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#61 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post

I can't understand, for the life of me, letting a 4, 5, 6, or 7 yr old (hell, 8 or 9 yr old, for that matter) home all alone.  For 15 minutes, or for 4 hours.  What could be worth that risk?  A sense of independence?  Not having the nuisance of loading them in the car to run to the grocery store?  Not having to ask a neighbor to watch them or send them to the after school program?  I wouldn't call it free-range; more like neglectful parenting. 

 

Flame away, I don't really care.  Doesn't matter to me if you walked to the store as a kid when you were 2, still doesn't make it a sound decision to leave a child home alone. 

 

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I don't think an occasional 10 minutes at home alone for a 8-9+ yr old b/c mom got held up picking up a younger sibling from daycare, or whatever, is that big of a deal for most mature, responsible kids.  However, intentionally leaving a 5 yr old to fend for themselves because you think they are capable of taking care of themselves for hours at a time w/o you nearby, seems like way too big of a risk to take.  That's really what I was getting at, b/c people were commenting about leaving small children at home alone like it was a normal thing to do. 

 


Hi Drummer's Wife. I don't disagree with anything in your response to my post. I actually agree with the bolded for the most part - esp the age 5 and hours at a time home alone. I just think it's important to choose our words carefully. I didn't agree with your first sweeping generalization that it's never okay to leave any child under the age of 9 home alone, even for 15 minutes. I just don't think you or I can say that. It just seems too extreme. Especially calling it neglectful parenting. Because to me 15 minutes alone and an 8 year old don't always equal neglectful parenting. I'm guessing that you didn't mean your first post that extremely, and that you were trying to make a point?

 

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Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

I left my three year old alone (downstairs) for 15-20  minutes so I could take a bath - I guess I'm a bad parent too. WOW!

 

See.... and I had a three year old danger boy that would have torn the house up in 20 minutes unattended. And probably hurt himself or started a fire as well.


I just want to point out that this illustrates every situation / kid is different. It becomes a really slippery slope when one starts make generalizations for other people's kids and other people's situations. 

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#62 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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My mom left my sister and I alone for short periods starting at 11, and for a day or two for business trips when I was 13 (my sister was 15). When I was 14 she went on a weeklong business trip. We did just fine, we all grocery shopped before hand and my sister and I were quite independent with using the public bus and such.

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#63 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 02:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by madskye View Post

DD is 6.  I leave her alone in the house and at this point, I'll take the dog for a walk down the block to do her business.  I'm probably gone about 10 minutes.  When I go out, DD is usually riveted in front of iCarly, and that's why she doesn't want to walk with us.  Ultimately, I think what each child can handle maturely is very individual and you as the parent are the only one who can make that assessment.

 

I was a latchkey kid, and took care of myself from 8 and up.  I had a single mom who dealt with a series of unreliable babysitters and at a certain point she decided I would be better with a key and firm rules in place of what I was to do after school.  It was all fine.  No fires or molesters breaking into the house.  Perhaps knowing that we lived in a sturdy structure where I had no access to matches and that we lived in a neighborhood that was also very safe was part of my mothers good parenting, and allowed her to feel comfortable letting me be a latchkey kid.  Again-the situation is all individual.

 

I think there is a quite a bit of class-ism going on in this thread.  We're all very lucky (myself included) to be in the position where we can not leave our child alone for any amount of time.  I'm  lucky that we can afford aftercare.  My mom couldn't, I rose up to the challenge, and I don't think that made her any less of a good mother.  I hear moms (not even just on this thread, out there in IRL, too) limiting what they think their child is capable of handling, and I often wonder how much of it is true and how much of it is the mother's need to feel indispensable.  But then again--I tell myself, each kid is different, and I am totally sure there are kids who couldn't handle it.



The thing is, you know in retrospect that you were "fine" home alone, that there were no fires or molesters who broke into your home.  But such things have happened to people home alone, and it's not always because their parents weren't good enough or their neighborhood wasn't "safe".  No one who has been victimized or had accidents happen actually thought they were putting themselves or their kids at risk. 

