On a scale of one to ten how mad would you be? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How mad would you be?
1 Chill out, it's not big deal 15 9.32%
2 9 5.59%
3 I could see myself doing that if I HAD to so I wouldn't really be too upset 5 3.11%
4 12 7.45%
5 I'd be pretty unhappy but just keep closer tabs on ds 55 34.16%
6 21 13.04%
7 I'd be pretty darned upset, and I'd probably have a firm talk with her mom 26 16.15%
8 8 4.97%
9 5 3.11%
10 I'd be calling CPS. 5 3.11%
Voters: 161. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So we recently moved into a secured condo community with play parks at either end, and part of the joy of living here is that DS can run around with all the other kids his age outside from the time he comes home until dinner and we can still see him and hear him.

Well yesterday I went out to collect him and found him at a friend's house, which is fine, I knew he was going there. Ds will be five on Monday and his friend has just turned five not long ago. I find the two of them ALONE in the house!! ALONE! I said "Where's your mom, Maggie?" Absoutely INCREDLOUS that they could really be alone...and she says "Oh, she left about five minutes ago for school at the church. my dad will be home soon."

I said "right, we're having pizza for dinner, who wants to come?" and dragged them both back to my house and left a note for her dad to call when he came home."

All of this took about another five minutes with shoe finding and walking home.

About ten minutes later he called saying "oh well I guess my wife figured I'd be home soon." ladeedadeeda "I have popcorn for them. Maggie sent me out demanding popcorn [I mean is that supposed to be funny that you take demands from your child?], you can send them over if you want."

I tried to sound non-judgemental, but seriously? Popcorn for dinner?!

I said "well Benjamin needs to eat dinner, and we're just about to have some pizza, but I can send her home if you like."

He says: "Oh that's okay, you can send her over later then."

Since I had said she could have pizza with us I obviously let her stay, but then sent her straight home afterwards.

I was floored! I also had a really serious talk with Benjamin that if that ever happens again he is to take Maggie and bring her here IMMEDIATELY, they should never ever stay in a house alone without grown ups, because something bad could happen, an earthquake, a fire,they might get into any number of things! I think he understands. ETA I would say leave her there, but she told me she'd be too scared all alone.

But then I think maybe I am over reacting, afterall, we let them ride their bikes up and down the street and play in the park with their friends all afternoon only checking on them every half hour or less...am I over reacting?

How mad would you be, because if I didn't think this little girl was getting left on her own a lot, I would definitely NOT be letting Benjamin play with her anymore!

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#2 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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I'd react about the same way. Secure or not, anything could happen no matter where you live. And I think you handled it well.
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#3 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 01:48 PM
 
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I left my child home alone for a few minutes at that age. Not with friends in the house, and not with the freedom to come and go as she pleases.

I don't think I would worry too much about it really. I would just make the rule that Benjamin is only allowed to play over there if her MOm or Dad are there with them.

I had neighbor kids who stayed home for a few hours after school when they were in Kindergarten and first grade.
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#4 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 02:01 PM
 
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If you're so upset about them being alone in the house, why are you not upset about leaving him alone in a park and riding around for 30 minutes at a time? Anything can happen. I would'nt rely on the security as that can fail and how do you know that all the people in the community are ok?
I don't believe a 5 year old should be without a responsible person with him.
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#5 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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I guess I just don't understand why they are safe alone outdoors but not indoors?

To me, 10 minutes alone in a secure environment is not a big deal, but everyone's comfort level is different.
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#6 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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I would be very upset as well. If you, as a parent, decide to leave your own child home for a few minutes while you run to the store, I have no problem with that. BUT, it's not a decision anyone should presume to make for another child and their parents. They should have communicated with you and checked to make sure that it was alright with you for your child to be unsupervised in their home.
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#7 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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I guess the way I think about it, out of the two scenarios, I'd rather have a 5 year old alone with one other friend for 15 minutes, then "run around with all the other kids outside from the time he comes home until dinner".
If we were thinking of "worst-case scenarios" then I can come up with more for the latter. But that's just my opinion. In defence of the father too, if he saw your son running around unsupervised, then he probably assumed he's alright alone in a house for a couple of minutes. I'd be tempted to make that same assumption.
And I did grow up running around unsupervised for hours in my neighbourhood, so there's no judgment, just honest observation.

