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#1 of 36 Old 11-26-2011, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

 

My good good friend leaves her 16 year old daughter home alone approximately 2 to 3 nights a week.  Is this ok?  She has been doing this for a couple of years.  I was under the impression that their live in uncle was there every night and her daughter wasn't alone.  I just found out that the live in uncle isn't there most of the time.  I told her that her daughter should never stay home alone and she could stay with me when the uncle isn't going to be home.  I read another thread here that said 16 or 17 is the age when they can spend the night alone but this is a few times a week.  Like I said she has been doing it for a couple of years and all has been good.  However that doesn't mean that something couldn't still happen.

 

What do you think?  And if you think that the daughter shouldn't stay alone that many nights a week how should I approach that with her?  My girlfriend is spending those nights at her boyfriends house.  I know the daughter doesn't want to spend the night at the boyfriends.  I wish she would just stay with me when her Mom isn't going to be home.  You should also know that I don't have children and that fact might complicate things if the majority think that she is taking an unnecessary risk by leaving her daughter alone overnight that many nights a week.

 

Thanks........

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#2 of 36 Old 11-26-2011, 10:09 PM
 
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It would really depend on the child, imo. I wouldn't bat an eye at a reasonably responsible 16 year old staying home alone, as long she's comfortable doing so. Sure, something could happen, but at this age, she should be able to tackle a bit of problem solving. Does she know what to do in case of emergency? Does she have a way of contacting her mother? Does the mother trust her?

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#3 of 36 Old 11-26-2011, 10:19 PM
 
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I wouldn't be at all concerned about a 16 year old spending the night alone, unless the girl is scared and wants someone to be around. 

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#4 of 36 Old 11-26-2011, 10:37 PM
 
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It may not be an ideal situation nor one I agree with (leaving a minor several nights a week to be with a boyfriend) however, 16-year-olds are certainly capable of it. My parents left me for 2 weeks at that age. They had planned a family vacation but I had a job that meant a lot to me and I didn't want to take the time off. It wasn't a big deal at all. 


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#5 of 36 Old 11-27-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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It sounds like she's fine home alone.  When I was 16, I went overseas on vacation alone (with a friend).  Sixteen-year-olds are actually very responsible.  While I don't agree with setting the example of leave a teenaged girl home alone to go sleep with a boyfriend (why doesn't he come to their house?), it's a choice that mom is making that is really none of your business.  Sorry!

 

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#6 of 36 Old 11-27-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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Unless the 16 y.o. has indicated some discomfort about it, I don't think you have a basis to get involved. What is the "something" that you think could happen? Presumably a 16 y.o. knows about safety using the stove and other appliances, isn't playing irresponsibly with matches, building shaky structures with the furniture and climbing on top of it, keeps the doors locked and doesn't invite strangers into the home...and all the other worrisome things that small children might do if they are left unsupervised. 

 

We left my newly 17 y.o. DS alone for a week because he couldn't get time off from his summer job for a planned family vacation. I texted him once a day to stay in contact. He was well versed in emergency procedures, had contacts (family and friends) in case he needed help, and is generally a trustworthy, responsible kid. 

 

You may want to mention to your friend to make sure that her smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher are all in working order. We also keep flashlights handy, in case of emergencies. If her dd doesn't have a cell phone, that may be another measure to take, in case the home line fails. 

 

 

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#7 of 36 Old 11-27-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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If it works for them...  Then I don't see the issue.  As long as she knows how to get a hold of her mother if she needs to. 

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#8 of 36 Old 11-29-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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I think that a typical 16 yo girl should be more than safe and capable.  I do wonder though, how is there any amount of parental bonding or togetherness going on if mom's away from home this much?


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#9 of 36 Old 11-29-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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Lots of 16 yr olds are parents themselves, or babysit overnight for other children. I can't imagine why a developmentally normal 16 yr old would not be perfectly fine to be left alone.

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#10 of 36 Old 11-30-2011, 09:24 AM
 
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DH have on occasion let our 16 and 14 yr old daughters stay overnight alone at home they are both pretty responsible people.


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#11 of 36 Old 11-30-2011, 12:42 PM
 
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I wouldn't think anything of it either.  As long as she isn't throwing wild parties, or afraid to be alone, I wouldn't bat an eye.

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#12 of 36 Old 11-30-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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My parents started leaving us for weekends when I was 14 with just my cousin looking in on us. Of course we did have wild parties and all kinds of things going on that should not have been. I would most likely not choose to do this.