 

It's interesting that you mention classism here, while talking about living in a "safe" neighborhood.  I live in a middle class neighborhood at this time, though I was in low income housing with my kids for several years before finishing college.  I felt safer leaving the kids with little supervision in our low income neighborhood, because there were always people around.  Many moms left kids alone or loosely supervised by neighbors because they couldn't afford childcare.  You were never really "alone".  But in my current neighborhood, people seem more focussed on this being such a "good" area for families that they lose common sense.  When we first moved to the area there was a rash of burglaries, and the general response among neighbors seemed to be "Here?  This is such a great neighborhood I can't believe people would do that to us!"  As opposed to people committing crimes against the lower class, more worthless or stupid people, I suppose...  Sometimes I think people who claim to live in a "safe" neighborhood are just trying to compliment themselves on how great they are, instead of realizing crime occurs everywhere.

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#64 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 02:40 PM
 
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But Kythe,your judgement call was that your neighborhood was safe. That was my mom's judgement too.  My elaboration on our situation was about what made my mom feel OK with it--not what is the gold standard for all.  We lived in a housing development in Florida that was lower middle class, so I don't think $ equates safety by any means.  Look at the terrible Cheshire home invastion.  I do think, that if you live in a neighborhood that you know is unsafe, and you have to leave your children unattended then you are in between a rock and hard place and my heart goes out to you--and a lot of people are in that position.  If your choice is pay your rent or pay for aftercare or a babysitter for a child I thought could handle being alone, I would choose rent every time.  I'm just more surprized that people don't recognize that a lot of people don't have the choice of paying for both.

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My parents left me alone for a short time starting from around 5.   I know I walked to the grocery store on my own, crossing a street, to buy eggs right after my 5th birthday (it was my sisters 2nd birthday and she dumped all the eggs we had on the floor mid-cake making!).  I lived overseas though and people arn't as paranoid as they are here.  

 

Ds, I let him be in the backyard on his own (its very safe, fenced, and I can hear him and see him if I stick my head out the window), and in the house he is sometimes in another room for a while without me.  But he is only 3.     I don't really have a reason to leave him home alone now, and I don't see me having to any time soon in particular.   I suppose if the time comes where I'd need to run a quick errand and he didnt want to go, then I would re-evaluate at the time.  

 

I think he would have to understand all the safety rules - no swimming, no cooking, no answering the door, how to answer (or not answer) the phone, how to call 911, what to do if there is an emergency, no leaving the house, knows how to get a hold of me/a neighbor, etc. ...  and if he could do all of that, then it would be fine to leave him for a while.   I'm guessing that is closer to 8 or so for most kids. 

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#66 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 05:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kythe View Post


The thing is, you know in retrospect that you were "fine" home alone, that there were no fires or molesters who broke into your home.  But such things have happened to people home alone, and it's not always because their parents weren't good enough or their neighborhood wasn't "safe".  No one who has been victimized or had accidents happen actually thought they were putting themselves or their kids at risk. 


Yeah, but what's age got to do with that? If your kids can never be alone because of the possibility of a fire or home invasion, then they won't even be able to move out when they become adults!

 

Take fires for example. How does a parent's absence increase the chances of a fire, or of the kid being harmed in a fire? You can intervene if your kid tries to do something likely to start a fire, e.g. burn things for the fun of it, and you can help your kid evacuate. But if your kid can be trusted to do that without you--whether they're 7 or 17--why do you need to be there?

 

Do 911 operators normally take calls from kids less seriously? That would make me concerned....

 

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#67 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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There are a million situations each day where a parent could ask "is it worth the risk?" for their child (riding a bike, eating grapes, riding in a car, jumping on a bed, playing at a friends house) but that doesn't mean we shouldn't let them do those things. Teaching a child independence is an important part of parenting. And letting them have freedoms, when they are ready, is how that is done. I think it is essential to put kids in situations here and there where they need to make decisions without a parents help...and leaving them alone for bits of time teaches them that skill.

