Do you leave your child alone when you go to the restroom? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 97 Old 01-22-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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No, I wouldn't. And I don't feel the need to justify that by giving a "good enough" reason.

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#62 of 97 Old 01-22-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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To the OP:
Would you leave your purse or your laptop unattended at the table? Most people are honest, and it's just for a few minutes, and you're coming right back. If you wouldn't, then are you really comfortable leaving your son alone under the same circumstances - he is surely far more important to you than the mundane, replaceable contents of your purse. I'm not trying to be snarky here, I'm just genuinely puzzled by the scenario you described.
Yes, I would leave my laptop or purse unattended at the table in the same sort of cafe or restaurant that I would leave my child unattended at the table. There are not the sort of place that someone could take my laptop, purse or child and walk out without being noticed or challenged.

And, in years of doing so, I have never had purse, laptop or child stolen or damaged.
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#63 of 97 Old 01-22-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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I really don't think anyone is 'freaking out' on you. You asked a question and I'm sure you knew that most people wouldn't be comfortable leaving a 4-year-old unattended in a restaurant.

To answer your question I wouldn't feel comfortable for a myriad of reasons. My 4 year old is very reliable and responsible for her age, but come ON...she's 4! I don't trust other people. Why take the risk of something bad happening to your child when you can easily prevent it? I wouldn't want my child to get hurt. I wouldn't want someone harassing her. It isn't a hardship to take a kid into the bathroom with you. Maybe I'm overprotective but I'd rather not risk it.
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#64 of 97 Old 01-22-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
The thread about letting kids go to the restroom got me wondering about this: Let's say you're the only adult with your child in a restaurant, and you need to go to the restroom. Do you leave your child sitting alone at the table?

My son just turned 4, and I've done this 3 times in the past few months, with no negative consequences. Once we were at a familiar local diner where he and the waitress are pals. Once we were in a crowded Panera in a suburb we rarely visit, seated at least 50 feet from the restroom with several barriers between. Once we were in a very homey family restaurant, in a totally unfamiliar place on a road trip, at the table right outside the restroom.

The odd thing is, my son normally hates to be alone and therefore wants to go everywhere with me. But it seems that when he's settled in a restaurant, either eating or drawing while he waits for the food, because there are other people within sight he doesn't feel he's being left alone.

I certainly would rather have privacy in the restroom than cram him into a stall with me. In a place like Panera where you choose your own table, I like having someone "guard" the table while I'm gone rather than leave a bunch of our stuff unattended to "mark our territory".

If you don't do this, why not?

I would never leave a 4yo unattended/out of my sight in a public place.

I would rather let my 4yo go into a bathroom unattended. That is an enclosed space, where I can easily see who is in there and then stand by the door.

Mama, I respect your parenting choices. Maybe it is different knowledge, different location, different experience? But I would never, ever do that. I might do it for a teenager (13 and up).

I think the average age of abduction is 7 for girls and 11 for boys.

An abducted child has, on average, 3 hours to live. Then 75% of children are killed after the 3hr mark.

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#65 of 97 Old 01-22-2009, 06:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by choli View Post
Yes, I would leave my laptop or purse unattended at the table in the same sort of cafe or restaurant that I would leave my child unattended at the table. There are not the sort of place that someone could take my laptop, purse or child and walk out without being noticed or challenged.

And, in years of doing so, I have never had purse, laptop or child stolen or damaged.
Somewhat off-topic, but I agree with this. And I am NOT an idealist. I spend a lot of time in coffee shops and small restaurants and I actually think it's the norm.

DS is 5. The situation EB described does happen - maybe not frequently, but occasionally. He has become self-conscious about being in the women's restroom. Because he really does stay put, and is a responsible kid, and has absorbed discussions both at home and at school about talking to strangers, I feel comfortable leaving him at our table for two or three minutes. It's not a situation where I would fix my hair and lipstick, but I don't feel a whole lot of anxiety, honestly.

