To think about leaving my 15 year old home alone?

(140 Posts)
AllDirections Sat 14-May-11 09:42:41

DD1 is 15 later this year and I want to take DD2 away for 2 nights on her own. DD3 will be staying with friends but DD1 doesn't want to.

It would be at the weekend so no school to think about and I would obviously leave her food and money. My friend (who is having DD3) and my next door neighbour would both be around if she needed anything. DD1 is very self sufficient, mature and responsible. In reality she would probably have her friend sleep over and the friend's parents would be checking up on them. I would only be 2-3 hours away.

Last year I took both DD1 and DD3 away for a couple of days on their own and DD2 is asking when I can take her away. I want to take her but is leaving DD1 alone at home a sensible option?

compo Sat 14-May-11 09:44:46

Why would you only want to take dd2 away though? I'd rather stick together as a family

RabbitFood Sat 14-May-11 09:45:04

If you feel she is sensible, then i would do it. she has a neighbour to contact should she need to . Also presumably you will be on a mobile she can contact at any time.

Just don't let her put any details on facebook. The horror stories of those parties from just a mention that the childs parents are away, can end up with 200 uninvited guests and a trashed house.

i would, but i would arrange for someone to go over a couple of times, and warn neighbours to keep an eye out

compo Sat 14-May-11 09:46:03

Or have dd1 stay over at friends where there is an adult

it's not illegal but if something happened they'd probably get ss involved
and would you enjoy yourself if you were worrying about back home?

valiumredhead Sat 14-May-11 09:47:16

What Rabbitfood said re facebook.

I used to babysit overnight for a family when I was 14/15 and I'd left home by 16. As long as she has a neighbour on hand if she needs help with anything I am sure she'll be fine.

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 09:47:44

She isn't 15. She is 14 confused

We left ds1 when he was nearly 16. But 14, nearly 15 is different.

It would depend on the child tbh and the next door neighbours. And my seeing her facebook and email and phone before I went.

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 14-May-11 09:48:30

only you can be the judge of whether its OK or not - you know your DD and how mature/responsible she is. For the record, my parents left my older sister at almost 16 for 5 days while they went to look at property in Spain, I was only 11 so stayed with grandparents. my sister was fine, checked in on phone morning and night with GP's who were only half a mile away. there was a small incident with a party which was organised, but the damage wasnt too bad......

valiumredhead Sat 14-May-11 09:48:35

BINGO! SS mentioned and in only 4 posts wink

Honeybee79 Sat 14-May-11 09:50:09

Depends on how sensible she is. I think I would as long as there were people around to call her and check on her.

My folks left me for a week when I was 14 and it was bliss. I loved the time alone and just ate pizza in front of the TV.

squeakytoy Sat 14-May-11 09:51:25

I wouldnt. But I know what I was like at that age grin.

Morloth Sat 14-May-11 09:54:56

I think it depends on the kid. I was fine for this sort of thing at 14/15 but there is no way on earth you could have left my older sister. She is was a feral. grin

AllDirections Sat 14-May-11 09:55:59

Compo, it's nice to have some one-to-one time away with each child every now and again. I'm a single parent and I rarely get time with each child alone.

Pagwatch, I'm not going to do it yet. I agree that 14 is too young but I'm planning in advance. I would definitely leave her at 16 but 15 is a bit of a grey area for me.

DD1 is not the type to arrange a party but she would put something on Facebook about us being away. She just wouldn't think not to so I'll check that she doesn't. My friend and neighbour would check up on her for me and I would be checking via mobile. She might get invited to her friend's and that would solve the problem. I could try and make her go to her dads but she'd probably rather sleep in a bus shelter!! And he would probably say no anyway!

oxocube Sat 14-May-11 10:03:16

My ds is almost 16 and I would definitely leave him for a weekend (with the dog!!) if necessary. Would think twice about leaving a 14 year old though (even though my 13 year old dd would probably stay in bed and watch movies the whole weekend grin)

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 10:03:36

Ok, I was confused smile

I did it with ds1. He was very sensible, had babysat for his sibs and I totally trusted him.

I just made sure he had help nearby if there was a problem.
He had our number and number of a friend of mine who lived very close.

I left him a list of stuff on a whiteboard which he photographed and has on his facebook page

Feed the dog
Let him out to pee
Let him back in again
Don't start to run a bath and think 'i'll just nip downstairs". You will forget it.
Don't turn on the grill and walk away
No fires, no flames, nothing inflamable,, combustible, electrical. No scary shit
No parties. Really. I mean it.


at 15 and with people looking in and neighbours around who you know yes only you know yo0ur dd and if is ok

ANd yes I do the have time with just each child thing to

MumblingRagDoll Sat 14-May-11 10:18:03

I was not allowed to stay alone at that age as Mum knew I'd have a party! It's a rare teen who won't take advantage!

compo Sat 14-May-11 10:26:45

Lol didn't realise I'd won mumsnet bingo grin

I just think 14 is too young

I wouldn't be able to relax and would be constantly ringing, texting the neighbour etc
don't see why dd can't stay over at a friends
it's one thing saying they'll be fine etc but they might feel frightened once it gets dark

Tuppence2 Sat 14-May-11 11:21:57

My mum used to leave me on my own when I was a young teenager for the odd night. I always had a contact number for other relatives/ mum's friends if I needed anything. Or I could always knock on a neighbours door if it was an emergency.
I have never once had a party when I was left alone, even when I was 18 and my mum and stepdad went on honeymoon for a week. I had 1 girlfriend over and that's it... I must've been a rare teen.

