to think these children shouldn't be home alone for a fortnight!

(200 Posts)
mumsnit Tue 29-Jan-13 16:38:22

My friend has started to regularly go away on holiday with her new partner and leaving her two kids at home. She was away 4 times last year and has just gone away again. The eldest is 15 and is doing her GCSE s this year, and the youngest is 12. They are going to school and managing to cook for themselves etc but she hasn't asked anyone to keep an eye on them officially or anything. Her ex p is around sometimes but lives elsewhere with his new family.

I'm really concerned about their welfare. Am I being over the top about this or should I be worried? I have tried to talk to her but she's obsessed with this bloke (who couldn't really care less about her kids sad) and she can't see past his needs.

BridgetBidet Tue 29-Jan-13 16:40:59

How much is the ex-p 'around'. If he's keeping a fairly close eye on things they may well be okay.

corlan Tue 29-Jan-13 16:42:08

YANBU - Shouldn't be happening.

If you know what school they are at, I would call them and let them know. Then it's up to the school to take it further.

DonnaDoon Tue 29-Jan-13 16:42:49

No advice but you are right to be concerned..poor kids.

KellyElly Tue 29-Jan-13 16:44:00

How long does she go away for? Is it a couple of nights or a week or so? I wouldn't be comfortable with this at all. the 12 year old is too young.

dreamingofsun Tue 29-Jan-13 16:44:25

i have left mine alone for a week once they get to 17. i'm happy to do this and i think its good for them. 12 i would say is too young and also 15. in fact i wouldn't leave my 15 year old alone for a night by themself and if they are doing gcse's someone ought to be there to support/encourage/look after them whilst they get on and study.

this sounds like neglect to me. all it takes is for one of them to forget to turn the cooker off, or lock a door or countless of other things.

not sure what to suggest to resolve it though. hopefully someone will come on with some good ideas

fatcuntroller Tue 29-Jan-13 16:46:07

Do you know which school they're at? I would call the school and make them aware.

katedan Tue 29-Jan-13 16:46:34

I think the 15 yr old for a few nights would be Ok but not the 12 yr old too young I think. I am surprised they are not having wild parties every night. If they have coped for the last 4 holidays like this then obviously very independant kids but I fel very sad for them that their mum has put the new bf before her kids. I wonder if their school know.

CuriousMama Tue 29-Jan-13 16:47:51

sad Same age as my dss, that's awful.

Yes totally agree with informing the school.

DeepRedBetty Tue 29-Jan-13 16:48:00

I wouldn't leave children this age alone overnight, so yanbu.

Do you know ex-p (presumably their dad) enough to talk to, find out if he's aware of her disappearing acts without dropping her in it?

elliejjtiny Tue 29-Jan-13 16:48:12

YANBU. I was 19 when I was trusted to look after my sister (aged 11) for a long day (about 12 hours) and even then our auntie and uncle took us to mcdonalds for tea and back to theirs afterwards.

CuriousMama Tue 29-Jan-13 16:49:21

katedan mine wouldn't have wild parties if left alone. Not that I'd do this though but wouldn't interest them. DS2 might have friends in to go on the xbox but that'd be it?

I just feel so sad for dcs when the mother or father puts a new partner first sad

Nancy66 Tue 29-Jan-13 16:50:22

No, this isn't right.

It's not fair to place so much responsiblity on a 15 year old - especially one studying for exams.

ENormaSnob Tue 29-Jan-13 16:50:46


I would be contacting the school and ss.

SirBoobAlot Tue 29-Jan-13 16:52:34

I would contact the school.

AmberSocks Tue 29-Jan-13 16:52:59

im trying to think of what i was like at 15,and i think i would of been ok,but i would be concerned,espescially as there is a 12 year old there too,i would also worry if the wrong type of person found they were at home alone for a fortnight,it could be awful.

mumsnit Tue 29-Jan-13 16:53:23

Thanks I'm glad my worries seem justified. I don't know ex p at all he sees them on the weekends sometimes but not during the week.

She's a friend so I hate the idea of causing trouble for her but I think the older one has too much responsibility and its not fair..

ChunkyPickle Tue 29-Jan-13 16:53:47

I was left alone at 15 for a week or two (grumpy teenager, refusing to go on family holiday), I think it depends on the area (I knew there were people to go to if I needed help), and the teenager (I was horribly sensible and capable back then).

With a 12 year-old, I don't know, it does feel a bit young, but I think it is possible that they would be OK.

katedan Tue 29-Jan-13 16:54:11

sorry CuriousMama did not mean to define all teenagers as party animals, I know there are lots of lovely teenagers who would not dream of throwing parties when their folks are away.

GaryBuseysTeeth Tue 29-Jan-13 16:56:31

My mum used to do this to us all the time (although sometimes my grandmother would be asked to look after us), if she's the same sort of selfish woman as my mum no amount of talking/begging/shouting to her will make her put her children before her boyfriend.

So I agree with talking to the school, could you or someone else have them over?

Good luck

RosemaryandThyme Tue 29-Jan-13 16:58:31

Why is everyone advocating involving the school ?

School staff are on locus parentus for the duration of the school day - not responsible for children 24 hrs a day.

If girls are continuing to attend school without issue then what responsibility should school staff take on ? The Heads' not going to be taking the kids home with him for a week, if SS involvment is what you think is right then just phone them direct.

Inaflap Tue 29-Jan-13 16:58:41

I think you need to inform the school. As you are a friend, can you pop round and see if they are OK. Its a lot for a 15 yr old to be a main carer especially with exams coming up. Make sure that they are on their own, ie, partner isn't staying over or there isn't an adult there and the certainly inform the school. This is a child protection issue.

SirBoobAlot Tue 29-Jan-13 17:05:58

If she is a friend like you say, then you need to give her a kick up the arse and a wake up call to the fact that a new partner doesn't mean she can skip being a mother when she fancies it.

cozietoesie Tue 29-Jan-13 17:08:39

The middle and older teenagers in our extended family have gradually started to be left alone for the odd night if absolutely necessary but with heavy family (aunties, uncles, grandparents etc) oversight. I wouldn't recommend it as a regular thing. It's good to enable them to adjust but even adults can get edgy if they're alone in a house at night and hear 'strange' noises. How much more so a youngster.

I'd pop round and see how they're doing and if an adult is coming in to keep an eye on them unofficially or if they're truly on their own.

CuriousMama Tue 29-Jan-13 17:10:31

katedan I wasn't offended, just saying bragging that mine wouldn't wink

mumsnit Tue 29-Jan-13 17:13:23

Yeah I have popped over a few times but they don't invite me in (fair enough!) and they say they are fine. I have a horrible suspicion they are pleased when they are away because new partner is a bit of a bully.