 

I can still remember one of my best friends from high school who's parents were protective (and this was almost 20 years ago, so probably not that protective by todays standards). She got her drivers license at 16 and her parents heavily restricted her driving. By the time she left for college she had never driven on a highway because her parents figured it wasn't worth the risk so they drove when she needed to go anywhere on a highway. So there she was, 18 years old, heading off to college and never driving her car over about 35 miles an hour I remember riding in the car with her over Christmas break that first year. Even though she'd driven on a highway a few times at that point, she was terrified because all she thought was DEATH BY HORRIBLE CAR ACCIDENT every time she got on a highway and she just lacked the experience of changing lanes at a fast pace, etc. So she pulled over and I drove. It took her years to get comfortable driving on highways. I realize this is a different example, but to me it explains why "why take the risk?" may actually hinder your child from learning important skills. They will need to be left alone at some point and just because a child is 13 or 14 (or whatever magical age is old enough) doesn't mean they are suddenly capable of being left alone if they haven't had the chance to learn how.

 

 


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#68 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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It really baffles me dizzy.gif the data does not justify some of the fear mentioned here (neither did the other tread about using a bus)-I expected far more from what I thought was a more educated segment of society (this forum)- 

 

http://www.statisticstop10.com/Causes_of_Death_Kids.html                   The info is from the CDC and the link is at the bottom

 

statically speaking of molestation it is hardly ever random, in my area there have been several recent cases (religious-in such large number that many priests were removed and only one case took place in the home-and the parents even knew about, they were home and set up camera! The local papers had many stories and the parents did a lot of talking in this case to the newspaper--- the rest happened outside of the home---at churches and schools)--need it also be mentioned that many abuse cases do involve trusted family and babysitters

 

accidents-just look at falls, unless your child is over the age of 65---and this does not even break down into the number of sports related injuries and does not account for the parent being there at the time when most injuries actually occur

 

IF the numbers were there it would be a different story.

 

safer outside (viewed by some)-IF I felt that way I would ask for help in making my home safer and if it was not because of un-safe environment I would seek help for myself, unfortunately paranoia often times is inherit and I would never want to project to a child that the home is less or un-safe, be ok outside to roam but can't be alone in your own home---I can't begin to imagine the long term effect that would foster, knowing at say age 9 your parent has too much fear to let you alone but your friends parent does, as if children don't know what goes on with others

 

as many did state, it is misleading to group and generalize all as some have done-this really confuses me as well

 

it definitely is different now than it use to be, I finding more and more many young adults that lack skills and have irrational fears and I can't think it has a large part to do with how they were raised (mostly from educated, well off families and "good" neighborhoods)-----------very SAD!

 

 


 

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#69 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 05:39 PM
 
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safer outside (viewed by some)-IF I felt that way I would ask for help in making my home safer

My home is not "unsafe" in any way that could be remedied. What makes in the house less safe than outdoors is that at least where I live, a child who's outdoors is never truly alone or unsupervised. When my kids are outside, they are under the watchful eyes of a dozen or more adults (our neighbors) who know them, know me, and would help if help was needed. All of us make a point of watching out the windows, to keep an eye on what the kids are up to. I remember a day when my daughter forgot to look before crossing the parking lot, for example, and my neighbor reminded her, and then came by later that day to let me know that I maybe needed to review the rule with her. Or another day when she fell, and tore her knees up badly, and the nearest neighbor noticed, through her kitchen window, and came out and helped her get home. A child alone indoors is alone-- there is nobody else who's going to step in and help if I am not there. So if she gets sick, or hurt, or makes a poor choice about safe behavior, the responsibility would lie on HER to access help, and if she was not able to, there would be no help. Plus, nobody but me would know she was there-- so if there was an emergency, nobody would know to look in the house for her.