I think if you can trust her to be sensible, ie, not leave the oven on or forget to lock the front door, I think you should leave her. She's obviously happy to be left, because if she wasn't, she'd be asking her mates if she can stay over at their house.

You know your DD. Lists and lists and lists. If you trust her, do it. She'll probably love it.

I like the idea of having weekends away with each of your children individually, I think it's really nice. smile

borderslass Sat 14-May-11 11:45:42

I did it with DD1 at that age she was a very mature girl was old beyond her years, only you know your daughter its great to get 1-1 time with your kids.

FabbyChic Sat 14-May-11 11:49:03

Sorry but my son when 17 would not be left alone, and I certainly do not think it is acceptable to leave a 15 year old.

It's neglectful. He didn't ask to be born now you want to fuck off and leave him for two nights, shameful.

CordeliaCatkin Sat 14-May-11 11:55:40

I don't think it is okay either. She will invite friends round - and if people get to know she is home alone, then she may well end up with a situation that could get out of hand.

Just tell her she is not allowed to stay home alone and arrange for her to go somewhere else. Or take her with you.

Spidermama Sat 14-May-11 11:59:33

I think it's fine. 15! It'll be good for her sense of independence.

Danthe4th Sat 14-May-11 12:06:46

I think its ok if your dd is not the sort to get spooked at 2am by creaks and groans in the house. She no doubt will be on facebook talking to her mates so the whole school will know she is home alone plus half the parents. Thats the bit that would concern me.
My dd1 age 16 would probably be ok with it, but for 2 nights I would send her to her grandmas I expect.

IloveJudgeJudy Sat 14-May-11 12:09:09

I think you know your own DD. If you think she's mature enough, then do it, but with the caveats that Pag put, including don't mention anything on FB. It's not neglectful. What are you talking about Fabby - shameful? I've left my DS as he didn't want to come away on a camping trip with a load of other families and he had a football match to referee. With mobile phones, etc we're all contactable all the time now. The thing I was worried about was him oversleeping.

I think it'll make your DD grow up, OP, if she wants to do it. No parties, though, or friends round.

mumblechum1 Sat 14-May-11 12:10:06

I'd have no issue with this. Left ds alone for a long w/e last yr when he was 15 and he was fine - his best friend's mum was there if needed (and he went there for a bbq one day). Nothing happened and he enjoyed himself. Couple of months later he travelled alone to west coast USA, met up with a friend, they went wild camping in th Rockies. After that I have no concerns at all, he's more than capable of survival now he's dodged grizzly bears and had to fish for his supper!

I think we baby chilren far too much these days tbh. A 15 yr old is a young adult and willl be more than capable of cooking their own meals, ordering taxis if they're going out etc. I'd be firm about not having parties though

NeverSayPie Sat 14-May-11 12:15:49

If you can't leave a 15 year old home alone, you've got to wonder whats wrong with either you or them.

As for Fabby's 17 year old who can't be left, and accusations of neglect, thats just laughable. I had my own flat at 17, if you can't leave them at that age, you've fucked up your parenting somehwere along the way!

Ineedacleaneriamalazyslattern Sat 14-May-11 12:17:45

Fabby you seriously wouldn't have left a 17 year old alone? And the OP is not fucking off as you so nicely as ever put it, hmm she is trying to spend some quality time with another child something she has already done with the 14 year old in question.

OP as you said 15 is a grey area and it depends on the child, I could have stayed at 15 but my sister couldn't have.

meditrina Sat 14-May-11 12:17:47

Does a she have a boyfriend? You may need ground rules for that too.

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 12:17:50

It isn't neglectful if you allow teenagers increasing amounts of independence, overseen and managed.

What wiuld be hugely neglectful in my opinion would be failing to encourage and support independence.

By your standard my still17 year old son would never have experienced a moment unsupervised . Then suddenly in a few months he would be packed up, sent to university where he would be expected to feed, clothe, manage himself with no support at all. How completely stupid.

And your 'he didn't ask to be born' comment seeks to equate helping children learn independent skills with emotional indifference which is childish and mawkish.
Independence, self help, personal resources are sadly lacking in some young people.
Treating young people like incompetent twits when they are shortly to fend for themselves is not a gift

FabbyChic Sat 14-May-11 12:21:59

Ive been away since my son was 16 and always made sure that someone is with him. He can't use a cooker so how else is he supposed to eat?

He is now 18 and I would leave him, not before though. And she is fucking off and leaving a child, 15 is a child.

I don't care her reasons for wanting to go away, it is neglectful.

worraliberty Sat 14-May-11 12:28:25

Fabby does your son have SN? Genuine question by the way.

17 is very old to not be left alone considering he could move out and marry at 16.

IloveJudgeJudy Sat 14-May-11 12:30:15

Fabby, why can't your 18 yo DS use a cooker? That's very neglectful of you, isn't it? You haven't been doing your parental duty. You're meant to prepare your DC for the world and you haven't done that.

The OP is not f***ing off. She's going away and will probably, like most people, ask friends to keep an eye out as it will be the first time.

So, Fabby, what does your DS know now that he didn't know when he was 17? What have you taught him? Obviously not how to use a cooker.

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 12:30:47

Why can he not use a cooker fabby? Genuine question.

TattyDevine Sat 14-May-11 12:32:05

Oh Fabby you are pure gold-plated.

Regarding leaving a 15 year old, I've no doubt a sensible 15 year old would probably be fine in terms of safety and sensibility HOWEVER she might be scared. That might sound silly but I just remember when I was actually 20 years old I house-sat for a friend of the family who were away for 2 weeks. I was absolutely petrified at night time. I know it sounds silly. I lived in a big city so there was crime etc, but the house was perfectly secure so I was paranoid. It was the first time I'd been "alone" before, so even if you've moved out of home, you may not have actually been home alone all night etc even at that age. I suppose what i'm saying is its not necessarily to do with age but the first time you are left alone all night it can be daunting.

