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How young is too young

(21 Posts)
MrsClueless Wed 24-Aug-16 19:15:22

At what age would you leave children at home by themselves all day? I'm asking as I noticed a 12yo boy out alone on his bike at 7.30am this morning and he was still out alone at 6pm tonight. I'm off work today and been in and out with my 2 much younger children which is why I've seen him out in his bike for most of the day alone. Both his parents are doctors and only moved to the area about 4 weeks ago. At that age my parents left me inside with my sister all day but with strict instructions not to go outside (30 years ago and a different county). Is 12 old enough? I have no idea but this boy looked so alone and waved every time we saw him, like he was looking for company. Are 12yo's more streetwise now than I was 30 years ago?

GoldFishFingerz Wed 24-Aug-16 19:19:37

12 is too young to be alone for 11 hours. A few hours yes, but not a long day.

ImperialBlether Wed 24-Aug-16 19:19:56

Well, what are the options, if you're working? A babysitter?

He's probably learned that if he cycles around then friends will come out and join him.

shaggedthruahedgebackwards Wed 24-Aug-16 19:21:29

If he is 12 then he is secondary age so I would say ok on his own for occasional days while both parents work during school hols but agree that 730 til 6 is a long time to be alone

If it's 5 days a week then I'd be more concerned but as a one off it is not ideal but arranging childcare for older children during the long holidays can be a nightmare so I would cut the parents some slack

PotteringAlong Wed 24-Aug-16 19:22:27

You don't know he's been alone for 11 hours; you only know he's been alone when you've seen him. There might have been someone in the house and he was just out on his bike?

usual Wed 24-Aug-16 19:23:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

user1471734618 Wed 24-Aug-16 19:24:27

you saw a 12 year old on his bike a couple of times in the same day?
It sounds normal.
If however he seems to be out all day every day then perhaps you would be right to be concerned.

usual Wed 24-Aug-16 19:25:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pineappletastic Wed 24-Aug-16 19:26:15

Don't know about now but when I was 12, 20 years ago, I'd get the bus into town with a friend, shop, get lunch, go swimming, and get the bus home again. This was before mobile phones so I'd be out of parental communication range all day.

Birdsgottafly Wed 24-Aug-16 19:26:40

I'd say that's it old enough, depending on the child.

Some 12 year olds would rather be alone than be minded by someone.

Him being able might just be s matter of his friends having a day out.

Do you know that he didn't have family close by that he could go to, or someone in his house, but chose not to?

I'm 48, I'd go out, with my mates all day, with no mobile phone etc, from the age of eight. The only reason that you wasn't alone was because it was rare to be in a one child family, or one that wasn't extended.

Birdsgottafly Wed 24-Aug-16 19:28:34

""If however he seems to be out all day every day then perhaps you would be right to be concerned.""

That might be his choose, I'd say it's better than say on the XBox.

I used to love being out on my bike all day.

Mrscog Wed 24-Aug-16 19:30:00

I think 12 is fine to be honest, I'm sure my parents used to leave me for long periods of time at that age. I remember once they wanted to go to something really boring at the NEC and left me all day and I did a D&T project instead!

MrsClueless Wed 24-Aug-16 19:34:53

I have no idea how mature 12 yo's generally are nowadays. He seems quite content on His bike, just lonely. I haven't see any parents/family there all day but I haven't been watching so I agree neighbours/family/friends could be discreetly watching. I hadn't thought of that so if thats the case that will reassure me.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 24-Aug-16 19:37:22

How strange - was an article in the DM about this yesterday.

I think the majority of 12 year olds are left alone for a few hours here and there.

My 12 year old had been out a lot on his bike searching for pokemon as have the majority of 12 year olds this summer.

MrsClueless Wed 24-Aug-16 19:38:06

And this boy is an only child.

MrsClueless Wed 24-Aug-16 19:40:17

My last post was to a pp re being an only child. Perhaps I'm Not giving 12yo's as much credit as they deserve.

trafalgargal Wed 24-Aug-16 19:51:57

He could have gone out early , gone home for lunch and gone out again later .....or spent most of the day with friends. Unless you know the child and know the family and their routines intimately you appear to be assuming rather a lot.

Sara107 Wed 24-Aug-16 19:58:48

That's a long day for a 12 yr old to be alone, I think. But maybe there was someone in the house? Better for him to be out on his bike waving at the neighbours than locked up in his room on a screen all day anyway! But this is a question that I wonder about, my dD is 6 and I recently wondered if it would be acceptable to nip to the shop (10 mins max) while she watched CBEEBIES? Didn't do it! But am starting to let her 'play out', sure many would disapprove...

MrsClueless Wed 24-Aug-16 20:09:56

Both my children are under 6 so I have no idea how responsible 12yo's are. If it's acceptable, great. I have seen the boy out many times over the past few weeks by himself but didn't realise just how much he was by himself until today. The first time I saw this boy was the day after he moved in and he was climbing the side wall of his house to get into the back garden to get in. I went over to see who he was as I knew by sight the previous tenants and hadn't realised they had moved. He told me then (;about 8pm) his parents were at work. I have no views either way as j gave no experience of 12yo's. Don't want to Ignore if it's an issue and don't want intrude if it isn't.

pinkmagic1 Wed 24-Aug-16 20:23:42

It is a long day but arranging childcare for secondry age children can be difficult, many play schemes only take children up to 11. We are lucky in that we have a great, cheap local scheme that takes them up to 15. My 9 year old has been going daily but 9 times out of 10 my 12 year old would rather stay home or hang with mates. He is very sensible and I have no qualms in leaving him, although it is only from 9am until 2pm.
Personally at that age I was going into town etc. With friends, just as a previous poster said in the days before mobiles .

Witchend Wed 24-Aug-16 20:24:15

I know a lad my ds' age (9yo) that I might well see out alone at 8:30am, some point during the day and around 8pm.
However I know that he goes home on the hour (has a watch that beeps to remind him) otherwise he's not allowed out tomorrow.

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