Mom goes on vacation and leaves 16 and 4 year old at home

Esther - posted on 09/01/2011 ( 75 moms have responded )

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The mother of a four-year-old girl who was left home alone will be spoken to by police after she returned to Britain.

Police found the girl after her 16-year-old brother was arrested along with another boy of 16 on suspicion of driving offences.

The mother is understood to have gone abroad on holiday to an undisclosed location, leaving the young girl's brother in charge of her care in Crawley, West Sussex. It is not known how long the girl had been left on her own.

The girl's discovery was made after the two teenagers were stopped by police in the Maidenbower area at around 1am on Tuesday. The driver was arrested on suspicion of taking a car without the owner's consent, Sussex Police said.

The second boy was held on suspicion of being carried in a stolen vehicle and child neglect. Both have been freed on police bail until September 27.

A police spokeswoman said the girl's mother had returned on Wednesday night and will be spoken to under caution by officers and social services.

Sources said it is not believed she will be arrested because it is not an offence to leave a young child in the care of a 16-year-old unless it places them at risk.

"It is more likely that she will be given advice," one source said.

Sussex Police said: "As a result of inquiries following the arrest of one of the boys, West Sussex Social Services have been informed by police that a four-year-old girl, known to one of the boys, was home alone at an address nearby. This matter is now being dealt with by West Sussex County Council."

A county council spokesman said that they had no comment to make because police inquiries are still continuing.

http://news.aol.co.uk/uk-news/story/moth...
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What do you all think of this. Personally I think the mom is the one who should be charged with child endangerment and the 16-year-old is the one who should be "given advice" (strictly on the child endangerment issue, not the car theft obviously). I think it's outrageous that this isn't illegal. I have no problem with leaving a 16 year old to babysit if you're going out for dinner every once in a while, but for an entire vacation?

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Sherri - posted on 09/05/2011

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A hundred yrs ago you understand was only 1911 and since my grandmother was born in 1910. I can assure you children were NOT married in US at such young ages nor were they parents at such young ages. The median age for marriage for females in 1910 was 22 females and for males 25.



Sorry but a 14yr old is NOT an adult and I positively refuse to consider them as such. They have a lot of age appropriate responsibility and freedoms but I will not pretend they are ready to be an adult and I will call them children as they still are. Do I doubt their level of intelligence, no certainly not but I also am not disillusioned enough to think they are adults.

Angela - posted on 09/04/2011

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I think that in the UK for example drinking of the young is out of control... their are so many programs on it, and the reputation of the kids from the UK when they come to holiday in other countries in Europe is they get pissed all the time. So just because the drinking age is 16 does not mean they are dealing with it responsibly.
Teen Moms and Dad's; well I was a teen Mom and i had no idea what I was doing and was very much a good Mom but i am a better Mom as an real experienced adult.
I have a 22 year old who could babysit my 2.9 year old if i asked...but I never do. She is to enjoy being a young adult. I also never was so naive to think to leave her alone at 16 while on a WEEKEND or more holiday! Ha... i would not put her is a position that could be a problem. I figure why set her up like that for a potential problem nearly put her in charge of my offspring!
I worked full plus time and always had adult supervision despite how grown or mature my children acted. If I am away for a period and too far away to get home soon with in a an hour....forget it.
I am the parent, i am responsible and it is my judgment that is the rule...so if I make bad judgment it is on me not the child.

Angela - posted on 09/04/2011

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Gotta say I agree with you Esther! I would never ever leave my 16 year old while out of town nearly in charge of my 4 year old. BAD JUDGMENT is the least one can say of this Mother. I am just happy the child is okay being left a lone as such. It could have been a tragic outcome.
If she could afford a holiday why not afford a nanny!

Mary - posted on 09/02/2011

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Yes, a 16 y/o can be a parent, and there are more than a few who are probably "good" parents.

