At what age would you leave your child home alone???

Jennifer - posted on 01/14/2009 ( 69 moms have responded )

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My son is 10 and I leave him for short spaces of time in the house while I pop to the shop or call at my sisters house around the corner, he has my phone number, knows not to answer the door or let anyone in. He is quite responsible and usually he never even moves off the sofa.

I wanted to see what anyone thought about this, I am not sure if I am doing the right thing by letting him, it's just he getting to the age now where he does not want to come the shop if I need to go or stay with me while I have a cupof tea with my sister!!



Do you think he is too young to be left?

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Laura - posted on 01/29/2009

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you definately need rules set up for this.  I let my 2 stay home w/o adult supervision.  We have yet to leave the 10yo alone but we have left him and his 13yo sister home together.  They know they're not to go outside, let anyone inside, or be on the phone for more than 10 minutes.  They know not to touch the stove or go into our room and if they do they then have to deal with tagging along on boring trips and not being independant.  They've broken the rules and gotten caught and the boringness of the consequences thus far has been enough to deter them from further infractions.

Janice - posted on 01/24/2009

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I leave my two alone, daughter 13, son 10, they know the rules, but my neighbour leaves her 10 yr old alone with her sister who just turned 4, now that is just wrong ...

Christine - posted on 01/16/2009

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I agree, 10 is a little too young for a long period of time. Just running down to the store, sure. Remember the day when we were out until the street lights came on. We were given responsibilities and opportunities to take care of ourselves. We need to do the same for our kids or they will be dependent on us and not have the confidence that they can take care of themselves. There is a line between protecting our children and smothering them.

Manda - posted on 01/15/2009

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Well I leave my kids alone at times - mainly because if they are absorbed in something they do not want to have to pack up and get outdoor things on, simply to fetch a loaf of bread from across the road. Rather than have a fight, I have given in, talked them through the difficulties and scenarios, and am away from the house as short a time as possible. My kids are 10 and 11, but are so different. My daughter (11) is very old for her age, extremely responsible, and gives me no worries at all. My son is very young for his age, does daft things, and can never remember what he has been told. I have been leaving my daughter alone for short periods since she was 8, but I would not leave my son alone now, and only began leaveing him with my daughter last year, when he grew a little in maturity, and when I felt she was up to dealing with his challenges. I have my mobile with me, and until recently I would phone my husband at work and make sure he knew they were alone and was going to be sat at his desk until I got back.



I don't think laws on this subject are the answer. New Zealand law seems a bit strict to me. What happens at 14? Are kids suddenly left alone for hours? Surely it's better to work up to that, in relationship with your kids own needs, maturity and happiness. And don't kids play out in New Zealand? If so, how is them running round outside without parental supervision okay, but 10 minutes alone in front of the tv not?



It is a scary time as a parent to hand over some responsibility to your chidren, but has to be done if the aim is to bring up responsible children.

Katie - posted on 01/14/2009

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Quoting Michelle:



There is a right & wrong way to parent.






It is illlegal to leave a child under the age of 14 years old home alone in New Zealand.






If  reported by anyone,  you could be prosecuted.






 





Right and wrong huh? Sounds like a pretty narrow view to me. I don't suggest anyone do anything illegal but come on, YOU know if your kid is ready for some independence or not. Pot is legal in amsterdam, does that mean it's ok everywhere? I dont live in New Zealand so I can't say that your laws are "RIGHT" for the world. RIGHT and WRONG...Hmmm...Be careful, there is more to life than just BLACK and WHITE you know.

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Josselyn - posted on 10/08/2012

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I started letting my daughter stay home alone when she was 10. I guess it just matters how mature your child is.

Amy - posted on 10/03/2012

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Im 15 now and when I was that age my mom would leave me home allot for a long time so as long as he knows not to answer the door and knows ur phone number u can probably leave him home alone

Jennifer - posted on 01/30/2009

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Thank you everyone for taking the time to write!!



A quick upate - We have gone through a number of senarios and so far he been quite grown up with his ideas on how he would handle certain situations, althought I do know what he says and what he would do could be different but I have to trust his judgement. I now feel more confident in leaving him for these short spaces of time.