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#8 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 02:44 PM
 
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I don't think that's Maggie's parents' fault. If you're ok with him playing outside without you, then you're ok with him making judgment calls and learning from them. And it seems very developmentally appropriate for a 5-year-old to figure he can go in his friend's house with her to play. I could totally see my daughter making that decision. If you're not comfortable with that level of development and judgment, then I think you need to keep him in line-of-sight until he's a bit older.
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#9 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Unsupervised is unsupervised, whether it is outside or inside. I am assuming that the mom thought that is was OK since you were not monitoring 24/7. I would let her know you are not comfortable with your DS alone in a house w/o grownups since he could get into so much, and ask them to send him home if they are leaving.

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#10 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hmmmmm

Well, we're talking about a one street gated condo community and my yard opens on to the play park on the one end and the other is at the other end of the row next to the guard's house but it's literally the length of one city block. I know all the neighbors and their kids. Their are 20 homes in total closed off with a gate and patrolled by two guards. Most of us leave our doors open all afternoon and the kids are always in earshot and if I walk out my door and look left or right he'll be in my line of sight. It's like one big backyard...I don't, however, know what's in their homes. They could have knives, matches, guns, drugs in unsecure places, who knows? Not to mention the very real threat of sudden earthquakes, which would be much safer for them to be outside.

Six or seven, I can see, even one kid alone in his or her own house, I can see. I've run across the main road for three minutes to grab something from the store and left ds watching a cartoon, but I told my neighbor. I would never leave two kindergarteners unsupervised...mischief multiplies, ime.

I just don't see why she didn't send them over to my house.

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#11 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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If I were the other mom and I knew you let your kid stay outside unsupervised for 30 minutes at a time, I would assume you wouldn't mind that your kid was unsupervised at my house for 10-15 minutes. It simply wouldn't occur to me that you differentiated between outside and inside.
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#12 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by earthmama369 View Post
I don't think that's Maggie's parents' fault. If you're ok with him playing outside without you, then you're ok with him making judgment calls and learning from them. And it seems very developmentally appropriate for a 5-year-old to figure he can go in his friend's house with her to play. I could totally see my daughter making that decision. If you're not comfortable with that level of development and judgment, then I think you need to keep him in line-of-sight until he's a bit older.
I'm fine with him going to a friend's house, and with her coming here, I'm not crazy about that house not having grown ups at home.

I guess I don't see him playing outside my door or on our block as scary, but inside someone house there are all sorts of dangers I can't see, and don't know about. He told me he was going to play at her house, Her mom even called to let me know he was there, so why didn't she call to say she wouldn't be? That's weird to me.

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#13 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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I'm fine with him going to a friend's house, and with her coming here, I'm not crazy about that house not having grown ups at home.

I guess I don't see him playing outside my door or on our block as scary, but inside someone house there are all sorts of dangers I can't see, and don't know about. He told me he was going to play at her house, Her mom even called to let me know he was there, so why didn't she call to say she wouldn't be? That's weird to me.
I think you could just explain it to the mom in that way - you are comfortable with him outside because you can easily peek out at him, but you prefer to have him with an adult inside since you can't see what's going on. I wouldn't blame her or anything, just sort of a, "You know, now that he was without an adult in a different house for a few minutes, I realized I'm not quite comfortable with that yet. If it happens again, please send the kiddos down to me so I can watch them."
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#14 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Mpenny1001 View Post
If I were the other mom and I knew you let your kid stay outside unsupervised for 30 minutes at a time, I would assume you wouldn't mind that your kid was unsupervised at my house for 10-15 minutes. It simply wouldn't occur to me that you differentiated between outside and inside.
Really? wow...30 minutes on the playground and the sidewalk literally outside our doors (and btw, everyone here lets their kids run out there to play because we can see them from the windows), where we can see and hear our kids the whole time, vs 20+ minutes alone inside a house totally unsupervised and hidden from view? same?