However, posters have brought up a good point. I never considered that someone could "freak out" at my son while I was gone, or even at me in a way that would be obvious to him when I returned. He would be so embarrassed to be the subject of conflict between mom and somebody he doesn't even know. It might be something that I should discuss with him, actually. He's like me - he likes to know all (OK - as many as we can) of the possibilities and plan how to react to them in advance.
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#66 of 97 Old 01-22-2009, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why would I not go to the bathroom before or after the meal, instead of in the middle? Usually I do! But when one of us is very hungry and it's a place where food takes a while to come, I think it's wise to order first. The time at Panera, I was not aware of needing to go when we arrived, and then as my child continued to eat slowly after I was finished, I suddenly felt like I was about to explode! (Too much coffee, probably.)

Why don't I just make him come into the bathroom with me? I always suggest it. Sometimes he resists because he's busy eating or drawing and doesn't want to be interrupted. At our neighborhood diner, he dislikes the restroom because of their weird-smelling disinfectant and because it is so small (about 6'x8' but with 2 stalls crammed in) that we rarely escape it without my banging him into something, and he can't avoid touching things so has to wash his hands but doesn't want to stay in there long enough--so it's a big hassle for me. Also, as I mentioned, I like to have somebody at the table so the staff and other patrons know we haven't abandoned it, so it's tempting to let my child take this role since he seems able to manage it. (When I came out of the restroom at the family restaurant, he was telling the waitress that Mama would like more coffee, please. )

Would I leave my purse unattended at the table? Yes, I sometimes do this, like Choli.

Rachel's Mama wrote:
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I am mostly concerned about other customers harassing my daughter. We have some of the agressively nosy type of stranger around here, who would loudly start interrogating dd, and possibly telling her that I'm a bad mother for leaving her alone, and maybe (remote possibility) even try to drag her to management to report that she's been left alone. Or, she could encounter the type of person who likes to try to feed other people's kids completely innapropriate foods. There are just a lot of possible scenarios that would be uncomfortable for dd.
That's a good point. My son would be upset about those things, too. Although he has a lot of practice with nosy strangers because we ride public transit every day, and although we've talked about how you don't have to tolerate people making you uncomfortable and you don't take food from random people, he is not very good at sticking up for himself and might be quite upset even by a 3-minute encounter.

Griffin2004 wrote:
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I think it's really dismissive to describe the legitimate concerns expressed in this thread as "freaking out." Who wouldn't at least take concerned notice if a parent walked off and left a young child alone in public?
I didn't say anyone here was freaking out. I said I was wondering how likely it was that someone I would encounter in a restaurant would freak out, by which I mean either an extreme reaction directed at me (screaming, threatening) or treating the situation as an immediate emergency (calling 911 before making any attempt to locate me). I can understand taking concerned notice. If I saw a young child left alone in a public place (and not in any distress) I would NOTICE and keep noticing until the parent returned, but I would wait at least 10 minutes before even going over to ask the child what's up, I would speak calmly to the parent, and I would not call 911 unless the child needed emergency medical attention or the parent couldn't be located. That's the type of reaction I'd like to expect from society at large, but because I know some people think certain things are far more risky than I do, I wanted to collect some opinions on this particular scenario.

Kittymom wrote:
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I give my son a lot of independence for his age, and have left him at a table while I went to the bathroom since he was three. I also let him run ahead of me when we are walking places. He won't run into the street because I spent a lot of time teaching him not to. He's almost 5 now, and is allowed to walk across the very quiet street next to our house to see if a friend is home.
I let my son run ahead because he has demonstrated, since his very first walk on the sidewalk when he was 15 months old, that he knows we stop when we get to the curb. We have talked a lot about cars and safety, and although he sometimes argues about holding my hand or walking right next to me, he always waits for me before crossing and has never objected to it. I can see him being ready to cross quiet streets alone a year from now; I was 5 when I began doing that.

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The real crazies...they are out there, yes, but I won't let them dictate how we live any more than I will condone signing away our civil liberties because of one terrorist attack. The odds are low of anything happening, and the price is high in terms of how much it has changed how we relate to our children and teach them to relate to other people in our society.
Something I often think about in these discussions is that other parents seem to be very frightened of and/or disgusted by public places and strangers. I just don't feel that way. Despite being rather shy, I've always enjoyed public places and the idea of being a member of the public that shares these places. I actually feel kind of offended by revulsion toward "the public" because that includes me!