Once again thanks, Jen x

Suzan - posted on 01/29/2009

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I've been leaving mine home since he was 10 too. (Now nearly 12) It started with a half hour here and there and up to an hour. Now we're quite comfortable leaving him for 3 hours while we take his sister (nearly) to her riding lesson. It teaches responsibility and independence and he's mature enough. It depends on the child though - I know some of his friends I'd NEVER leave alone for 30 minutes! He has the emergency numbers including Grandma's, knows he can answer the phone but can't answer the door. We've discussed a variety of scenarios including fire, a friend having an allergy attack (that was a just in case when his sleepover buddy's pickup and our departure had to overlap by an hour). A couple of weeks ago we left both together for a couple of hours and went out for a grown-up dinner. Came home and one was doing homework, the other working on the computer. Again - depends on the kids.

Kirsten - posted on 01/28/2009

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I had the same problem. My daughter is now 11, 6th grade. up until the start of the school  year I didn't leave her alone, but now she can be alone and is ok for a couple of hours as long as it's day light. But never at night, or if she feels scared. She knows the rules, and has a cell phone. There are no laws, but alot of people base it on the child, the time of day, and how long.

Natalie - posted on 01/27/2009

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I have heard 12. My child has been asking to stay home while I run an errand. I told her what to do but so far we have not actually gone through with it at our house. Oddly enough we did leave her at home alone in an apartment we were staying at in Pittsburgh. Mostly because it was 7am, freezing cold and I had to drive my husband about 18 blocks. Also the apartment building was filled with old people and I somehow felt safer with that. She was thrilled for the chance. I would not do it here in CA at our home but we talk about it often. We are practicing the drill for that "someday".

Susan - posted on 01/27/2009

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Quoting Mel:

Hi All
I was told by the police that a child had to be 14yrs old to be left on there own, mind this was about 5yrs ago, i would ask social services or the police.
Regards
Mel


Hi



I am a social worker in England and there is no law (currently that I'm aware of) specifying at what age a child is allowed to be left home alone.  However should something happen to your child if left alone i.e. at 10yrs old, a fire broke out and your child was injured, this would be investigated and the outcome of possible prosecution.



I do agree that you need to develop a child's independent skills and giving them trust and responsibility is a part of this.  I think you have to use your own judgement about your own child's abilities and also what you feel is reasonable and responsible as a parent.



Its a difficult one also because I believe that we have also developed a culture whereby we smother our children and stifle their independence, however you also have to ensure your balancing these with your responsibility as a parent. 



Hope that helps

Andrea - posted on 01/27/2009

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Quoting Mel:

Hi All
I was told by the police that a child had to be 14yrs old to be left on there own, mind this was about 5yrs ago, i would ask social services or the police.
Regards
Mel


Mel,



 



I totally agree, for VA they have time limits when it comes to age.  Like at 10 it's 15 - 30 mins. and you cannot leave a younger sibling in their care.  I live in a city outside of Washington, DC.  I have checked on the VA state website before we ever put this into practice.  We had no choice when my 10 yrs old attended summer school.  I made him lunch and kept in the fridge so he could eat it before my hubby picked him up to take him to camp for the remaining 4 hrs we had to work.  It worked out well and wishes to have more responsibility.



 



We now let him run small errands, such as going to the grocery store, to pick up a few items, the store is less that 1/4 mile away from the house and we allow him to take his bike or scooter, but we only let him do this in the early morning on weekends when the streets are virtually clear.   He even does a little comparison shopping for the best price!    We will step up his responsibility according to his actions and his readiness, he wants to go full steam ahead, but we feel that it may be too soon.  We have some time and told him he has years to come, rather than be concerned about that.  Be a kid and enjoy it!



 



Good Luck all,



 



Andrea

Mel - posted on 01/27/2009

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Hi All

I was told by the police that a child had to be 14yrs old to be left on there own, mind this was about 5yrs ago, i would ask social services or the police.

Regards

Mel

Jenn - posted on 01/27/2009

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I have 3 kids, 12 (soon to be 13) 10, and 8 and it must vary from kid to kid depending on the maturity of the child. I'm sure there is an age considered illegal to leave children home but I'm not aware of what that is. I know many "latch-key kids" come home after school and let themselves into their homes being alone until a parent gets home. I'd be worried about the things kids don't think of that could come up. I worry about fires, them using the microwave, electrical shock, etc. I know my 12 yr old has come home after school when I leave to get the other two and puts something with metal edges in the microwave. I would not leave my 10 year old alone but that's me.

