. And when friends came over for a playdate, my mom would let us wander off together! and their parents never made  fuss! I'd do the same when I went to THEIR house! 

 

We'd go build forts by the creek, in the forest, sneak through neighbours yards/farms, climb up these big boulders and old remains of houses. 

 

ahhh freedom. And now I think ahead to letting my son do that in a few years and I have to be honest, I don't think I'll be comfortable with it!

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#15 of 28 Old 11-02-2013, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oy! this thread makes my head spin. My child is only a toddler so I haven't had to deal with some of these questions yet. But, since becoming a parent, I've reflected on some of the things my parents let me do as a kid and wow! the world has changed! I used to literally wander off around our rural neighbourhood, by myself, for hours. No cell phone. I can remember doing this as young as….9/10 ish. And when friends came over for a playdate, my mom would let us wander off together! and their parents never made  fuss! I'd do the same when I went to THEIR house! 

We'd go build forts by the creek, in the forest, sneak through neighbours yards/farms, climb up these big boulders and old remains of houses. 

ahhh freedom. And now I think ahead to letting my son do that in a few years and I have to be honest, I don't think I'll be comfortable with it!

My older daughter was wandering around the neighborhood much younger than 9 or 10, for hours. I'm a big fan of the whole free range thing as far as that goes. She's 11 now and I let the 4-year-old go with her if she's off playing in the neighborhood so long as she doesn't take the 4-year-old too far. The 4-year-old is close to 5 now, and I think the older one was 5 when she and her friends starting running around this part of the neighborhood. And the neighborhood we were living in when my older one was little, and the neighborhood we live in now, are both really friendly neighborhoods where I know all the neighbors. No one has certainly ever called CPS on me and their kids are all running around by about 5 too. When we moved and were looking for a house here, we specifically looked for a neighborhood that had a culture where kids run around outside and play unsupervised like when my husband and I were kids, because we felt like it was really good for our older daughter to have that and we wanted it for the younger one as well.
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#16 of 28 Old 11-03-2013, 03:41 PM
 
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I have a related one?  My DD1 is 7.5.  Can I leave her and my 16 month old DD in the car to dash in to pay for gas?  Any longer?  It would be so cool to leave a big kid playing a video game with a sleeping toddler for a few minutes to run an errand.  I trust my DD, and my mom did this stuff all the time- even left my brother and I in the car while she grocery shopped at like 6 and 8 when we were fighting.  I am wondering when nosy old ladies won't go grab a cop on me.  Or at least when that cop would laugh her off.

It isnt the nosy old ladies that you have to worry about I think....When you dash into the gas station to pay leaving your children in the car alone you run the risk of some whacko making off with the car with them in it or just them...My aunt made this mistake with my cousin in the car...he was 6 and luckily he knew enough to take a jump out when the guy got distracted on the highway or who knows if we would have ever seen him again..As for leaving your children home alone would you really take that chance with such young children? No matter how much you trust your 7 year old with your 16 month old she would never be able to save her from an intruder or a wild animal ect....I wouldn't risk it...not judging you just thinking about what could happen..In the 80's there was a child in the same state as I that was left home by mom because she just didn't want to take her out into the cold while she ran to the corner market..She even locked the door...she came home to the door beaten in and the little girl gone..they found her body the next day..I won't tell you what that person did to that baby...

 

I would never risk such young children...Take them with you....

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#17 of 28 Old 11-03-2013, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would be very comfortable leaving a child and toddler in the car to pay for gas. Statistically, walking from the car to the gas station store is more dangerous because of the traffic. I wouldn't leave them longer than that though. And I'd lock the car.
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#18 of 28 Old 11-03-2013, 06:02 PM
 
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Same here. Our gas station is crazy busy for a town our size. I hate walking through the lot, I'm thrilled that dd is 8 and happy to sit in the car for 2 minutes.
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#19 of 28 Old 11-03-2013, 09:22 PM
 
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"For instance, at some age you can sleep in while your kid(s) are awake. How old do the kids have to be?"