But I think you and I agree, anyway-- you are talking about a child nine years old. I'm not-- I fully agree that many children nine or ten years old are ready for the responsibility of being left home alone. I've said that already; I am speaking about younger kids. I am also not talking about leaving a child alone while I'm in another part of the house, or while I'm outside in the yard or the neighborhood. I'm talking about getting in the car and driving away. There is no place I go to in the car that is less than ten minutes away-- that's too far for me, for a few more years at least.

As far as class-- as near as I can see, the neighborhoods I'd call "middle-class" or higher are considerably less safe than the one where I live, which is decidedly poor to working class. In those neighborhoods, the houses are bigger, farther apart, and seem often to be deserted during the day--- the adults are all at work, the children are all at school or day care, and there are very few mothers at home. People don't have open windows during the summer, and don't sit out on their porches interacting with their neighbors. What makes my neighborhood safe is all the people, so close, all keeping an eye out for each other. (And yes, you don't need to point out that I'm generalizing. I am, and I know I am. My point is that being middle or upper middle class doesn't make a neighborhood any safer, and might make it a whole lot less safe.)

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#70 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 05:47 PM
 
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under the watchful eyes of a dozen or more adults (our neighbors) who know them, know me, and would help if help was needed

 

if there are that many people near you why can't you ask them to look in at your child and let them know you are going out?

 

that many neighbor that know me I certainly would speak up 

 

that's how many neighborhoods function (at least the use) parents work and other knew the children were home or if the parent had to go away-----same for checking on the "OLDER" neighbor who lives alone, this isn't something new


 

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#71 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 05:48 PM
 
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if there are that many people near you why can't you ask them to look in at your child and let them know you are going out?

 

that many neighbor that know me I certainly would speak up 

 

that's how many neighbor hood function (at least the use) parents work and other knew the children were home or if the parent had to go away


same for checking on the "OLDER" neighbor who lives alone, this isn't something new

Um. I do. That's what I mean when I say that I don't leave my kids home alone.

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A child alone indoors is alone-- there is nobody else who's going to step in and help if I am not there. So if she gets sick, or hurt, or makes a poor choice about safe behavior, the responsibility would lie on HER to access help, and if she was not able to, there would be no help. Plus, nobody but me would know she was there-- so if there was an emergency, nobody would know to look in the house for her.

 

 

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Um. I do. That's what I mean when I say that I don't leave my kids home alone.

 

 

this makes absolutely no sense to me---------either you tell your neighbors the child is in the house alone or you don't?


 

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#73 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 06:24 PM
 
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I grew up as a 'latchkey' kid from about kindergarten (in short spurts) on.  Never for long periods, but I did walk home when school was out and go inside.  I usually watched tv for about half an hour waiting for a parent to come home. 

 

Now, I wasn't ready to leave my daughter alone at that age, but at nine, if I'm headed off to do some grocery shopping it's entirely her choice whether she wants to go with me or not.   Sometimes she enjoys getting out, and sometimes she lives for time for herself.  She knows to have the phone nearby, and she knows I WILL call to check in while I am out and if she doesn't answer her grandfather will be at the door in about five minutes.  She knows not to use the stove and knows  how to respond to a  fire without panic. She won't open the door to a stranger, and she knows where the emergency lights are in case of a power outage.  Now that the weather is nice, she is allowed outside to play in the yard when I am not home- that is new, and to do that she had to demonstrate consistently good judgement about where she would be (near the road is out, in the garden is fine- for example.)

 

She has worked hard to earn enough trust to be left alone for short periods of time, and we have collaborated to find a way to allow her to do that safely. 

 

Being dragged around to your little brothers' doctors  appointments or out to get groceries just isn't as interesting as stretching out on the couch with a good book, or a stolen quiet hour or two to watch a movie.  I fail to see meeting her need for autonomy as negligent parenting. 

 

 

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#74 of 85 Old 05-04-2011, 05:41 AM
 
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this makes absolutely no sense to me


either you tell your neighbors the child is in the house alone or you don't?