Dee - posted on 01/26/2009

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my dilema with this started 2 years ago when i started working as a teaching assistant in a school 20 mins from home. at the time my eldest daughter was 10 and my youngest was 8. They were both quite responsible and for the sake of 15 mins after school i decided i would rather let them have a back door key and let them selves in rahter than pay for a child minder!! I am lucky that i live in a small close with other parents close by, so should there be an immediate emergency they could call on a neighbour. they had similar rules with the phone and the door. However, I actually realised they could be responsible, and now let them choose if they want to stay at home or come with me when i pop out for half an hour or so. I believe its down to the individual. If u feel comfortable with it it can give them independance. Mine now only tend to phone me if they are argueing!!!!!

Andrea - posted on 01/26/2009

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They were different then, but when it comes down to it, I think anyone on this post has the best interest of the child at heart. I don't think there is anyone here that doesn't love or care for their children and sharing of these posts is great!

Michele - posted on 01/26/2009

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My Dad was born in 1912.  He was left alone over night to care for his younger brothers and sisters as well as take care of the boarders.   He was only 12.  My grandparents had to go to Buffalo to a funeral.  My Dad was up before the boarders-cooked them breakfast (oatmeal, bacon, eggs, pancakes)  packed their lunches.  Then fed the family.  Part way through the morning there was a knock on the door and there stood the truant officer wanting to know why he wasn't in school. Dad said that he had to care for the boarders while his parents were away at a funeral.  He invited her in and offered her fresh scones that he had just taken from the oven and tea.  She went back to the school and told them they were the best tea and scones she had ever eaten.  That said, there is no way I could imagine leaving my son home alone that long to care for himself, never mind others.  Times sure were different then.  LOL

Michele - posted on 01/26/2009

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My Dad was born in 1912.  He was left alone over night to care for his younger brothers and sisters as well as take care of the boarders.   He was only 12.  My grandparents had to go to Buffalo to a funeral.  My Dad was up before the boarders-cooked them breakfast (oatmeal, bacon, eggs, pancakes)  packed their lunches.  Then fed the family.  Part way through the morning there was a knock on the door and there stood the truant officer wanting to know why he wasn't in school. Dad said that he had to care for the boarders while his parents were away at a funeral.  He invited her in and offered her fresh scones that he had just taken from the oven and tea.  She went back to the school and told them they were the best tea and scones she had ever eaten.  That said, there is no way I could imagine leaving my son home alone that long to care for himself, never mind others.  Times sure were different then.  LOL

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I have also left my son who his now 11 years old alone at home for short time periods.  He is aware of the rules, he knows to say only that we cannot come to the phone if it rings, no one in and he is not to go out of the house, just in case something happened to him out there.  We have never had an issue at all.  It teaches them responsibility and that we trust them.  He is my third boy and I did it with all of them and never had one issue.

Victoria - posted on 01/24/2009

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Wow...I wouldn't like to live in New Zealand then. My children are very independent and responsible and I have had no problem leaving them alone for up to 30 minutes when they were ten. I do think that every child is different and can handle life in different ways.Also, each time they were successful staying home for short periods of time lead to them being completely comfortable staying home for extended periods of time when they got older. They need to begin the process slowly.

Emma - posted on 01/23/2009

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i leave my 11 yr old at home if i'm just popping to the shops or if hes sick and off school i'll leave when i drop his brothers to school i've been doing this since he was 10yrs old he knows not to answer the phone or door( thats if any can get pass the dogs) and to ring if he needs anything as long as you think hes responsible enough that its down to you judgement

Andrea - posted on 01/23/2009

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My son had to go to summer school and the hours are from 9-12 pm. My husband and I had to make arrangements with our jobs to come in later in the day (me) or take a little longer lunch break to take him to Camp after school ended (hubby). My son was completely thrilled at the prospect of being home alone. He has my cell phone and work #'s committed to memory as well as all the emergency #'s. He was left instruction of what he could touch and what he couldn't (like the stove and etc.) On the 1st day of summer school, my husband had forgotten that he would have to meet our son at home and escort him to camp (the camp would not allow him to sign himself in). he was reminded by a phone call from my mother - in - law. My son chose not to call me but her (she happened to be over 100 miles away on vacation with our youngest), his reason behind it, She is his mom and I knew she would reach him. My mother-in-law indeed got in touch with him and gave him a few choice words. He manage to reach him within 45 mins. and was panicked because he thought our son may have been afraid, but when he got home, he found our son, stretched out in our bed, eating a sandwich, drinking juice and watching TV. My son grew disappointed that he was never able to spend that amount of time alone again. I would see if there are any rules, laws or regulations as I did with the State of Virginia, before allowing your child home alone. You of course know your son well enough to determine how well you think he will do. My son, did well and used common sense. He's not had the opportunity to be home alone since then, but asks us constantly.