Kirsten wrote:
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could break the water glass with an overzealous silverware stirring (mine can't be the only kids who like to stir their water)
Mine is not allowed to stir his water, particularly in restaurants, where we hold him to a higher standard of behavior. That doesn't mean he'll never attempt it when I'm not looking, and just because he's so coordinated doesn't mean he won't manage to break the glass...but if that happened, I would look at it as a learning experience: The natural consequences of breaking the rule are that you might embarrass yourself by making a mess, you might get cold and wet, you might break the restaurant's glass and feel guilty, and you might even get cut on broken glass. The odds of his being cut severely enough to be really endangered are so low that I'm willing to risk letting him experience the consequences if he breaks this rule. The same goes for most other scenarios in which he might get hurt at the table.

Zeldamomma wrote:
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FWIW, I was depressed for a little while, and one of the symptoms for me (and then, OH JOY one of the side effects of the meds my doctor had me take) was that my gut-feeling in situations like this became completely unreliable. If you really can't see why the Panera situation in particular wasn't the best choice, then you might want to take depression screen and make sure you're functioning the way you'd like to be.
No, like I said, I thought it was highly questionable, and I worried while I was away. Although he was fine, I continued to feel unsettled about it afterward--because of the distance from table to restroom, the crowd in which he could've bumped into someone or had hot food or a heavy mug dropped on him if he'd gone looking for me, and the confusing layout in which he might have gotten lost.

Interested wrote:
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I never considered that someone could "freak out" at my son while I was gone, or even at me in a way that would be obvious to him when I returned. He would be so embarrassed to be the subject of conflict between mom and somebody he doesn't even know. It might be something that I should discuss with him, actually.
Yes, discuss it! Over a year ago, my son tried to get me to leave him in the car in the parking lot of Lowe's after dark because he was tired of shopping, and I told him I could not do that because if someone saw him, they would think his parents had abandoned him and he needed helpers to take care of him, so they would call the police, and then I would get into a lot of trouble and "we might not get to be together for WEEKS before it was all straightened out." I hoped this would be a better strategy than telling him he's not safe, which I think is very disempowering. He quickly agreed to come into the store because he did not like the idea of being apart from me for a long time. Since then, if he doesn't want to get out of the car and is negotiating, he'll mention that staying there alone isn't an option because the police would come.

Well, last weekend, our shopping took longer than expected, and we needed to get somewhere else very quickly, so as I drove toward our house I said, "I'm going to put the bags right inside the front door, tell Daddy to put away the groceries, pick up the other bag, and come right back. You can stay in the car." He said, "Okay, put down the window." I said, "What?! It's too cold for that!" He said, "Yeah, but if anybody asks, I can tell them you'll be right back and don't call the police."

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#67 of 97 Old 01-22-2009, 08:15 PM
 
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i love public places... community. I do not teach my child to fear these situations. but leaving them alone is different from giving them independence. imho.

i agree that the scenario of an adult walking off with your child is low. but tell that to john walsh.... or my mom.

i think being aware of the setting (trusted vs new & chaotic) and intuition are huge.

I just feel as though maybe people are thinking that those of us saying never are the overreacting type.

i do not think i over react, unfortunately. maybe its bc i was 5 when it happened & was old enough to be safe in this type of situation. I just wanted to add that.

I think there is a very big difference between making fear based decisions and weighing the risks with personal comfort.

my 3.5 yo is so trusting... and independent, i trust her fully. but i cannot say for certain that she wouldnt use 3 yr old logic when faced with , "hey i just ran into your mom, she is outside at the jumping castle and says you can come out and jump!" from a nice looking stranger.

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#68 of 97 Old 01-22-2009, 09:57 PM
 
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I wouldn't, but part of that is because, particularly at 4, I'd be afraid she'd get scared. She wouldn't be comfortable with it either.

At 6, I have her stand in the bathroom while I'm in there still. It isn't a huge deal for me but I can't think of a time where I've left her alone in a restaurant. And, again, I think she'd prefer to be with me as well.

Kids are so seldom abducted that it isn't really the reason I wouldn't leave her there. I'd be more worried of her getting scared, getting into mischief, or someone calling the police on me or something.

We don't go out to eat just the two of us very often either so this isn't something that comes up often.
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#69 of 97 Old 01-22-2009, 11:02 PM
 
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nope. never. not even at the rest. dh works at where everyone knows us and would watch her. no matter where we are eating out, i will leave our stuff, except my purse, and take the kids.

