What should I do (as a step mother) now that I've found out my step sons ages 8 & 9 will be left home alone while their mother is still at work?

Katie - posted on 08/06/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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I thought the children had to be 13 yrs old? I don't want to cause friction with the ex. But I'm worried for the childrens safety.

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Shawnn - posted on 08/07/2012

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And, I can add, in Wyoming, it's a case by case basis. My eldest was fine, at 9, staying home by himself, with the phone to contact me if necessary. I wouldn't have left my younger one at that age, though.

As a matter of fact, I just let my youngest stay with my eldest for the weekend, the eldest is 18, youngest is 15, and this is the FIRST time I've trusted him to behave

Dove - posted on 08/07/2012

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In case anyone doesn't want to click on the link ;) Only 3 states have 12 set as the guideline, one state is 14, and all other states are younger (8-11) or have no guideline or no information.

Shawnn - posted on 08/07/2012

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Dove's link is the closest thing you'll find to a guideline.

No, there is no SET age in the US for when it's OK to leave a kid by himself. Each state has different guidelines.

If you want to know the guidelines for YOUR specific area, the best thing to do is call the state child authorities, who set the rules.

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Dove - posted on 08/07/2012

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I can't believe I didn't mention you and their father offering them to stay at your house while she works. Duh! (that duh is for ME cuz for all I know you live too far away for that to be at all practical)

I should also mention that a friend of mine started leaving his kids home alone at that exact same age for an hour or two... and it wasn't for work. Not something 'I'd' personally do, but I knew he was legally within his right (we live in a state with no specific age) and I trust his judgement with his kids.

Brittany - posted on 08/07/2012

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I trust my 8 year old by himself - usually it's only for 15-20 minutes and he is not allowed to answer the door, or leave the house unless it is an emergency. He is well behaved and responsible enough to be trusted not to touch the stove ect. My province from my understanding the age is 8 to be left alone for reasonable periods of time.

I agree with everyone else. If you and your husband have such an issue you find it nessacary to report her - maybe you should try to help her 'fix' the problem, not many parents like having to leave there children unattended but if she can't afford childcare, and the children can be trusted to be alone, I see nothing wrong with it.

Shawnn - posted on 08/07/2012

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Actually, honestly, I don't know why you and your husband haven't made arrangements with her already. That would seem to be the logical choice for all, without anyone having to pay for childcare, and a bonus because you'd get to spend a bit more time with them.



eta: And your definition of "poor decision" may differ from that of her definition, or that of your husband.

Lacye - posted on 08/07/2012

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Personally, I think 8 and 9 are too young to stay at home by themselves. Have you or your husband offered to watch the kids for her while she is at work so they won't have to be at home by themselves? Is that option that is available for the two of you? What does your husband say about it?

Carol - posted on 08/07/2012

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When tough situations forced me to leave my 9 year old home alone I had neighbors on three sides on alert and she knew to go to them if there was trouble. They also kept an eye on what was going on. It helped me breathe a little. Cell phones weren't around then and that would help too.

Carol - posted on 08/07/2012

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Perhaps your husband needs to help her with some money for childcare or some help in finding safe reliable child care. My daughter was home alone before it was legal. I hated it but I had to work and there was no care available that I could afford. Her father and his wife would have had my forever blessing if they had offered to help.

Dove - posted on 08/07/2012

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http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-ki...

I posted the above link since I don't know what state you are in. ;)

You or your husband can call to check on the boys when they are home alone. See how they are... see how they feel about being home alone... make sure everything is ok.

If you are in a state where it is illegal and/or the boys are not doing ok being alone... then it's up to you and your husband whether or not you decide to make the call and report it.

Katherine - posted on 08/06/2012

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Usually they have to be 12. So that's completely inappropriate. In almost EVERY state the age is 12. You may want to check out your states guidelines. If it is 12, well you COULD call CPS on her or do whatever you feel is necessary. Talk to her, point out the fact that what she's doing is illegal.....hope this helps.

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