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Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Home Alone

You've probably heard about the two California brothers who were left home alone while their father and stepmother partied in Las Vegas. I can't even imagine leaving a 10-year-old boy in charge of his 5-year-old autistic brother.

The father is now saying that he "screwed up." Ya think? This guy makes Homer Simpson look like Father of the Year.

So, at what age is it okay to leave kids alone in the house overnight? Most experts say age 14 or 15. But the only expert I'm going to listen to is me. And I just can't foresee a situation where my wife and I will be needing to leave our kids home alone, even when they're responsible teenagers. Where are we going to go and not take the kids with us?


Blogger Darth Daddy said...

DOH !!


10:38 PM  
Anonymous brettdl said...

It's wrong to regulate parents, but darn if people like this don't challenge that belief.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Bre said...

I think my parents left us at 16 & 17 BUT my grandma or uncle would come by everyday and check on us, plus we had the nosey neighbors on patrol.

9:12 AM  
Blogger jb3ll3 said...

Actually Phil, as you'll soon see, leaving them home alone when they are teenagers can be more dangerous than at any time in their life. And exactly, just where would you be going that you wouldn't take them??

9:58 AM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

I was left home alone with my brothers starting when I was about 9 or 10. My oldest brother was three years older but had some minimal brain damage, so I was effectively left "in charge" (and as the only girl I was a bit of a tyrant with the boys anyway). But we were never left alone for more than a couple of hours at a time, and NEVER overnight! And even with his disability my brother was pretty responsible so between the two of us we did fine taking care of our younger brothers. But then people will say that was a different era.

I think it really depends on the child; some are just very mature for their age. Not that I would EVER leave a 10 and 5-year-old alone for a weekend; that is just utterly irresponsible, especially considering it sounds like they kept it quiet from relatives. It's not a choice I would make, but I can't condemn parents whose only babysitting option might be the latchkey method or relying on other older children. I had started babysitting other people's kids after school too, at about the same age I was left home alone. Some parents get stuck without any other options.

There was a really good article that explored some of these issues:

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Jane Q. Citizen said...

Phil, no matter how mature and responsible teens are a home where the parents are gone for even a couple of days becomes a magnet for their friends. That's when things get out of control and the peer pressure of having a house full of other teens gone wild is a tough one to handle.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

My older sisters and I were latch-key kids during our school years and I don't remember a time when our parents were there when we got home from school. We were never left overnight alone, but then I don't ever remember our folks going out much at night anyway. Again, it was only a couple of hours between when we got home and they got home from work, but it was long enough for my older sister to get pregnant at the age of 15. Definitely crucial years to be watching your kids every second you get. And people wonder why I stay at home...

6:49 AM  
Blogger Tony Rosen said...

I "leave my kids alone at home" for the 30 seconds it takes to walk to the mailbox.

That being said, my 17 year old gets left at home alone a lot - because, you know, she's like 17 and can't do the same stuff we do :)

7:10 AM  

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