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#70 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 04:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
[B]
Interested wrote:Yes, discuss it! Over a year ago, my son tried to get me to leave him in the car in the parking lot of Lowe's after dark because he was tired of shopping, and I told him I could not do that because if someone saw him, they would think his parents had abandoned him and he needed helpers to take care of him, so they would call the police, and then I would get into a lot of trouble and "we might not get to be together for WEEKS before it was all straightened out." I hoped this would be a better strategy than telling him he's not safe, which I think is very disempowering. He quickly agreed to come into the store because he did not like the idea of being apart from me for a long time. Since then, if he doesn't want to get out of the car and is negotiating, he'll mention that staying there alone isn't an option because the police would come.
I can't understand that a mother would actually prefer to burden her child with a feeling of responsibility, guilt and/or fear because she would like to do more shopping while her child wouldn't anymore and prefer to stay in the car himself (because he's obviously tired, and tired of shopping). Mother come up with a story that she may end up arrested/in jail for leaving her son in the car and away from him for weeks?????
I know you said this to avoid have him want to stay in the car alone. But imo this is unfair manipulation of an unhealthy kind.
In such a situation I just listen to my child and go straight home, or asap, when he's obviously had enough of running around with his mom/parents?? I would think that's a logical responsibility for a parent to act upon (acknowledging a child's need rather than continuing to fullfil your own, at a point where parent's obviously dont meet child's needs anymore), and NOT the other way around!

As for leaving child shortly in car while bringing the shopping in, if the car is parked in front of the house and in view, and a safe neighbourhood, that's different. In our own setting that would work, car is parked just 3m from our front door and kitchen window. But always keep in mind that cars have been stolen with children still sitting in the back. If my car would be parked further and out of view I would prefer to have my dh help with the groceries while I would stay with the car and child. Or take ds with me to put the shopping away and let him help if he likes. And be late rather than sorry (in very worst case scenario).

For the restroom issue. No, I wouldn't let my children sit alone and go alone to the restroom until they are much older (now 3 and almost 5). I would only go alone if they were friends around to have an eye on my childen for that shor while I rush to the toilet. The other way around, letting them go to the restroom alone, not yet either but I may do that sooner than leaving them at the table alone. I only recount one time when I went to the WC on the plane alone when I was travelling, pregnant and with my toddler, who was asleep, I left my him in the care of the helpful passengers sitting next to me for a few seconds. Just as I let them help carrying my bag (with purse and documents) upon leaving the plane.

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#71 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 09:24 AM
 
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I can't understand that a mother would actually prefer to burden her child with a feeling of responsibility, guilt and/or fear because she would like to do more shopping while her child wouldn't anymore and prefer to stay in the car himself (because he's obviously tired, and tired of shopping). Mother come up with a story that she may end up arrested/in jail for leaving her son in the car and away from him for weeks?????
I know you said this to avoid have him want to stay in the car alone. But imo this is unfair manipulation of an unhealthy kind.
In such a situation I just listen to my child and go straight home, or asap, when he's obviously had enough of running around with his mom/parents?? I would think that's a logical responsibility for a parent to act upon (acknowledging a child's need rather than continuing to fullfil your own, at a point where parent's obviously dont meet child's needs anymore), and NOT the other way around!
Hmmmm...what would you do if your child was tired and wanted to go home, but the errand you needed to run was something important like food or medicine for the child? Would you fill the child's need to go home, or the child's need to have supper when he got there?
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#72 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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Hmmmm...what would you do if your child was tired and wanted to go home, but the errand you needed to run was something important like food or medicine for the child? Would you fill the child's need to go home, or the child's need to have supper when he got there?
I go home! If there would be such an important errand as shopping for food because we're totally out of food at home (and that won't happen because we ALWAYS have sth that can be eaten so we're never out of EVERYTHING), or shopping for medicine, I would make sure to do that important shopping FIRST. And if my child really would be really distressed I would just go home asap whatever the nature of the shopping. I would try to find another way to get that other need met. And I am talking out of experience. But I would never put the burden of responsibility to my child about the 'want to stay and wait in car alone' issue, if I would like to explain I would just say it is not allowed to do that and as a mother, I won't allow it either, not more, not less. As I am not prepared to force my child to go and do even MORE shopping with me, then I simply listen and go home with him. Yes, and that can be frustrating. But it's not the end of the world.