 

Everything is a huge "It depends on the kids, the location, and the circumstances". On this, for us- we will now with our 6 month old because we'll wake up when he starts fussing. There've been times we've woken up to find the baby already awake and contentedly amusing himself.  I don't know how it'll go when he starts to get more mobile.

 

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Not to be a Debby Downer but we had a CPS investigation launched on us when our 5 year old left the house one morning to walk around the block on her own.  We had the 7 am rule as well - she could play quietly until then upstairs.  She never gave us a reason to suspect she'd leave.  We heard her go into the hall to te bathroom and figured she went back to her room to draw like any other day.  She snuck downstairs and went out the back door.  We found her a few mins later (she left a few minutes prior to 7) but a neighbor called the police to report a wandering child, and they opened a case for possible neglect.  That was the ONLY reason.  Our home was clean, the kids well dressed, very nice neighborhood, intact family, private preschools, up to date on ped visits, everything.  They closed it a few months later after several legally required home visits, but it's pretty much traumatized me.  We alarmed the doors, the stairs, everything.  We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={

 

This country has gotten HORRIBLE about CPS calls over the tiniest little thing. I saw someone in a thread ask why people are so defensive of their parenting- this is why. Because if someone doesn't agree with your parenting styles, or if you slip up, they might call CPS or the cops. Even if it doesn't cause any problems- it's still horrible and a very big inconvenience.

 

 

 

I do feel like the world's gotten more dangerous- but it's also gotten overprotective in some bad ways.


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#20 of 28 Old 11-04-2013, 09:45 AM
 
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This country has gotten HORRIBLE about CPS calls over the tiniest little thing. I saw someone in a thread ask why people are so defensive of their parenting- this is why. Because if someone doesn't agree with your parenting styles, or if you slip up, they might call CPS or the cops. Even if it doesn't cause any problems- it's still horrible and a very big inconvenience.

 

 

 

I do feel like the world's gotten more dangerous- but it's also gotten overprotective in some bad ways.


it isn't just an inconvenience... we had an armed officer show up at our house at 10pm and demand to see our sleeping daughter in her room (they call this a welfare check) no explanation why they needed to see our sleeping daughter (can you imagine how terrifying a strange man with a gun in your bedroom would be to a 2 year old?). I know now that no matter what the cop or the CPS agent says if they don't have a damn warrant they cannot come in however we totally were scared and just wanted to comply to get them gone. Turns out a neighbors husband made an offhanded comment that i was "pretty" so she called CPS to get back at me. Made accusations such as molestation because I was breastfeeding past a year! They interviewed our neighbors I had to get letters from her pediatrician and everything. It is disgusting! I am now looking in to keeping a CPS attorney on retainer since I plan on not vaxing and doing any of the newborn "interventions" and though my hospital doesnt typically report that to CPS they are supposed to and I refuse to speak with those people.

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#21 of 28 Old 11-07-2013, 11:51 AM
 
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Not to be a Debby Downer but we had a CPS investigation launched on us when our 5 year old left the house one morning to walk around the block on her own.  We had the 7 am rule as well - she could play quietly until then upstairs.  She never gave us a reason to suspect she'd leave.  We heard her go into the hall to te bathroom and figured she went back to her room to draw like any other day.  She snuck downstairs and went out the back door.  We found her a few mins later (she left a few minutes prior to 7) but a neighbor called the police to report a wandering child, and they opened a case for possible neglect.  That was the ONLY reason.  Our home was clean, the kids well dressed, very nice neighborhood, intact family, private preschools, up to date on ped visits, everything.  They closed it a few months later after several legally required home visits, but it's pretty much traumatized me.  We alarmed the doors, the stairs, everything.  We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={

 

 

I just wanted to reframe the comment about CPS. I am a huge free-range kids proponent (Yay Leonore!) but when I read that comment what I thought was, how wonderful that your neighbors actually care enough to look out for your child! If I saw a small child (and I consider 5.5 to be a small child) outside on the street/sidewalk at 7am with no one around I'd be concerned too! That said, I would hope that if it were my neighbors they'd know me and my child well enough to go outside, get the child and bring them home or at the very least call me to say, "Did you know that your daughter is outside having a stroll?" It sounds like in this instance the neighbor didn't know who the child was or where she belonged and so did what seemed sensible, which would be to alert authorities. I would have felt comfortable approaching and saying, "Do your parents know where you are?" etc, but not everyone feels comfortable doing that -- often they're afraid of being sued for interfering with someone's kids!