However, we are not talking about a 16 y/o who actually is a parent...we are talking about an older brother who was (obviously) given more responsibility than he can handle. Yes, there are those older siblings who end up assuming a great deal of responsibility for their younger siblings - those teens who function like "little mothers", and sometimes are even more caring, responsible, and mature than the actual parents. Usually, though, those teens became that way because they both had to, and ultimately chose to.

Although we don't know all the details of this situation, it doesn't sound like this was a boy who was already accustomed to the role of primary caregiver for his little sister. Again, there are some teenagers who certainly be more than competent to care for a small child on their own for a few days, but truthfully, the bulk of them are not. It's not that "kids today" are more irresponsible or careless, but rather that they do not routinely have these types of expectations placed on them.

Shannon - posted on 09/10/2011

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kay... i think there are excellent points to both sides of this argument but here's my final thought on this; a teen typically CAN care for a little one but why should they? mine are 22, 20 and 10 years of age and although the older ones helped immensely with the youngest, it has always been my opinion that kids should be kids while they can. they do dumb stuff, they make dumb decisions, and they should! that's how they learn to be adults. that written, the jist of the argument pertains to the mother and she acted as an imbecile leaving that particular teenage loser in charge of that toddler for that length of time. she was wrong. just. wrong.

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Angela - posted on 07/08/2012

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Dee
Yep once I had kids Holidays alone were gone out the window except my honeymoon :). I don't mind for me my family is number one, if I wanted alone time I wouldn't have kids.

Dee - posted on 07/08/2012

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Crazy ... I wouldn't even contemplate leaving a 4 year old at home without me, but I'd have taken ALL my kids away on holiday with me in the first place!

Angela - posted on 09/10/2011

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I just want to state I was a teen Mom, I do not think teens deserve to have their child taken away eaither.
That being said... I don't recommend becoming a teen Mom by choice. Becoming an instant adult was not easy and not always easy on my girls eaither. In fact if I could turn back time I would wish I had my girls after I had time to ENJOY and Learn how to be an adult. I compare my adulthood and motherhood like learning to swim... sink or swim was our situation and good thing I was strong and a quick swimmer. Plenty of young people sink with such a huge responsibility.
I feel it was unjust to place such a responsibilty on the teen boy, or any teen. a couple hours or more fine if you can be contacted, close to home etc. but never have I left my children overnight to fend for themselves even as teens.
Why take a risk. What if that little 4 year old got seriouly injured or killed? That brother would be scared for life for a stupid teenage mistake. The Mohter should be held accountable.

Angela - posted on 09/05/2011

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Well well Sherri for once we agree :) good post.

@Shannin agree ,,,,the point was missed by some,

I support your statement.

Shannon - posted on 09/05/2011

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@angela... very well written. that's practically my exact same experience.
@melissa, i think you've missed a large part of the argument. very few people have written that a teen ISN'T capable, just that most of them are ill-prepared and ill-suited to that level of responsibility.
also it's not just about "capability" of keeping baby clean and fed, and i think this is the argument from the other side, it's that many teens ability to handle an emergency; how they react to one, etc., is at question. of course in this particular circumstance it was clearly an irresponsible hooligan which makes for more drama but generally a certain level of maturity needs to exist and few teens display that with regularity.

Merry - posted on 09/05/2011

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Teens used to be married and parents by 14-15 years a hundred years ago. They were raised to be adults by that age. Honestly I think it might be better to raise teens to be adults since the whole 'teen experience' seems to consist of the teen fighting to be an adult as the parent insists they are still incompetent children.

Maybe raising them to be mature and responsible by 14 or so is best. I sure felt like I was mature by then, and my mom accepted that. Sure I had rules and stuff but she wasn't degrading me by calling me a child or doubting my level of intelligence.

Idk, I think teens can be trustworthy strong capable young adults if they're raised to act like it.

Melissa - posted on 09/05/2011

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I also want to point out that I STARTED caring for both of my brothers (then ages 1 and 5) on a full time basis at the age of 10. The responsibilities I had to fill were the same at 10 as they were at 15, and I was still able to handle it. So age really doesn't have to reflect anything.