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#73 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 11:28 AM
 
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Interested wrote:Yes, discuss it! Over a year ago, my son tried to get me to leave him in the car in the parking lot of Lowe's after dark because he was tired of shopping, and I told him I could not do that because if someone saw him, they would think his parents had abandoned him and he needed helpers to take care of him, so they would call the police, and then I would get into a lot of trouble and "we might not get to be together for WEEKS before it was all straightened out." I hoped this would be a better strategy than telling him he's not safe, which I think is very disempowering. He quickly agreed to come into the store because he did not like the idea of being apart from me for a long time. Since then, if he doesn't want to get out of the car and is negotiating, he'll mention that staying there alone isn't an option because the police would come.
FWIW, I think that was a very scary story to tell a little kid. What I have told my kids is that it's my job as their mom to make sure they're safe, and I can't do that if they're all by themselves in the car while I'm in a store and can't see them. I have explained to them that something could happen where they might need my help, and if that happens I want to be there. My kids know from experience that sometimes they need help, and so this explanation seems to satisfy them, and there was no need to get into details about what might happen, but if they asked for details I would probably say something like "I'm not sure, but there are a lot of possibilities, and I feel safer having you with me-- you just can't stay in the car". There's no need to paint a scary picture for them (especially one where the police are the villains, and your son feels a responsibility to keep you out of trouble). If your son ever got lost, you would want him to feel comfortable going to the police, right?

My kids know that not every decision is open for negotiation-- if something is dangerous, the answer is no. I don't overuse the word "dangerous" and I explain the danger if I can in a way that isn't too scary. In your first example, I would have told my kids that I needed to go to the bathroom and that they had to come with me, and they would have come-- if one of them started to argue, I would have given them the choice of walking or being carried (and would think long and hard before taking that child to a restaurant again without another adult). I'm all for treating children respectfully, but not at the expense of safety.

ZM
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#74 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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Interested wrote:Yes, discuss it! Over a year ago, my son tried to get me to leave him in the car in the parking lot of Lowe's after dark because he was tired of shopping, and I told him I could not do that because if someone saw him, they would think his parents had abandoned him and he needed helpers to take care of him, so they would call the police, and then I would get into a lot of trouble and "we might not get to be together for WEEKS before it was all straightened out." I hoped this would be a better strategy than telling him he's not safe, which I think is very disempowering. He quickly agreed to come into the store because he did not like the idea of being apart from me for a long time. Since then, if he doesn't want to get out of the car and is negotiating, he'll mention that staying there alone isn't an option because the police would come.
My daughter asks "why" a lot, and wants lots of details. If we ever use a car to go shopping I can see how I might end up saying something similar. And no, she probably wouldn't find that explanation very scary.
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#75 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ernalala, with a preschooler I think it's important to consider that not every desire represents a true need. I am employed full-time, so my window of opportunity for errands is limited. Could we have survived another week without the toilet part and continued flushing the toilet by reaching into the tank? Yes. (I think it's odd that you assumed the shopping was filling my personal need, rather than the whole family's need.) Was my son's boredom so important that he truly needed me to drop everything to cater to him? Well, if it had been, he would have responded to my explanation with incoherent whining and flopping, instead of perky agreement to come with me now that he understood the reason. If his response had shown me that he really was too tired for this errand, I would've taken him home.

As for "burdening him with responsibility," I believe that responsibility for one's role in the family is not a burden, and that being raised to be aware of this responsibility from an early age was very good for me.

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Mother come up with a story that she may end up arrested/in jail for leaving her son in the car and away from him for weeks?????
Well, it's true! Depending upon how police view the situation, leaving a young child unattended in a car out of sight can result in criminal charges and the child being placed in foster care until it's settled, and that can in fact take weeks if not months. This is my #1 concern in doing things that may make me look like a negligent parent.

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But always keep in mind that cars have been stolen with children still sitting in the back.
That's why I always have my key with me. Getting a car started without the key takes too long for anyone to succeed at it before I could get back. I wouldn't leave my child in the car while I load/unload if it was parked out of sight. We park on the street, and our front yard is only 10 feet deep with a direct line of sight from the front door to the street. If I can't get a parking space within sight and on the same side of the street, I double-park with blinkers on long enough to load/unload. But stopping home between errands/events is rare for us; we've done it maybe 5 times.

