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Thread: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

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    lady sings the blues DanieMarie's Avatar
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    For short periods of time? No. For a longer period of time? Depends on the kids and the situation. If the parents are somewhere nearby (I mean the neighbours' house or something like that) and can come back at the drop of a hat, then no. But if the kids aren't very independent yet, then maybe it's still not a good idea.

    It's not uncommon here for kids to take the subway by themselves, take care of themselves for periods of time, or go out and about alone. Still, there are lines. People would still get babysitters for longer periods of time, especially if they weren't readily available to come home. 7 is still a bit young for kids to babysit themselves for an evening or spend the day alone. People leave their 9 or 10 year olds home alone for the evening, though. I think people here are fairly sensible when it comes to when it is and isn't ok for kids to be alone, so I generally support that.

  2. #12
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    My neighbor has 2 daughters, ages 8 & 10. I've lived here since they were 3 & 6. The older one would have been OK, at 6, for a half hour. The younger one won't be until she's 30 LOL - nothing "wrong" with her - she's just one of those kids with a gleam in their eye, always up to something somewhat devious.

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    We occasionally leave our 7 year old at home alone for up to an hour, during daylight hours, in the afternoon/evening. We also occasionally leave her with her 5 year old brother, for up to about 15-20 minutes. And in this case, by "alone", I mean we check with our neighbor first to see if they are going to be home and don't mind being a handy and nearby adult, and the kids know they can go over there if there is a problem, and they have a phone, plus google chat, so that one of us can run over to the Wal-greens or to the 7-11 that is less than a block away... We've never been anywhere where one of us is more than 5 minutes away (for both) or 10 minutes away (for Chickadee).

    Before we started leaving her alone at all, we practiced what to do in different scenarios--if there was a fire, if someone comes to the door, if someone tries to go through the door, if they hear strange noises, etc. We practiced calling for help--mom and dad, the neighbor, and (as a simulation, not in actuality) 9-1-1. We practiced being "home alone"--Hubby and I would go outside and walk around the block, or sit at the picnic tables and read a book.

    A lot of it is how mature your kids are for their age, how much they follow rules even when they think someone isn't watching, and how much common sense they have, how cautious they are. If there is more than one, its also a matter of how well they get along, and how much the one that is less mature will listen to the one that is more mature. We luck out there.

    Is there a potential for problems? Of course. But kids learn by doing far better than they do by hearing you blather on and on about something. If you don't let them do, on a small, controlled scale, then they will never learn on the big scale. We give our kids responsibility...when they show they can handle that responsibility, we praise and reward them, and they are proud of their accomplishment. If they can't handle the responsibility, we scale it back to work on the steps for the task, until they get it. The next time around, when we give them more responsibility, they are inclined to meet the challenge because the feeling of being proud of their accomplishment is its own reward. This is how life works. Sure, they will make mistakes...and then they will learn from them.
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkfeathers View Post
    My neighbor has 2 daughters, ages 8 & 10. I've lived here since they were 3 & 5. The older one would have been OK, at 6, for a half hour. The younger one won't be until she's 30 LOL - nothing "wrong" with her - she's just one of those kids with a gleam in their eye, always up to something somewhat devious.
    (Edited to correct kids age)

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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gleb View Post
    I doubt a little that leaving a 7 year old at home is good. Unless the parents hide everything dangerous like knives away, explain to the kid where the food is and so on.
    45 minutes? Maybe, just maybe it can somehow turn out good.
    Dangerous items are only dangerous because we act like they are, and parents are so concerned about their kids being hurt that they over-emphasize the items, making them taboo. And we all know, if something is taboo it is temptation incarnate. If a kid accidentally grabs something hot, or sharp or pointy or stinger-y they'll let go of it, and they won't pick it up again (for me it was the business end of a soldering iron).