If somebody knows she's there, and is keeping an eye on her, then she's not unsupervised, and therefore not really alone. So if I go out, and I pop in to Neighbor X, and say hey, I'm going out for a half hour, can you keep an eye on DD, then Neighbor X will come over once or twice and check that DD is all right, maybe coax DD to come play at her house or outside, where it's easier to watch her, then I'll know that if a situation arises, somebody's going to find out about it, and be there to help. I don't consider that "home alone."

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#75 of 85 Old 05-04-2011, 01:18 PM
 
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I can only speak about my personal preference.  I have no idea when I'd be able to leave my son at home alone even for a few minutes.  However, my son has Asperger's.  

I was left alone by my parents probably starting around age 7 or 8.  I hated it.  I wasn't ready and certainly wasn't prepared.  

 

There are kids in my neighborhood that get left alone (either at home or to wander the neighborhood) at kindergarten age.  There's no way I would do that (even with a neuro-typical child).  But, that's my opinion.


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#76 of 85 Old 05-05-2011, 09:06 AM
 
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My brother and I were left alone starting at the age of 8 or 9. My mom worked 7 to 3, so my brother and I would get ourselves up and dressed, get our own breakfast, walk to school (and were never ever late!), then come home and be alone for about 45 minutes until our mom got home.

 

It was normal for us, so I didn't think much of it, and maybe by the time my own kids are that age (they're 6 and 3 now) my perspective will have changed, but for now, looking at my 6yo, it's hard to imagine doing that unless I absolutely had to.

 

It was a necessity for my mom, and my brother and I did great (aside from a few times when our fights turned much harsher than they would have if our mom had been there), but since I'm able to be home and my kids aren't clamoring for time alone in the house, I have no plans to start leaving them alone any time soon. I'll certainly shower with them in the house, or let them play (in the fenced backyard) without me being outside, but that's as much as I'm comfortable with for now. 


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#77 of 85 Old 05-06-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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I leave my 8, going on 9 year old alone in the car while I run into the store .. but I don't think he's ready to be left home alone yet.  I will leave him in the apartment while I go walk the dog around the block .. but I don't count that because he knows how to come find me if he needs me and I'm not gone for longer than 5-10mins. 

 

I'm guessing maybe 11-12? Just going on my child and when I think he would be able to call for help, etc if necessary.  I think each child is different and it could be earlier or later depending on the child.


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#78 of 85 Old 05-06-2011, 02:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaughterOfKali View Post

I can only speak about my personal preference.  I have no idea when I'd be able to leave my son at home alone even for a few minutes.  However, my son has Asperger's.  

I was left alone by my parents probably starting around age 7 or 8.  I hated it.  I wasn't ready and certainly wasn't prepared.  

 

There are kids in my neighborhood that get left alone (either at home or to wander the neighborhood) at kindergarten age.  There's no way I would do that (even with a neuro-typical child).  But, that's my opinion.

My son has Aspergers as well and has always been a bit behind in the "self-care" area ... He still needs help getting ready in the am for school. I can't imagine leaving him to fend for himself at home alone for long, but I am very interested reading about what more neuro-typical children are ready for.
 

 


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#79 of 85 Old 05-13-2011, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, here the op again.

