Single mom leaves 10-year-old home alone constantly - surely this isn't okay; what can I do?

Monique - posted on 10/28/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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A single mom who rents out the bottom level of a home my husband and I live in has left her child home alone for lengthy periods of time since age 7. The child is now 10. On weekdays, the mom leaves for work in the morning before her child walks to the bus stop, and most times does not come home until 7:00 p.m. (her daughter is home by 3:30) because she is out socializing. On weekends, she leaves her child unattended/unsupervised/alone for several hours, such as 3:00 p.m. to midnight. This can't possibly be okay and the one who is suffering is the child; however, the mom is a family law attorney and argues that it is absolutely legal. Any advice?

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Jessica - posted on 10/29/2012

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I am a single mother of two, and i work. I NEVER leave my children home alone. I dont have friends or family to help me. They go to daycare. there are many options. my Son goes to daycare before and after school and my daughter goes to a diffrent daycare all day. I feel no matter how single she is the childs needs should come first, including safty. Especially if she is a LAWYER im sure she can afford a few hours of daycare for her child. If i can with no degree im sure she can. Id say bring it up, or offer help. (it seems you have already said somthing to her) then if she still doesnt care, call CPS. its the child that matters most.

If you dont have childcare on weekends you dont go out. i know it gets lonely (there are other ways to meet men) but leaving your child so you can go party is unacceptable no matter what. I'd love to go out once in a while but if i dont have a sitter then i dont go!

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Monique - posted on 11/05/2012

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Thanks again to those of you who responded. As a reminder, my concern has always been for the child. Her mother and I were the closest of friends since 2008 so I was extremely torn. I am remarried but was a single mom for five years. Even now I don't miss a single opportunity to spend time with my daughter especially since we share custody, let alone leave her alone so that I can go socialize with girlfriends in clubs on the weekends. This was never meant to be about judging someone - I just wanted feedback as to if my concerns are valid. In other words, I wouldn't want to create an unnecessary problem/situation if other single moms thought that this child would never suffer emotionally - which, for me, was always worse than any physical abuse when I was growing up. I still have not officially reported it because our friendship is beyond repair and I don't want this viewed as retaliation. However, one good thing has come from this. My husband and I rent a home and she asked to rent the bottom level - turns out she had ulterior motives and last week things came to a head when she tried to get us kicked out so that she could take over the entire home. When I told her that she's never home and her daughter needs her, she said that she wasn't doing anything illegal and I responded "well, actually, according to my conversation with CPS, you are." Apparently, AS A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY, for goodness sake, she DOES know that her parenting is questionable and perceived my comment as a threat to report her so she's spent all time not at work interacting with her daughter. Thank goodness she has finally agreed to move out at the end of this month and we can live in peace again. I just hope she continues to spend time with her daughter.

Dove - posted on 10/28/2012

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If it were just during the week because of work I would be more inclined to offer assistance instead of reporting... since I know what it's like to BE a single mom and feel like you have no options for help. The weekend thing though.... I can't see any legitimate excuse for that since if she is a LAWYER.... any work she may have to do on the weekends should be able to be done at home. Going out just for the sake of going out for hours on end while you have a child home alone is not ok in my eyes. 1-3 hours in the afternoon... maybe on occasion, but out til midnight?! I know if I were that child... I'd be scared out of my mind cuz when I'd be home alone and it would start to get dark I would turn on every single light in the house and lock myself in the tv room. ;)

Amy - posted on 10/28/2012

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Where I live there is no law as to what age a child can be left home unattended. The recommendation is 12 but again it's not a written law.

Monique - posted on 10/28/2012

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Thanks to both of you. I actually did call CPS (but the incorrect division). I had a lengthy conversation with the gentleman there and at first he stated there is no law against leaving a child home alone for a certain amount of time. However, as the conversation progressed and he learned that she was being unsupervised for the amount of time I'm talking about, he said "I can't tell you what to do, but off the record, you know what the right thing to do is. Make the call." I have just been reticent I would feel more confident knowing others' experience(s) in this regard. Again, this is Minnesota.

Dove - posted on 10/28/2012

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I was home alone for hours at a time by the age of 9.....



Granted, it does sound like a possible case of neglect, but if you live somewhere that it is not illegal for the child to be home alone... there may not be a reason to have a case against her without additional signs of neglect as well. If you are concerned there is no harm in calling CPS and asking some anonymous questions first.

Jodi - posted on 10/28/2012

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It depends where you live as to whether it is legal. However, just because a law doesn't specify an age, doesn't mean it wouldn't be considered neglect. Contact Child Protection (again, depends where you are as to what they are called) and ask their advice on the matter.

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