    I shot my first gun when I was 4 or 5. With my dad, in our back yard. He showed me where he kept it, in a locked box. It was understood that I never touch it when he was not home, and that I never tell anyone else where it was. But it wasn't a big, scary taboo. I knew what it was, where it was, how it looked, sounded and basic safety precautions that had to be followed. My dad took all the mystery out of 'dangerous' items. I gutted & scaled fish with a formidable fishing knife. I shot guns. I learned to start fires and cook over open flames as well as electric ones. I used power tools. But, I obeyed the rules and didn't bother breaking them because when my dad & I were messing around in the garage, or out hunting/fishing, it was something we could do together.

    Yes, I got cut, burned, fell off of things, fell into things, got impaled with fishing hooks, bitten & stung by animals & insects, and managed to cut one of my fingers completely off (it was successfully reattached, and I don't know where the scar is anymore)... but I never did anything truly stupid twice. I have a lot of confidence now, and I'm pretty handy around the house and in the kitchen. My husband, who was a sheltered child w/parents who would do most things for him because they'd get impatient and irritated by his fumbling around, is afraid to do so many things because the implied risks outweigh any benefit to him. And he's like Mr. Safety, too - everything comes with a verbal warning label.
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    The two Amish girls were just kicking it and got kidnapped the other day. One was 12. Just scooped them right up and gone.
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    I found this: http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/s...ay-home-alone/

    I think they have a pretty reasonable list of questions to ask. One thing they don't have on there is neighborhood. And yea, I know that has to be a factor. If you live in a really bad neighborhood, you may want to wait until the kid is older, no matter how mature they are. I can understand that. But if a six year old can meet the guidelines they present, I don't see why they couldn't be home on their own for a little while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    The two Amish girls were just kicking it and got kidnapped the other day. One was 12. Just scooped them right up and gone.
    I don't think this scenario is related to the age at which they are home alone though, this could happen to anyone, even me at 23.
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    That everything was shit.

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  9. #19
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    The two Amish girls were just kicking it and got kidnapped the other day. One was 12. Just scooped them right up and gone.
    Bad things happen.

    Bad things happen because there are bad people in the world, bad things happen because people make bad choices, and bad things happen because of stochasticity--pure chance.

    At some point, parents need to teach their children how to be independent and self-sufficient. IMO, this is best done step by step in a way that slowly and steadily increases their autonomy and their responsibility in response to demonstrated ability--in calculated risk, rather than coddling them their entire life until you kick the bucket or coddling them until you kick them out the door to sink or swim. But either way, bad things still happen. They will happen whether a person is 2 or 12 or 22 or 52. They will happen whether the parents are around or not. And they will happen even when (or because) children are following the rules they have been taught by their parents, who thought they were teaching their children the right thing.

    When bad things happen, its usually from a family member...after family, its most likely to come from someone trusted by the family--teacher, coach, clergy, peers, etc. But instead, parents invest their energies freaking their kids out over the (relatively rare, statistically speaking) myth of stranger danger (whether it be in person or on the internet) and teaching them that the world is a scary and dangerous place to be afraid of, even though crime has been on the decline since the 90's, for a variety of reasons. What parents *should* be doing, is teaching their children about risk--what it is in general and what specific risks are for where they live and what they do, how to determine how risky something may be, how to mitigate or manage risk (how to make something less risky), and when to decide that the reward is not worth the risk. This means letting kids make mistakes, letting them them fail, and even letting them get hurt so that they can learn and grow.

    And that means that parents need to evaluate their children's abilities and personalities and take the chance and that the lessons and values they have imparted to their children will stick, even when they aren't watching (the real reason for a giant pic of mom and dad in the living room, lol). You can wait til they are 17 or 18 (or longer) and hope to hell it takes, or you can start at 7 or 8 (or younger) in small doses and send them off, as confident in their abilities as they are, because you've seen the choices they make when given the responsibility for their decisions.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    Really depend on the kid, how he usually behave and the degree of maturity. But personally I wouldn't in any case, you just don't know what can happen and a 7 years old may not be expected to handle safety precautions and emergency situations adequatly yet. I would go for a baby-sitter, at least I would feel more comfortable in knowing that someone is watching over my child and can react more effectively to a crisis or some unusual occurances.
    Last edited by Wonder; 17 Aug 2014 at 19:19.

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