DSD (15) staying home alone

(25 Posts)
purpleroses Sat 03-Nov-12 15:07:10

DSD is 15 (16 next June). She is generally a good kid - mature and reasonably sensible. She's reached an age when she's decided she doesn't like going on family holidays - either with us or with her mum. Her mum has booked to take them all away for a week at Easter and DSD has said she's not going, so her mum has said she can stay home on her own for a week. A week, when she is still only 15. This doesn't sound OK to me or DP - but what can he do about it? We could offer to have her here but she'd need to be told that she couldn't just decide to head off to her mum's and stay there whenever she wants.

She's also kicking up a fuss about going on any holidays next summer (when she will be 16) and is saying she will stay home alone. DP has said she's too young to stay here for a week when we're away, but her mum says she can't have her (as she's going away). But her mum seems to think it's OK for her to stay home alone for the whole time...

I don't know what I'm doing with teenagers. Mine are younger, and do what I tell them still! What do you do about this sort of thing? DSD is given a lot of independence generally, but this is too far, surely?

humptydidit Sat 03-Nov-12 15:21:14

Personallyh I think she is too young, but again, my own kids are younger, so I'm not sure what would be considered normal????
All I do know is that last summer, my neighbours went away to egypt and left their dd home alone for 2 weeks. She was 17. On the second night there was a lot of trouble, mostly from her friends and some boys getting heavy with this girl and her friends, resulting in myself and several neighbours phoning the police. Police arrived and sorted out the kids and then knocked on my door. I was asked for all my details as apparently they had been told that I was responsible for them??? All neighbour had said was they were going away and to keep an eye.
Police made me promise to keep an eye and ear out in case any disturbances and told me I must ring them straight awy if necessary. Obviously I would have done that anyway, but the police seemed to feel that I was responsible for this girl who I hardly knew. I wasn't comfortable with it at all.

Apologies for rambling and not sure if that helps at all??? And even if you and your dp are clear about it, if your dsd's mum thinks it's ok, I'm not sure what you can do about it?

Dillydollydaydream Sat 03-Nov-12 15:25:50

My parents used to go away for weekends when I was 14/15 and I side to stay at home on my own. I think they first went away on holiday for a week when I was 16/17. I think that is quite young and wouldn't leave my dd on her own for that length of time.

brdgrl Sat 03-Nov-12 16:44:53

I think it's insane...

brdgrl Sat 03-Nov-12 16:47:40

sorry. that wasn't helpful! I do think it is too young to be left for that length of time. I also think that 15 is too young to be deciding not to go on family holidays, for that matter - I know my parents would have laughed and just dragged me along, and I'd be inclined to do the same with my own DD.

I don't know how these things work, legally, but it seems to me that your DH should have some say in this???

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Sat 03-Nov-12 17:14:32

Ooh, I don't know... At 16 I had a job and rented a house so to me it's no big deal. It all depends on the child but I would say at 15 a week at home, with Dad on call and able to check on her. Maybe with a mid-week dinner at yours should be okay.

I used to stay at home alone for weekends at 15. Not weeks... But I don't think mum ever went away for weeks anyway. I was made to go in a family holiday at 14, like redhen says, we didn't really get a choice all the time we were under Mums roof. Maybe that's why I moved out at 16 grin

My personal view.

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Sat 03-Nov-12 17:15:07

Sorry brdgirl not redhen!!

allnewtaketwo Sat 03-Nov-12 17:18:04

I think it's too young. At a similar age (maybe 16 actually) I didn't want to come on a family holiday and I stayed at a friends house instead. Clearly my parents and friends parents discussed and were happy with this. Would that be an option??

izzywizzyisbizzy Sat 03-Nov-12 19:53:21

Too young - my oldest is nearly 17 and doesn't want to come away with me - our baby sitter for younger DCs is 21 and she stays in our house.

NotaDisneyMum Sat 03-Nov-12 21:17:59

If she's left home alone by her mum and her dad calls SS they will place her in his care.

If he doesn't call SS while his ex is away, and nothing bad/untoward happens, then his ex will get away with it. If something does happen while his ex is away that leads to police/school/SS involvement, and SS discover that your DP knew she would be home alone, then he'll he held as accountable as her Mum.

Is your DP prepared to take the risk?

NotaDisneyMum Sat 03-Nov-12 21:18:50

That's before she's 16 -then it's more of a grey area.

purpleroses Sat 03-Nov-12 21:40:49

Thanks all. Perspective's useful. DP has emailed her and said he's unhappy about her being left alone. Also offered that we could have her (or pack her off to her grand parents for some of the time) Not sure where this leaves us though . I don't want to end up without DSD when we're on holiday (and would love to have her with us) and forgoing the rare times we get to go away together when the DSC are off with their mum because she's elected to stay behind

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Sat 03-Nov-12 22:01:41

Sounds like its best to wait until they're away and call ss then?

elliebellys Sat 03-Nov-12 22:15:22

Why not just communicate your worries with the ex.just explain that you think that she is to young nd see if you can come up with a solution.

AllDirections Sat 03-Nov-12 22:25:20

I think 15 is too young for a week alone but ok for a weekend as long as there are adults close by who can help if needed.

I posted a thread last year asking if it was ok to leave my 15 year old DD at home for a weekend and the general opinion was that it was fine. We ended up moving house which spooked her with it's unfamiliar noises and we obviously had different neighbours so I only recently left her at 16. I still wouldn't leave her for a week at 16 though I'm not sure why really. I think that once children leave school they could be left for more than a weekend but some children must leave school before their 16th birthday so I don't know really.

theredhen Sun 04-Nov-12 09:59:53

There is no way I would leave a 15 yr old home alone for a week. I wouldn't leave a 15 yr old alone overnight, even for one night even if extended family lived closeby.