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#13 of 36 Old 12-18-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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I was pretty shocked to see this thread.  When I was sixteen I went off to college.  I can appreciate being concerned about this perhaps at 14, though I probably would not unless I thought the 14 year old was in some way self-destructive and unpredictable.  But I am very surprised that you would be concerned about it now, especially since as you said, she's been doing it for 2 years and nothing has happened.  But I do consider 16 year olds to be some kind of adult.  An adult in need of guidance, who should be paying attention to the wisdom of elders in matters of long-term importance.  But some kind of adult, who can hold a job, drive a car, and use a phone.

 

Obviously if your child is mentally ill and not stable on medication, or physically unable to summon help because of a physical defect, or something like that then you wouldn't want to leave them alone three nights a week at age 30.

 

 

 

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#14 of 36 Old 12-18-2011, 07:15 AM
 
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I was 16 or newly 17 when my parents left me alone for a week with my younger 2 sisters (14 and 12) so they could celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. I don't see this as crazy. My youngest sister started university at 17. She actually completed her whole first semester of university while still 17 (and she was a young 17).

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#15 of 36 Old 12-18-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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I wouldn't be comfortable with it, personally.  It would take nothing for a person with evil intent to notice she's home alone and get into the house, especially if she's home on a routine basis.

 

It's not illegal, though, most likely.  States vary on how old you have to be to be home alone.  The only time that prosecution comes into the picture, typically, is after something awful happens.  Then the parent can be brought up on neglect charges.  However, my guess is that 16 is old enough everywhere to be legally left alone.


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#16 of 36 Old 12-18-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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I lived alone for several months as a teen while my parents were out of the city for my father to seek medical treatment.  I do think it is situational.  Is the area they live in safe?  Is the daughter responsible?  Seems to me like a personal parenting call.  If you bring it up, I would offer as an option, not telling her that she is wrong or you think she is being an irresponsible parent.  Something along the lines of "If Jill gets bored being alone, she is welcome to stay with me."  I would have been really offended at the notion that I wasn't responsible enough to handle myself in my parents' absense at 16 or 17. 


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#17 of 36 Old 12-18-2011, 11:28 PM
 
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Nope- not a big deal.


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#18 of 36 Old 12-19-2011, 06:25 AM
 
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I babysat young kids overnight when I was 16. I don't see a problem with this at all, so long as the 16-year-old is OK with it.

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#19 of 36 Old 12-19-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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Not only do I think it's okay for a 16-year-old to stay home alone for a several days at a time, but I think if a 16-year-old isn't capable of staying home alone much, it indicates a problem the family needs to start addressing if they haven't already. I mean, if you're 16 years old, you're at most 2 years away from being a legal adult and college-aged, and it's a little unrealistic to expect someone to learn Independence and self-sufficiency overnight on one's 18th birthday. It's one thing to plan to live with your parents until you're in your 20's but what if circumstances change?

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#20 of 36 Old 12-19-2011, 07:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caedenmomma View Post

I wouldn't be comfortable with it, personally.  It would take nothing for a person with evil intent to notice she's home alone and get into the house, especially if she's home on a routine basis.

 But surely that could be said of anyone, of any age or sex - would you consider it unsafe for anyone at all to live alone?

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#21 of 36 Old 12-20-2011, 01:24 AM
 
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I was about 8 when I was left home alone to find dinner and go to sleep by myself. not all night but most of it. 16 is awfully old.

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#22 of 36 Old 12-20-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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Yes, like a 20 year old being home on a routine basis, or a single 30 year old professional.  On this fear we should keep our daughters home in the family until they are in a marital pairing. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by caedenmomma View Post

I wouldn't be comfortable with it, personally.  It would take nothing for a person with evil intent to notice she's home alone and get into the house, especially if she's home on a routine basis.

 

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#23 of 36 Old 12-20-2011, 05:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

Not only do I think it's okay for a 16-year-old to stay home alone for a several days at a time, but I think if a 16-year-old isn't capable of staying home alone much, it indicates a problem the family needs to start addressing if they haven't already. I mean, if you're 16 years old, you're at most 2 years away from being a legal adult and college-aged, and it's a little unrealistic to expect someone to learn Independence and self-sufficiency overnight on one's 18th birthday. It's one thing to plan to live with your parents until you're in your 20's but what if circumstances change?



I don't know about this. My cousin is a very young 16 and is very immature. She would not be ready to stay home alone at this point (she's also the baby of her family - that may have something to do with it). I don't think it indicates a problem within her family, she's just immature (her older sister though is a very mature 20yo college student, and has always been mature for her age). Maturity is a very individual thing, and each person gets there in their own time.