GaryBuseysTeeth - sad

flowersfortea Tue 29-Jan-13 17:13:30

YANBU - but couldn't you offer to help / pop round / be emergency phone contact for the kids?

flowersfortea Tue 29-Jan-13 17:13:51

oops sorry cross posted there!

FlouncingMintyy Tue 29-Jan-13 17:14:03

A fortnight is definitely far too long! Am really sad for those children that neither their mother nor father can see this.

HecateWhoopass Tue 29-Jan-13 17:17:31

15 and 12?
Perhaps you should phone social services and ask what they think. See what the guidance is on it.
Can you help the kids?
They must be scared. At night particularly. I would be!
And what if word got round a house was empty but for two young girls?
Party? Crashing? Etc.
I think they are vulnerable and someone should be making sure they are ok.

shallweshop Tue 29-Jan-13 17:18:14

I would ring Social Services, they are too young to be left alone.

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 17:23:33

If they're not in danger, have food, heating, money and the means to get to services won't be interested.

Are you absolutely sure they don't have a neighbour or someone looking out for them?

Well its a pretty shit situation that the mother thinks its ok to leave her kids for extended periods of time 4 TIMES to go off shagging her new bloke on a jolly, leaving a 12 year old to be looked after by a 15 year old. And their dad doesn't see it as a problem either. Poor kids.

She sounds like the type of mum who can't wait for her kids to grow up and leave home so she can get on with her love life.

Yes I am hoiking up my judgy pants but she is a disgrace.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 29-Jan-13 17:24:04

This is awful, definitely ring social services. I wouldn't be able to sleep with worry.
What is the mother thinking?

valiumredhead Tue 29-Jan-13 17:24:35

15 - depends on the child tbh, I house sat with my best mate as her parents went on holiday for a fortnight, we had a blast cooking and watching videos, we even had a proper dinner party one night and invited a few friends over - no wild parties at all. I can't remember where her sister was, I have a feeling she went to stay with relatives but we were left to get on with things and we did and managed perfectly well and that included an hour's bus journey to school every morning.

I have mixed feelings on the 12 year old.

I would pop round and see what's what before contacting anyone.

abbeynationall Tue 29-Jan-13 17:26:05

Op, If you are truly concerned about the kids welfare, please pop in whenever you can and check on them. I am sure you know the consequences of making this known to the authorities and unfortunately the children will be affected by it more than "Mummy being away" might. Now if are a true friend, then be there for her during this period of temporary insanity and please don't expect a thank you just do it because its the right thing to do.

valiumredhead Tue 29-Jan-13 17:27:20

I agree - for all you know OP the ex might be on hand much more than you think.

dreamingofsun Tue 29-Jan-13 17:28:06

can't link - but some guidance on this

agree with paula - this is a disgrace and makes me wonder what else goes on within the house during the rest of the year (or doesn't that should)

cozietoesie Tue 29-Jan-13 17:28:13

Could you maybe invite them over to yours for a night or two - or for supper during the week or something? (Picking them up and dropping them back if possible.) That way you could see the lie of the land a bit better.

sparkle9 Tue 29-Jan-13 17:29:25

The school may be interested to know and may make contact with the parent. However I am a teacher and the official advice in my LA is to advise the person raising the issue to contact the social services direct number to inform them that they are concerned.

mum11970 Tue 29-Jan-13 17:31:42

I have a 15 and 12 year old and wouldn't even contemplate leaving the home alone overnight. Not a chance I'd gone holiday. Not sure who you'd speak to though. Do you know their grandparents?

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 17:32:29

I am sure you know the consequences of making this known to the authorities and unfortunately the children will be affected by it more than "Mummy being away" might.

What consequences? confused

She's not breaking any laws - assuming she's left them food, money and they're not in danger etc...

valiumredhead Tue 29-Jan-13 17:34:45

sparkle I would have thought that as the school has a duty of care towards the child any concerns should be reported by the school, can you imagine the uproar if something was reported to the school and for some reason it wasn't reported to the SS by the concerned party and something terrible happened?

Startail Tue 29-Jan-13 17:37:01

My DDs are that age (although I'm guessing a school year younger)

No way would I leave them alone that long.

One night in an emergency, yes. But no longer.

No way would it be fair on DD1, because big and grown up though she likes to pretend to be, DD2 only likes to be on her own for an hour or two.

abbeynationall Tue 29-Jan-13 17:37:23

Liberty Social services' involvement and the outcome that of that?

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 17:38:12

If you tell the school they will, if anything, ring Social Services who will want to know why the DC's father can't take some responsibility. Why can't he?

MoodyDidIt Tue 29-Jan-13 17:39:07

poor kids shock

no, they are too young IMO

can't stand parents who put their DPs before their own bloody kids

abbeynationall Tue 29-Jan-13 17:39:58

Sorry that should read - outcome of that

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 17:41:43

abbey why do you assume they would get involved?

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 17:43:40

I'm not saying it's right to bugger off for a fortnight and leave them both by the way, just that she's not breaking the law as long as she's put all the proper measures in place.

Poor kids though

abbeynationall Tue 29-Jan-13 17:47:57

I'm not very sure but as far as am aware a 15 year old is not deemed capable of looking after his/herself plus another child for such periods of time. They may be capable in the eyes of the parent but I don't think the authorities will eagerly agree. They may have food, and warmth but as far as safety and / or security is concerned , those kids are very vulnerable.

Xales Tue 29-Jan-13 17:48:38

If something happened to the 12 year old the 15 year old could feel really shit for a long time.

If something happened to the 15 year who is going to look after the 12 year old?

It is not fair on either of them to be left alone for such long periods.

The 15 year old is presumably studying or starting to study for exams.

The youngest (not sure if boy or girl) may be going through changes which is not fair to dump on the elder for weeks at a time.

The mother sounds selfish.

CuppaSarah Tue 29-Jan-13 17:54:01

I think you're doing the right thing talking to the kids. I say this as someone who had a Mother who did the exact same. Though I didn't have a younger sibling to look after, the time spent on my own in the house was the only consistency I had in my life at that point in time. If I had lost the time with my Mum being away I would have really struggled as she was so difficult to live with.

You said the partner was a bit of a bully, I wonder if their Mum acts differently when the partners around? Even the most lovely person could be different with the influence of a bully. I think you should think about contacting Social Services. These kids are old enough that SS aren't just going to swoop in and steal her kids away, but they could get some much needed intervention. Working with SS isn't nessicarily a negative thing.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 17:58:57

They have a father. Maybe he could take some parenting responsibility. That's what SS would ask.

abbeynationall Tue 29-Jan-13 18:00:17

Sarah, If it were you would you rather the social services give you a wake up call or a dear friend?

jamdonut Tue 29-Jan-13 18:04:29

I think a fortnight is too long, but one or two nights shouldn''t be a problem.