Zeldamomma wrote:
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What I have told my kids is that it's my job as their mom to make sure they're safe, and I can't do that if they're all by themselves in the car while I'm in a store and can't see them. I have explained to them that something could happen where they might need my help, and if that happens I want to be there. My kids know from experience that sometimes they need help, and so this explanation seems to satisfy them
You're right, that's a better explanation. Come to think of it, my son knows he is not allowed to walk in a parking lot alone because drivers may not be able to see him, so he should be able to understand (if I point it out) that he wouldn't be able to come looking for me if he needed me. I'll take this tactic if it comes up again.

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If your son ever got lost, you would want him to feel comfortable going to the police, right?
Yes. We have talked about how helpers are there for when you really seriously need help, but they are not to be bothered unnecessarily because we all pay for helpers and need to make sure that our money is not wasted and the helpers are available for those who truly need them. My son has a favorite book about a little boy who gets lost and asks for help from a policeman, and we've talked about how that is the right decision.

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#76 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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If your son ever got lost, you would want him to feel comfortable going to the police, right?
Not necessarily. I am going to have to cite Gavin De Becker for the umpteenth time on this site. Sometimes children get security guards or other people in uniform mixed up with police officers. I've told my kids if they get lost to try to find a mommy.

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#77 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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Mother come up with a story that she may end up arrested/in jail for leaving her son in the car and away from him for weeks?????

Well, it's true! Depending upon how police view the situation, leaving a young child unattended in a car out of sight can result in criminal charges and the child being placed in foster care until it's settled, and that can in fact take weeks if not months. This is my #1 concern in doing things that may make me look like a negligent parent.

I didn't imply it wasn't true. What I was actually trying to say was that it's not neccesary to come up with this kind of story to persuade a pre-schooler. Ok edite here: I see you were talking about a toilet part, not paper. So if the shopping was to get toilet part urgently, then you tell him that. No shopping means no fixed toilet with the consequences that it just won't be possible to use the toilet at home. That it won't be much fun to have to go in the garden or rind the neighbour's bell x times a day to ask if you can use their bathroom :-). You may suggest in letting him 'help pick out the right part' so that you can both fix it at home, make the trip a little more fascinating lol. I just try to make see that there are still many other possibilities out there that are not so heavy loaded as the one you described.
Really, I know what it's like with 'difficult' little ones, but what helps a lot here is an approach were I listen A LOT to my children and try to offer creative/funny solutions to have them come along. But if that really doesn't stick I do go home with them.

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#78 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 01:52 PM
 
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I would leave a child at any age (I have left babies) with waitresses that I knew (I live in a small town) knew who were right there the entire duration of my bathroom visit. Likewise, if I knew other patrons, I'd leave my kids, any age, to be watched while I nip to the bathroom.

I feel so lucky to live in a small community. It just sounds terrible the world that you guys live in where every stranger is some potential child napper. Ugh.

If I am in a large city restaurant, where i know no one, i would not leave my child.

Kids. I got two of 'em.
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#79 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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i would not leave a child of that age alone by him/herself in a restaurant. if i was for some reason somewhere with my older two kids (5.5 and 3.5) and not the baby, and it was a familiar place were we knew the waitress (we live in a small community so this is pretty common) then i might consider leaving them alone together. but i would not leave either one all by him/herself in a public place.

but honestly, this has never come up. we either all hit the bathroom when we first arrive, we all go together, or we just wait until the meal is over. while a toddler might occasionally have an urgent potty need, i've never felt i had to pee so urgently that i'd contemplate leaving my kid alone at the table. i think a tiny bit of advanced planning could really eliminate the entire scenario so that you just don't find yourself having to make that decision.

i give my kids plenty of independence, let them walk ahead of me on city sidewalks, let them walk near the cart/in the aisle when we're grocery shopping. and they know to stay near me. and it's not so much that i think something horrible would happen to them if i left them alone at the table, but why on earth take the risk? IMO it's very much like leaving your child alone in the car - only worse in some ways because in the car they are strapped into a 5 pt harness (at that age anyway), the doors are locked and you have the keys. so the likelihood of them hurting themselves or being hurt by someone else actually seems less likely. in fact, i do sometimes leave the kids in the car to run into the country store, like to grab a loaf of bread or mail a letter (it's also the PO) - you can see the car through the glass windows the entire time, and in front of the store half of the community stands around talking. they know not to open the door for anyone, even people we know, and of course if i saw anyone approach the car, even someone i know, i'd be there in five seconds (keys with me, doors and windows locked). and all that said, i only do it when more than one child is in the car - for whatever reason, there is a big difference to me in briefly leaving one child alone and briefly leaving multiple children (of varying ages) together without an adult.
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#80 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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I wouldn't do it with my nieces and nephews- so i doubt I would with DD.....