 

My mother in law is a social worker and I know they are only too happy to visit and then let these sorts of things go. Mistakes happen, but what happens far more often is that people turn a blind eye when they shouldn't and it's the kids who suffer.

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#22 of 28 Old 11-07-2013, 03:22 PM
 
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From the horse's mouth:

 

"While State statutes vary, most CPS professionals agree that children under the age of 8 who are left alone are being neglected. It is also agreed that children older than 12 are able to spend 1 to 2 hours alone each day. In determining whether neglect has occurred, the following issues should be considered, particularly when children are between the ages of 8 and 12:

 

  • The child's physical condition and mental abilities, coping capacity, maturity, competence, knowledge regarding how to respond to an emergency, and feelings about being alone.
  • Type and degree of indirect adult supervision. For example, is there an adult who is checking in on the child?
  • The length of time and frequency with which the child is left alone. Is the child being left alone all day, every day? Is he or she left alone all night?
  • The safety of the child's environment. For example, the safety of the neighborhood, access to a telephone, and safety of the home.

 

http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Protection/About_Child_Protective_Services/investigation.asp

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#23 of 28 Old 11-07-2013, 03:33 PM
 
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It didn't bother me that the neighbor called the police.  It didn't bother me that the police called CPS - as she stated upright she had to.  What bothered me was that CPS then opened up a case that lasted for months, we had home visits, they interviewed other people, etc.  We had to bring our daughter to therapists, were unable to travel, had to be ready at moment's notice for unexpected visits, had to deal with the humiliation of being scrutinized, having the threat looming over my head that if this lady found anything questionable she could take our kids.  The older two, that would have been bad enough, but my helpless nursing 5 month old (at the time) - how does a mother deal with that sort of a threat?  I couldn't figure out what might construe a problem.  We have a crib luckily, but no formula - well, we nurse.  Is this ONE LOAD of laundry in the dryer going to be a problem?  What about if I leave some dishes in the sink overnight because I'd rather nurse the fussy baby - is that going to be looked at as dirty?  (The report later said our house was "very clean" verbatim, so I guess that didn't have an issue.)  Were they going to take issue with the fact that my husband is disabled?  Were they going to take issue with the fact that we have no support system in place in the form of an extended family?  (No grandparents etc.)  I just questioned every little thing, about myself, my family, my parenting.  WHY was I questioning it?  Oh, because they were questioning me.  And making little notes.  And all.  I have never in my life been in any form of trouble, so this was a totally new feeling.  And not a good one.

 

Of course they didn't find anything.  The lady said that we had a "negative number as far as risk assessments go" - I got a copy of every page of reports, records, etc. that I was legally entitled to.  I read every last word, from the police report, to the therapist report, to everything.  I voluntarily got extra "witness statements" from various people we knew in the community who knew me as a parent.  Etc.  But it was still so, so very traumatic.

 

For the record, in this neighborhood kids as young as four regularly roam the neighborhood alone.  I don't think that's something I would even be comfortable with, but hey.  I've had five year olds ring my doorbell before - when I had never seen them before - to invite us to their lemonade stand.  Do I think it's safe to ring the doorbell of a strange adult?  (The parents were more than a block away at the time, so not just sitting outside watching.)  So that's just to put it in context.  We are in a small dead-end type of community (it's almost like a gated community, just no gate!) and literally every house on our street has young children.  The neighbor asked my daughter if she was lost, and she said nope, just taking a walk, and went on her way.  I *still* didn't get upset that she called the cops.  I *still* didn't get upset that the police called CPS; they're mandated reporters.