I left my 15 year old and 12 year old for 36 hours overnight, while me and Dh went by train to a concert in London,stayed overnight and came back the following afternoon ,getting home early evening. They had a long check list stuck to the front door of things to remember to do and telephone numbers and details of where we were staying,and who to go to in an emergency. Plus we texted often and called them.
They made breakfast and lunches and ordered pizza for teatime. They are eminently sensible, otherwise I would not have been happy to go.They even remembered to wash up!!
They survived,and are more self sufficient for the experience.

OneWaySystemBlues Tue 29-Jan-13 18:13:08

According to this NSPCC information booklet, "children under the age of 16 should not be left alone over night". So leaving them for 2 weeks is definitely not on and could get her into trouble. I'm sure I've seen news stories where a woman went on holiday abroad and left her under 16s at home alone and it ended up with her prosecuted.

Someone under 16 cannot be legally responsible if anything happens when they're away. The responsibility is entirely on the parents.

CuppaSarah Tue 29-Jan-13 18:13:23

I think that really depends on alot of factors abbeynationall. It depends on how good of a friend they are, but more than anything it depends on what the situation at home really is like.

Anyone would deffinatly prefer a friend to give them a kick up the arse, but unfortunatly thats not always enough. While the situation could be as simple as they get left home alone alot, but they manage fine and when mum and partner are around thats fine too. But behind closed doors you don't really know whats going on. I'd rather plan for the worst case when theres childrens welfares at stake. Chances are theres no more issues than any other family, but it's not always worth that tiny risk.

It's deffinatly a really difficult situation to know how to handle, there's no real right or wrong answers are there?

valiumredhead Tue 29-Jan-13 18:14:57

God, I used to babysit over night every weekend for 4 kids when I was 14.

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 18:18:47

OneWaySystemBlues Those are guidelines and not the law.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 18:20:32

Exactly, Worra. The NSPCC isn't setting the law. It just says stuff.

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 18:22:35

I'm starting to think MN should put a banner across the top of the page LR, as this misconception just never goes away grin

I still think 2 weeks is far too long though.

abbeynationall Tue 29-Jan-13 18:24:11

You are right Sarah. Something could happen to them and then you'll probably never forgive yourself for not alerting the authorities but yet again the Mother could be confident of her children's abilities just like lots of women are/ have throughout time without anything tragic happening. But in this day and age where creeps and all sorts are roaming the streets how does she do it coz I can't.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 18:26:37

Yeah, two weeks is too long without regular input from the father or another adult.

If SS are contacted they will try to find out who these adults are. They'll want the father or grandparents to give some guarantees, or for the mother to say what her arrangements are. The last thing SS will do is try to organise foster care.

neolara Tue 29-Jan-13 18:35:22

Worra - Can I ask, (genuine question) why do you think she is not breaking the law by leaving a 12 year old to be cared for by an under 16 for 2 weeks. I don't know what the law says, but I'd assume that this was not legal.

IceNoSlice Tue 29-Jan-13 18:36:29

Poor kids sad

Pigsmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 18:37:07

I was left alone for a week aged 14, nothing bad happened but I really dont feel loved by my parents tbh

littlewhitebag Tue 29-Jan-13 18:37:39

Call SS or the Police and they will pop in and check up on what is going on. The 15 year old should not have the responsibility of caring for a 12 year old and 2 weeks away is certainly neglectful. I am a SW and i know this will be looked into.

Pigsmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 18:41:39

Invite them around to yours for dinner and have a chat? When I was home alone (so my Dad could holiday in Greece) I would have taken up the offer of dinner out. You will see how they are coping?

littlewhitebag Tue 29-Jan-13 18:44:25

The point isn't whether or not they are coping - they are probably fine. The point is that they might be considered abandoned as the parents are not taking responsibility for their care and welfare and have left them alone for a very long period.

phantomnamechanger Tue 29-Jan-13 18:51:08

Please tell someone.
They are too young to be left for that long no matter how independent and sensible they are. there are too many "what ifs"

This is not the same as them being left for a night, or even a weekend. I think the authorities would take it very seriously.

OneWaySystemBlues Tue 29-Jan-13 18:52:19

I understand that they are guidelines and not the law. But I know that legally if you're under 16 you cannot be held responsible if something happens to someone in your charge. Which is why one of the recommendations is that baby sitters should be over 16 as if you leave your kids in the charge of someone under 16 and they harm them, then you as parents are still legally responsible. See this website, which states, "If someone under 16 is looking after a child, the parent or guardian, and not the babysitter, remain legally responsible for the child's safety."

phantomnamechanger Tue 29-Jan-13 18:53:23

I'm also not sure how wise it is to invite them round to yours without a parent's consent - you might find yourself accused of kidnap or grooming!! stranger things have happened.

pointythings Tue 29-Jan-13 18:54:46

Short periods for the 15 yo is probably ok. 15 yo in charge of a 12 yo - not ok. Longer than 4-5 days max for the 15 yo - not ok.

The main problem for me is the mum's attitude - this is not about her giving her DCs an opportunity for independence, this is about her selfish wants. That makes it immoral IMO.

abbeynationall Tue 29-Jan-13 18:56:32

Whitebag, is that not too drastic a step? The police? Indeed this might not be an ideal situation but if the real concern here was children's welfare, What is wrong with OP kindly popping in to check on them every now and then till the mother gets back? Is that really the best thing to do in this situation?- call the police?

KenLeeeeeee Tue 29-Jan-13 18:59:28

Hmm, I was left with my brother for a week when we were 16 (me) and 14 (DBro). It didn't seem to be any big deal, but then I wasn't far off my 17th birthday and we did have my grandmother just a few miles away.

Any younger than that, or for a longer period or without another responsible adult within driving distance would not be ok in my book.

Informing the school would be a good start.

NonnoMum Tue 29-Jan-13 19:00:54

She's a friend so I hate the idea of causing trouble for her but I think the older one has too much responsibility and its not fair..

Well, she may be a friend, but more importantly right now she is a negligent parent.

The reason people suggest contacting the school is that school will have a Child Protection teacher who will have responsibility for helping neglected children such as these... They will have contacts with local police and SS.

Do not hesitate to contact the authorities over this. Please do so right now if you haven't already done so.

What if there was a fire? Intruder? Bailiffs coming knocking on the door... Please help these kids right now.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 19:06:33

But there is a father in the picture.

littlewhitebag Tue 29-Jan-13 19:12:33

abbeynationall It is NOT alright at all. The Police or SS should be informed. They will get the full picture and make sure the children (because that is what they are) are not at risk.

wanderingcloud Tue 29-Jan-13 19:16:12

My Dad used to do this with my and my brothers after my Mum died. I was most hacked off when I had an exam one afternoon and had blooming parents evening for my brother after! I was very mature teenager though and never thought it was strange.