I actually slept with a knife under my pillow, which was ridiculous really but it made me feel safer.

I was really looking forward to doing the house sitting as well so I didn't anticipate at all that I would feel that way. It was a complete surprise to me! I wasn't a particularly timid or "scared" person either - so it was out of character for me so possibly not that unusual?

Probably just me being silly but I thought I'd mention it in case you hadn't considered it or she hadn't.

When I was left alone around that age I had some epic house parties. but I was a brat so try not to let this post worry you. It's only 2 days your DD will be fine. Just tell her you have asked people to come round and check on her.

worraliberty Sat 14-May-11 12:36:27

I think unless there are any SN, a child should know basic life skills by the age of 14. That would include washing up, cooking basic meals, using the washing machine and ironing.

Obviously I'm not saying they should be running the household or doing all that for the rest of the family, as they should be enjoying their childhood..but they should know these basic skills like they know how to read, write and add up.

Morloth Sat 14-May-11 12:37:24

I went to schoolies on the gold coast when I was 17.

I could use a cooker though, didn't but could. wink

I drove there as well, with a car full of girlfriends, the whole 13 hours...

Vallhala Sat 14-May-11 12:39:31

Fabby, really?

You wouldn't leave your 17 year old son overnight?

If your 17 year old cannot use a cooker then you are the one who is neglectful in not having taught him how by that point.

UTGSN of course.

TattyDevine Sat 14-May-11 12:41:05

I went to schoolies too Morloth grin

You must have had a quiet time if you were only 17 though wink

Vallhala Sat 14-May-11 12:44:00

I just had to Google "Schoolies".

I now feel old and thank god my DD is only approaching an expensive Prom night! grin

fabby unless there is a good reason that your 17yo can not use a cooker or be left alone

Then I would point out you spouting neglect to others is a moot point .!7 he could move out tomorrow and not a dam thing you could do about it and he would learn the hard way .

Ds 17 next week is going to Glastonbury with out me camping for 3 night and have left him at home for couple of night before hand anyway he can use a cooker , washer and clean up oh and he has even watched the younger two overnight due to emergency and no one getting to house till later .

So that included getting them up feeding then making sure they are dressed and getting ds3 in school taxu ( has sn ) and then taking dd to school before taking self to collage .

Oh nd do not bother shouting neglect when i talke dto disablity sw she was like np he can look ate rthem for whole week if needs perfectley legal and thats with ds3 having sn ( he did not becuase i felt be to much but he could of and would of coped

I spent a week home alone at 16. No parties or problems, but one of the other posts has reminded me that I did find the first few nights home alone a little frightening.

I don't see that this should be a problem if your d is trustworthy and reliable. My sister, for example, would have gotten into all sorts of trouble if she'd had an empty house for a week at the same age.

thats 17 not 7 and I do notice you like to pop all over the place and argue all the time

Maryz Sat 14-May-11 12:48:13

I wouldn't leave my 17 year old overnight. Not that I don't think he could look after himself, of course he could. But I quite like my house, and would like it to be here when I got back grin.

I sort of trust him not to do anything intentionally awful. I don't trust his friends, and their friends, and their friends' facebook friends etc.

I also wouldn't let dd (who is nearly 15) stay at another 15 year old's house if the parents are away - I would suggest the other child came here.

I think it is a great idea to take dd2 away on her own. I have done that with all mine, and it is good for parent/child relations. But I would send dd1 to the friend's house, not the other way around.

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 12:49:01

Ds1 is 17. In a few weeks he is flying to Spain to open up our home in Spain for a group of his friends who will stay there 10 days, cooking and generally looking after themselves.
Then a few weeks later he and some friends are flying to Germany with their bikes and cycling through to Venice to raise money for help for Herod. They are unaccompanied and have raised the funds, booked the tickets, organised stop overs etc all on their own.

It staggers me that anyone thinks a 17 year old without sn cannot be independent.

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 12:50:00

no, not help for herod. He is surely beyond help.
Help for heros

Bonsoir Sat 14-May-11 12:50:52

I think 15 is young for this - she might get sad and lonely.


That is a differnt case full stop grin

Maryz Sat 14-May-11 12:52:24

Pagwatch, ds1 is going to Majorca, with 17 (yes 17) friends hmm. I feel sorry for Majorca grin.

In fact if anyone is going to Majorca for the third week of July, I suggest you cancel your holiday pdq.

Morloth Sat 14-May-11 12:55:35

Yes yes of course, very quiet what with being underage and all that.

Not like I have three older sisters and we all look pretty much exactly the same or anything. Obviously, my next older sister did not in anyway give me her licence, actually I am not doing much to make the OP feel better about this am I?

We were pretty sensible, we booked motel rooms on the way up and back and split the driving and stayed in a pretty nice hotel (well comparatively) and no-one got stupidly pissed or shagged anyone inappropriate. Actually, I didn't shag anyone at all as I remember it. I think I had already met DH by then but we were not together.

oxocube Sat 14-May-11 13:00:33

Fabby, hilarious! My 13 year old can cook pasta, soups, stir fries ALL on the cooker. My 15 year old makes a mean steak and blue cheese sandwich with french fries, also ............. using a cooker!!!! My 15 year old also babysits, does the last dog walk at night (around 10.30) and carries out numerous other helpful and responsible jobs around the house. I think you are weird not encouraging a young adult to become independent.

