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How old should children be before being left alone?



 
 
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  #2  
Old October 25th 03, 06:22 AM
Seth Thomas
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Posts: n/a
Default How old should children be before being left alone?

wrote:

How old should children be before being left alone?

The following was recently suggested as a guideline by a pediatrician, and I
must say I'm totally dumbfounded. The pediatrician recommends age TEN as the
age when apron strings are loosened. I was given free reign to wander the
neighborhood by age four and was often off hiking in the woods alone by age
seven. Has the world changed that much, or are kids just more stupid today?
How early in life were you given some degree of autonomy?

Recently parents have been eager to ask me how old their children should be
before they can be left at home alone, without a babysitter. I feel at home but
not alone with this common question so let me provide some information on the
topic. First of all, no children under age ten should ever be left alone, even
for a few minutes. Beyond that there is no hard and fast rule. It basically
comes down to a combination of the children's level of maturity, their ability
to make decisions, the parents' comfort level, and the community or environment
in which the family lives. If your children are over age ten but still
apprehensive about being left alone, don't leave them alone-it's as simple as
that. If your children are over age ten and want to try being left alone, here
are a few hints that will make things go well: Set the house rules ahead of
time, and make sure your children understand them and can repeat them back to
you. The rules are up to you, but they usually include things like "No guests
when an adult is not home," "Never answer the door for a stranger," and "Never
tell someone on the phone that you are alone". Make sure your children know how
to respond in the event of an emergency by talking them through different
situations and hearing how they would respond. Post all key phone numbers and
any special instructions in a visible place, such as the fridge. If your
children do need to be alone after school while you are still at work, ask them
to call you (or a neighbor, if you are unavailable) as soon as they get home,
just to let you know they're okay. Also, instruct them to never enter the house
if they come home from school and find the door open or unlocked. With these
hints in place, try running your children through a practice session. Start by
leaving them alone for only fifteen or twenty minutes. Then, increase their
time alone gradually. Hopefully tips like this will be the key that unlocks
your peace of mind it comes to leaving your children home alone without adult
supervision.

Awwwk.


Kids differ from child to child. 13 is a good age for trust
and responsibility.
  #3  
Old October 25th 03, 06:25 AM
Seth Thomas
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default How old should children be before being left alone?

Chloe wrote:

wrote in message
...
Never?

It's probably not a good idea to leave most children alone together &
unsupervised, ever.

There's no one to control their bad side, & they can get excited/"high"
by doing things (mean stuff, destroying, assaults), & act worse & worse.
(an fictional example is in the book: Lord of the Flies) However, there
are some individual exceptions.

snip

You don't need to cite a fictional example to me. Last year where I live a
woman left her kids home alone while she was at work, and the two pre-teen
aged boys beat their 5 year old sister to death. The boys had a history of
violence and had already been in juvie a couple of times. I really can't
manage to dredge up any compassion for the mother, who it's reported is
borderline retarded. Makes mandatory sterilization seem like a good idea.


Should they be shot to death like the molesters should be?
  #4  
Old October 25th 03, 01:44 PM
Donna Metler
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default How old should children be before being left alone?


"Seth Thomas" wrote in message
...
wrote:

How old should children be before being left alone?

The following was recently suggested as a guideline by a pediatrician,

and I
must say I'm totally dumbfounded. The pediatrician recommends age TEN

as the
age when apron strings are loosened. I was given free reign to wander

the
neighborhood by age four and was often off hiking in the woods alone by

age
seven. Has the world changed that much, or are kids just more stupid

today?
How early in life were you given some degree of autonomy?

Recently parents have been eager to ask me how old their children should

be
before they can be left at home alone, without a babysitter. I feel at

home but
not alone with this common question so let me provide some information

on the
topic. First of all, no children under age ten should ever be left

alone, even
for a few minutes. Beyond that there is no hard and fast rule. It

basically
comes down to a combination of the children's level of maturity, their

ability
to make decisions, the parents' comfort level, and the community or

environment
in which the family lives. If your children are over age ten but still
apprehensive about being left alone, don't leave them alone-it's as

simple as
that. If your children are over age ten and want to try being left

alone, here
are a few hints that will make things go well: Set the house rules ahead

of
time, and make sure your children understand them and can repeat them

back to
you. The rules are up to you, but they usually include things like "No

guests
when an adult is not home," "Never answer the door for a stranger," and

"Never
tell someone on the phone that you are alone". Make sure your children

know how
to respond in the event of an emergency by talking them through

different
situations and hearing how they would respond. Post all key phone

numbers and
any special instructions in a visible place, such as the fridge. If your
children do need to be alone after school while you are still at work,

ask them
to call you (or a neighbor, if you are unavailable) as soon as they get

home,
just to let you know they're okay. Also, instruct them to never enter

the house
if they come home from school and find the door open or unlocked. With

these
hints in place, try running your children through a practice session.

