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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.

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

yawningmonster Wed 30-Jan-13 04:10:41

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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