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#24 of 36 Old 12-20-2011, 05:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caedenmomma View Post

I wouldn't be comfortable with it, personally.  It would take nothing for a person with evil intent to notice she's home alone and get into the house, especially if she's home on a routine basis.

 

Thing is... that could happen regardless. My daughter and I were BOTH home, lights on, two dogs in the house. And someone broke in. Luckily, nothing happened except that he took off when I charged him with a hockey stick. But still - it could have happened whether I wrre home or not.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

I don't know about this. My cousin is a very young 16 and is very immature. She would not be ready to stay home alone at this point (she's also the baby of her family - that may have something to do with it). I don't think it indicates a problem within her family, she's just immature (her older sister though is a very mature 20yo college student, and has always been mature for her age). Maturity is a very individual thing, and each person gets there in their own time.


Perhaps not a "problem" with the family, but they should be working with her to help get her up to speed before she's ready to be on her own. By 16, she *should* be approaching a point where she can be responsible enough to stay home alone. I don't leave my 17yo home overnight, because she's not comfortable with it (even more so since the above episode). But, if there were an emergency? She'd be able to cope with it. I would be concerned if she couldn't.

 

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#25 of 36 Old 12-20-2011, 06:11 AM
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Seriously? 16? and one post? hmmmmmm.


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#26 of 36 Old 12-20-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcr View Post

Seriously? 16? and one post? hmmmmmm.



Could be a troll but I don't think it's a totally ridiculous concern. Certainly, 16-year-olds are capable but how many of us would make a habit of leaving them several nights a week to shag a boyfriend? Teenagers can be quite responsible and reliable but they can also be reckless and rebellious. A girl who is left for a boyfriend 2-3 nights a week may very well be one to worry about.

 

Of course, the OP is just a family friend. If the kid were 12 or in immediate danger, she might be able to do something. However, in this situation, all she can do is offer her a place to stay if she would rather not be alone. Still, I don't blame her for having some concerns.

 


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#27 of 36 Old 01-24-2012, 09:35 PM
 
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Really?!  I can't believe people think it's OK to leave a 16 alone 2-3 nights EVERY week.  Sure, they can handle this once in a while, but every week?  No way!  This is child neglect.  No decent parent would act so selfishly.  A parent is responsible for a child until they're 18 years of age.  You can't take off half the time just because the child is getting older.  The 16 year old should be learning to cut ties with the parent an her own terms, not the parents.  I'm SURE this teenager is angry, scared and lonely, even if she won't admit it.  

 

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#28 of 36 Old 01-24-2012, 10:46 PM
 
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Huh. I would have been absolutely fine alone in my house at 16. Not scared or lonely or anything. I probably would have enjoyed the time alone to read in my room or whatever. If they've been doing it for 2 years already it obviously works for them. Maybe some 16-year-old girls are too immature for that arrangement but I'd say most really are young adults and should be treated as such.
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#29 of 36 Old 01-24-2012, 11:08 PM
 
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I was babysitting overnight from the age of 12 for the toddlers across the street. From 14 to 18 I would house/ cat-sit for my grandfather while he was in Mexico for a couple weeks each winter. I looked after the house and went to school every day and enjoyed having the quiet time to myself to watch cable TV, cook myself nice meals, take longs baths, and play guitar. (I have four younger siblings so time alone was precious : )

I also had several friends that babysat overnight, or at least late at night, from the age of 14.

It's really not a big deal IMO.

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#30 of 36 Old 01-25-2012, 12:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raquel12 View Post

Really?!  I can't believe people think it's OK to leave a 16 alone 2-3 nights EVERY week.  Sure, they can handle this once in a while, but every week?  No way!  This is child neglect.  No decent parent would act so selfishly.  A parent is responsible for a child until they're 18 years of age.  You can't take off half the time just because the child is getting older.  The 16 year old should be learning to cut ties with the parent an her own terms, not the parents.  I'm SURE this teenager is angry, scared and lonely, even if she won't admit it.  

 


There's a lot more to being responsible for a child than being in the same building they're in. Someone isn't taking time time off from being a parent just because there's a certain amount of distance between them and their kid.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kedrosami View Post

If they've been doing it for 2 years already it obviously works for them.


Actually, I gotta enthusiastically disagree with the idea that parent-child interactions must work for both of them if they've kept doing it. It really only proves it's working for the parent.

 

But I

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