It's the sort of situation I see a lot as a secondary school teacher. Most of the time you find out when you say you'll call home and they proudly tell you there's no-one there to phone anyway. There is little we can do as a school other than keep an eye on them and make sure they are coming to school.

Also, I wonder if it is all that terrible. If the 15yr old is only just turned 15 it's different to an almost 16 it is a bit different. At 16 they could quite legally have a baby of their own to look after which would be a lot harder than caring for a 12yr old sibling.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 19:19:12

OP, as you know so much you must have talked to her and offered your help? Tell your friend that you think her arrangements need firming up with the DC's father, or with you, or both.

Or tell your friend you think she's a shit mother and report her to SS. But please remember to tell SS that the DC's have a father in the picture.

Put yourself in the father's shoes - wouldn't you want to know? (In fact, how can he not know...)

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 19:29:27

My initial reaction is YANBU and contact the school who will contact SS if the kids seem unsettled at school.

Then I read a bit more and thought

Its not like the old days.
The kids will have their mobile phones, and the internet, and skype and are at school in the day.
If they wanted something they could get it
and if they felt lonely they can stay with a friend (not like their Mum will find out)

so IMHO, be neighbourly but not parental.

socharlotte Tue 29-Jan-13 19:32:25

Ring the NSPCC for advice.In my eyes this is a clear cut case of neglect.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 19:35:00

The NSPCC are a campaigning charity.
They do not set or enforce the law.
This is in now way a clear case of neglect and ANYTHING you do that interferes in their long term family life without rock solid evidence will be incredibly unwelcome.

How do you know they are not skyping with their dad every evening?

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 19:38:09

The NSPCC will just pass your call on to SS. That's what they do.

CuriousMama Tue 29-Jan-13 19:39:51

The father does know by the sounds of it,he pops round.

I laid in a friend to SS and have never regretted it. It was the dh that was the problem but she was also enabling. She and her dcs have never looked back though,none have anything to do with exdh. Plus she's getting remarried. She freely admits she was too weak and would still be there. He was a control freak bullying alcoholic. Hated me because I stood up to him. A different situation to you OP I know, but I'd never have forgiven myself if the dcs had come to harm.

milkwagon Tue 29-Jan-13 19:39:55

This is child neglect and the mother is breaking the law and possibly the father too if he's aware of the situation. This is a very serious matter which police often get called to, and can exercise a police protection order under the children's act to ensure their safety and welfare whilst the emergency duty team from ss is called out.

OP - you are now implicated as you're aware of the situation. You can always make an anonymous report, though you really should of had the balls to sit down with your friend and spell it out in no uncertain terms how irresponsible her actions are before it got this far.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 19:39:58

TalkingPeace2 Thank you for mentioning that these DCs do have a father.

WeAllHaveWings Tue 29-Jan-13 19:40:06

My dh's mum and dad used to leave dh and his brothers at home alone when he was 15 and his brothers were 13 and 17 (this would have been in the early 1980's).

Once when mil and fil where off on a posh weekend away and older brother was out for the evening, dh decided to do some late night cooking and accidently set the kitchen on fire with the chip pan. Everyone was ok, but fire bridge was called out and kitchen was a write off.

They called dh's grandparents who took them in for the night, but mil and fil still didn't come home shock from their posh weekend even though they were only 30 mins drive away!!!!!

ds(8) is much like his dad so will not be left home alone until he is a least 35 grin

OP, at their ages, a fortnight home alone without sufficient supervision sounds like an accident waiting to happen. I would need to do something, would probably speak to SS anon first and then work out how to approach friend about it.

Passthesaltdear Tue 29-Jan-13 19:42:36

As someone who has professional knowledge, phone SS. 12 is too young to be looked after by another child albeit a bit older

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 19:48:46

This is child neglect and the mother is breaking the law and possibly the father too if he's aware of the situation
Which bit of the law are they breaking?

What would SS do? Surely this sort of issue is the reason they are overstretched in dealing with the cases where children are at risk of harm?

ToomuchWaternotWine Tue 29-Jan-13 19:51:00

I would say its time to phone SS and let THEM decide if its an issue to look into or not. Personally I think, given its a fortnight, that yes they will be concerned. Please let us know if they are ok, OP.

cory Tue 29-Jan-13 19:51:01

This is very different from leaving children for a few hours in the daytime or even over-night, which I might be happy to do. Here it is a prolonged period, it's not just about what would happen in an emergency; it's about a whole fortnight where no adult is keeping an eye on them, listening to them, knowing if anything is worrying them. That would concern me more than a child knowing what to do in a sudden emergency. Agree that it is neglect.

dreamingofsun Tue 29-Jan-13 19:53:01

this is what the link i posted earlier says. to me it would suggest that they are too young and she could be imprisoned -

Under the Children and Young Persons Act parents in England and Wales can be prosecuted for wilful neglect if they leave a child unsupervised "in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health". Punishment ranges from a fine to 10 years' imprisonment. Similar legislation is in force in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Without legally specified ages to guide them, parents may be left scratching their heads over this grey area but children's charity, the NSPCC, advises that children under 13 should not be left at home alone for long periods and children under 16 should not be put in charge of younger children.

Jux Tue 29-Jan-13 19:53:58

My dd is a very sensible, responsible 13 yo, but I wouldn't do this with her, as there are things in the "what happens if...." category which would completely floor her.

15 OK, if she's sensible. Not sure about 15 yo having responsibility for 12 yo for such a long time, though.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 19:58:05

Here is the CPS Guidance on the issue
If it is not persistent, and the children have food and warmth and have not come to harm, no offence has been committed.
SS will expend their limited resources where they are truly needed.

Be neighbourly but do not interfere.

NonnoMum Tue 29-Jan-13 20:06:02

Interesting to think that whilst the mother is away shagging new man, DC is not getting support and encouragement for public exams... Unlikely for that child to get 5+ Cs and above at GCSE. What a shame.
Interesting how many of you think it is OK.

mrsbunnylove Tue 29-Jan-13 20:07:04

social services. now.

HappyMummyOfOne Tue 29-Jan-13 20:07:20

I wouldnt hesitate to report to social services, at 12 its far to young to be left for so long. Its not down to elder siblings to take that role as mum fancies a week or two away.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:10:24

DC is not getting support and encouragement for public exams
how do you know?

and all of you who want SS involved.
What do you want/expect SS to do?
They will not take the kids into care, no law has been broken.
Its just a wild goose chase waste of resources.

littlewhitebag Tue 29-Jan-13 20:10:37

I give up! It needs to be reported. It will be treated as abandonment and looked into. If the parents have made sufficient provision to ensure their safety then all will be fine, but you don't know that. Let the professional agencies check it out.