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#81 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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Wow, I find this thread shocking. No, I would absolutely not leave my 4 year old at the table unattended while I went to the bathroom.

If I saw anyone else do that, I'd watch their kid while they were gone, inform the management, and seriously consider calling the police.
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#82 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 06:18 PM
 
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i would not leave a child of that age alone by him/herself in a restaurant. if i was for some reason somewhere with my older two kids (5.5 and 3.5) and not the baby, and it was a familiar place were we knew the waitress (we live in a small community so this is pretty common) then i might consider leaving them alone together. but i would not leave either one all by him/herself in a public place.

but honestly, this has never come up. we either all hit the bathroom when we first arrive, we all go together, or we just wait until the meal is over. while a toddler might occasionally have an urgent potty need, i've never felt i had to pee so urgently that i'd contemplate leaving my kid alone at the table. i think a tiny bit of advanced planning could really eliminate the entire scenario so that you just don't find yourself having to make that decision.

i give my kids plenty of independence, let them walk ahead of me on city sidewalks, let them walk near the cart/in the aisle when we're grocery shopping. and they know to stay near me. and it's not so much that i think something horrible would happen to them if i left them alone at the table, but why on earth take the risk? IMO it's very much like leaving your child alone in the car - only worse in some ways because in the car they are strapped into a 5 pt harness (at that age anyway), the doors are locked and you have the keys. so the likelihood of them hurting themselves or being hurt by someone else actually seems less likely. in fact, i do sometimes leave the kids in the car to run into the country store, like to grab a loaf of bread or mail a letter (it's also the PO) - you can see the car through the glass windows the entire time, and in front of the store half of the community stands around talking. they know not to open the door for anyone, even people we know, and of course if i saw anyone approach the car, even someone i know, i'd be there in five seconds (keys with me, doors and windows locked). and all that said, i only do it when more than one child is in the car - for whatever reason, there is a big difference to me in briefly leaving one child alone and briefly leaving multiple children (of varying ages) together without an adult.
Ditto all of this.
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#83 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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No I would not.

In the familiar family restaurant scenario I might consider it if necessary, but more than likely he would just come with.

In the Subway scenario, no way. And I can say with much certainty if my dh did that I would NOT be pleased.

Why, you ask? It's not that I think all sorts of calamities will befall him, or that a boogey man is around every corner. It is because to me it is not the appropriate decision to make. My instinct says No, and I listen to that.

I think people's response to this will vary be location. In a diner in Pagosa Springs CO a little 4yo sat at a table watching Dora on a laptop while her Mom was working out in an attached fitness center. The barista would have noticed if someone bothered the child, and the Mom and I chatted and she said Pagosa Springs is the only place she ever has lived where she could imagine doing something like that.
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#84 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KailuaMamatoMaya View Post
My God....I would NEVER leave my four year old unattended in a restaurant, never. I'd rather pee myself.
Sums up my thoughts.

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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
Most of you are not answering my question WHY NOT? What is it that you think would happen to a child left by himself for 3 minutes in a room with other restaurant patrons and staff?

(((SNIP)))


I did think the situation at Panera was highly questionable. That time I tried to get him to come with me, we argued until I was about to wet my pants, and I gave up because he was making sense (((SNIP)))
The first part.... for my child in particular I can think of about a hundred scenarios that could happen.... he could run out the door and get lost, get hit by a car, get taken by any random person (none of these are unlikely, unfortunately, since ds has autism and has no sense of danger and will escape without any thought). He could run into a waiter/waitress who is carrying something hot and get it spilled on him. He could run into the kitchen and get hurt. He could go up to a random table and start eating someone elses food (). He could get ahold of a knife and hurt himself or others. Hell, he could hurt himself with a freaking fork. He could wander around and try to find me and get lost. And then there are those that no parent ever wants to think about (abduction, molestation, etc). For me it's not worth the risk.