Paula - posted on 01/23/2009

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Quoting Beth:



I myself would not leave my 10 yr old home alone.  I think they just arent ready to have that responsibility.  Too many things could go wrong..someone trying to break in, a fire, etc.






My daughter was 11 but you have to make the decision based on the child my daughter is very responsible and grown up for her age she know's the dangers of fire etc and know's not to open the door etc,we don't live in the bronx so there is little chance of a break-in, it is not late at night and my daughter knows she just needs to pick up the phone or pop next door if there are any problems, she spends the time just sitting watching tv.



My son on the otherhand is 8 and I won't even let him out of the garden as he is very spontaious and not sensible at all so I doubt he will be responsible enough by that age.



So really you have to go on whether the child is responsible and educated on the dangers that could occur whilst they are alone at that age.

Dawn - posted on 01/22/2009

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hi, my daughter is 11 now and   have been leaving  her on her own  for about a year now, when im at work, but  only locally ,she has  my  mobile number, and  i text and ring to check on her, i think its upto you as a parent  depending  on the child, if she ever wants friends round for tea i do not leave them i arrange that when i am not at work, as you cant be resposible foranother child in your home when your not  there and  i always  understood that as being against the law ( although not sure)



 



Dawnx

Michele - posted on 01/22/2009

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I started leaving my son alone when he was 11...just while I stepped out to the neighbors to start with.  Then to go pick up rental car.. then progressed to picking up rental car and getting hubby from work (40 min)..I added a little time each time I went out.    He knows the rules: lock the doors, don't answer the phone if he doesn't recognize the number, don't tell people we are out etc.  He has done well.  If he has a question he calls me on my cell.  When he turned 12 I had  to work my cleaning job down the street... he didn't want to come..so I very reluctantly let him stay home.  My mom and mom in law phoned to check on him as well as my husband and I.  He doesn't like being home in the evening alone so we don't leave him then. I had a neighbor try to tell me they couldn't stay home until 16 ... yeah right.  I was babysitting a new born for a couple of hours at a time when i was  12.  Depends on the child and situation and maybe even location.

[deleted account]

I think it depends on the maturity of the child.  I was able to leave my daughter at home alone (for short spells when I was not far away) when she was 10.  She has always been very mature.  My son, who is 11, is still not ready to be home alone.  Every kid is different.  I would certainly discuss "what to do" and "where to go" in the event of an emergency with your child, whatever his/her age.                                                                

Erica - posted on 01/21/2009

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Quoting Michelle:



There is a right & wrong way to parent.






It is illlegal to leave a child under the age of 14 years old home alone in New Zealand.






If  reported by anyone,  you could be prosecuted.






 






Please! Do we really want to raise our kids this way?? We'll have a bunch of 20 year olds who can't do anything for themselves! I stayed home alone much younger than 10 (in the 80's) and I think it helped me to be  an independent person. I don't think times have changed THAT much! Should we throw all working parents in jail? That would really help their children, wouldn't it? There are people out there who can't afford child care...they don't deserve to be prosecuted.

Erica - posted on 01/21/2009

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I have an 11 yr old son, and I also started letting him stay home alone for short periods of time (30 min to an hr) when he was 10. He know the rules and nothing bad has ever happened. I think children need a little responsibilty in their lives and this small bit of freedom gives them a sense of independence.  I will say that I won't leave him home alone for long periods yet, but he has proven to be very responsible.

Cynthia - posted on 01/21/2009

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Every child is different...it really depends on their maturity level. I know some 8, 9, and 10 year olds that handle it better than age 12 and above. You really just have to know your child. Both you and your child have to be comfortable with the arrangement. I think what your doing will build trust and common ground between the two of you. It's not like your leaving him all day...just for an hour or two.

Crystal - posted on 01/20/2009

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I think legally the age is 12. I believe I started leaving my oldest alone for short spurts at about 11, although I was very nervous and called a lot. Now both of my boys, 14 and 12 will stay at home. I always take my 9 year old daughter with me.

