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

  1. #21
    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    Thal. I'm all for teaching independence. But at some point in a child's life you have to realize they are just children. And not small adults.

    Why not just give a five year old some gas in a bottle and hope for the best?
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    Loud Mouth Heka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    Thal. I'm all for teaching independence. But at some point in a child's life you have to realize they are just children. And not small adults.

    Why not just give a five year old some gas in a bottle and hope for the best?
    While I agree, I also think we treat people like kids for too long. 18 year olds aren't treated like adults (one example is expected sexual maturity, from the other thread) and we are putting new "ages" in. Its not just child, teen, adult. Now its child, tween, teen, youth, young adult, then eventually you get adult.

    Course this isnt related to 7 year olds
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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heka View Post
    While I agree, I also think we treat people like kids for too long. 18 year olds aren't treated like adults (one example is expected sexual maturity, from the other thread) and we are putting new "ages" in. Its not just child, teen, adult. Now its child, tween, teen, youth, young adult, then eventually you get adult.

    Course this isnt related to 7 year olds
    I agree too. I think each age deserves it's lessons. 7 just seems too young to me to be left alone at all.
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  4. #24
    lady sings the blues DanieMarie'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.
    As sad as that is, 12 is -not- too young to be left alone or go out and do things on your own. I think not allowing kids to be on their own at that age is depriving them of independence, which is a valuable thing to learn at that age.

    I was babysitting at 12 on a regular basis, and I think that was pretty common everywhere in my age group (friends from the US, Germany, and the UK seem to have similar experiences).

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    Loud Mouth Heka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post

    I agree too. I think each age deserves it's lessons. 7 just seems too young to me to be left alone at all.
    Lessons are different in different parts of the world and different cultures too. This is being made really clear to me atm by all my aboriginal students around the age of 12-13. They are all visually mature. By that I mean big boobs, tall, facial hair, the works (for both sexes haha). Clearly this is a 'race' that matures differently to us whities. (No doubt due to their much lower life expectancy, and a younger white colony). They most definitely have different ideas about what constitutes an age to be left unsupervised.
    ThorSon's milkshake brings all the PF girls to the yard - Volcaniclastic

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    You cut your hair short
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    The world had been yelling
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    That everything was shit.

    - J. Wylder

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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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heka View Post
    Lessons are different in different parts of the world and different cultures too. This is being made really clear to me atm by all my aboriginal students around the age of 12-13. They are all visually mature. By that I mean big boobs, tall, facial hair, the works (for both sexes haha). Clearly this is a 'race' that matures differently to us whities. (No doubt due to their much lower life expectancy, and a younger white colony). They most definitely have different ideas about what constitutes an age to be left unsupervised.
    I see that here in Europe as well. Some of the stuff that is perfectly reasonable over here would totally horrify Canadian parents, and some stuff that's accepted in other European countries isn't accepted in others. For example, I read somewhere that Scandinavian (I can't remember which country) parents often leave their kids in the strollers when they go into shops or cafes. People don't do that here. But over here, kids take the subway by themselves at all sorts of ages, which would probably result in a call to CPS in the US or Canada.

  7. #27
    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
    Thal. I'm all for teaching independence. But at some point in a child's life you have to realize they are just children. And not small adults.

    Why not just give a five year old some gas in a bottle and hope for the best?
    In several indigenous tribes in the world very small children have access to knives. They are rarely injured seriously, because they are taught to use the knife...first with supervision, and then with less and less supervision until they use the knife on their own. But while the are learning to use the knife, they are often cut--because using a knife is a skill, and it is expected that they will learn from those experiences.

    At some point, in being around children, one realizes that they are not just children--they are people, with their own personalities, opinions, feelings, thoughts, and insights--as well as their own skills, abilities, interestes, and specialties....and not all of them are about My Little Pony and playing with matches behind mommies back...anymore than all adults are about what Kim Kardashian is doing and Super Bowl.

    Children are individuals. A child isn't a small adult, they are a future adult. That means letting them be a kid while teaching them how to be an adult--and expecting that they will make mistakes. They need to be taught life skills and they need to be given responsibility. Most importantly, they need to be given opportunity to fail, because growth comes from failure--from the getting up and trying again. And if mommy and daddy jump in and save little Johnny from every potential boo boo, little Johnny will never learn a) resiliance and b) competence.