Sarahplane Tue 29-Jan-13 20:11:03

that's very wrong and illegal I think.

Sarahplane Tue 29-Jan-13 20:11:33

you should definitely report it.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:12:12

and will divert two Social Workers from working on their existing case load for a couple of days.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:13:58

PS I'm not saying it's right. Its bloody selfish and stupid of my their mother to bugger off on holiday with the new man expecting eight year old teenage kids to fend for themselves.
BUT no good will come of getting the authorities involved.

quesadilla Tue 29-Jan-13 20:15:57

YANBU. When I was 15 a friend was left home alone for about two weeks with her 12/13 year old sister while her mum went off on some jaunt with a bloke. The friend, who was unstable and easily led, had the mother of all house parties and the house was trashed so badly that it caused thousands of pounds worth of structural damage. It sounds as if these kids are more mature but not worth taking the risk. Haven't had time to read the whole thread, sorry, but do you have ex DP contact details?

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 20:16:55

your advice is poor talkinpeace,duty teams are staffed for assessment like this won't divert resources
do you have an agenda for not contacting sw?the judgement call sits with the assessing sw

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 20:18:18

Why should SS take the place of a possibly perfectly capable father?

littlewhitebag Tue 29-Jan-13 20:18:29

The OP says mum does this regularly. If it is reported that SW can check the kids are ok and when the parent returns go round and discuss with them the dangers of doing this. It may all be fine but if anything happened the OP would never forgive herself.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 20:19:10

Well I get what TalkingPeace2 is saying. You know, in the real world.

littlewhitebag Tue 29-Jan-13 20:19:32

If there is a perfectly capable father looking after them then SW will go away and leave them to it. However OP suggests he is not residing with them.

MustafaCake Tue 29-Jan-13 20:20:13

Report it to SS right now.

They are both too young to be left alone for any length of time, even if they are skyping/ texting etc

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 20:20:37

Do you have to be RP to be a parent?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:23:17

If the 15 year old is 15 years and 11 months, in 4 weeks time she will be old enough to leave home.
Its a bit like sell by dates on food - common sense not knee jerk.

And my reasoning for my views is that if SS had taken me away from my Mum when she was off partying I'd have NEVER EVER forgiven ANYBODY involved with it. I felt safe. I was safe. I grew up fine. Weird but fine.

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 20:24:33

it's nor illegal,but social circumstance,support in place,provisions made
is there adequate food in house,what would happen in emergency or illness
if concerned do report this,whether not she friend is immaterial

littlewhitebag Tue 29-Jan-13 20:26:32

However we don't know exactly what age the eldest is. She may equally have just turned 15 and not be very sensible. That's why we have SS - to assess the safety of children. It may have worked out okay for you but it doesn't always.

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 20:28:40

Worra - Can I ask, (genuine question) why do you think she is not breaking the law by leaving a 12 year old to be cared for by an under 16 for 2 weeks. I don't know what the law says, but I'd assume that this was not legal.

Because she isn't breaking the law

Unless they've been left in danger, with no money, no food, no heating, no means to get to school, no emergency contact numbers etc.

What she's done isn't right imo, but it's not necessarily illegal.

NonnoMum Tue 29-Jan-13 20:29:36

I bet they haven't been left sufficient money.

Poor sods.

garlicblocks Tue 29-Jan-13 20:30:18

I imagine the DC feel a bit abandoned. Their mother seems to fucking things up generally, but being fucked-up rarely warrants official intervention. It's not illegal to be a not-all-that-great parent, much as mumsnet would like it to be.

I agree with TP2. Mind you, my parents also left me looking after younger sibs from the age of 8 so my boundaries might be a bit woolly on this. The thing is, calling the police/SS/school will not make this mother more dedicated or her boyfriend less of a bully. And the DC can access help if needed, as TP2 points out.

I'm guessing they'll appreciate knowing you're on hand, OP. I quite liked the idea of inviting them over for dinner smile Call SS if it makes you feel better, but my advice is really to maintain a background presence for them - when she's home as well as away.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 20:31:32

No-one's saying it's a good idea, or even right.

But it isn't illegal.

And SS will ask other adults to help in the order of father, grandparents, etc.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 20:33:26

And to be honest, if she is such a shit mother and her boyfriend such a bully, why doesn't the DC's father use this as a golden opportunity to be a dad?

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 20:33:48

doesnt matter when she 16,under child protection under 18=child.or 16o if married
this situation needs assessed,the judgment,maturity,understanding of adolescent
adolescents vary in ability,maturity and problem solving.all different,all react differently

corlan Tue 29-Jan-13 20:43:49

Linerunner - maybe the Dad is a shit dad.

Lucky kids.

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 20:47:58

I'd report this,unequivocally.absolutely no qualms
there needs to be an assessment of situation
and just because some on here were unsupervised etc doesn't mean these kids will be ok

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:50:38

and if OP reported back that the Assessment of the situation was "do nothing" ....

mumsnit Tue 29-Jan-13 20:53:36

wow thanks all for the advice and replies... have just been around to see them and ex partners car is in the drive. I guess while he's keeping an eye on things I can't really push it further. I will monitor it though - 2 weeks is a long time..

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 20:55:16

What did they say?

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 20:56:32

if you have concerns or things deteriorate do call duty team sw dept.
it's not wasting resources,it doesn't divert from someone else, let sw assess if needed

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 21:00:21

You did the right thing by going round.
And if their Dad's car was on the drive there is the shocking possibility that he is enjoying some quality time with them while their Mum is away.
And if you cannot see their drive from your house then actually even more reason to make a point of checking their lights are on in the evening.
If they were not getting to school then school would deal.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Tue 29-Jan-13 21:00:26

My cousin has 2 boys the same ages. They would be perfectly able to cope in this situation and in an emergency (in fact, in an emergency I'd rather have them around than a lot of adults I know!!). They are very 'able' with regards to meals, washing (clothes, themselves, dishes) and would get themselves to school no problem etc

They would love this opportunity smile Unfortunately for them they have a cat in hells chance of getting it! The GP's go and stay even if my cousin is just going to be out late grin

If you think the kids are coping OK I'd leave it, call them and see if they need anything, make sure they have your number etc and talk to your friend when she gets back, see what the arrangement actually was. If the partner isn't a nice bloke, the kids might actually be better off on their own for a couple of weeks now and then with their Dad dropping in etc.

comingintomyown Tue 29-Jan-13 21:02:28

Utterly depressing thread

It isnt just that two weeks is an outrageously long time but that she is on holiday so presumably some distance from home should something go wrong.