I am totally shock that you think a 17 year old is incapable of looking after themselves for a night!!

OP, have a great time- I know its not for a while but enjoy anyway

ivykaty44 Sat 14-May-11 13:03:07

I actually telephoned the police and asked about this- they told me if I left dd on her own overnight under 16 they would get SS envolved sad once she was a minute over 16 they didn't care less hmm no laws though to stop you doing so

oxocube Sat 14-May-11 13:04:46

Pagwatch hilarious - Herod is definitely beyond help now I think grin

MrsvWoolf Sat 14-May-11 13:06:36

I thought you meant alone for a period of time. Overnight is too young at 15 I think.

I'm now chuckling slightly manically at "help for herod"
The dog thinks im mad.

Hurrah for Fabby and her utter bollocks always adds a dimension of hilarity to any thread. FWIW I took DS 1 away overnight for a bit of 1 on 1 time just before he started high school . Does that mean I was "fucking off" and negelecting the other DC's (who stayed at home with dad)?????
<proud emoticon> MY DS IS 13 AND CAN SAFELY COOK A SIMPLE MEAL FOR THE FAMILY <stick that in your pipe and smoke it Fabby>
OP I was left alone at that age and managed to survive and not trash my parents house.

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 13:07:36


Blimey. 17 grin
He will have tales not to tell

Oxocube grin

Waltons Sat 14-May-11 13:09:06

FWIW the NSPCC states "If your child is under the age of 16 they shouldn’t be left alone overnight." Leaflet here

meh also says this as well

There is no legal age at which children may be left home alone, but parents can be prosecuted for neglect if it puts them at risk of injury or suffering.

as long as they are sur ethey are old enough to cope and thats only something the op can decide

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 13:26:26

I am sure the nspcc are very sensible and a good guide on this subject. However they have not met me, nor my son, nor are they familiar with the circumstances, support systems and mechanisms that are in place if my child is left alone.

So this is one of those things where my judgement would override the advice of a charity or govt body.
Because the difference between one child and another at 15 is huge. And the difference between 15 minus one day and 15 plus one day is immeasurable.
So I will read their guidelines with interest but make my decisions as a parent.

4madboys Sat 14-May-11 13:27:37

well at that age i was left on my own at night with my younger sister, mum worked nights and dad was in the forces. we were fine my mum just called in the morning to make sure we were getting up and getting ready for school, she then arrived home in time to take my little sister to school.

and my ELEVEN yr old can cook a meal for us on the cooker, he uses the oven and the hob, quite frankly i think its shocking that a 17yr old cant!! and i HOPE that youare just trying to cause an argument/being sarcastic fabby!

i think as long as she has contact number, someone nearby she can call on if she needs to and you have a friend or a neighbour to keep their eye out then she will be fine smile

NeverSayPie Sat 14-May-11 13:27:42

Its just an opinion. And some of you must have ridiculously mollycoddled teenagers, you're not doing them any favours you know.

4madboys Sat 14-May-11 13:28:12

and what pagwatch said!

AllDirections Sat 14-May-11 13:43:14

Thanks for all your comments, except Fabby's!!

I'm aware of the NSPCC guidelines which is why I was asking for opinions, but they are just guidelines, not law. DD1 is (at age 14) more responsible than a lot of 16 year olds. As others have said it's not really an age thing, it's more about maturity. She could easily run the household, including looking after her younger sisters, shopping, cooking, etc. if I went away for a week, NOT THAT I PLAN TO, before anyone calls SS. But she is capable of it. She won't party but I might come back to a messy house!

DD1's friend is likely to stay here one night and then they'll stay there one night. Her friend is also sensible and I would let DD1 stay at her house if her parent's were away. Obviously I'd check up on them and I'd worry more than I'd need to because I always do when my children do something alone for the first time. If DD1 is invited to the friends for the weekend that's fine but now I've thought about it more I think it's going to be a really good experience for her. It's all part of the growing up process!!

Morloth Sat 14-May-11 13:47:58

Hang on pagwatch you are not saying that we can actually make decisions for ourselves/our children and possibly even ignore official 'advice' and/or guidelines?!

Dangerous thinking, what will people do if they have to think about this stuff themselves?

AllDirections Sat 14-May-11 13:53:50

PMSL Morloth

ivykaty44 Sat 14-May-11 13:56:15

Oh gone are the days when we could think for yourself sad you may think r do the wrong thing and not even know it - but that is no excuse you would still be punished

mumblechum1 Sat 14-May-11 13:56:44

grin morloth. And last time I checked, nspcc was a charity, and had no legal authority on stuff like this.

I despair at people whose young adults (15 plus imo) are treated like little children, as someone else said, when they go off to Uni they're going to get a big shock.

Morloth Sat 14-May-11 14:04:17

If we all just accept that ivykaty44 we might as well just hand our babies over to the state to raise in the approved manner at birth.

It really is a crock of shit that a sensible 15 year old (with the parents making a call as to what sensible means) can't be left alone for a weekend. I mean really.

How completely ridiculous.

missmyoldname Sat 14-May-11 14:05:09

shock at Fabby.

Even my Dmum who is somewhat neurotic over-cautious, let my DSis go to Majorca aged 17 with her friends. I was going to festivals from age 16, but also had plenty of friends who had actually moved out by 17.

I met a good few people at University who had not been allowed any independence and I think its fair to say they were the ones who went bonkers sleeping with anything that moved, and ending up with alcohol poisoning!