 

I am TOTALLY baffled, and hurt, and shocked, that CPS then took it and ran with it.  If there had been any scandal in the system, they could have taken our kids.  How would anyone survive that?  Also there was a case in our town a few years back where a CPS worker was fired after going on trial - she was sleeping with the ex-husband of a mother they took the kids from.  They determined it was a case of scandal after he then got arrested and she bailed him out of jail, etc.  They returned the kids to the mother.  I can link you the case in PM if you're interested.  But needless to say, that doesn't put a huge ease on my mind as far as the fool-proof nature of these things.  We luckily had a very reasonable and kind case worker who was very upfront and helpful, but even she has to follow the guidelines once a case is opened.  She can't just close it without a thorough investigation, etc.

 

ETA:  I asked them if letting a child who is five years old sleep in a bedroom down the hall from us is a form of neglect.  The lady just shrugged.  She said if a child is a teenager and they sneak out of their room in the middle of the night, that can be construed as child neglect too, and get the parents in trouble.  Well, then.  What do we do, lock them up?  She suggested alarming the doors.  So we did.  We have alarms everywhere, baby gates everywhere, sirens that go off if the kids go downstairs.  It's like a high security prison.  Sure, we're going overboard here, but NOT doing that, that was neglect?  Oh, I don't know.  It's all a mess.  =/

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#24 of 28 Old 11-08-2013, 07:12 AM
 
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It didn't bother me that the neighbor called the police.  It didn't bother me that the police called CPS - as she stated upright she had to.  What bothered me was that CPS then opened up a case that lasted for months, we had home visits, they interviewed other people, etc.  We had to bring our daughter to therapists, were unable to travel, had to be ready at moment's notice for unexpected visits, had to deal with the humiliation of being scrutinized, having the threat looming over my head that if this lady found anything questionable she could take our kids.  The older two, that would have been bad enough, but my helpless nursing 5 month old (at the time) - how does a mother deal with that sort of a threat?  I couldn't figure out what might construe a problem.  We have a crib luckily, but no formula - well, we nurse.  Is this ONE LOAD of laundry in the dryer going to be a problem?  What about if I leave some dishes in the sink overnight because I'd rather nurse the fussy baby - is that going to be looked at as dirty?  (The report later said our house was "very clean" verbatim, so I guess that didn't have an issue.)  Were they going to take issue with the fact that my husband is disabled?  Were they going to take issue with the fact that we have no support system in place in the form of an extended family?  (No grandparents etc.)  I just questioned every little thing, about myself, my family, my parenting.  WHY was I questioning it?  Oh, because they were questioning me.  And making little notes.  And all.  I have never in my life been in any form of trouble, so this was a totally new feeling.  And not a good one.

 

Of course they didn't find anything.  The lady said that we had a "negative number as far as risk assessments go" - I got a copy of every page of reports, records, etc. that I was legally entitled to.  I read every last word, from the police report, to the therapist report, to everything.  I voluntarily got extra "witness statements" from various people we knew in the community who knew me as a parent.  Etc.  But it was still so, so very traumatic.

 

For the record, in this neighborhood kids as young as four regularly roam the neighborhood alone.  I don't think that's something I would even be comfortable with, but hey.  I've had five year olds ring my doorbell before - when I had never seen them before - to invite us to their lemonade stand.  Do I think it's safe to ring the doorbell of a strange adult?  (The parents were more than a block away at the time, so not just sitting outside watching.)  So that's just to put it in context.  We are in a small dead-end type of community (it's almost like a gated community, just no gate!) and literally every house on our street has young children.  The neighbor asked my daughter if she was lost, and she said nope, just taking a walk, and went on her way.  I *still* didn't get upset that she called the cops.  I *still* didn't get upset that the police called CPS; they're mandated reporters.

 

I am TOTALLY baffled, and hurt, and shocked, that CPS then took it and ran with it.  If there had been any scandal in the system, they could have taken our kids.  How would anyone survive that?  Also there was a case in our town a few years back where a CPS worker was fired after going on trial - she was sleeping with the ex-husband of a mother they took the kids from.  They determined it was a case of scandal after he then got arrested and she bailed him out of jail, etc.  They returned the kids to the mother.  I can link you the case in PM if you're interested.  But needless to say, that doesn't put a huge ease on my mind as far as the fool-proof nature of these things.  We luckily had a very reasonable and kind case worker who was very upfront and helpful, but even she has to follow the guidelines once a case is opened.  She can't just close it without a thorough investigation, etc.