Unspeakably selfish

houseelfdobby Tue 29-Jan-13 21:04:49

I am not sure what the problem is if the children are indeed washed, well fed and happy. My parents' generation left home at 15 (eg my dad went off to sea on his 15th birthday, and my mother to be nurse). Those posters who are panicking and saying phone SS, what do they think SS will do?? It does not seem likely that any good would come of care proceedings or foster care. I am almost certain it is not what the DC would wish for but, OP, you can ask them and see if they are ok.

If there were any sign that the DC were NOT coping, or were miserable, then is the moment to intervene. Meantime, let them know you are there as a friend/neighbour to be called/ texted if there is a problem or just if they are hungry or lonely.

There are enough people with real problems to add two seemingly happy teenagers with the run of their house to the burden that befalls the social services.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:07:44

So the father is there?

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:10:02

frankly regaling with tales of own home alone,just get on with it, doesn't cut it
it's irrelevant whether or not some if you were left to it,or not
and like it or not,standards of what's acceptable have changed and are fluid. because latchkey kid used to be norm for some doesnt mean it's a universally ok now

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:11:39

But they're not home alone. Their father's there.

NonnoMum Tue 29-Jan-13 21:11:55

Bugger that your parents generation left home at 16 - THIS ISN'T TWO GENERATIONS AGO!

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 21:12:39

because latchkey kid used to be norm for some doesnt mean it's a universally ok now
there are far more latchkey kids now than there ever used to be because so many parents both work.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 21:14:08

When I was alone I had no way of contacting my mum.
Kids today have mobile phones, internet, skype etc etc
its much safer for them now.

Hulababy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:15:42

Definitely too young to be left alone for any length of time on their own.
The 12y is too young to be left home alone overnight even for one night!
The 15y is too young to be left with such a huge responsibility, especially for any length of time.
TBH I think a 15y is too young to be left home alone overnight at all.

And yes - tell school. Of course telling school is a responsible thing to do and schools WILL indeed act on such information. Whilst schools are only locus parentus they do actually take note of how well a child is looked after and how they are kept safe beyond that, including in the home.

I am surprised anyone could ever advocate leaving two school children home alone for a fortnight's holiday, and a 12 year for any length of nights home alone!

Hulababy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:16:48

Unless the ex-p is supervising the children overnight I still thing this is inadequate supervision for two school aged children.

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:17:57

chunterring on well was ok back in my day/for me isn't a sensible response
it's bit well was alright for me,so therefore must be okay for them
I rode bike with no helmet, but I make my dc wear helmet as standards change

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 21:18:00

schools WILL indeed act on such information
what action will they / can they / should they take?

houseelfdobby Tue 29-Jan-13 21:18:20

What exactly are people worried about happening to those teenagers that couldn't happen to them at 16? Social services is not a bottomless pit. Lots of DC are in genuine distress/ poor circumstances and need help from Social Services who are already overstretched. Why bother them with this? What possible good could come out of it? Do posters think that these children would be better off taken away from their home at great expense to the taxpayer and at disputable benefit to the children and a lot of disruption (it doesn't sound like it - it sounds that, whilst not ideal, they are coping).

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:22:32

*I am surprised anyone could ever advocate leaving two school children home alone for a fortnight's holiday

Preobably because no-one actually is.

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:22:41

at 16 still regarded as child under child protection.being 16 isn't issue
this doesn't divert resources,assessment team/duty funded for referrals and assessment
day to day allocated case work is different from new assessment and duty

ThedementedPenguin Tue 29-Jan-13 21:25:20

I think yabu. I was left home alone from the age of 13. Noone was ever asked to keep an eye on me. Although I was very smart, could cook, clean and keep the house. I also stayed and looked after my younger siblings when needed.

Having said that, my auntie lived very close and would of only taking a few minutes to come round if need be.

Are you sure she has no one keeping an eye on them? Of close by in case of emergency?

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:27:47

oh well then there we are,was ok for you,so must be ok for everyone
not necessarily so

Hulababy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:28:20

The mother of these two children appear to have thought it ok.
From the original post it appeared the father was okay with it as well, though this has since been amended via a more recent post.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:28:36

The Duty Team will take the call and make the assessment. But they have to refer on to a case worker if it's warranted, and needs investigating.

But one of the first questions they'll rightly ask is, 'Where's the father?'

If the shoe was on the other foot, as the other parent I'd like to be asked to get involved. We read so many threads and posts on here by NRPs who feels locked out and left out -they are not all shits.

shallweshop Tue 29-Jan-13 21:29:08

Houseelf - one of the kids isn't even a teenager yet and the fact is that they are being put at risk being placed in this situation. Social Services are not just there to 'take children away', but also to work with parents who may need some guidance. I think a stern word from them to the parents would be in order and a warning of likely consequences if the children continue to be left alone in this way.

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:32:28

there some absolute exaggeration and hyperbole going on this thread
children home,family separated,that's not the start all
if assessment undertaken a plan may be liaison,support,and an agreed to plan to support family

ThedementedPenguin Tue 29-Jan-13 21:33:07

scottish no need to be like that. I'm just stating that there are people capable of this. Also to show another side.

I was also asking other questions to get more info.

scottishmummy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:36:26

like what?it's irrelevant whether or not anyone on thread was latchkey kid
has absolutely no bearing upon these kids have ability to cope or not
I did plenty I now find unacceptable,things change

ThedementedPenguin Tue 29-Jan-13 21:36:50

Although I do agree that 2 weeks is a long time.

I'm sure her dc are loving it.

ThedementedPenguin Tue 29-Jan-13 21:38:26

Yes things do change. But you don't know the family. The mum clearly thinks the oldest is mature enough to trust to look after the youngest with the help of their dad.

socharlotte Tue 29-Jan-13 21:41:02

someone keeping an eye on them from a distance is not good enough! The young one is 12 yrs old FGS, very much a child and should be being cared for by an adult.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 29-Jan-13 21:42:00

Sorry if I have missed anything but was does the law say? I know it used to be that kids had to be 13 to be left alone, but the 12 year old isn't alone if the sibling is there.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:42:55

Well, an adult appears to be there.

kennyp Tue 29-Jan-13 21:44:07

To be truly honest if this was my friend doing this i wouldnt even be asking the questions in AIBU ... I would have notified schoool/ss with my concerns.

You are being very responsible and it is ibviously making you feel uneasy that these children are left alone.

Sod what is illegal or legal regarding children, you know the sitch and its up to you to do what your gut feeling is.

If i sleep on a problem and it is stilll a problem/worry in the morning then i have to do something practical about it, iykwim. Good luck smile

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 21:44:42

I think that this is not an acceptable situation, even if it is not illegal. If the OP is correct, the dad is not staying at the house/looking after the children full time whilst the mother is away, so the fact that he has come round doesn't change things that much.

