Leaving DS at home alone. - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-29-2006, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS turned 12 last summer and he said he was 'way too old' for a sitter, so we decided to leave him home alone under the following rules.

1) he may not leave the house while we are not home unless he phones us at work and gets permission
2) he may not have friends over under any circumcstances while we are not at home.
3) he does not answer the telephone, we have voice mail and caller ID, If he see's our work phone numbers or our cell phone numbers he is supposed to answer, but other than that do not answer the phone.

This summer he will be 13 and wants more freedom to go out and play with his friends, as they play street hockey and other sports in the field across the street.

DH approves of this, but I do not. I still think he needs to keep the rules he had last year for this one last year so he gets more used to taking care of himself during the days. I am willing to change however if oppinion seems to think that he would be old enough for this. I do however beleive that he is mature enough to handle it, just not old enough or experienced enough to know how to handle the situation if something comes up.
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:53 PM
 
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Does he go alone to this field when you're at home? If so, has he ever had "something come up" over there--got hurt, got into an argument, etc.--and how did he handle it? Does he have his own key to your house, and has he been responsible about keeping track of it? Was he very obedient to the rules last summer? The answers to these questions should help you decide whether he's old enough to go over to the field when you're not home.

If you decide to let him, stick to your rule about no friends over--he may be tempted to bring them home. Also stick to your rule about calling before he goes out (and when he comes back) so that you'll know why he's not answering if you call. Talk about what to do if he gets hurt and what to do if he loses his key.

I think it's fine for a 13yo in general to do this kind of thing, but you have to decide whether YOUR son is ready for it.

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Old 03-29-2006, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca
Does he go alone to this field when you're at home? If so, has he ever had "something come up" over there--got hurt, got into an argument, etc.--and how did he handle it? Does he have his own key to your house, and has he been responsible about keeping track of it? Was he very obedient to the rules last summer? The answers to these questions should help you decide whether he's old enough to go over to the field when you're not home.

If you decide to let him, stick to your rule about no friends over--he may be tempted to bring them home. Also stick to your rule about calling before he goes out (and when he comes back) so that you'll know why he's not answering if you call. Talk about what to do if he gets hurt and what to do if he loses his key.

I think it's fine for a 13yo in general to do this kind of thing, but you have to decide whether YOUR son is ready for it.
He did not break the rules we setup last year, when he wanted to goto his best friends house he always called us, and we had one of his best friends parents come over and walk back to their house with him.

He does not have his own key, we have an electronic alarm system and electronic garage door opener, he has his own codes for the alarm and door opener.

As for the getting hurt thing, thats my main worry. I guess I would be more willing to let him have more freedom this summer if he was never alone, is that reasonable?

So, as long as he calls one of us to let us know he is going out to play, and does not bring friends home alone and knows what to do if he gets hurt then I think I would be comfortable with that. He is a good boy, and does not give us problems so maybe the advice to give him that respect back is warranted, i just dont want him to grow up

I would give him his own cellphone, but I dont know if he would keep it with him. If he would, then that would make me feel better also. Anyone else have experiences with 13yo's having a cellphone of their own?
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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I would think that rule #1 covers going out to play hockey, etc. As a momma in the same situation, I also recommend getting him a cell phone to take with him (a cheapo tracfone).
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:52 PM
 
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My son (13 in two months) has had his own cell for a few years (I work, so he is a latchkey kid). I highly recommend one that won't be too expensive to replace - and one that you won't be responsible if someone finds it and calls Timbuktu (a prepaid!). My son has on his second phone (lost one).
As for him keeping it with him - one of MY rules is that he goes NO WHERE when I'm not home unless he has it with him (and he has to call me first, too). If he goes out without the cell, he is grounded to the house the following day.
I also have an "in-neighborhood" emergency contact for him in case he gets hurt (a SAHM, and convenientally, his best friend's mom).
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The prepaid idea is a good one, I like it. I know you can also get phones that lock down the numbers to the phone book, and lock down the phone book from new entries for kids to have, but they can still receive calls. We have cingular and I beleive we can get an additional line for $10, we already have 3 if you include the data card for my DH's laptop.