Melissa - posted on 09/05/2011

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I think a lot of people have a hard time understanding that a 16 year old CAN BE more than capable of caring for a child. It all depends on the individual and their personal level of responsibility. I know many adults in their 30's and 40's who are incapable of properly caring for a child, and I know many teens who are more than trustworthy in that sense. Age, while it reflects basic steps many people take in life, doesn't HAVE to reflect any required level of responsibility.



At 15 I was the main caregiver to both of my bothers, at the time ages 10 and 6. My mother was a single parent working multiple jobs to make ends meet, and I had to step in to pick up the slack. At 15 I was picking my brothers up from school, getting them home, helping with their homework, making sure their dinner was made, cleaning up after dinner, getting them bathed and in bed on time, so on and so forth. My mother went on Vacation to Mexico one summer for a few days and left me in charge of TWO children, not just one, and nothing went wrong. To state that a 16 year old can't possible have enough responsibility, sense or ability to care for a child is a prejudice of age, and really sad. It just shows that so few people have faith in teens, and yet we wonder why so many of them are so angry and rebellious! I'm sorry but if everyone in my life kept saying I couldn't possibly act like an adult, which is what many here are basically saying, I think I'd end up a bit rebellious and pissed off, too. People need to stop judging based on age and judge based on personal experience and knowledge.



This mother made a mistake in midjudging her childs level of responsibility. He obviously was not mature enough to care for his sibling. But to say that NO teen of that age would be able to handle it is flat out wrong. I personally am a prime example of that.

Jaime - posted on 09/04/2011

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And I agree that teens should know a certain level of responsibility...but there's a reason they are teenagers and not adults. Adults shouldn't assume that a teenager will or can understand a level of responsibility that is beyond their life experience. If a teenager grows up helping with younger siblings and babysitting, then absolutely they are more equipped to handle the responsibility of caring for young children for short periods of time. Giving that same teenager the responsibility of a young child over the course of a few days or longer (however responsible they might be) is placing too high an expectation on their capacity to handle the needs of a young child beyond mere supervision and basic care (recreation, hygiene). And the teenager in this article proved to be completely irresponsible, which begs the question 'what the fuck'?

Charlie - posted on 09/04/2011

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IMO it depends on the length of the vacation and how trustworthy the 16 year old is.

To me the problem isnt the teens age but more the mothers lack of ability to recognise her son isnt really responsible enough to take care of a 4 year old.

You know I kinda suspect the problem here is the teen not having enough responsibilty in the past and just having this thrust upon him he has no idea how to act....mothers fault.

I absolutely think a teen that age should know how to take responsibilty ..... not they may need it or use it but shit teens younger than that are having kids .

[deleted account]

i think it would depend on how long the vacation was and how the boy had previously handled being alone with his sister. it just depends on a lot of factors, but i don't think that the mother should just get advice. she shoudl be thoroughly investigated

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 09/03/2011

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Laura that's probably how my oldest will be with the baby and her other hypothetical siblings. My oldest will be 7 in a few weeks and my baby will be 6 months on Friday. My oldest already figured out what should be happening when she's in certain grades.

Emma, my grandma was 17 years younger than her oldest sister. She was always told that if she didn't behaive their parents would give her to the Gypsies.

Merry - posted on 09/03/2011

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Lol well, when iwas 16 i was getting my 6 yr old brother ready for kindergarten, driving him to school, picking him up, feeding him, took him to parent child swim lessons, trips to the park a ton. I was his main caregiver for his younger years! By 16 I felt I was an adult.

Stifler's - posted on 09/03/2011

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Oh God i had no freaking idea about kids at that age. I had 3 bothers and sisters and one was 13 years younger than me. I still feel weird and like a child at 22 being a mum of 2 and making all the calls on everything.