 

ETA:  I asked them if letting a child who is five years old sleep in a bedroom down the hall from us is a form of neglect.  The lady just shrugged.  She said if a child is a teenager and they sneak out of their room in the middle of the night, that can be construed as child neglect too, and get the parents in trouble.  Well, then.  What do we do, lock them up?  She suggested alarming the doors.  So we did.  We have alarms everywhere, baby gates everywhere, sirens that go off if the kids go downstairs.  It's like a high security prison.  Sure, we're going overboard here, but NOT doing that, that was neglect?  Oh, I don't know.  It's all a mess.  =/


Exactly what constitutes neglect? The problem is and this comes from a CPS worker I have spoken to is that it varies depending on the CPS employee. Some do in fact mark against you for having some dishes in the sink (i know a woman who was re inspected over and over because of this) They can in fact use nursing against you if they deem you "arent doing it right" again the problem with the "system" is that it is grossly subjective and over reactionary. In my social work courses in school and from speaking with CPS myself 75% of cases investigated are really these trivial someone called on someone they didnt like, fabricated stories, or vastly blown out proportion situations. I agree some children are subjected to horrid conditions by horrid people but nothing NOTHING in the world feels as bad as being a good parent and being treated like a criminal by the state!

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#25 of 28 Old 11-08-2013, 05:20 PM
 
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Exactly what constitutes neglect? The problem is and this comes from a CPS worker I have spoken to is that it varies depending on the CPS employee. Some do in fact mark against you for having some dishes in the sink (i know a woman who was re inspected over and over because of this) They can in fact use nursing against you if they deem you "arent doing it right" again the problem with the "system" is that it is grossly subjective and over reactionary. In my social work courses in school and from speaking with CPS myself 75% of cases investigated are really these trivial someone called on someone they didnt like, fabricated stories, or vastly blown out proportion situations. I agree some children are subjected to horrid conditions by horrid people but nothing NOTHING in the world feels as bad as being a good parent and being treated like a criminal by the state!

I think the worst thing about the system is that a lot of real abusers are really good at hiding their tracks. I know people who were abused as kids, CPS/the police came in and decided it was a good home with fit parents (I don't remember if the kids were too terrified to speak out or if what they said was ignored, I'm sure both happen). So kids who really need help get ignored because abusers spend time keeping the house clean and threatening their children to keep quiet, and families that are doing well get threatened over dirty dishes because they think their kids' well being is more important than an empty sink.


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#26 of 28 Old 11-09-2013, 07:45 PM
 
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Right, and that's a terrible shame.  But there are a few issues at play here:

 

1.)  How do you disprove a negative?  They could prove a person beat his kids, but it's harder to prove that a person did NOT beat his kids.  Or even more, that they did not NEGLECT their kids.

2.)  Once you get accused of CPS, everyone is going to be a little more suspicious.  "Well, I never thought they would SEEM like abusers, but these people are professionals - they wouldn't open a case if there wasn't really good reason to.  Maybe this family is really good at hiding abuse.  Those poor kids.  I never would have thought.  Come to think of it, two years ago I did see Johnny with a bruised face, we believed that he had fallen off the swings, but maybe they were lying, hmm, I better tell the CPS worker about that *just in case* it's evidence and poor Johnny needs help..."

3.)  Most people assume that if they were mistakenly accused of neglect/abuse, they would show the social worker their comfy home and happy kids, they would all laugh and have a cup of tea, and off they would go.  (I *definitely* fell into this camp!!)  But that isn't the case all the time.