Ok well, I am going to listen to others advice on this for a while, but asuming nobody brings up any huge negatives, then I think I am comfortable with this.
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Old 03-29-2006, 05:31 PM
 
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How long is home alone? Is there an adult neighbor who can "be aware" of his situation? Not to babysit. Just to be there if needed. (I am a SAHM and would happily agree to answering the door to a neighbor teen, letting them in if they need to chat or need advice.)
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Old 03-29-2006, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamaduck
How long is home alone? Is there an adult neighbor who can "be aware" of his situation? Not to babysit. Just to be there if needed. (I am a SAHM and would happily agree to answering the door to a neighbor teen, letting them in if they need to chat or need advice.)
Normally from 7am to 6-8pm, not everyday. I work swing and my husband works late sometimes, but we try to have someone home by 6pm. And again, not everday is he home alone, normally one specfic weekday he is always home alone, and 1 weekday he is not, the others are random.

Our family friends and his best friend live across the street, and their mother is always home. She runs a home based crafts business and he can go there whenever he needs to, if he needs to.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:16 PM
 
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oops. Didn't mean to double post.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:16 PM
 
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Then I think I'd be comfortable to try it. 12-13 hours without adult interaction is a long day though, and a long time to leave him with access to the neighborhood and only his own judgement to rely on. I wonder if he could just plan to have lunch with her?
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamaduck
Then I think I'd be comfortable to try it. 12-13 hours without adult interaction is a long day though, and a long time to leave him with access to the neighborhood and only his own judgement to rely on. I wonder if he could just plant to have lunch with her?
Sadly, during the summer he sleeps until 11-1pm because he is up on instant messenger chatting with friends until god knows when. DH is supportive of his internet usage in the summers but is good with common sense limitations during school. Overall there is probably 1 day that he is home alone, awake, for over 7 hours, and 3 days that he is alone, awake for 4-5 hours.

What I think might be better, is having the neigbor come over randomly during the week, say.. of the 4 days he's home alone visit soemtimes 1 time per week, sometimes 2 times, sometimes 3 times, never at a set time. I think she would do that and think it would be a good idea also. Possibly she could even do it as an invitation to lunch or early dinner or an activity with his best friend.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:34 PM
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I think if you have a neighbor you can trust, that would be a great resource!

M, mom to DS1 (8 yrs), DS2 (5 yrs), and DS3 (2 yrs).

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Old 03-29-2006, 07:06 PM
 
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My daughter is twelve and stays home sometimes. One rule we have is that she never answers the door.

If you do decide to get a phone for him, I highly recommend a TracFone. You buy the phone and minutes in advance, so you aren't surprised with any big bills. I've had one for almost six months, and I'm very pleased with it. If you are interested in one, I can send you an email that will earn you a free 100 units for a TracFone (and I would get 100 as well).
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Old 03-30-2006, 12:54 AM
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I think at 13 he could be ready to have a little more freedom. When my dd is home alone (usually with ds!), she has to call in every 15-30 minutes. I also let the wahm next door know the kids are home alone some of the time. My kids do not go outside or answer the door/phone. DD has a cell and that is the only phone she is to answer. I wish dd could go outside and play but we live in a rougher nieghborhood and that is not an option. Anyway, she has no friends in around our house. It's too bad but that's a choice we made. I guess if there are a few adults in your neighborhood watching out for him and he calls in to check in, that should relieve some worries. Also, maybe having him take some self-defense classes and first-aid training would help prepare him for situations that he might encounter... sigh, it's so hard having a piece of your heart out in the big world
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Old 03-30-2006, 04:02 PM
 
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I have a daughter the same age, but I'm a SAHM so haven't had much opportunity to leave her home for extended times like that. From your posts, your biggest concern is that he might become injured playing outside, but that could happen if you are at home too, KWIM? I think a Tracphone or one of those Fireflies (I think that's what they're called, preprogrammed with only a set few numbers) would be a good idea.
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