As for the second, bolded part.... Who is the parent? No need to argue with a child over something you feel is necessary (and even you said you thought the Panera situation was "highly questionable"). If he's mature enough to stay at a table alone, he's mature enough to know not to argue with mom when she says no. I see neither of those in a 4 year old.

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#85 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 09:49 PM
 
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A lifetime can happen in 3 minutes. I wouldn't want to be regretting something as simple as taking my child with me when I go to the bathroom. I know I am alarmist but when I read this thread all I could think about were those two 10 year old boys in England who took the toddler when the mom looked "away for a moment". My 3 YO DS wouldn't necessarily leave with an adult but two older boys who promised fun? Absolutely.
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#86 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 11:00 PM
 
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In the coffee shop I mentioned in my post about sending a child to the bathroom alone, absolutely. It's a small shop, we know the owners and workers and most of the patrons.

In a larger place, probably not, but that does bring up a dilemma on the rare occasion I'm out with my SD but not my partner or anyone else I trust. I don't really want a 6-year-old (who is not mine biologically and who WILL report back to her mom) watching me go to the bathroom (especially #2, if that's not TMI). It's not so bad in a multi-stall bathroom, but in a one-at-a-time? She narrates. She asks questions. And it's not cute toddlerdom. And, if my IBS is acting up, it ain't pretty. I'm kind of at a loss.

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#87 of 97 Old 01-23-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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No I wouldn't. It hasn't even crossed my mind to leave him while I go to the restroom. But in the instances you described, I would have either gone first thing when we arrived or waited until we were done eating. Either time would have been a good time for a potty break for DS also. Too many what ifs to factor in. And if I even remotely considered it and DH found out-he would drop dead of a heart attack right there.

But...my brother is 11 1/2 years younger than me. There was a very small old mall near our house that we (I WAS the babysitter) used to go to. I would drop him off in the toy section of McCroy's (?) and go look around somewhere else in the store. Yeah, he was probably two or three . He also used to play out front by himself. I cannot even begin to imagine doing any of the above w/DS. NEVER! Over twenty years ago-but still.

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#88 of 97 Old 01-25-2009, 11:02 PM
 
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Just to keep you company, Envirobecca, I've done it, though only in a restaurant where the staff are obsessed with DD (4), know me, and would be all over any problem. My main worry is that other people will freak out ... and yes, judging by other responses, that seems pretty likely.

I'm often in a different room from my kid for 10-15 minutes at a time, so abduction seems like the only issue. My dd is pretty clued in to how to handle such a situation, so in a known restaurant, as I said, I feel comfortable.

To me this is similar to the question of whether to allow kids to play outside out of your sight. I think it is worth the risk under most circumstances. I know many feel differently.

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#89 of 97 Old 01-26-2009, 06:16 AM
 
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To me this is similar to the question of whether to allow kids to play outside out of your sight. I think it is worth the risk under most circumstances. I know many feel differently.
Play outside in our neighbourhood by my children will be fine by me when I find they are old enough to be trusted with that. Four is very young imo. When I deem them old enough to play outside alone, COULD be the time to trust them alone for a short while in the restaurant situation (VERY MUCH depending on the place though) but then still I wouldn't do that Our suburban neighbourhood where they would play is so much diferrent from the part of town where we may be out to eat, this is such an enormous and densely populated town with millions of citizens, you're quite anonymous here. Yes, I'm a very passionate promoter of free outdoor play for kids, but age appropriate. But I wouldn't allow that either if we would live in the middle of town.
I let my (then) 4y old sometimes play, not constantly supervised by me (well, sometimes peeking out of window), on our street with other kids, and when other adults were outside on their terraces or peeking from windows too; we have a narrow, quiet street with a good oversight. But then he got himself in trouble - there was a lucky outcome though. Amd it just was not worth the risk. I won't allow him to play on the street again without my personal supervision untill I find that he will really be mature enough. Safety issue.

Sometimes parenting means learning the hard way.

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#90 of 97 Old 01-26-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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My God....I would NEVER leave my four year old unattended in a restaurant, never.
I agree! 4 ??
: No way, not me.
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