Merry - posted on 09/02/2011

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Yeah I mean a 16 year old could be a parent themselves so I guess it's possible I'd let my 16 year old care for a younger child for a while, but not days. And obviously this boy wasn't prepared to be an adult in charge of a child so the mom made a huge mistake

Alison - posted on 09/02/2011

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There are 16 year olds that can handle it, boy or girl, and 16 yr olds that can't. My oldest nephew is 14. He has 5 younger siblings and babysits regularly. He and his brother (next in age) are sought after babysitters for others in the neighborhood too. Anyway, if I left my 3 yr old daughter with them for 2 days, she would most likely have the time of her life and be just fine. Me at 16--I wouldn't do anything that stupid but I never liked being alone at night and wouldn't have felt comfortable. Other teenagers I knew--no way.

[deleted account]

At 17 I cared for an 11 month old for an entire weekend too.

Granted, my dad WAS there, but only cuz I lived w/ him. I did absolutely everything for the baby. :)

Shannon - posted on 09/02/2011

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@cathy s, perhaps i wasn't clear. i wrote that SOME teens are responsible and some are not, just as with adults. some are, some aren't. my teenagers were polar opposites. one couldn't be more responsible whilst the other can't be responsible for a moment. THAT was my point, that no age group can be painted with broad strokes but a 16 y/o boy in charge of a 4 y/o child for any extended length of time is just ludicrous. and it doesn't matter if it was 3 days (but who goes on vacation on Monday?) or 3 weeks. the facts are that teens get distracted. capable? certainly. but actually employing that capability? that's questionable, at best.

Jaime - posted on 09/02/2011

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I don't think that ALL 16-year-olds are irresponsible, distracted, losers (in fact, most are not). I do think that a 16-year-old is not capable of babysitting a young child overnight for an extended period of time (especially when the parent is in another country!). Teen parents don't even have the capability to undertake the care of their children without help, guidance and in a lot of cases, supervision from their parents or a professional. Just because teenagers can procreate doesn't automatically assume that their ability to care for a baby is implanted along with the fetus. And a 16-year-old that isn't even a parent--merely and older sibling or a babysitter, most definitely does not have the same set of mental responsibilities as a 16-year-old that has given birth to a child. When I was 18, even though I was very responsible, I still had no clue about the actual depth of responsibility that is involved in child care. Mostly because I wasn't yet a parent myself, so I had no true connection to the parental experience. Taking a babysitting course, growing up and helping out with younger siblings are both awesome precursors to parenthood...but neither one can offset the lack of life experience or social/emotional maturity that is most absolutely necessary for raising a child. Yes, even adults struggle and yes, there are adults that suck at parenting too...but much fewer and farther between than a young, adolescent who is still trying to figure out where they fit into the world. And much more importantly what they hope to achieve for their future. Maybe I'm just waxing a little poetic on this one, so forgive me, but I just think that teenagers should want to be teenagers. Sure, we want our kids to learn how to be responsible, but we can't force responsibility on a child by throwing them into the fire so-to-speak and hoping for the best. That might work for some experiences, but taking care of children isn't something you should want to experiment with.

Melissa - posted on 09/02/2011

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There are 16 year olds who are parents, so to find it outrageous to leave one alone with a 4 year old is a bit of a stretch.

I grew up with a single mother. She and my father got divorced when I was about 10, and to make ends meet she had to work 2-3 jobs at a time. We had to work together as a family, and we all had to make sacrifices. At 10 years of age I had a 5 year old brother and a 1 year old brother, and every day after school I watched over the both of them, made dinner, did bath time, made sure they were in bed if mom wasn't home to do it, and made sure the house was straightened up. At 16 years of age my mom went on a vacation with a friend for about 4 days, and left me in charge of my brothers. We didn't have any mishaps, it was during the summer so we all just relaxed, played, went to the pool the park. We had friends over, we did stupid things kids do when parents are watching, but I knew well enough to make sure my brothers were safe and secure, and I certainly knew well enough to not leave them unsupervised.