Waltons Sat 14-May-11 14:15:32

I don't agree with the NSPCC guidelines either, but I thought I would post them out of interest to see what others thought. I would cheerfully have left my son at home alone overnight at the age of 15, but I think 14 might have been pushing it, and for a whole weekend, simply because he would have been lonely. (He wouldn't have had a party - not his style.)

OP, spending one night with a friend in the house and then one night at friend's house sounds fine.

wineisfine Sat 14-May-11 14:25:21

I had a rude awakening when I as on my own at 18 with a new baby - couldn't cook and had never used an oven or washing machine, didn't know washing machines had filters, no idea about basic housecleaning, it was awful. I learnt quickly but wish I'd know before!

9yo DS has been helping me cook and cooking simple things like scrambled egg - supervised of course - for a while now. Can work the washing machine, dishwasher etc as well.

Wrapping kids in cotton wool does them no favours imo.

DoMeDon Sat 14-May-11 14:36:16

If I had been home alone for 2 nights at 15 I would have shit myself, got drunk and had all my friends over, probably trashing the place (not necessarily in that order grin)

Depends on the child, as long as you accept there may be sex, drunkeness and some odd behaviour.

From what you say about your DD it sounds like she would be fine. I would insist on random drop in's from adult friends of mine though.

Message withdrawn

mumblechum1 Sat 14-May-11 14:40:11

When we left ds home alone last yr (at 15) I called his friend's house as couldn't get an answer at ours. The dad said, hang on a minute, the smoke is clearing over the rubble now, I'll pop down and see if he's still alive grin.

He and his friend did raid the drinks cabinet and drank the violently coloured cocktail stuff which had been gathering dust for years, but meh, they survived.

Gooseberrybushes Sat 14-May-11 14:50:40

It seems ok to me. Depends on the child, surely. But they ought to be ready for it. To be 17 and incapable of being left for one night is wrong wrong wrong.

Gooseberrybushes Sat 14-May-11 14:51:27

grin at mumblechum

what a splendid dad!

TattyDevine Sat 14-May-11 14:56:54

In about 10 years time, Fabby's son will get married and have children and some poor sap of a woman will be on here starting a catalogue of "my husband can't even boil an egg or work the washing machine" threads with a few "My mother in law is an absolute friggin nightmare" threads thrown in to boot.

Can't wait grin

worraliberty Sat 14-May-11 15:30:26

Lol @ Tatty grin

One thing I will say about Fabby though. She does say some contraversial things, but at least she has the bollocks to say it without a name change.

Other than that, I stand by the fact a 17yr old without SN (if that's the case) should have learnt basic life skills years ago.

fairydoll Sat 14-May-11 15:35:10

Absolutely NOT ok under 16.It is neglect, if anything happened you would be in serious trouble.

Maryz Sat 14-May-11 15:39:08

Am I the only person with a 17 year old who is more worried about the state of the house when I got back than the ability of the 17 year old to cook his own dinner?

One of the kids in dd's school was left home alone at 16. He didn't have a party, but "met a few of his friends in town, who decided to get a few cans and go to his house".

Unfortunately they were spotted by a few older kids who decided to join them, so the pub emptied back to the empty house. The 16 year old didn't want to call the police because he thought his parents would kill him hmm.

Apparently in the end the neighbours called the police, by which time there were over a hundred teenagers there, and the house was, to put it mildly, a bit of a mess.

Does this only happen in Ireland?

TwoIfBySea Sat 14-May-11 15:39:47

People need to remember that at 16 your child could easily leave home and have to cope themselves. Many join the army at that age or go away to university at 18.

I flat-shared from 18.

If we continually molly-coddle them then they will never learn the skills needed to be able to look after themselves. At 14 I think it is fine, have the neighbour pop in to check and make sure dd knows that neighbour will be doing so - that'll curb the party urge! It is good to be given responsibility at that age, good for both her confidence and her growth as her own person. OP, you are making arrangements for her safety so obviously aren't just leaving her to it! It is good to have one on one time with your other dd and good for your older dd to know you trust her.

If at 17 I felt I couldn't leave either of my dts alone I'd seriously have failed as a mother. At that age they are on the cusp of independence, you need to cut those apron strings before they strangle both of you!

fairydoll Sat 14-May-11 15:41:30

No happened in our village .Result- £70k of damage to parents posh house and cars and insurance wouldn't pay out because damage done by invited guests.

Maryz Sat 14-May-11 15:47:39

Yes that's what I mean fairydoll. I don't believe any of mine would intentionally have a party. And I think dd (who is nearly 15) would have the sense to see it was getting out of control and ask for help. But I don't think either of the boys would see that it was out of control until it was too late. They would just hope it would all be ok.

I really, really don't like any of ds1's friends (druggies, a lot of them sad), but even ds2 whose friends I like, and whose friends' parents I know, I just don't believe they would admit defeat and call for help.

Georgimama Sat 14-May-11 15:47:55

I'd have been perfectly capable of looking after myself for a couple of nights at that age. I definitely wouldn't have had a party but I would have had a 48 hour shagfest with my boyfriend.

Just saying.

bigTillyMint Sat 14-May-11 15:49:26

You know your DD and if you think she's ready then I'm sure she'll be fine with all the support you have set up should she need it.

However, I don't think I was ever left home alone unsupervised over night before I went to uni aged almost 19. However, I was allowed plenty of freedom and self-responsibility. And I was absolutely fine fending for myself and living in a shared house from day 1.