Start by
leaving them alone for only fifteen or twenty minutes. Then, increase

their
time alone gradually. Hopefully tips like this will be the key that

unlocks
your peace of mind it comes to leaving your children home alone without

adult
supervision.

Awwwk.


Kids differ from child to child. 13 is a good age for trust
and responsibility.


Here, the law is age 12-there is still a limit as to how long a young teen
can be left alone, or in supervision of other children. And it really
depends on the child. I have known 7 yr olds I would trust much farther than
some 15 yr olds! So at 12, some children might be very ready, and some might
not be ready at all.



  #5  
Old October 25th 03, 02:02 PM
Banty
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default How old should children be before being left alone?

In article , Donna Metler says...


"Seth Thomas" wrote in message
...
wrote:

How old should children be before being left alone?

The following was recently suggested as a guideline by a pediatrician,

and I
must say I'm totally dumbfounded. The pediatrician recommends age TEN

as the
age when apron strings are loosened. I was given free reign to wander

the
neighborhood by age four and was often off hiking in the woods alone by

age
seven. Has the world changed that much, or are kids just more stupid

today?
How early in life were you given some degree of autonomy?

Recently parents have been eager to ask me how old their children should

be
before they can be left at home alone, without a babysitter. I feel at

home but
not alone with this common question so let me provide some information

on the
topic. First of all, no children under age ten should ever be left

alone, even
for a few minutes. Beyond that there is no hard and fast rule. It

basically
comes down to a combination of the children's level of maturity, their

ability
to make decisions, the parents' comfort level, and the community or

environment
in which the family lives. If your children are over age ten but still
apprehensive about being left alone, don't leave them alone-it's as

simple as
that. If your children are over age ten and want to try being left

alone, here
are a few hints that will make things go well: Set the house rules ahead

of
time, and make sure your children understand them and can repeat them

back to
you. The rules are up to you, but they usually include things like "No

guests
when an adult is not home," "Never answer the door for a stranger," and

"Never
tell someone on the phone that you are alone". Make sure your children

know how
to respond in the event of an emergency by talking them through

different
situations and hearing how they would respond. Post all key phone

numbers and
any special instructions in a visible place, such as the fridge. If your
children do need to be alone after school while you are still at work,

ask them
to call you (or a neighbor, if you are unavailable) as soon as they get

home,
just to let you know they're okay. Also, instruct them to never enter

the house
if they come home from school and find the door open or unlocked. With

these
hints in place, try running your children through a practice session.

Start by
leaving them alone for only fifteen or twenty minutes. Then, increase

their
time alone gradually. Hopefully tips like this will be the key that

unlocks
your peace of mind it comes to leaving your children home alone without

adult
supervision.

Awwwk.


Kids differ from child to child. 13 is a good age for trust
and responsibility.


Here, the law is age 12-there is still a limit as to how long a young teen
can be left alone, or in supervision of other children. And it really
depends on the child. I have known 7 yr olds I would trust much farther than
some 15 yr olds! So at 12, some children might be very ready, and some might
not be ready at all.


Here, the law is fuzzy - it's the kind of circumstance that, if there is a
problem, then the child was too young; if there isn't, the child wasn't too
young.

I did find that age ten for my son was a good age to let him be by himself after
school and when I do certain errands. He likes the time by himself, although he
has said he feels lonely after too long without someone else in the house. But
not scared.

I think the main criterion is - when will the child be able to handle minor
emergencies and know what help to call in for major emergencies. And what
resources are there in the community.

Age 7 - probably not. Perhaps that poster's parents are the type who can't
imagine anything happening. Of course, there are also parents who seem to think
disaster's around every corner. It's a matter of balance and common sense IMO -
things *may* happen, most probably not, but at what age can the child deal with
emergencies.

Heh - I remember being left in the house alone at age eight for awhile while she
took my brother to the doctor and she took my little 2 year old sister with her.
I liked the solitude. My mother had started laundry. The washer load became
unbalanced, and before I paid attention to what the banging sound was, the
washer had "walked" out from the rocking far enough to break the hoses. *Then*
I ran to neighbors for help, but the house flooded and my Mom yelled at me for
not turing off the main water line. I looked her "main water what???" :-)

Banty

  #6  
Old October 25th 03, 03:25 PM
Rosalie B.
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default How old should children be before being left alone?

x-no-archive:yes
"Donna Metler" wrote:


"Seth Thomas" wrote in message
...
wrote:

How old should children be before being left alone?