I think the only thing the mother may have done wrong here is misjudge her older childs level of responsibility. Unfortunately I know people in their 20's and 30's who aren't responsibile enough to watch after a child, so I don't think the age necessarily has a single thing to do with it. I think she should have been a bit more cautious as to who she was leaving in charge of her child, though.

Shannon - posted on 09/02/2011

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hehehe @cathy s, sorry, you're obviously lucky to have those cousins but "responsible" and "teenager" rarely go hand in hand. i have a 22 y/o, a 20 y/o, and a 10 y/o. i would have left my youngest with my middle child for an overnight but not to leave the country. in fact, i had once to leave the country and still didn't leave them alone at 18, 16, and 6. i have never considered leaving the youngest with the eldest for anything more than a few hours. SOME teenagers take their care responsibilities but clearly some do not, or get distracted, or are just losers. that neither supports nor negates the argument that the parent should've known and been more responsible herself.

Becky - posted on 09/01/2011

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"Sources said it is not believed she will be arrested because it is not an offence to leave a young child in the care of a 16-year-old unless it places them at risk." (from the article)
The thing is though, it did place the child at risk. She was at risk when her brother left her all alone to go out joyriding in a stolen car. I highly doubt that up to this point, he had been the perfect model of responsibility and maturity and this was his first ever boneheaded move. I don't necessarily think it's wrong or should be illegal to leave your younger child with your teen for a few days - although I wouldn't do it - but you need to know beyond doubt that you can trust your teen to provide excellent care for that child. I mean, this child was only 4! That's awfully young still! So, either mom was very naive and in denial that her son was an irresponsible twit, or she just didn't care. She should be charged with neglect for not ensuring her younger child had adequate supervision.
My kids will all be within 4 years of each other in age, so I wouldn't have the situation of having a 4 year old and a 16 year old anyway, but even when they are all between 12-16, I think I would most likely either have them stay with their grandparents or at least with friends. I just don't like the idea of my kids being on their own for several days without adult supervision. But, they're still 3 and under. Maybe by the time they're in their teens, I'll feel differently.

Stifler's - posted on 09/01/2011

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People have kids and have sole custody at 16 but this is not his kid. I think it is crap to force your 16 year old kid to look after their 4 year old sister while you go away. He obviously wasn't responsible enough and didn't want to do it. It's her fault.

Jurnee - posted on 09/01/2011

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I think the mother in this case should have known her own son better. Some 16yr olds are responsible enough, some are not. Obviously stealing a car is not responsible, either. When I was growing up I had a friend whos stepdad died and at 15, all summer she would watch her yr old sister, every day. I have left at the time my 17 yr old overnight with my 8 yr old. If I had to, I would leave them for a weekend, not longer than that. She is mature enough, but I personallly think more than a weekend is a lot to ask and too long for me to be away. I would miss them .

Sylvia - posted on 09/01/2011

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I don't think it should be illegal (for a variety of obvious reasons) to leave a child in the care of a teenager, but this mother obviously made a poor judgement call with respect to her teenage son ...

[deleted account]

How is it far too much responsibility? Its a few days, not exclusively raising. Besides, some 16 year olds are parents and great ones at that. Its not rocket science, people have been caring for children since the beginning of the human race. Before society deemed it unacceptable to have kids when you reach sexual maturity, the majority of those were TEENS.

smithers, If your temporal lobes are fully developed(which can happen between 16-25) that means the brain has reached emotional maturity. If all areas of the brain are fully developed, mental maturity has been reached. At 16 people CAN reach their maximum capability. Maturity IS biological. Human experience does not provide maturity, just knowledge.

Sherri - posted on 09/01/2011

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I don't have a problem with a 16yr old in charge of a 4yr old at all. Heck how many parents are that young. I do have a problem that he was so irresponsible to leave the poor child unattended and yes he should be the one that is facing endangerment charges.