I'm not sure how I would feel about DD being left on her own at 15 as she is not 12 yet - I can't imagine that far ahead yet!

bigTillyMint Sat 14-May-11 15:52:30

mmm Georgiamama, I think I would have too!blush

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 15:54:10

well we have left DS1 four of five times since he was 15.
always come home to a clean well ordered house.
he has had a party while we were away but I know because he asked.
it was fine.
his friends are nice. I expect they got a bit pissed but most of them are 18 now. he is one of the youngest but very sensible.

i am curious to know who I would be in serious trouble with as it isn't illegal?

proudfoot Sat 14-May-11 15:54:20

A youngster of 15 should be capable of looking after herself for a few nights. I don't think it's unreasonable to leave her.

Agree with the above posts about not mollycoddling and I think FabbyChic is setting her son up for a rude shock when he eventually has to stand on his own two feet.

Maryz Sat 14-May-11 16:00:42

Pagwatch, I suspect you would only be in trouble is something bad happened. For example, suppose he was 15, home alone, had friends round and one of them fell down the stairs.

You being there mightn't have stopped it, but I suppose it could be said that they were "unsupervised".

Having said that, if he had a party, in my opinion it is up to the other kids' parents to know where their children are, so I wouldn't hold you responsible for other children's safety whether you were there or not.

For me, it is simply the worry that other, older teens would see the "free house". Nothing to do with safety as such, if that makes sense.

At 15 I'd left school and was working full time. I'm 33 so it's not that long ago in the grand scheme of things! The thought of having to be babysat over night is laughable. In fact my mum worked nights from when I was 14; as she was a single parent I was alone with my 10 year old sister - not ideal, but we were fine.

If you think that she'll cope, then get yourself off and have a great time.

worraliberty Sat 14-May-11 16:03:59

fairydoll Sat 14-May-11 15:35:10
Absolutely NOT ok under 16.It is neglect, if anything happened you would be in serious trouble.

She would only be in serious trouble if she left the child in obvious danger

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 16:07:43

thanks Maryz smile

but i guess i am asking what form that trouble would be?
i suspect the 'trouble' people are talking about is suing me.

i am not going to alter what i consider to be reasonable behaviour because some idiot may in the future chose to exploit guidelines to creat a false 'negligent' line in the sand.
i agree with you. if DS1 leaves the house it is my responsibility to know where he is going and expect him to behave reasonably - as he would here.

if he fell down the stairs at a friends house whilst at a party I would burn in hell before i would sue. but i suspect other people would in this 'it must be someone elses fault' cult.

that is why a group of loving parents get clacked out about whether their choice to leavetheir child at an age that they deem sensible, based on that childs understanding and ability is ok with THEM - you know, "they say you shouldn't do x. They say you shouldn't do y"

drives me batty


yes but then you could say if dc at 15 fell down the stairs in teh day when you was at work be neglect if in teh same vein becuase theres kids that left alone all day becuase no way from the age of about 11/12 would they need ir should need childcare .Oh And i am not saying kids should not be alone all day from age 11 or 12 thatsparent choices ,ds 1 no problem 11 or 12 , ds erm few hrs not all day but now at 14 yes without thinking as he has grown up a lot

Maryz Sat 14-May-11 16:18:10

Oh, no, I'm not saying you should change.

I think it is appalling that kids aren't allowed to be independent these days - all mine have been able to cook clean, use machines etc for years. In fact I have only made an evening meal, and sometimes not even that, since my youngest was about 8. They are well able to feed and look after themselves.

My worry would really be because of where we live - too many gurriers hanging around looking for "free houses" as the teenagers here call them to have parties in.

I think, but I don't know, that if something really bad happened to a 16 year old left alone, the parents could, theoretically, be prosecuted for neglect. I doubt you would be convicted though (certainly not by any jury who had ever had teenagers). But I do know some parents who would sue hmm. The one who threatened to sue me when her son was pushed fell off our trampoline at a birthday party once would be one.

ds1 is almost 18 and really shouldn't be out of the house alone as he has no common sense. But he has friends in their twenties who also should be out of the house on their own. They are completely stupid in their actions. My 13 and 14 year olds would be fine for a week. So you are right about ages.

Maryz Sat 14-May-11 16:19:15

Sorry, I meant if something bad happened to an under -16 year old, sorry.

and meh if one of my kids had a accident then they had an accident .It is just one of those things and if done at a party ds be told well that will make you watch your booze intake next time .

EverythingInMiniature Sat 14-May-11 16:23:10

I wonder if Fabby is my old colleague?

When I was at school I worked evenings at the supermarket in the next town. Once the train was delayed and I was a couple of minutes late down to the counter. The woman I was taking over from was frantic and shouted:

'Do you realise my 15 year old son has been home on his own since the end of school?' (It was 5pm) 'and he hasn't had his tea!'

I reminded her that her son was only 6 months younger than me, and that I was working, getting myself home afterwards and would be cooking dinner with my 12 year old brother (who had been on his own since the school bus got him there at around half 5). We would then have dinner on the table for a family meal when my parents arrived home around 9, as we did every week.

Obviously I shouldn't have been late blush but honestly I think she felt a bit silly!

venusandmars Sat 14-May-11 16:23:34

I wouldn't. That is I wouldn't do it if I had the choice over again - (voice of bitter experience). Even if I thought I could trust dd, I couldn't control what her friends put on facebook - nothing for them to lose by posting "hey, party at X's house on friday".

I know that by 16 they can leave home and live on their own, but then that is in their own house with only their own possesions at risk, not in my home with my possessions and livelihood (home office). I didn't care about the wrecked doors, I didn't care about the deep gouges out of the plasterwork, and I didn't care that a couple of books had been destroyed. But I did care about someone shagging in my bed, and I did care a LOT that my pc etc were at risk, and I did care a lot that the books got destroyed because a lamp fell on them, and no-one noticed under they were smouldering....