I wondered what reactions would be and what other mother/parents would do and find acceptable regarding their children. What I learned here is that, as I personally was thinking as well, is that it mostly really depends on the child and not so much the age. My thinking actually shifted from 'age- appropriate' to 'child-appropriate' and this shifting happened through my own 7yo. Personally I would never feel comfortable to leave a 3yo at home alone for even a short while (or my youngest, not even in a room alone at that age ;-), nor at 4, 0r 5 for that matter, unless asleep and myself just being in the front or back yard with my other child (and the sleeping child within hearing distance and with regular checking in). But now my eldest reached the age of seven and I felt things shifting and I felt I needed to adjust my thinking, to look further than age and more at personal needs and abilities. His needs were obviously changing. He started to have the need to be able to be alone for a (short) while and he started to feel annoyed with the daily errands when he had to accompany me and his little brother. My need was for him to be ok and to be safe and for the 3 of us to be comfortable. His needs have been shifting and even though I felt a bit awkward about a '7' year old to stay at home for a while (speaking about 15 to 30 minutes here, not longer) I felt him to be ready and capable of an occasional staying at home. So I listened to his needs, he listened to mine, we made a deal that he could choose a maximum 1 or 2 times a week where he wouldn't come along bringing his brother to school, and but) the other 3 days their would be no need for resisting or nagging or stress from either side on him accompanying us. And he would also need to know what to do (and what not) during the time I would be out. So far, this is working great. He feels respected in his new need, and I do feel so in mine (I'm not comfortable doing this every single day yet so the deal of 0-2 a week is fine by me). He knows how to contact me and use the phone, he knows which neighbour he can go to in case of emergency, he knows how to open or lock the doors, he is under no circumstance allowed to open the frontdoor to ANYONE except mom or dad (we did test this as well ;-), he knows to pick up the phone when it's me and not to when it is another number, and he knows what to do best in case of fire or earthquake, and he knows what he is very aware of the 'hazards' in a regular home (like stove, electricity, tools etc.) . And usually he does his homework, reads a book or watches some tv. So this is my firstborn. However, looking at my ds of 5, his abilities and his character, I am not really sure if at 7 HE will be capable of doing the same and I suspect it will take a little while longer for him to reach the level of maturity and  trust (regarding safety) it takes to stay at home alone for 30 minutes. And I would not go anywhere than by walking distance within max. 10-15 min. from home. I would NOT let my 7yo stay home for longer periods so far, nor would I leave him alone more than the present maximum we agreed on. That may change in the future, after discussion and mutual consent.

I see the above seems more like an exception than standard looking at all the reactions. But I also see there are others in the same situation who have a child they trust to be able to do this. And I understand every single one reaction comes from a whole personal set of experiences and elements, and so they're all different.

 

I know parents who've left their (very young) children at home for a while without really thinking it over, however, I do think it's not something you do 'just like that'. But it's so much about KNOWING your child that makes you able to come to such a shift or decision, and sometimes this shift may happen so fast you don't even notice and sometimes this may take much much longer. It also depends a lot on the parent, the bond, the trust involved from both sides, the environment, it's a whole package to look at, not just age, not just mere ability or responsibility. If the decision to leave a child alone for a while stems from well thought of, responsible parenting, and if the child agrees with the situation, it is imo, responsible.

 

I would NEVER (at least, not yet, and not for a LONG time) leave my two children home alone at these ages, because that, for sure, wouldn't work and wouldn't be safe. Not in the near or not so near future either. I trust that one day that shift will come true and thy will be up to this particular responsibility.

 

I started to wonder about the 'alone' idea, too, because I bring my child to school a little earlier (as some others do, too) to  pick up his little brother in time to from (another) school. This means the 7yo will be 'alone' (not really ;-) in the school yard for about 15 minutes (unfortunately one day I got scolded (!!!) for this by someone who obviously didn't think it was something to be done). However, I find this pretty normal for a 7 year old who is very fine with that arrangement. Then, many other parents or grandparents, (in my eyes then again 'helicopter(grand)parents') stay in the school yard until the kids disappear in the schoolbuilding with their teacher (which I find pretty weird actually for children aged 7-12 years old). Actually, I would be more comfortable if those adults would NOT stay on school grounds after bringing their child(ren), and would be able to trust the schoolgrounds enough for their children (age 7 and up) to be ok, since they also won't be there sitting next to their child in the school benches for the next couple of hours nor during the breaks. And it's not really like they all are watching their children closely while waiting there.