Isobel - posted on 09/01/2011

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I think though, that it doesn't matter as much how well-behaved you are as a teenager but rather, how much experience you have taking care of children and handling responsibility.

Jaime - posted on 09/01/2011

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I do think that there is a difference between the biological definition of a 'fully mature brain' and the psychological/sociological definition. A brain can be fully matured in size and brain function, but there is still mental and emotional maturity to factor into that equation. At 16, I doubt that many are mentally and emotionally at their maximum capabilities...thus the need for more life experience.

Esther - posted on 09/01/2011

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@Julianna - IF he's getting paid, I would still find it unfair because I think that that is putting far too much responsibility on a child. He is not the parent and he should not be the primary care giver for an extended period of time. He should be able to be a child himself and not have to act like an adult.

Esther - posted on 09/01/2011

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Yes Cathy - I am making assumptions. I don't think an entirely unreasonable one though. The mother went abroad on vacation and was gone long enough for her son to get himself arrested and for the police to have to wait for her return at which time they will speak to her. I'm thinking we're talking more than a day trip here and a week is not an unreasonable assumption for an "abroad vacation".

[deleted account]

Totally NOT the same thing, but my parents left my brother and I for a week when we were 17 and 14. Granted, HE skipped school every day, but was responsible enough to drop me off and pick me up in time. lol



Wait... that might've been 16 and 13 cuz I was home alone (w/ my best friend) for a weekend at 14... Dang, my memory sucks.

Jenni - posted on 09/01/2011

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Esther, I know I (as a parent) certainly wouldn't do it. Not worth the risk.

Esther - posted on 09/01/2011

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I agree with all of that Jenni. This was a particularly irresponsible specimen (which the mom should have known when she left her 4 year old in his care while she went off on her vacation). However, I think even leaving the most mature teenager in charge for a week is irresponsible and unfair to both the young child and the teenager.

Jenni - posted on 09/01/2011

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Esther, of course 16 year olds are not nearly as mature as adults. But I would think the vast majority are mature and responsible enough to know that leaving a 4 year old alone to go steal a car is not the best choice.

I think most people know by 16 years of age how to care for the basic needs of a smaller child.

My parents signed me up for a babysitting course when I was 11 where they taught CPR, chest compression on small children, emergency contacts and basic care. I was babysiting since I was 12 or 13. Not overnight at that age but for a few hours while family friends went out to dinner. Even at that age I *never* would have left a small child unattended not even for a few minutes. Even at 12 years old I knew better than that.

This boy was just incredibly selfish and sounds to me like he just didn't "give a shit (pardon my language)". He must have known it wasn't a good idea but he didn't care.

[deleted account]

Well, a fully mature brain can be achieved anywhere between the age of 16-25.
Brain Regions and functions
Frontal lobe—self-control, judgment, emotional regulation; restructured in teen years
Corpus callosum—intelligence, consciousness and self-awareness; reaches full maturity in 20’s
Parietal lobes—integrate auditory, visual, and tactile signals; immature until age 16
Temporal lobes—emotional maturity; still developing after age 16

Any one or all of these milestones can be reached at 16 depending on the individual person. So some college age people can have immature brains, but some 16 year olds can have fully developed brains. It all depends on individual development.