    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I agree too. I think each age deserves it's lessons. 7 just seems too young to me to be left alone at all.
    Well, I don't think its a good idea to leave the average 7 year old alone all day long...but for under an hour, once or twice a week? During daylight hours? With full knowledge of how to operate a phone and not answer a door and 0 inclination to play with matches or cook a 7 course meal on the stove?

    My dad ran a paper route at 7. My grandfather worked on a farm, driving a tractor when school wasn't in session--and walked his little brother two and a half miles to school and home when it was.

    I was staying at home alone for short periods of time at 6/7. Specifically for the same reason I let my kids stay at home for short periods of time--to teach them how to stay home alone for longer periods of time (like afterschool) when they are older. I walked myself home from school and stayed home alone afterschool in the 5th grade...I was 9 (and I thought it was awesome). I checked in with my next door neighbor, I let myself in the house, I called my mom, I fixed a snack, I did my homework, I did a few chores, and then I got the TV to myself until my parents got home from work around 5:30. When my parents got home, I went out to play with my friends until dinner time. Unless you had a stay at home mom, this was pretty standard in my (midwestern, middle class neighborhood of mostly retirees, young families, and military folks) neighborhood.


    The capacity of a 7 year old's (or a 9 year old's, or a 12 year old's) abilities hasn't changed, our perspective of their abilities has. And that capacity has very little to do with age.

    At what age do you suggest starting to let a child learn to be alone for an hour? What about an average child, versus a mature one? What about a disabled child versus a normal one?

    Parenting is cultural...and it (unfortunately) seems to have more to do with shaping a childs abilities to meet societal expecations than anything else (like, I dunno, attempting to raise self-actualized human beings). The capacity of kids for self-reliance and competence is much greater than mainstream American culture gives them credit for. Quite frankly, we shortchange our children. Children aren't cookie cutters. At 4, my daughter was hella more mature than my son is at 6...but before he was 2, he knew all the letters of the alphabet by sight (upper and lower case), while his sister wasn't proficient at the alphabet til she was in kindergarten. An individual child's skills and personality should be at question, not their age, when determing when they can stay home alone or (for that matter) drive a car, etc...
    “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.”
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    "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

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  8. #28
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanieMarie View Post
    I see that here in Europe as well. Some of the stuff that is perfectly reasonable over here would totally horrify Canadian parents, and some stuff that's accepted in other European countries isn't accepted in others. For example, I read somewhere that Scandinavian (I can't remember which country) parents often leave their kids in the strollers when they go into shops or cafes. People don't do that here. But over here, kids take the subway by themselves at all sorts of ages, which would probably result in a call to CPS in the US or Canada.
    The article I linked mentioned the stroller thing. Also, in Japan, apparently its normal for 7 and 8 year olds to be on the subway by themselves. And in the Marquesas Islands, apparently kids take care of themselves in a big group---the toddlers play with the babies, the preschool aged kids play with the toddlers and the primary aged kids supervise.
    “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

  9. #29
    Grey Warden Rowanwood's Avatar
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    I think it depends on what you mean by "alone" and what sort of kid it is...on average, I say MOST 7 year olds are NOT safe alone. I see horror stories of the damage kids do when parents ARE home, like poo on the walls and swallowing marbles and eating paint and crazy stuff like that, and many are 5-6-7 years old.

    I can take a shower when my 3 year old is "alone" and I know she really won't do much of anything, except make a mess with her toys. But my nephews would destroy the house.

    There's no yes/no answer to this one, but I think the law saying 12/13 is a good idea.

    People are stupid, generally.

  10. #30
    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Is 7 too young to be left home alone?

    Thal you ask at what age. I have no idea. You are right. Kids need to learn etc etc. It's age approriate etc etc. I'm not arguing that. I'm saying for me and the experiences I've had? I wouldn't let my 7 year old home alone. Mostly because of where I live. Remember me? From LA? Yeah. Not gonna happen.

    As to what age? Well I'd have to see just how dumb my kid was I guess. I think each parent has the right to decide that for their own kid. And I won't go poking my nose in. Unless of course you think you have a smart kid and I see it on the porch eating glue. Then I might mention it.
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