Fwiw, dd was frightened out of her mind, she had no idea that it would get so out of control, that people would turn up that she didn't know, and that people's behaviour would be so out of control.

Pagwatch Sat 14-May-11 16:25:01

smile I know what you meant Maryz

we very much agree i think.

I am just venting because this irrites me. ignore me

bigTillyMint Sat 14-May-11 16:25:28

Pag, does your DS still go on holiday with you?

I felt heartened when my friend told me her DS (also 16) is still wanting to go on holiday with them this summersmile but she thinks it might be the last one.

complexnumber Sat 14-May-11 16:37:29

My M&D left me and big sis (aged 14/15 and 16/17 as I recall) alone for a few nights a long time ago (we are talking late seventies).

We were both fairly responsible and intelligent teenagers, we smoked a few spliffs and drank a few beers. No party and we didn't wreck the house.

(My parents would have been mortified had they known)

Maryz Sat 14-May-11 16:38:06

venusandmars, that's my fear.

ds1 has refused to come on holiday with us for the last two years sad. So we no longer have family holidays as I can't leave him.

The fucker angry.

And I can't even go away while he is away this summer, because dh can't get that week off.

And don't tell me to send him to stay with someone. We tried that. He just came home and got in.

complexnumber Sat 14-May-11 16:47:40

venusandmars, a very scary post.

My post was flippant to the extreme in contrast to yours, what a horrible experience

Bigtill ds 1 at almost 17 still comes on some holidays with us and even days out mind depending where and what

November of to Centre parcs asked him if he wanted to come he was like oh yes please .and he camp a weekend in the summer with us but we just had a night away and went to zoo and he stayed home as did ds2 age 14 .I came home to house still standing and even more of shock they had manged wake up and gone of to collage and school .No mean feat as ds1 likes his sleep

4madboys Sat 14-May-11 16:53:14

well mine arent teens yet, my eldest is 11, BUT if I ALLOWED him to go to a party at a house where i knew the parents were away etc and there was an accident then on my head be it, I am the parent of MY child and if i allow him out and something happens then its my responsiblity. i am not going to not leave my kids on their own (when old enough) for fear that someone else's little dear will come round and hurt themselves!

and maryz we have a trampoline in our back garden, we thought about putting it out the front BUT our front garden seems to be where ALL the kids in the cul de sac play, this is fine, most of the time! but we decided having the trampoline out the front would be too much of a risk, well not so much a risk, just that i would FOREVER be spending my time policing how many kids were on it etc etc and i couldnt be bothered with the hastle.

however when the boys have friends round they do go out the back and play on the trampoline, i implement sensible rules and if they are pratting around then i tell them to get off, i certainly wouldnt expect any of the parents of my kids friends to threaten to sue if they had an accident, thats riddiculous!

Rebeccaruby Sat 14-May-11 17:06:42

I would very much confirm that she will not tell her friends or post the information on facebook, but it sounds reasonable to leave her alone if she is responsible and happy with the situation.

I think we sometimes forget how children used to live. My grandmother left school at 14 to go into service in a big house which was a live in position. A hundred years ago it was quite normal for 14 and 15 year olds to "jump ship" and go to sea. You could join the army and be sent to train at 16. If you watch Comic Relief, there are sad stories about orphaned 12 and 13 year olds who are heads of the household in charge of bringing up siblings. Obviously, that's not ideal at all, and I'm glad that we live in a country where orphaned families would be looked after, and most people stay on at school for a decent education, but we should bear this in mind. Kids in general can and do cope in these situations. It's not the end of the world if they stay home alone for a couple of days.

5Foot5 Sat 14-May-11 17:18:26

DD is 15 and pretty sensible and responsible and I have no qualms at all about leaving her at home alone all day during the school holidays while I am at work. Or for a few hours in the early evening id I have to go out and shop or something. But I wouldn't leave her alone overnight.

I remember when I was about that age my parents had to go away overnight to a family funeral. I was allowed to stay at home alone during the day and cook for myself and so on, but they arranged for me to go round and sleep at my Aunties who lived nearby.

I will probably feel differently when she is 17!

ivykaty44 Sat 14-May-11 19:06:59

What I don't understand is when my best friend was working with young adults and she had a young lad of 16 used to come to her placement, he had just been orphaned and had a younger brother of 14 and best friend tryed to get them help as they where living in rented house with no means to pay rent, SS were not interested as the one boy was 16 and supposed to look after the younger boy and they refused point blank aid of any kind. Of course the 16 year old used to go out and leave the 14 year old and not worry about school to much etc

yet... leave your 14 year old home alone and thats wrong in the eyes of SS

How come its ok for the government to leave two young lads to fend for themselves day in and day out but if parents leave their off sring for a couple of nights away and the off spring are sensible young people - its not allowed and creul or wrong

cricketballs Sat 14-May-11 19:35:48

Fabby - you are the reason why I posted on another thread about having to train your DH!

17 is an age where they should take responsability for themselves (of course, with their parents for back up). I have ensured that my 16 year old is able to cook for himself, vacuum, polish etc so he can look after himself (but also so any future DIL will love me for bringing him up correctly!!!)

Maryz Sat 14-May-11 19:42:08

It's terrible double standards isn't it ivykaty.

This happened to friends of ds1's - two boys of 17 and 15, mother died, father had walked out years ago. Unfortunately their house became the centre of a lot of antisocial behaviour, and I suspect was where my son first started using drugs a lot.

They are still living alone, 21 and 18/19 now. The older one has a job, and they seem to be growing up a bit, but I do think just a little bit of intervention would have saved them, and their neighbours a lot of heartache.