Jaime - posted on 09/01/2011

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I'm with Esther on this one. I'm sure there are 16-year-olds that ARE capable of undertaking the care of minors for short periods of time, but over night and for several nights when a parent is far away on vacation...not so much. I also am not a fan of teen moms, because I don't think that any teenager should want to be a parent. There isn't enough experience (as far as years lived), nor is there near enough education about the world, and on a smaller scale, social matters. Teenagers WILL struggle with parenthood because mentally and most times physically, they are just not prepared. I realize that you can never fully be prepared for chidren, and I know that there are some shitty adult parents out there...but generally speaking adults have a much greater chance of success based on maturity level and life experience alone. I was a teenager that spent a lot of time babysitting my siblings and held numerous babysitting jobs, but having your own child is completely different from that experience. A 16 yo that is not a parent is not going to have the same set of responsibilities (mentally) as a 16 yo parent...it's just not the case. I was a nanny for 2.5 years when I was 23 and even then I thought I had it all figured out...that is until I became a mother at age 28 and realized I didn't have a fucking clue about the ACTUAL responsibilities involved raising and caring for children. Can a 16 yo give birth to AND raise a baby? Yep, sure can. Should a 16 yo give birth to AND raise a baby...preferrably no. Not in this day and age anyway. If teenagers do become parents then I feel that parenting courses should be mandatory (at the very least as an asset to their maturity level if they are in the very few that function a few levels ahead of the rest). All that said, teenagers are not incapable of taking care of children. There is a difference between a few hours in a day as opposed to a few days or weeks alone with a young child. The mental strain alone is worth noting as to how utterly negligent this mother was in allowing her son to care for her young daughter while she went abroad and left them to their own devices. Not cool!

Esther - posted on 09/01/2011

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Other than the teens I have mentored here during summer programs in the office I haven't hung out with teens much at all since I was a teen myself. However, as I said, I was the prototype for a responsible teen myself. My dad used to boast about how mature and responsible I was. When Bjorn (my now husband) and I started dating at age 19 we were both still in school and we would write eachother notes in a notebook that we would pass back and forth. We still have those notebooks. We thought we were very adult and smart and wise and profound but when you read those notes now it is very evident how immature we still were. I think that's the case for the vast majority of teens. Hell, I would consider most college students still kids although I would have fewer qualms about leaving them in charge overnight.

[deleted account]

I had a full time job, I was going to school and had my own place a few months before I turned 17.

Jenni - posted on 09/01/2011

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I would *think* most 16 year olds would be responsible enough to care for a young child. This one obviously was not and is probably just a really poor example for his age group.



When I was 16 I babysat for 4 children aged 18 months-8 years old. Once for an entire long weekend. I took my responsibility seriously. And it's not like I was exceptionally mature. I just knew that I was responsible for the welfare of these children and didn't take my job lightly.



My sister use to babysit all the time around this age. She had a few sitter jobs. She would also *never* be so neglectful.



I think the mom in this case wasn't ignorant to her son's irresponsibility and lack of maturity, however. And should have known better. She should have hired a qualified babysitter for her daughter.

Esther - posted on 09/01/2011

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I don't think basic human biology and intelligence has dropped. I think our standards for parenting have been raised, I think the demands on children & adults in terms of education etc. have increased (meaning it takes more to prepare a child for adulthood than it might have several decades ago). And I think we have a better understanding now of the fact that children (and 16-year-olds are still children) are not miniature adults.

[deleted account]

16 year olds CAN be responsible enough to take care of a 4 year old for a few days. When i was 16 i cared for my 1 year old brother on a regular basis. I don't mean just baby sitting here and there. I mean daily, sometimes for 4-5 days straight. Some 16 year olds, like this one, should not be left alone with children.

Esther - posted on 09/01/2011

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I was probably as mature and responsible a 16 year old as you can find. I never drank, I never smoked, despite being Dutch I never smoked pot, I didn't date, my parents approved of all my friends etc. And STILL I don't think I would have been qualified to look after a 4 year old for a week. Not to mention that I think it's hugely unfair to put that kind of responsiblity on a 16 year old. As for teen parents - I'm sorry, but I'm not a fan. I would probably prefer them giving their kids up for adoption or at least have some serious assistance and supervision by an adult (parenting classes would be nice too). But no, I would not want to take their kids away from them. It's a lesser of two evils kind of thing though. That would be too great an infringement to me. But in the US if a 16 year old gets permission to marry, they are then considered to be a legal adult with all the rights of other adults. However, that does not mean that every 16 year old has those rights. Therefore I still think it could (and should) be illegal to put a minor in charge of your kids for an extended period of time, even though I do not advocate taking children away from their underage biological parents.

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