This isn't the first time the children have been left for longer than a couple of days, and apparently the dad doesn't seem to have been concerned by this - not concerned enough to either insist he looks after the children when their mum is away, or to tell the mum that this is unacceptable - so I am not sure his involvement would give me any confidence that the situation was under control.

Mumsnit - I honestly think you should phone social services. You can do it anonymously, and give them an outline of the situation without giving them the details of the children, and ask their advice - then tell them more if they think the situation warrants their involvement.

I believe it would be a good thing for social services to have a stern word with this woman - maybe that would be enough to make her change her ways.

LineRunner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:50:48

OP, did you not talk to the father while he was there, out of concern for the arrangements with the DC?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 29-Jan-13 21:59:53

Social services are not going to have a stern word with the mother ffs if she isn't breaking the law.
Its not something I would have done, but only as I would be scared they'd kill each other with sibling rivalry.
She may have made arrangements for their dad to be there more often than he has turned up, so really unfair to judge her imo.
It may be dad not keeping his word. But still its not illegal and they aren't doing anything wrong. Which is exactly what ss will say.

NonnoMum Tue 29-Jan-13 22:08:28

Very very depressed now. Thanks for that morethan - thoroughly disheartened.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 22:12:02

Why are you depressed?
OP is looking out for them.
Their Dad has been round.
School will be looking out for them.

Yes, the mother needs a bollocking from somebody when she gets home, but she's as likely to kick the kids out as change her holidaying habits.

NonnoMum Tue 29-Jan-13 22:15:23

Isn't that exactly what is depressing about the situation? The lack of concern from the mother?

Of course social services can become involved where there no illegal acts (such as neglect) have been proved. Their investigations will surely be part of any criminal process if a parent is being charged with something like neglect.

So I believe that, when there is a report that is of concern - like children being left alone for an extended period - they can and do investigate, to see what is actually happening and whether there is any cause for concern.

If ther is cause for concern, then they will presumably look at various courses of action and decide what to do, and if there is no cause for concern, the case will be closed.

This is exactly what happened when a friend of mine was reported to social services by a malicious neighbour, who alleged that she left her young son home alone. They investigated, found that it was a lie, and closed the case file.

But they will not be able to know if a reported situation is or is not a problem without some sort of investigation - which may show that something illegal,is happening, or that something is a cause for concern, but not illegal - in which case they can offer advice/support etc, or that there is no problem.

In this case, being investigated might put the wind up this mum - who is not taking proper care of her children when she goes off on her holidays leaving them home alone - and make her change her ways.

SamSmalaidh Tue 29-Jan-13 22:20:12

Social services are not the police - they don't only get involved if the law is broken.

I would inform the school. They might have noticed a change in the children's demeanour recently, and this could be a missing piece of a puzzle for them. The school could start an assessment rolling for the mum and children if things aren't adequate at the moment, get more support in place.

I feel Social Services probably would get involved, if only to talk to both parents about the arrangements made for the children when someone is away. They will probably want to ensure that someone (the dad) is going to stay overnight with them until the mother returns.

Whether or not its illegal is one thing, but the main problem for me is that these girls will enter into adulthood knowing that their mum, the one person they should be able to rely on 100%, was more interested in going off with her boyfriend than she was in them.

Poor kids.

shallweshop Tue 29-Jan-13 22:22:01

Morethan - whilst the law does not state an age limit to being left home alone, it is an offence to put your children at risk. If the situation is at it appears i.e. the mother has gone away for a fortnight and the father is just popping in and out, then I think the parents would find themselves in an extremely tenuous position whilst trying to defend their position and I think Social Services would be very interested.

Boomerwang Tue 29-Jan-13 22:34:08

I'm shocked that so many of you think the OP should run to SS right away.

If the 15 year old is very mature for her age, I wouldn't worry. Well, yes I would, but I certainly wouldn't go calling the SS. Who wants that intrusion in their lives?

OP, if you were really concerned that they weren't coping and that they had inadequate visits from the ex p then I'd wait until the mother came back and talk to her. If you're good friends, why would you want to rain the SS down on her head?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 29-Jan-13 22:42:44

How on earth are they in danger? How on earth does anybody on here know that they aren't cared for. They may have fully stocked cupboards, freezer, fridge. FFS their meals may be pre prepared and frozen. Several school uniforms could be ready.
The fact that it is not against the law obviously means that school and ss wouldn't want to know. Parents are responsible for their dc and ss called in when they have done something harmful to their well being. This clearly has not happened.

magimedi Tue 29-Jan-13 22:54:56

Not what I would choose for my kids - but I wouldn't be running to call SS. The 15year old may very well be very responsible & capable.

Not fair on 15 year old but not illegal & by getting SS involved you may well be causing far bigger problems.

Keep an eye on them, OP & sit your friend down for a talk when she gets home.

Sorry, morethanpotatoprints - that is rubbish. If a report is made to social services, they will investigate it - how else do you think they find out if something is wrong in a family situation? Telepathy?

Even if their meals are pre prepared and frozen, and they have clean clothes, are you saying that it makes it OK for these children to be left home alone for a fortnight? Because I don't, and I would rather someone responsible went in and assessed the situation - and if the dad is enabling this situation to continue, he doesn't count as responsible, IMO.

SinisterBuggyMonth Wed 30-Jan-13 01:11:10

Personally I think there is more to being a parent than providing frozen meals and an ironed school uniform. Alot can happen in 2 weeks, an adult should be there for them.

Unacceptable Wed 30-Jan-13 01:31:02

Sorry, have only skimmed through and mostly read mumsnits posts.

Sometimes worries about others are caused by not knowing the full facts.

How close by do you live? Enough to see or know for a fact that Dad isn't staying over? Could it be that while Dad has another family, he calls and stays every evening, leaving in the morning? If that is the case then I'd say it isn't much different to a single parent working long hours while 2 capable teens manage throughout the day.

If the situation is that these kids are home alone for weeks at a time with only sporadic input from Dad then I don't know about SS involvement but I wouldn't be able to stop myself having a conversation with my friend about it.

Probably projecting here but while the DC may be totally fine with the situation right now, they may actually enjoy it very much- playing at being grown ups,having freedom to choose meals and bedtimes etc -in years to come they could look back in horror (especially 12 yr old) and wonder how their Mother could have put them so low down on her list of priorities. They may end up having an ok relationship, but how happy would your friend be with the thought of her DC forever holding a resentment and disgust towards her over this?

munchkinmaster Wed 30-Jan-13 01:39:37

I don't think it's about the law. Social services can intervene if there is cause for concern re a child's welfare. For example, It's not actually against the law to get roaring drunk and scream at your kids but ss might get involved if our did this regularly.