Jennifer - posted on 01/20/2009

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Thank you everyone for all the great advice,everyone seems to be on the same track - that it depends on the child, I think he himself is ready now ,as already said have been leaving him for a couple of months with no problems, It's just me , I think I got cold feet with what ifs?? ect. We are going to do some of the scenarios and decide from there.



Joy I like the idea of having someone he does not know, but I do to go and knock and see how he reacts to that situation, I will try this too.



Thank you everyone again Jenny x

Linda - posted on 01/20/2009

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My husband and I are back and forth about this issue. Basically, the child should not be afraid to be left alone. Perhaps, start it with a fast run to the store. Like some one said , tell him/her not to turn on the stove and the stranger issue. Do not tell callers that you are alone , also unless he/she knows the caller. My husband has become concerned not to let him eat while we are not there in case he should choke.



Basically use common sense for your child's own good.



I have said my peace.



TTFN



Linda in OH

Ann - posted on 01/20/2009

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I think it depends on the child. My oldest is 11 and he's just not ready to be left alone. I have left him while I ran up to get something from the store before, but that's not very often. However, I cannot leave him with any of his brothers, he is not ready for that at all. I have friends whose children are younger than my oldest and are able to stay at home and watch a younger sibling...mine just isn't ready.

Lisa - posted on 01/20/2009

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I don't think that it is any big deal to run to the store for a few things or be gone to your sister's a little ways away while your 10 year old is home alone.  As long as you have communication with him so he can call you if he needs you, you can call and see if he is doing okay, and he isn't scared, I don't feel it is a big deal.  You are his mother and know best if he is responsible enough to not use the stove while you are gone or answer the door if someone he doesn't know shows up, or run out of the house if there is a fire.  Just use good judgement based on your son's maturity level. 

Karen - posted on 01/19/2009

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hi i leave my son at home sometimes he is 11 he just dont want to go to the shops or sit around while i have a coffee with a friend he knows what to do if any thing happens and has a cell phone and land line.

Sarah - posted on 01/18/2009

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Here the law is you can leave your 11yr old home alone for no longer than 2hr periods and they are not allowed to have any other children with them (no looking after siblings or other children). At the age of 12 they are allowed to be alone and look after other children. I just started leaving my son alone for short periods of time. He just turned 11.

Priscilla - posted on 01/18/2009

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I have only started to leave my 11 yr old alone for not more than an hour at a time.  usually shes left alone if I have to make a quck run to the grocery store or drop or pick up one of her sisters from practice.  she is also very responsible, she knows the secret knock we have, she knows not to answer unelss I have told her that her uncle is coming over, but thats usually never.  so I think your doing ok. 

Joy - posted on 01/18/2009

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My son is 11 going to be 12 next month. He is very responsible but leaving him alone was a big step in the independce stage. I want to keep him little as long as I can. But there is time that I am not home in time for him and his little sister to get off the bus. So he lets her and himself in and locks the door behined him. Every Child is different and the maturity leave different and you sould know if your child is ready. 10 is young and there is one way to test your son. Have a friend that you know and know well and your son dosen't know. Go across the street to a neighbors house and whatch your son. Have your friend come to the house and see if your son will open the door and if he dose it is to soon and if he dosen't then you know he is good to stay home alone. But make it tempting to him to come out like tell him you lost your dog and you need to show him a pic to see if he has seen it or something like that. Anyways hope this helps.

Nicki - posted on 01/18/2009

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My son is 11 and has been staying home alone after school since March 08. It's not everyday that he is alone and if he is, it's only for an hour and 10 minutes. I have left him at home while I go to the grocery store or run errands because he prefers to stay home. He knows my cell number and what to do in case of an emergency. There have been some occasions that he has been home while I am working if there is no school. I only work 5 miles from home so I am able to check on him during my lunch break. It has saved me quite a bit of money on daycare.

[deleted account]

I have a 14 and a 9 year old. My 14 year old has been staying alone since he was 10. I of course always had people like the neigbors who knew he was there and he has always had a cell phone for emergencies. Where I am from daycares do not take kids past the 5th grade and that is 10. My son has always been very responisble when it comes to the rules. It was funny one time my mom called to check on my kids and she was trying to pretend that she was a stranger and she ask my son if I was home and of course she busted him because he told her that I was not home. When she busted him he said I know the rules grandma but I knew it was you.



Anyway I believe it is how mature your kids are, every kid matures differently.