I guess I am being crazy.

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#15 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you could just explain it to the mom in that way - you are comfortable with him outside because you can easily peek out at him, but you prefer to have him with an adult inside since you can't see what's going on. I wouldn't blame her or anything, just sort of a, "You know, now that he was without an adult in a different house for a few minutes, I realized I'm not quite comfortable with that yet. If it happens again, please send the kiddos down to me so I can watch them."
That's a good idea. Thanks.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#16 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:25 PM
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Really? wow...30 minutes on the playground and the sidewalk literally outside our doors (and btw, everyone here lets their kids run out there to play because we can see them from the windows), where we can see and hear our kids the whole time, vs 20+ minutes alone inside a house totally unsupervised and hidden from view? same?

I guess I am being crazy.

I don't think you're being crazy per se. I think the problem might be that we are having trouble envisioning exactly the playground situation and are having a difficult time with the idea of mom being in the house and having to look outside from a window to see if the child is okay.
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#17 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mpenny1001 View Post
If I were the other mom and I knew you let your kid stay outside unsupervised for 30 minutes at a time, I would assume you wouldn't mind that your kid was unsupervised at my house for 10-15 minutes. It simply wouldn't occur to me that you differentiated between outside and inside.
That's what I thought... if it freaks you out, though, it freaks you out. It's your kid, so obviously you set the rules for him based on your comfort level.

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#18 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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I don't think you're crazy, and I do think it's different. Kids running around outside are part unsupervised but part supervised by everyone in a close knit neighborhood. Every yard they play in has a parent outside or in the house easy to reach or yell to if there is a problem. But in a house with no parent and out of the ear shot of the rest of the neighborhood as well is not the same scenario.
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#19 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think you're being crazy per se. I think the problem might be that we are having trouble envisioning exactly the playground situation and are having a difficult time with the idea of mom being in the house and having to look outside from a window to see if the child is okay.
Ahhh, Okay, so imagine one block of a street, with a gate at one end and a high fence at the other. It's sort of like having one long front yard shared by twenty houses with climbing frames at either end. So when we first moved here I sat outside (on the ground) the whole time he was out there, and sometimes I still do. But there's not really anywhere for me to sit out there with dd from 3pm to 6pm, and I have to get dinner on at some point.

Everyone else's kids were just out there running around and having fun, no parents directly there for the over four set, just chatting in the front of the houses or like me just inside cooking or working or whatever.

But I guess I can see why she thought it would be okay...thanks for the perspective ladies!

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#20 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think you're crazy, and I do think it's different. Kids running around outside are part unsupervised but part supervised by everyone in a close knit neighborhood. Every yard they play in has a parent outside or in the house easy to reach or yell to if there is a problem. But in a house with no parent and out of the ear shot of the rest of the neighborhood as well is not the same scenario.
Yes, That's it exactly!

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#21 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 04:41 PM
 
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I quite like the sound of this gated condo community! - Wish we had places like that here!!!

Personally I wouldn't be too upset. We all live and learn. If its uncomfortable for you (and I can understand why - due to mamazees explanation of it), then I would just simply explain to my son that I do not want him alone in a house without another mummy or daddy there. Let it go after that, just keep an eye on things.

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#22 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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WOAH. I think you have every right to tell YOUR child to come home immediately, if he finds himself in a house with no parent, but you are completely, I mean, COMPLETELY wrong to tell him to kidnap (yep, thats what it would be) another child. If the other child's parents are okay with her bring home alone, that is totally their decision.