 

I don't want to turn this into (any more of a) "let's hide and freak out about CPS" thread.  Because ultimately that wasn't the OP's intention, clearly.  BUT since that can of worms was opened, I think it's really important that it's on people's radars.  Put yourself in the position of an outsider looking in.  *You* know (or think, or trust) that a situation is appropriately supervised.  You think the situation can be trusted.  That your neighbors look out for your kids.  Whatever.  And then imagine someone coming in, an "expert", and just basically observing that situation from the outside.  Would they approve?  Would they disapprove?  It puts everything in a different light for me - and absolutely ties back to the OP's question.  It doesn't say much for the current laws or procedures, but I don't know what else could be done either.  There ARE kids who need help, and ultimately it's these people who fight to get them help.  So I mean, I see both sides of the issue.  Just make sure that if you get put in this sort of a situation where you're faced by pure chance or misfortune to be the victim (yes victim) of an investigation, have plans of how you'll prove your innocence - especially if you're on the "free range" side of the spectrum with your kids.

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It isnt the nosy old ladies that you have to worry about I think....When you dash into the gas station to pay leaving your children in the car alone you run the risk of some whacko making off with the car with them in it or just them...My aunt made this mistake with my cousin in the car...he was 6 and luckily he knew enough to take a jump out when the guy got distracted on the highway or who knows if we would have ever seen him again..As for leaving your children home alone would you really take that chance with such young children? No matter how much you trust your 7 year old with your 16 month old she would never be able to save her from an intruder or a wild animal ect....I wouldn't risk it...not judging you just thinking about what could happen..In the 80's there was a child in the same state as I that was left home by mom because she just didn't want to take her out into the cold while she ran to the corner market..She even locked the door...she came home to the door beaten in and the little girl gone..they found her body the next day..I won't tell you what that person did to that baby...

 

I would never risk such young children...Take them with you....

Isn't it just as likely that a "wacko" would pull me out of the car, or put a gun in my face as they would break a window of a locked car in a gas station?  I was not talking about leaving them home alone yet, but I have big dogs and have never been afraid of wild animals coming after my children in the suburbs.  I know children get kidnapped- and women get raped, and children eat poison or injure themselves or their siblings when their parents are in the next room, and whole families are killed by wackos.  However, I choose not to live my life assuming that will happen.  My mother died in a car accident, but I still drive.  I want my children to have some freedom; I do not want them to grow up being afraid of everything, just because it has happened at some time.  I know CPS is crucial for many children.  I am glad they exist, but geez- something has gone wrong in the supervision thing.  Did any of your parents hover over you like they were a helicopter when you were 8, 9, 10?  I am the oldest of 4- we had hours of freedom- and I value it so much.  I find it utterly tragic that it will be VERY difficult to replicate that for my daughters in our over-paranoid world.  If you look at statistics, there are not more kidnappings now, just more hysteria about them.  Your kids are much more likely to be harmed by someone you think is safe to "supervise" them than they are by a stranger or a wild animal.


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#28 of 28 Old 11-15-2013, 07:10 AM
 
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Isn't it just as likely that a "wacko" would pull me out of the car, or put a gun in my face as they would break a window of a locked car in a gas station?  I was not talking about leaving them home alone yet, but I have big dogs and have never been afraid of wild animals coming after my children in the suburbs.  I know children get kidnapped- and women get raped, and children eat poison or injure themselves or their siblings when their parents are in the next room, and whole families are killed by wackos.  However, I choose not to live my life assuming that will happen.  My mother died in a car accident, but I still drive.  I want my children to have some freedom; I do not want them to grow up being afraid of everything, just because it has happened at some time.  I know CPS is crucial for many children.  I am glad they exist, but geez- something has gone wrong in the supervision thing.  Did any of your parents hover over you like they were a helicopter when you were 8, 9, 10?  I am the oldest of 4- we had hours of freedom- and I value it so much.  I find it utterly tragic that it will be VERY difficult to replicate that for my daughters in our over-paranoid world.  If you look at statistics, there are not more kidnappings now, just more hysteria about them.  Your kids are much more likely to be harmed by someone you think is safe to "supervise" them than they are by a stranger or a wild animal.

The difference is people would say "Oh that poor woman, she was attacked by that horrible person!" instead of "She left those poor defenseless babies all alone, what a horrible mother!!"  Leaving out the part where if she had left them home alone for 7 minutes they most likely would have been perfectly safe :)

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