These children have been left to fend for themselves in terms of food, safety, clean clothes, safety, supervising school work, emotional needs. This is neglect and falls within the remit of ss.

HermioneHatesHoovering Wed 30-Jan-13 02:47:28

"ex-partner" is what op said. Don't think op has said it's their Dad.
angry angry

I haven't read all of this and I live in a different country.

With regards to the 15 year old, a lot would depend on the 15 year old in question. I was flatting aged 16 and mum had one night shift a week the year before that so would have been alone over night during that time.

With regards to the 12 year old, no, far too young and not the responsibility of a 15 year old to ensure their safety.

Also in regards to the regularity it does tend to give the children a message that this new relationship is more important than them and is also modeling relationship ettiquette to children who are embarking on the world of relationships...not sure this is what I would want to model as how to approach a new relationship for my children.

Unacceptable Wed 30-Jan-13 04:31:27

Not sure why that's made you angry HermioneHatesHoovering I get that OP didn't say Dad but I (and others) have assumed he is...either Dad or x-step dad.

Perhaps OP can clarify?

socharlotte Wed 30-Jan-13 09:34:19

I mentioned this thread to a couple who we were out with last night.He is a police constable and she is a school nurse.
Both thought it was neglect at a level where not only would SS take action but would be prosecutable.

socharlotte Wed 30-Jan-13 09:35:02

Especially as she has been douing this for a year since they were 11 and 14!

LineRunner Wed 30-Jan-13 09:46:14

If the ExP is not the DC's father, then that would some quite spectacular drip-feeding.

Anyway there's not enough info to comment further.

KellyElly Wed 30-Jan-13 10:41:09

It's a bit strange that people keep talking about how 'they were ok' when they were left at home at a young age. What bearing does that have on anything. Completely irrelevant.

I have a friend who is quite senior in child protection services and when I mentioned this to him he was very shocked that a) this wasn't reported straight away and b) that there are people on a parenting website advising not to report and basically stay out of it.

Report this OP, you have a duty to. I am saying this as someone who has had a malicious call made to SS about me by a close family member and going through the stress of an assessment. Even after this has happened to me I still would because it isn't about me or my experiences, it's about two children who are regularly being left alone by their mother for extended periods of time. Unless their father is staying with them the majority of the time then this is neglect.

socharlotte Wed 30-Jan-13 10:55:28

I think lots of people take their parenting frame of reference from their own parents, without thinking too much about it.

valiumredhead Wed 30-Jan-13 10:57:01

Of course it has bearing kelly people are drawing from their own experiences.

KellyElly Wed 30-Jan-13 11:01:42

Valium so if I was on here saying 'oh I leave my baby sleeping while I pop down to the shop five minutes away and she's always been fine' that would be good advice would it? Just because that was my experience (I haven't btw just an example).

KellyElly Wed 30-Jan-13 11:05:39

Also just because 'X poster' was ok doesn't mean these children will be.

valiumredhead Wed 30-Jan-13 12:46:38

I didn't say it was good advice, you asked why people were talking about their own experiences and it's because they are drawing on them.

neolara Wed 30-Jan-13 13:35:02

I too am pretty amazed by how many people think it's OK to leave a 12 year old alone for 2 weeks in the care of a minor.

edam Wed 30-Jan-13 13:49:45

I think this is very worrying. I think I'd have to call SS. When I was 15, my 12yo sister and i were 'alone' when she insisted on cooking chips. I TOLD her we weren't allowed but with the usual stubbornness of little sisters she went ahead anyway. Cue chip pan fire... fortunately no serious harm done but it is hard for a 15yo to control a wilful 12yo and there are plenty of other ways this could go wrong (fwiw, my Mother was actually home, but she was in bed sleeping because she was ill after an operation).

garlicblocks Wed 30-Jan-13 14:28:52

Kelly and Neolara, I don't hink people are saying it's fine. I certainly didn't. I was left in charge from a very young age. I was pretty responsible (I had to be!) but felt abandoned and am sure I shouldn't have been 'parentified' as a child. The mother's clearly prioritising her relationship with her bully boyfriend over her children. I'm extremely familiar with that; it does cause long-term problems ime.

The pragmatic question: Are the girls safe & well? - is a different one from the issue of poor parenting. It seems they are safe and well.

I can't see any reason why OP shouldn't call SS if she's worried. I'm uncomfortable with the idea that authorities are able to police the emotional component of family relationships, which seems to be a strong theme on the thread.

MooMooSkit Wed 30-Jan-13 14:50:05

No I don't think they should be left alone. 15 she probably has exams coming up and having to look after a 12 year old at that age for a fortnight I can't imagine is easy, my Dad found it hard enough with me alone at 12 and he was in his late thirties at the time. I would report it to. No matter how much teenagers tell you how mature and grown up i would be seriously worried they were eating properly, spending all the money i give them in less than the two weeks, house parties, boys over, anything like that. It's natural to think of these things and 15 is far too young to be doing all that.

And no laws are being broken no but no laws are being broken in that case if you left two 12 year olds alone, or if your 50 year old husband had an affair with a girl that had turned 16 etc etc. There's plenty of things there's no "laws" on, doesn't mean it's right.

SamSmalaidh Wed 30-Jan-13 18:49:24

Actually I don't think home alone with a 15 year old for 2 weeks is a safe place for a 12 year old. The 15 year old is more borderline. Children of that age don't have the same ability to keep themselves safe as an adult, they are vulnerable. It is debateable whether the mother has left them in danger, and if anything happens to either child the mother will be guilty of a criminal offence.

scottishmummy Wed 30-Jan-13 19:21:15

potatoprint completely wrong you cant prempt or guess what sw would say if they asessed this
a lot of people are willfully making things up to suit their pov. guesses past off as fact

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 19:30:47


I was speaking from experience when I called them about a child with no food in the house and mother working nights, nobody in the house all night child was 11. Father completely absent, not there at all.
There response.

"Is the child being harmed or in danger at this time" my answer "no".

"then please leave us to care for those who are in danger"

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 19:32:33


I was speaking from experience when I called them about a child with no food in the house and mother working nights, nobody in the house all night child was 11. Father completely absent, not there at all.
Their response.

"Is the child being harmed or in danger at this time" my answer "no".

"then please leave us to care for those who are in danger"

But yes you are right that it neither makes the situation right, nor should it stop others from trying

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 19:34:15

Why did the site go offline, then send my uncompleted message, then my full one?
I think its the gremlins again

Did you slip down a wormhole in space and time, potato prints?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 20:07:27


I have no idea....... Nurse Nurse.

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