It depends on the child, the circumstances and what one means by
'being left alone'. (your definition of what 'is' is g)

The following was recently suggested as a guideline by a pediatrician,

and I
must say I'm totally dumbfounded. The pediatrician recommends age TEN

as the
age when apron strings are loosened.


My interpretation of 'left alone' would have been the age at which one
could be a latch-key child. That is the age at which a parent or
caregiver was not at home and the child was home alone. I don't think
10 or 12 is too old for that.

I was given free reign to wander the
neighborhood by age four and was often off hiking in the woods alone by age
seven. Has the world changed that much, or are kids just more stupid

today?


I think the answer is based on several different factors.

a) There's more regulation now than there used to be
b) The nature of the threats to children is being broadcast more
immediately and to more than the local community. I doubt if we'd
ever have heard about Elizabeth Smart in the old days.
c) Parents have reacted to factor b (and sometimes to factor a) by
being more protective of their children. The children aren't more
stupid - they just don't get the opportunity to exercise their own
judgement as early.

How early in life were you given some degree of autonomy?


I walked to meet my dad coming home from work (he took the trolley)
when I was about 4 and my sister was 2. We weren't allowed to cross
any streets, but we could walk up to the corner and down to the end of
the next corner. I walked to school by myself from kindergarten on.
(I never rode a school bus.) This was a distance of about 3 blocks.
I also walked home from Sunday school at about that age and it was
about a half mile through residential streets.

As soon as I had a two wheel bike, I was allowed to ride in certain
specified areas such as the alleys behind my house. I was allowed to
walk over to my best friend's house a block away.

My mom and dad left my sister and me alone at a coal mine (at the top)
while they went down in the mine to take data on my dad's experiments.
Sometimes I even had to miss school for a day or so - this was when I
was in 4th grade and my sister was in 2nd grade. We told each other
stories, and made daisy chains etc.

My sister and I rode the trolley/bus every week downtown to piano
lessons - this included a transfer from one line to another. My
parents would pick us up afterwards. We also went to the dentist this
way (although thank goodness that wasn't every week) I don't remember
exactly when that started, but I think I was still in elementary
school.

When I was in hs, I was a latchkey kid - my mom wasn't home when I got
home, and if I was 'sick' (usually bronchial asthma) I could stay home
in bed alone.

Recently parents have been eager to ask me how old their children should

be
before they can be left at home alone, without a babysitter. I feel at

home but
not alone with this common question so let me provide some information

on the
topic. First of all, no children under age ten should ever be left

alone, even
for a few minutes. Beyond that there is no hard and fast rule. It

basically
comes down to a combination of the children's level of maturity, their

ability
to make decisions, the parents' comfort level, and the community or

environment
in which the family lives. If your children are over age ten but still
apprehensive about being left alone, don't leave them alone-it's as

simple as
that. If your children are over age ten and want to try being left

alone, here
are a few hints that will make things go well: Set the house rules ahead

of
time, and make sure your children understand them and can repeat them

back to
you. The rules are up to you, but they usually include things like "No

guests
when an adult is not home," "Never answer the door for a stranger," and

"Never
tell someone on the phone that you are alone". Make sure your children

know how
to respond in the event of an emergency by talking them through

different
situations and hearing how they would respond. Post all key phone

numbers and
any special instructions in a visible place, such as the fridge. If your
children do need to be alone after school while you are still at work,

ask them
to call you (or a neighbor, if you are unavailable) as soon as they get

home,
just to let you know they're okay. Also, instruct them to never enter

the house
if they come home from school and find the door open or unlocked. With

these
hints in place, try running your children through a practice session.

Start by
leaving them alone for only fifteen or twenty minutes. Then, increase

their
time alone gradually. Hopefully tips like this will be the key that

unlocks
your peace of mind it comes to leaving your children home alone without

adult
supervision.

Awwwk.


Kids differ from child to child. 13 is a good age for trust
and responsibility.


Here, the law is age 12-there is still a limit as to how long a young teen
can be left alone, or in supervision of other children. And it really
depends on the child. I have known 7 yr olds I would trust much farther than
some 15 yr olds! So at 12, some children might be very ready, and some might
not be ready at all.


With my own children, dd#1 walked to kindergarten and home again by
herself every day which included crossing a major street without a
crossing guard.


DD#2 was allowed to roam up and down the street, to ride her bike and
go play with friends by herself at about age 5. At age 6, she took he
sister's 2 wheel bike out into the alley and taught herself to ride
it.

When she was 11, I would leave dd#1 in charge of her youngest
siblings (10 years younger and 7.5 years younger) for a half an hour
while I drove dd#2 to swim team. She started dinner and she had a
nearby neighbor to call in case of a problem. Then when dh got home,
he finished up the dinner preparation. When she was 12, she babysat
the neighbor's infant by herself.