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#23 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, fair enough, but she was all "I'm really scared to be home alone, please don't leave me here alone."

What do you say to that? It was so sad, seriously.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#24 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's also (like all the kids) over here all the time once they get home from school (in out about) and we always call over to let the other mom know if they stay, either shout across, or call on the intercom phone between houses...but you're right that was a reactionary thing to say.

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#25 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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Muh. It wouldn't have bothered me. I may have liked a heads up from the other parent ("Running out for 15 minutes - kids watching a movie. Is that cool?") But my kid is super reliable and I've been leaving her alone for short periods of time since about age four or so.

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#26 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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I can't imagine leaving someone else's 5 y.o. unsupervised in my home. Little kids do dumb things. They could have decided to cook and set the house on fire. They could knock over a heavy piece of furniture and be unable to get out from underneath, and no one would hear them yell for help. They could get into the booze, or the medicine cabinet. All kinds of bad things could happen, and no one would have any idea what they were doing.

I am willing to believe that some 5 y.o.s are responsible enough to be left alone for a few minutes, but add another kid, and you change the whole dynamic.

This seems like a no brainer to me. I would be a lot less comfortable with having my kid in someone's home after they did that. Who knows what else they allow that I wouldn't?

I don't consider myself over-protective, and would be much more comfortable with the parent telling the kids they need to go outside, rather than leaving them in the house. Outside with lots of adults around is much safer than 2 five year olds with no supervision indoors.

I would tell my kid that in the future they are not allowed to play in anyone's house unless an adult is there. If I didn't trust that my child would follow that rule, I would tell him he wasn't allowed to go in a friend's house without asking first, and then I'd touch base with the adults involved to make sure they were going to be around.
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#27 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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I don't think you're crazy, and I do think it's different. Kids running around outside are part unsupervised but part supervised by everyone in a close knit neighborhood. Every yard they play in has a parent outside or in the house easy to reach or yell to if there is a problem. But in a house with no parent and out of the ear shot of the rest of the neighborhood as well is not the same scenario.
I totally agree. While I don't let my kids play out of the yard without me until they are six (and then only with an older sibling), I think there is a big difference between riding your bike in front of the house and being alone in someone else's house. If you don't think there's a difference between kids being outside where the whole neighborhood can keep an eye out and being alone in someone's house, ask yourself where you'd rather have your thirteen year old daughter hanging out with a boy. Sitting on the sidewalk in front of the house, or alone with no parents at his house?

Secondly, I think there's a difference between ME decided where it's ok for my kid to be unsupervised, and someone else who was watching my child deciding to leave him unsupervised without so much as telling me. If I left my child with a sitter, and said it was ok for him to play in the front yard, I wouldn't expect the sitter to take that as permission to run to the store and leave my child home alone.

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#28 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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Honestly if I were the other parent I'd be really puzzled as to why you're upset. From your description (basically a locked down area, kids freely floating between houses, doors open, etc.) it sounds a lot like a big community living area where the kids are free to go where they want to. You've given every indication that you are fine with that. So one parent leaves for a few minutes, if the kids are scared they can go to the next house. Now, this may be all off, but really, that sounds like what you're describing, and if that's the case given the level of supervision you routinely provide, I can't really see why you'd expect the mom to think her leaving for a few minutes would upset you. And really, unsecured guns and illegal drugs?? You're seriously worried about that and still let your kid run into any house or visit without checking it out first. This is all really confusing to me.
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#29 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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I'm with those who wonder, if they can safely run around outside with no supervision then why is it some how worse to be inside? I'd never do that myself, but then I also didn't have DD playing unsupervised outside at that age either.

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#30 of 72 Old 03-19-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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No 5 year deserves to be left home unattended. The law requires young children to be supervised. I'd be hopping mad. I'd also not allow my son to be over there at all unless you knew there was a grown up home. And if you suspect this little girl is left home alone quite a bit.. I'd call CPS.
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