But well, other people, other perspectives just as in the above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#80 of 85 Old 05-21-2011, 02:15 PM
 
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Haven't read the whole thread, but where I live it is illegal to leave a child under 8 home alone and illegal to leave a child under 8 home alone with a sibling under 13.  We didn't leave our oldest (now 11) at home alone until he was 10 and only for a very short bit of time...15 - 20 minutes and have never lft our 7 year old with him. Once our 7 year olds turns 8 I will be comfortable leaving the two of them home alone for brief amounts of time - like to take the dog for a quick walk.  It was not until 10 that I felt like my oldest could handle an emergency - phone call to 911, getting a neighbor to help, etc. in an EMERGENCY situation where he would be upset. My 4 year old...well he is my baby and I keep him with me :)

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#81 of 85 Old 05-21-2011, 02:23 PM
 
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I think, regardless of individual children and their maturity level (though, obviously that is of high importance) is that when considering these types of situations, leaving them at home alone, babysitting younger siblings, going to store several blocks away all alone, etc., is to think about whether or not you would be comfortable announcing this to other adults such as: your kid's teacher, principal, social worker, a police officer, your pediatrician/family doctor, etc.  Or, are you okay with your kid talking about it at school the next day to his friends where a teacher could overhear? 

 

I'm not saying these are all community members who should make these decisions for our kids (though they all happen to be mandated reporters), but that if you don't feel at ease sharing that information with them, maybe there is a good reason you should reconsider and wait a few more years. 

 

 


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#82 of 85 Old 05-22-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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Or, are you okay with your kid talking about it at school the next day to his friends where a teacher could overhear? 

 

 

I think you are being extremely naive if you think you can keep your child from talking to other about this and far more subjects.

 

teacher over hear far more than that winky.gif

 

In most states it is not illegal to leave a child alone.

 

I repatriable teacher, "reporter" or the like would only report actual abuse.

 

The children that live next to me live in a house that I consider filthy ( I can see right in the windows)- social service WILL NOT even look into it-it is not abuse in my state.

 

The children are not beaten, they get food (regardless of what) and have shelter. It takes far more than being home alone to get social services involved and it is not a police matter nor would a Dr report on them unless they show physical or mental signs of abuse.

 

In my state most children and given information/taught how and can call 911 starting at K level. Several pre-schools also drill in this.


 

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#83 of 85 Old 05-22-2011, 07:44 PM
 
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I'm not saying these are all community members who should make these decisions for our kids (though they all happen to be mandated reporters), but that if you don't feel at ease sharing that information with them, maybe there is a good reason you should reconsider and wait a few more years.

 

Quoting isn't working for me for some reason....anyway, while I get where you are coming from in that you (generally speaking, not you in particular) don't want to invite trouble in the form of CPS or other "official" people in your life, I disagree.

 

If someone is not a person who should be making decisions for my kids, then they.....just don't. If *I* make a decision based out of fear of how someone else is going to react, then they essentially made the decision for me.

 

As an example, I am planning a home birth with baby #3. I don't go around advertising it to everyone, but inevitably it comes up when people hear i'm pregnant, and I tell the truth. I have no doubts that it will eventually get back to the same family members who have called CPS on me in the past. While I don't relish the thought of being investigated again and going through that drama, to me it's a cowards way out to either a) lie and hide it, which does nothing to normalize natural birth and promote change, or b) give in and do it the way this other family member thinks it should be done, just to avoid trouble.

 

No one should be apologizing for how they raise their children, as long as they are making decisions thoughtfully and from a place of love for their individual child. That basically just reinforces these arbitrary rules (about whatever-- leaving your kid home alone,  letting your kid sit in the car alone, home birthing, breastfeeding for 3 yrs, etc.). Just my two cents.