And yet, theoretically, if you as a parent left them alone and something happened, you could be held liable.

mrsvwoolf Sat 14-May-11 19:46:40

I was sent to grandparents at 17 years, rather than left in the house, but I think this was more to prevent my having friends over to stay.

Though I couldn't cook anything more complicated than beans on toast, and got a dreadful shock going university and fending for myself.

mrsvwoolf Sat 14-May-11 19:47:39

Sounds like dreadful situation, Ivykaty.

loiner45 Sat 14-May-11 19:54:43

it does sound like your DD is sensible - but I have had 2 friends leave sensible teenagers over night and it went very wrong - it's not even their friends you have to worry about - it's the F of friends who invite themselves along en masse. I haven't left mine for that reason - and they've seen it happen so understand totally.

Have you got a family member or adult friend who could stay a couple of night?

heleninahandcart Sat 14-May-11 19:55:43

my ds ended up home alone during last years flight ban with the volcano. All was fine and he enjoyed total control of tv and fridge. No parties, 2 trusted friends visited. He invoked house rules better than when I'm home. He had to clock in with friends parents and knew they were there as backup. No frying allowed either.

If you're sure she's up for it and have confidence she will act on yr instructions then yes. All kids are different only you know yr dd.

heleninahandcart Sat 14-May-11 19:58:59

My ds was then 15

onagar Sat 14-May-11 20:06:45

I wasn't going to post, but will now just to balance FabbyChic who says 17 is too young and that leaving a 15yo is shameful

Fabby I started work at 15 in a job I got myself. 6 months later I had a bedsit that I also found myself. If your 17yo still can't manage you've been doing it wrong.

If you never let them be responsible they can never learn.

notquiteruralbliss Tue 14-May-13 14:55:22

At 15 my eldest went to Reading Festival without me. My 16yo travels for work (she's away for 4 or 5 days at a time) & went on holiday to Cyprus with a friend when she was 15. Friends parents were also there, but stayed in a hotel while the girls had a flat. Leaving a 15yo for a couple of nights with backup if needed sounds fine.

notquiteruralbliss Tue 14-May-13 15:20:19

At 15 my eldest went to Reading Festival without me. My 16yo travels for work (she's away for 4 or 5 days at a time) & went on holiday to Cyprus with a friend when she was 15. Friends parents were also there, but stayed in a hotel while the girls had a flat. Leaving a 15yo for a couple of nights with backup if needed sounds fine.

notquiteruralbliss Tue 14-May-13 15:20:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

whois Tue 14-May-13 15:33:31

Ah I love these threads.

Don't do it, they will have a party, every teen would.
It's neglectful.
Why would you WANT to leave them.
Ill call SS.


This is why so many young 'adults' arrive at uni at 18 with zero life skills, because they haven't been able to develop them in a gradual and controlled way.

Leaving your 15 year old, sensible teen, will probably be ok. They might love it. I loved being left for a night or two; TV, pizza, no one asking if you'd done your homework. It is good to develop a bit of resilience to being alone too.

Just make sure they know how to contact you, how to contact a nearby neighbour/friend/relative. Which a 15 year old bloody should know how to do.

Crinkle77 Tue 14-May-13 15:46:48

I wouldn't as the first thing she will do is have a party. That's exactly what I did at 15. I only invited a few friends but things quickly got out of control and this was before the advent of social networking.

Flicktheswitch Tue 14-May-13 15:47:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrsjay Tue 14-May-13 15:55:33

I wouldn't leave my 15 yr old on her own she would hate it but I think it is up to you personally id ask somebody to look after you r 14 yrold for you so you now they are ok

marciaoverstrand Tue 14-May-13 16:16:17

We left dd for one night when she was 15, she decided to try and reverse dh work van off our drive and smashed into the neighbours fenceangry just missing their hot tub.
Luckily they were very nice people, she paid for it to be fixed but I still remind her of this and she's 24 now!
Dd2 is v sensible but its friends of friends who might turn up you can't trust.

FreckledLeopard Tue 14-May-13 16:20:36

Why has a two year old zombie thread been dragged up confused?

quoteunquote Tue 14-May-13 18:54:23

Check your insurance is up to date, install cctv/hidden cameras and treat it as a test.

It depends on the individual, complete fine if they are up to it.

If they have instant backup available, then they should be fine.

quoteunquote Tue 14-May-13 18:57:45


notquiteruralbliss any explanation ?

why are so many zombie threads back in active convos???

Pandemoniaa Tue 14-May-13 19:06:31

At least the OP's DD is nearly 17 now. Saves the need to provide an exact answer.


Yawn4theday Tue 14-May-13 19:16:41

Agree Dan, might sound fun to a 15 year old but are you sure she wouldn't freak out being alone all night.

If a friend stays over, it's only a step away from a another and another and - unintentional chaos.

Jengnr Tue 14-May-13 19:18:04

She will get pissed. No doubt about it.

infamouspoo Tue 14-May-13 19:18:49

15 is fine. In ye olden dayes I was babysitting toddlers till 2 or 3am from aged 13 for pocket money. Couple of nights in your own home should be fine.
In a years time she could leave home if she wanted.

everlong Tue 14-May-13 19:21:25

How odd. Did you look for a thread dated 14th May that was somehow apt to you?

People who resurrect zombie threads without any explanation intrigue me.

quoteunquote Tue 14-May-13 19:30:51
DrCoconut Tue 14-May-13 19:55:41

I was not allowed to stay overnight without an adult until I was 18. DS1 has SN so is not up for staying at night yet, though he will stay in the day. He is 14.

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