I think ss would take a very dim view too.

purpleroses Mon 05-Nov-12 10:09:12

I don't think we'd want to call SS unless it was really dire - Though it's always good to know what the bottom line could be.

Her mum is now saying she won't leave her home alone at Easter seeing as DP is unhappy about it - which is good (though I fear he'll get the blame for it), but I don't know what's happening in the summer. DSD is out so much of the time DP hasn't had a chance to talk with her this weekend. She's pretty strong willed and has got used to coming and going more or less as she pleases.

chipmonkey Mon 05-Nov-12 11:15:12

ds1 and ds2 are 16 and 14 and I would never leave them home alone overnight. Ds1 babysits for his brothers sometimes but for 2-3 hours max. I would be afraid of parties, drugs, sex..... If they carried on like that, they would be told they're coming on holiday, end of!

purpleroses Mon 05-Nov-12 11:26:23

Yes, I'd be afraid of those things too with DSD - but it's harder to tell them they are coming on holiday if they are used to coming and going between two houses/families to suit themselves.

We've always given DSD quite a bit of freedom to choose which house she goes to when - I've always thought this was the right thing to do with a teenager - so she doesn't feel shunted around like some possession according to a rota - but stay at her mum's for an odd night at the weekend if there's a party she wants to go to nearby, or call by ours after school (we live nearer her school) for an hour before she goes off out somewhere.

But seems that this kind of freedom is vulnerable to exploitation when you want to call her in and tell her that she is not a grown up yet and must go on holiday with her siblings and whichever parent she is supposed to be with, not opt out to the other house instead.

theredhen Mon 05-Nov-12 12:09:07

I understand that she might want to stay with the other parent and not go on holiday but this isn't an option this time so can she stay with grandparents or other extended family?

If not she will either have to come with you or her mum will have to cancel her plans (not that I think the latter sends the right message to your dsd).

chipmonkey Mon 05-Nov-12 12:54:24

Yes, I've seen that with my niece too.grin A choice of two lots of parents and in my niece's case, 3 lots of grandparents as dsis's ILs also count as grandparents. But 15 is really too young to call all the shots and she shouldn't impinge on her Mum's right to have a break either.
Although, having just brought the boys away and having to put up the occasional sulk from ds1 when he wanted to come, I don't know if I'd want him along if he'd resisted!

digerd Mon 05-Nov-12 13:12:44

I know it was some decades ago, but when I was 16, my parents agreed that I would go on a weeks holiday with my best friend to a holiday camp. We had a lovely time, and no there was no sex. Despite me falling for a gorgeous looking young bar man.
Why , though, would the almost 16 year-old want to be a week all on her own? We had our meals cooked for us at the camp.

brdgrl Mon 05-Nov-12 13:12:49

To me, being left "in charge" of the house is a big responsibility, so quite apart from the drinking/parties/sex issues, there is the question of whether the kid in question is mature enough to be given that privilege. It is a privilege, as well as a responsibility.

My DSD (17) isn't really interested in drinking, and when she does have parties, they are pretty sedate affairs (think dvd and board games rather than sex and alcohol) - but DH and I still wouldn't leave her for a week with just her and DSS. We recently left them for a weekend, and it was a big deal to us. She's not very mature, and in the weeks leading up to the occasion (we were going away for work) there were enough problems with her behaviour and attitude that we were having real second thoughts. We left them in the end, with a bit of a lecture about how she should view it as an opportunity to show us we could trust her with such responsibilities... It went ok, but not great (she was meant to give medication to one of the pets and didn't do the dosage properly which I was upset about). I don't know when we'll do it again. (Funnily, I think her friends' parents were a bit disapproving about us leaving them at all...It didn't affect my feelings about it, though I can't speak for DH.)

purpleroses Mon 05-Nov-12 13:35:49

Why , though, would the almost 16 year-old want to be a week all on her own? - allegedly so that she can revise for her GCSEs - but tbh I don't belive that for a second. She could take her books, etc with her and her mum has made it quite clear she can opt out of a few daytrips if she needs to revise. I suspect her mum doesn't believe her reasons either - I think she probably said she could stay on her own in the heat of the moment in a row - feeling hurt and resentful that her DD was throwing the chance of a nice holiday in her face. But DSD has clung onto it as proof that she is now old enough - in her mum's eyes - to be left alone.

I think her reasons are more to do with prioritising her social life - she doesn't like to be away from her friends and boyfriend. A week on her own would mean a week of staying out wherever she likes (eg the park, in the dark hmm), until whatever time she likes, having whoever she likes round the house, etc.

I used to go off on working holidays from 16 on my own or with a friend. I had a great time and enjoyed the freedom, but actually I think you're right brdgrl - staying at home on your own is a different kind of previlege - and a lot more potential for trouble from parties getting out of control, etc.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 05-Nov-12 13:49:32

My SisIL phoned her parents in a panic when they were staying here for a few days because her washing machine was flooding her kitchen - she's 39!!!

Could a 15 year old deal with those kind of emergencies?

If she's got a tendency to hang out late in the dark etc, then it's possible that she could be the victim of, or witness to, any number of crimes or nasty incidents - and no matter how independent she pretends to be, she'll still want mum or Dad when she's worried or scared - never mind the fact that there'll be some questions asked about who is responsible for her if the authorities get involved.

Even at 16, it's not clear cut -DCs of that age who live independently are subject to Social Services support.

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