Leaving 16 year old home alone for 4 days!

Sherry - posted on 09/29/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My husband and I are planning a long weekend trip to the mid-west soon. I am debating whether we should leave him home alone, which he is begging for independence, or have grandma come and stay with him. He wants a chance on being independent and responsible for himself. I have several concerns: 1) He's 16; 2) He has never spent the night by himself and I'm not sure he would be comfortable; 3) He has a history of seizures, but has been seizure free for 3 years; 4) I doubt this will happen, but there is always the possibility that he will have friends over and get in a little mischief.

We have some contingency plans that we could arrange: 1) Get him a a medical alert bracelet, so that if he felt a seizure coming on, he could push the button. We would have to have a lockbox put on the hosue and we would have to make sure that one of our neighbors are on the contact list, and also know the lockbox code; 2) We could just have the neighbors check in each day to make sure he is doing fine; and 3) we can have grandma come up for 2 of the 4 days or she can come up if he decides he doesn't want to be alone after the first night.

He has his license, and does not drink alcohol or take drugs. He is a responsbile young man, but teens do get carried away.

Is this too much independence and responsibility? Maybe we should do a one night test run. Any thoughts or experiences?

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Tracey - posted on 09/29/2011

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I don't think I would consider leaving a 16 year old alone. Although my 15 year old is very responsible all kids want to be popular and will do things they wouldn't normally do to get other kids to like them, like have a party or even invite a few untrustworthy kids over to hangout. Maybe nothing will happen but is it ever worth the chance with our precious gifts of our children. I say grandmaw would be non-obtrusive yet the opportunity to have some independence by making his choices on his schedule and activities.

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Jane - posted on 06/28/2013

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Should I leave My 16 year old and my 12 year old home alone for 6 days. They are both good girls and know how to care for themselves in cooking, cleaning etc. They have stayed home alone before but only for a night. Their grandma lives like 2 houses away and we live in a great neighborhood and I trust my neighbors. They work well together and I would be able to Skype them on a nightly bases and can contact them by cell anytime. I would be 8 hours away.

Donna - posted on 10/06/2011

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Hehe I remember when my mother left me home alone at 18, i wasnt too bad, i only had maybe 5 friends over, boys and girls. Not to mention driving around on a permit. I say yeah try it but have the neighbors check in on him to make sure he isnt having a seizure. Better safe than sorry

Pip - posted on 10/05/2011

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It's a tough one but as alot have already said, it depends on the child. I've left my 2 teens (just 18 and 16) at home for 2 weeks, my Mum lives 500 m down the road though. My boys are good kids and didn't have any parties or even have people over, they couldn't be bothered to clean up after messy mates. I cooked up dinners and froze them so they didn't have to worry about dinner and I left house money for bread, milk and that sort of thing, they had to get a reciept so I could see the money wasn't wasted. It worked out well. So all in all if you trust your son like I trust mine you can do it and he'll probably do a little growing up while your away.

Shawnn - posted on 10/05/2011

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It's a tough decision, for sure. When mine was 16 (last year) we had 2 family deaths in 2 days. Since one was my MIL's husband, and the other was her sister, she asked my husband and I to go with her to her sister's funeral. It was a critical time at school, and the kids really didn't know the great aunt well. So, I sent the younger of the two to stay with family friends who could get him to and from his practices, etc. The 16 yr old we allowed to stay home, with the appropriate cautions. He had the contact numbers for just about EVERYBODY I could think of, and as soon as we got to the hotel, I opened up a chat window with him.

Of course, I knew that he'd be ok, because he's my responsible one. His brother? I won't leave him on his own until he's 25! LOL...

It truly depends on the child, the situation, etc. Most recently (Last weekend, actually) hubby and I were needed at MIL's to help with pre winter maintenance, and son needed to spend the weekend on 4 papers for his classes at school, so asked if he could stay home. We let him, again no problems. If his brother had asked, we'd have said no and made other arrangements.

Only you know how your kid will act. My mom was one of those "Even if YOU don't invite people over, they will somehow KNOW that I am out of town, and will crash the house for a party". Well, I don't know who my mom hung out with when she was growing up, but that could ONLY have come from her personal experience...because she did leave me by myself and watching my younger brothers for a weekend when I was 17, and miraculously, no party ever happened! LOL...I felt left out that my house wasn't "crashed for a party"...well, not really, but it really made me think that my mother was a complete fool!

Granted, I did tell my son the same thing: If a bunch of people start showing up, call your contact and have a parent come break it up. The only ones who showed up while we were gone were the 2 kids that had prior permission. No party, no worries.

So, my advice would be to go with your gut instinct. If you are confident in your son, let him. If not, don't.

Mailey - posted on 10/04/2011

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In my own opinion, it would still depend on a situation. If you think that your son is mature enough, then it would be fine. However, we can't still predict the circumstances that may happen in the future. And four days being gone with your husband may cause unexpected circumstances to your son when you're away. So, I would suggest that you'll ask a favor from your friends leaving beside your place, to watch your son while you're away. And in line with this I wanted to suggest this blog that I just found by anationofmoms about a service that can protect your family via your cell phone. And at the bottom, there is an opportunity to enter a drawing for 6 months of that service just by liking them on Facebook. You might find it interesting: http://anationofmoms.com/2011/08/protect...

Sherry - posted on 10/01/2011

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Thanks for all the insight. I don't think we will do it for this trip, as we will be too far away and it is just too long. He is responsbile, but you just never know how he might feel about spending the night alone, or what could happen. We may try one night away, but within a short driving distance and a neighbor checking in. He has a friend who is a senior, and who knows! I would check in with his parents to make sure they knew we were not going to be home. I know that they would make sure that he wasn't at our house with no parent supervision. We shall see.

Wendy - posted on 10/01/2011

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As some have said it depends on the kid.....my older daughter no problem with a support person close....my younger daughter no way she is indapendant yes but i would come home to some kind of crazy mess...trouble just happens with her......so you know if it doable with him or not .....trust that feeling...

Rhonda - posted on 09/29/2011

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It really depends on the kid. Do you trust him? Do you believe that he is trustworthy and responsible enough to stay by himself without betraying that trust? If so, then, in my opinion, I would execute option 1 and 2. The payoff will be that your son will feel like he is maturing in your eyes and is respected by you. He will also exercise those independence muscles, that at 16, should be exercised. It's time for him to have the opportunity to take care of himself for a small period of time in an semi-controlled environment. This is part of the bridge from little kid to young adult. Only you can answer whether he's ready or not. Keep in mind, in a short time he will be leaving for college and out of your reach.This can be a learning expereince for both of you.

Donna - posted on 09/29/2011

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Wow. I would never consider leaving a 16 year old alone for 4 days. I remember (back-in-the-day) when my parents left me and my sister (15 and 16 respectively) alone with a sleep in maid for 4 days (who was/seemed old) - what a great party that was! over 100 people! How about having your son sleep over at a friends for a day or two, then have grandma watch him for 2 days.

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