 

And to answer the original question, while I'm fine with ds playing outside alone to his heart's content, where all messes are forgiven, no way am I leaving that boy home alone for years to come! He never gets into anything dangerous because even at 3 he is trained not to touch the stove, daddy's tools etc, but I think even with a few years on him, I'd come home to find my house turned upside down. He's emotionally immature. And I imagine his anxiety would be through the roof at the thought of one of us not being accessible. I dread the day his sister surpasses him in what she is allowed to do, just because she is more even keeled. I imagine for her or any other typical kid 5 or 6 woul be ok for a few short minutes (like to walk to a neighbor's house down the street). i wouldn't get in my car and drive away before my kid was 8-ish, I think. 


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#84 of 85 Old 05-23-2011, 01:05 AM
 
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Oregon doesn't have a law stating a specific age a child can be left alone.  It's based on the child and their maturity level...and discretion of their parent, of course.

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#85 of 85 Old 05-23-2011, 04:07 AM
 
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I haven't read through the entire thread but I do have some opinions of this that I want to share.

 

First - when kids are left alone and when they are - by the community in general - considered old enough to handle themselfes for various periods of time is VERY much a cultural issue.

 

Being european and reading a thread like this in a predominantly US forum, I find that my opinions and what I experience to be the norm among parents in my community differ a lot from the general views expressed here.

 

First I want to say that I dont think there is a "truth" about when kids are old enough to be left alone. I think it very very much depends on the childs level of maturity and experience, the dangers in the childs environment (traffic, access to other adults who can help in case of emergencies, presence of other children who can call for help if something happens, social environment - is it a "family area" or one with more crime and social problems etc.) All those things have to be taken into consideration and then a healthy amount of common sense.

 

Also I want to say that no child should be suddenly left alone for a long period of time without having been "taught" how to manage him or herself. Being left on his/her own is something a child has to learn - it is not an ability that magically appears the day the child turns 12. It is something that needs to be practiced and taught gradually over several years

 

My son who is 7 is perfectly able to handle himself for up to an hour or two. He often volunteers to go by bike to the shop to get groceries. around half a mile away and there is only one minor road to cross - the rest of the way is on a walking path with only bikes and pedestrians. And he handles that perfectly. He likes being on his own at home and will prefer that to going grocery shopping for instance. He also sometimes goes on his bike to school together with a classmate and that is 2 miles away and that too they handle very well. So far we have never had issues of broken trust when it comes to him being on his own. Would I let just any kid do that? No ofcourse not. But I know my son is capable and so over time I had gradually helped him learn how to handle himself. I have never ever pushed him or put any kind of pressure on him. He has taken the initiative to most develpments towards more independency on his own and it has all happened gradually.

 

I know to (most of) you US moms the above mentioned will sound absolutely outragous, dangerous and irresponsible. You may try to tell me I am an unfit mother and someone should call the CPS on me. I will consider those replies extremely culturally biased, as here it is perfectly normal for children of age 7 to be given that kind of responsibility. Again taking their personal level of maturity and responsibility into consideration. The after school programme my 7 year old son is in has a list of agreements with parents as many of the kids are not picked up in the afternoon but have to walk or go on their bikes home - on their own. And we are talking kid ages 6-10 here. So the (educated) staff have a list that says - at 4pm. it's time to send Julie, Magnus, Oliver and Tina home and at 16.30 it's time for another bunch to leave. This works perfectly well and is just the way things are done here. No big deal.

 

At my younger sons daycare it is official policy, that the kids be given a lot of freedom to play and explore on their own without an adult breathing down their neck all the time and it is not unusual for me to pick him up and have to look through the "secret jungle" of bushes for him. They do have a fence all around their big garden so the kids dont leave the area, but apart from that they are free to play whereever they want. My son is 4 and loves his daycare. (and so do I - its a great daycare really!)

 

 

I wholeheartedly believe that children are capable of a lot more than adults generally give them credit for, and I believe we are NOT doing them a favor by being overprotective or by stopping them from gradually exploring their own independence from us. And I do not believe we are teaching our children to protect themselfes if we dont allow them to learn by doing. Being independent and responsible and being able to overcome and solve problems and conflicts is something a child has to LEARN. It is NOT something that just magically happens when they grow older. 

 

 

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