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to be furious at dh for leaving DD (7) and DS (3) at home for 5 mins?

(177 Posts)
toomanyeasterbunnies Thu 11-Apr-13 18:52:58

DH popped out to end of road in car to get some bread. He made sure DD knew how to call him and he went out for no longer than five mins. I am furious. He thinks I am over-reacting. Am I?

CookieDoughKid Thu 11-Apr-13 19:15:51


I recall being just 7 walking to school by myself in a less-than-desirable part of East London, holding my brother's hand who was a year younger than me! We had to make it across roads, high rise estates and potential bullying from much older kids.

I survived it all - and now I can say - I can walk down rough parts of any inner city with confidence (and a scowl if required). I'm NOT saying this is right, but back then (in the 80s) this was the norm and loads of kids were out on the street the same. It helped me become very streetwise.

It's worth putting things into perspective as well as using this opportunity to put some ground rules/agreements with your husband.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Thu 11-Apr-13 19:16:04

I would leave my just 8 year old but never with my 3 year old, yanbu.

diddl Thu 11-Apr-13 19:16:31

The thing is re being somewhere else in the house, or in the garden is that the 7yr old can call/find you immediately if necessary.

For that matter, so can the 3yr old!

LovePickles Thu 11-Apr-13 19:17:23

Yanbu! If its only down the road, why not take a walk? I actually have nightmares about doing things like this, and I have a 12 and 5 year old. Fires take seconds to start and take hold. What if they got hold of something? I'd be angry too.

LouLouH Thu 11-Apr-13 19:18:01

Its neglectful to do it. If you had both gone out for a meal or something and paid a babysitter/childminder to look after them and he/she popped out for 5 mins. Would he find that acceptable?

hellohellohihi Thu 11-Apr-13 19:19:11

Thing is, in my mind, once you've pushed a boundary once, it's easier to do it again - and easier to push it further next time...

I'd be livid.

Pozzled Thu 11-Apr-13 19:19:18

Yanbu. I'd be ok with leaving a very sensible 7 year old, but it's completely unfair to make her responsible for her 3 year old brother. He could easily have done something silly, or just tripped and bumped his head. It would be very unlikely for something to go seriously wrong, but very easy for a minor mishap to occur, making both children frightened/hurt/unhappy. Not a risk worth taking.

5madthings Thu 11-Apr-13 19:19:42

lovrpickles do you leave your 12 yr old at home on his/her own?

LovePickles Thu 11-Apr-13 19:21:05

5mad, no he's not mature enough.

5madthings Thu 11-Apr-13 19:25:08

At 12? Surely he is at high school? Does he go to and from high school on his own? At 12 unless he has sn's he should be able to be left on his own!

Ime they often suprise you with how mature/capable they are if you give them the chance.

Are you really saying you cant leave him for 10mins?

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Thu 11-Apr-13 19:26:14


I wouldn't have a problem with the 7 year old being left for 5 mins (I was going to primary school a mile away by bike on my own at that age), but would have a major problem with the 3 year old being left.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 19:26:24

YANBU - a lot of people with older children will happily leave one or other of them home alone for a bit but not both together until they are much more mature.
Most people would leave a 10 year old or a 12 year old home alone for a little while but not a 10 and 12 year old together who might start a fight over the TV or storm off after a row.

I think 7 is too young anyway but leaving him in charge of a 3 year old makes it a definite no no.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 11-Apr-13 19:28:51

I think the 7 year old is ok, but not with a three year old to look after.

5 mins while he popped next door/out to the car is ok, but not a car journey away.

LovePickles Thu 11-Apr-13 19:31:34

5mad, you're right he has mild SN. No I wouldn't leave him for 10 minutes, I'd have nowhere to go for 10 minutes that I would have a problem taking him with me. I've never had a reason too. I don't feel comfortable with it. I believe 7 is way too young to be on your own in the house. Leaving young teens with toddlers is dangerous in my opinion. That said, what anyone else does is up to them.

I am a scout leader, I've seen what they get up to when mum and dad are not around. These are 10-14 year olds.

LovePickles Thu 11-Apr-13 19:32:39

Out to the car/back garden is different.

TigOldBitties Thu 11-Apr-13 19:34:16

I think its ok if it was for really only 5 minutes.

I popped something over to my neighbours over the road yesterday. I ended up chatting, I was probably about 10 minutes. My 6 year old and 4 year old grandson were alone in the house, I declined to go indoors, but other than that I didn't think anything of it.

Yes there could be a fire or something but its the equivalent of me being down the garden or up in the loft with the DC in a totally separate part of the house. I can get engrossed and be doing that for half hour without thinking.

Not leaving a 12year old is laughable.

squeakytoy Thu 11-Apr-13 19:34:55

a five minute WALK to a shop would be ok, but a five minute DRIVE is completely different..

LovePickles Thu 11-Apr-13 19:36:43

So I'm supposed to leave my 12 year old at home otherwise I'll get laughed at? Like I said he's SN -special needs and is not mature enough. You're not going to make me feel guilty for protecting my kid, sorry!

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 19:38:17

Not leaving a 12year old is laughable.

Not leaving a 12 year old child who is unready for it is totally responsible.
Many children have additional needs that mean they reach many milestones much later or not at all.
This includes all aspects of independent living.

TheChaoGoesMu Thu 11-Apr-13 19:38:31

Why didn't he take them with him?
It is a safeguarding issue. There is no minimum age, it relies on common sense and the maturity of the child. Leaving a seven year old in charge of a three year old displays no common sense whatsoever. The father may not have been able to get back, potentially leaving the children alone for far longer. And 3 year olds get up to all sorts. A lot can happen in 5 minutes.

5madthings Thu 11-Apr-13 19:38:37

It depends on the individual child and of course sn's makes a difference.

But teens should be left. I have left ds1 with dd whilst she is asleep so i can nip out and take the others with me. If she wakes he will sit and watch cbeebies with her.

Ds1 is an old man in a childs body tho, far too mature at times.

Ds2 (almost 11) is a lot more tempremental! and i leave him now but thats recent and i wouldnt leave him with the others.

Leaving children on their own/lwtting them walk to school alone is something the british seem to get particularly hung up about ime.

TomArchersSausage Thu 11-Apr-13 19:39:04

7 yr old I would (depending on 7 yr old of course) but not 3.

But if it was in the car...hmmm...that'd probably take me further geographically than I'd be happy with at this age.

In our previous house the garage was in a block round the corner. I'd walk then drive the car to the house which would take about 5 mins but I'd be hurrying.

Surely a trip to the shops,park,wait to be served and back would take more than 5 mins?

moonabove Thu 11-Apr-13 19:39:45

YANBU - I would leave ds when he was 7 and younger to walk 5 mins to the shop but add in another much younger child and a car journey and the potential for a serious incident escalates massively.

This isn't about enabling dc to be independent, it's about unacceptable risk-taking.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 11-Apr-13 19:40:48

Lovepickles - don't justify yourself, it is not laughable at all, it is commendable that you accomodate your DS howis is. Kids are all different.

5madthings Thu 11-Apr-13 19:41:55

Hang on a minute i asked lovepickles/ re her 12 yr old as yes i was suprised as its unusualish but she has clarified why and i also agree with *tiggy some are not ready/dont want to be left. That isnt laughable. Its being sensible for their particular situation.

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