Anna - posted on 01/17/2009

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I have a 10 and 13 year old. They both stay home alone for a short while, but before I left him alone I tested him. He knows not to answer the phone unless he sees its my number on the caller ID and not to answer the door. Before i started leaving him alone i tested him by leaving and after a few minutes I would come ring the bell and see what he would do and I did this more than once. He never came to answer the door or look out the window. He did what I told him to. I also tell them what to do in case of an emergency like running out the back door and going to a neighbors house. I think that if the child is responsible enough u can leave him a lone.

Seth N Melissa - posted on 01/16/2009

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I have a 10 yr old son and he is fine for an hour or so at home alone. he was riding the bus home and going in by himself but that didn't work out just b/c the other kids on the bus were tacky. but i have left him alone for a few hours while I went to work a couple of times that he stayed home from school sickly (not too sickly). I check on him often and I have neighbors that are home alot and we live in a safe place. I think under different circumstances i would not do it, but if you feel comfortable and the child is responsible, it would actually be good for them ~~ just my opinion - take it for what it's worth :) Best of Luck!

Lynette - posted on 01/16/2009

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I believe the child's maturity level should determine when they could be left home alone. In Maryland, I think the legal age is 13 or 14 but my child was comfortable at 10(with short trips to the store). As long as the child knows what to and what not to do, and knows what your protocol is on who and when to contact people, I say try it.

Shana - posted on 01/16/2009

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Wow, such varying answers.  Of course, some 10 year olds are able to be home alone for short periods.  Only you know your child best.  Where I live, there is NO law about what age a child can be left home alone.  I think that every child is different.  It also depends on where you live, how far/long you will be gone.  I left my daughter alone starting at age 10 and she was perfectly fine with it.  Times sure change as I started babysitting other kids when I was 11.

Tami - posted on 01/15/2009

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I've left my son at home for no longer than a half hour at a time and he's 11. It started when I moved to town last  year instead of living in the country where we were farther from the grocery store. He knows to lock the doors and not let anyone in or answer the phone unless it's me, his dad, his aunt, or his grandma calling. As long as it is not a long distance that I go, I leave him home. It's not that I don't trust him, I just don't trust others.

Jennifer - posted on 01/15/2009

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Thankyou for all your advice!! I had a talk to Declan and he is happy to be on his own for these short spaces of time as it had been him that had innitiated it in the first place, due to the fact some of his friends do this. We are going to go through some What ifs?? and will see how he responds to the situations given.

Heather - posted on 01/15/2009

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I hadn't thought of leaving my 10 yr old twins home alone until we did a well-child visit at almost 10.5 yrs of age.  Pediatrician asked if I was leaving them home alone at all.  I said "no". She told me between 10 - 12 yrs of age you should start leaving kids on their own at home for short and then extending periods of time.



My DD and DS now stay for up to 3 hours as long as I'm close enough to get home quickly.  



DD is taking Red Cross babysitting course in April and is going to start a babysitting service this summer in our neighborhood. 

Michelle - posted on 01/14/2009

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There is a right & wrong way to parent.



It is illlegal to leave a child under the age of 14 years old home alone in New Zealand.



If  reported by anyone,  you could be prosecuted.



 

Erika - posted on 01/14/2009

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my eldest are 11-f and 13-m. i leave them to go to the grocery and corner store for no more than an hour. my neighbor leaves their 3 alone (same ages +1 older) til they get home from work. i agree with the mom's who say that this should be a responsibility situation. we know our children and their capabilities. the resposibility lies within us to know when they're truly ready or not. maybe set him up with certain tests to see if he passes?



good luck. also, we are all different. we all parent differently. there is no right or wrong.



peace

Josette - posted on 01/14/2009

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Another note -- my stepson was 9 the first time I left him alone.  I locked the doors, and ran quickly to the grocery store 1/2 block from our house!  He was completely fine -- played video games the whole time.

Josette - posted on 01/14/2009

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My daughter is 11.  Her best friend lives on the other side of our duplex.  Most of the time, there is a parent in the building (either us or her friend's parents).  However, there have been a few times when we've left them alone together.  They stay on one side of the house, lock the door, and watch tv.  Neither set of parents is comfortable doing this yet for more than an hour, although they seem to do okay together.  My daughter isn't ready to stay completely alone yet -- she gets anxious and worried.  Her friend, however, is more easygoing, and probably would be okay for an hour by herself.  I guess that this is a long way of saying that it depends on the kid!

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