By the time they were 16, they were driving themselves and their
siblings (and sometimes other team members) and horses to competitions
- sometimes without either myself or dh being there.


grandma Rosalie
  #7  
Old October 25th 03, 03:45 PM
toypup
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default How old should children be before being left alone?


"Banty" wrote in message
...
Heh - I remember being left in the house alone at age eight for awhile

while she
took my brother to the doctor and she took my little 2 year old sister

with her.
I liked the solitude. My mother had started laundry. The washer load

became
unbalanced, and before I paid attention to what the banging sound was, the
washer had "walked" out from the rocking far enough to break the hoses.

*Then*
I ran to neighbors for help, but the house flooded and my Mom yelled at me

for
not turing off the main water line. I looked her "main water what???"

:-)

This would be my reasoning for not leaving a child that young alone. Though
some are mature enough to not cause mischief, they lack the life experience
to handle some unexpected disasters. Had you been older, you might have
known where the main water line was, from life experience.


  #8  
Old October 25th 03, 04:38 PM
Vicki
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default How old should children be before being left alone?

"toypup" wrote in message
news[email protected]_s01...

"Banty" wrote in message
...
Heh - I remember being left in the house alone at age eight for awhile

while she
took my brother to the doctor and she took my little 2 year old sister

with her.
I liked the solitude. My mother had started laundry. The washer load

became
unbalanced, and before I paid attention to what the banging sound was,

the
washer had "walked" out from the rocking far enough to break the hoses.

*Then*
I ran to neighbors for help, but the house flooded and my Mom yelled at

me
for
not turing off the main water line. I looked her "main water what???"

:-)

This would be my reasoning for not leaving a child that young alone.

Though
some are mature enough to not cause mischief, they lack the life

experience
to handle some unexpected disasters. Had you been older, you might have
known where the main water line was, from life experience.

But the house would have flooded even if she hadn't been left home. She
probably reduced the amount of flooding caused, by running to the neighbor.
It sounds like leaving her home helped save the house, it didn't cause the
flood.


  #9  
Old October 25th 03, 04:52 PM
Vicki
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default How old should children be before being left alone?

"Rosalie B." wrote in message
When she was 11, I would leave dd#1 in charge of her youngest
siblings (10 years younger and 7.5 years younger) for a half an hour
while I drove dd#2 to swim team. She started dinner and she had a
nearby neighbor to call in case of a problem. Then when dh got home,
he finished up the dinner preparation. When she was 12, she babysat
the neighbor's infant by herself.

I hadn't thought of babysitting. I started babysitting infants when I was
in 5th grade, so 10 years old. IME, there were many people who felt
comfortable with this 30 years ago. I was responsible and had parents and
neighbors down the street that I could call. I know at 10 I felt like
caring for an infant was a big responsibility (it felt a bit overwhelming
b/c they were so small and couldn't tell me what they wanted,) but
babysitting for toddlers then felt fine. I babysat a lot from age 10 thru
13. My Mother was put in the hospital for a week when I was young--my
sister took care of three of us, ages 6, 7 & 8, for a week, getting us off
to school, making lunch, watching us after school, getting dinner--she was
probably 12 or 13. There weren't many other options for us then. My sister
did a good job, but I remember the school didn't like it when they learned
she was doing this.


  #10  
Old October 25th 03, 05:26 PM
Chloe
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default How old should children be before being left alone?

"Seth Thomas" wrote in message
...
Chloe wrote:

wrote in message
...
Never?

It's probably not a good idea to leave most children alone together &
unsupervised, ever.

There's no one to control their bad side, & they can get

excited/"high"
by doing things (mean stuff, destroying, assaults), & act worse &

worse.
(an fictional example is in the book: Lord of the Flies) However,

there
are some individual exceptions.

snip

You don't need to cite a fictional example to me. Last year where I live

a
woman left her kids home alone while she was at work, and the two

pre-teen
aged boys beat their 5 year old sister to death. The boys had a history

of
violence and had already been in juvie a couple of times. I really can't
manage to dredge up any compassion for the mother, who it's reported is
borderline retarded. Makes mandatory sterilization seem like a good

idea.

Should they be shot to death like the molesters should be?


Well, I hope this mother never regains custody of any of her children (I
think she has a total of six). I don't have any ideas about what's
appropriate for children who kill. The juvenile court system doesn't seem to
do much except give them time to grow into adult criminals. In practical
terms I'd say, sadly, that the boys are already a lost cause even at their
young age. If they'd never been born society would probably have two fewer
criminals to deal with on the street. And frankly, the five-year-old
victim's life seems pretty much like a waste to me, too. Evidently her
family managed to pack a lot of misery into her few years.





 




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