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To think leaving your 12 and 16 yr old home alone is a bad idea

(70 Posts)
Pandsala Thu 01-Sep-16 13:46:42

Little sister left some clothes at my house, so I went to drop them back on my way back from somewhere else (they live 25 miles away from me, I don't drive, so figured I'd do it whilst that side of the county) , 16yo Dbro answers the door, asked if my mum was about and got no, they've gone away for a few days. Fine, I assumed they'd taken the younger ones and left 16yo with big bro (who is back from uni)

Waiting for the bus 12yo taps me on the shoulder, on his way to get shopping, offer him a hand (they live up a big hill and he had quite a long list to get) get chatting and it turns out parents have been gone since Monday, just 16yo and 12 yo home, they have been told to tell everyone 18yo sis is there, she's not, she's at her boyfriends, she has popped in but isn't there at night. Big bro has gone with my parents, they have had issues with the neighbours for years so they certainly aren't checking in. Parents are in the middle of nowhere with no phone, so totally uncontactable. They were due back yesterday but used a payphone to say they would be a few more days (no exact time given)

16yo is very sensible and probably fine on his own but I dont think it's fair to expect him to look after the just turned 12yo that long. They get on ok but like any brothers they do argue and 12yo can be a handful.

I'm quite happy to have them at mine or stay there with them, as I have in previous years, but I've fallen out with 18yo sis and my parents aren't talking to me.

Floggingmolly Thu 01-Sep-16 13:53:42

The middle of nowhere, without a phone. Does such a place still exist in this day and age?? hmm

Headofthehive55 Thu 01-Sep-16 14:02:40

As part of girl guides ( not known for their risk taking ) I took a patrol of younger guides for a camp. No adults, cooked on an open fire. I must have been 14 or so. We were fine!

HermioneJeanGranger Thu 01-Sep-16 14:04:24

I don't see an issue if the 18yo is available and can pop-in occasionally.

ICanCountToOneHundred Thu 01-Sep-16 14:06:39

Can they contact the big sister if needs be? If so then I don't think it is so bad.

blueskyinmarch Thu 01-Sep-16 14:09:09

They should be fine with big sis popping in the check on them. They seem to have access to shops/money so will survive. If the 12yo is the one doing the shopping he can’t be too much of an handful. Sounds quite resourceful and sensible in fact.

DerekSprechenZeDick Thu 01-Sep-16 14:09:14

16 is more than old enough to be home alone and 12 years don't need to be looked after as such

Don't see the issue.

HeddaLettuce Thu 01-Sep-16 14:09:49

16? I had my own place at 17, 16 is hardly a baby. Well able to mind a 12 year old. What do you imagine will happen?

SvalbardianPenguin Thu 01-Sep-16 14:11:09

I'm intrigued where they are if they don't have a phone.
Either way 16 and 12 is old enough to be alone unless one is a psychopath and the other is an arsonist.

Katinkka Thu 01-Sep-16 14:11:29

I think it's fine in the circumstances you describe.

Wellywife Thu 01-Sep-16 14:13:50

I'd leave the 16 year old alone with the 12 year old during the day but not overnight. Seems a lot of responsibility.

IzzyIsBusy Thu 01-Sep-16 14:14:31

Cant see an issue.
There is an 18 yo who is popping in to ensure they are safe and i would imagine at 16 the eldest knows what to do in an emergency.

Pandsala Thu 01-Sep-16 14:15:00

Flogging, they are camping in a friends field so no landline and there's no signal there.

I might be underestimating the kids, but as the 18yo can't get there quickly at night (no car and not walking distance) I worry.

IzzyIsBusy Thu 01-Sep-16 14:15:25

Either way 16 and 12 is old enough to be alone unless one is a psychopath and the other is an arsonist.

You appear to know my eldest 2 children grin

IzzyIsBusy Thu 01-Sep-16 14:16:30

I might be underestimating the kids, but as the 18yo can't get there quickly at night (no car and not walking distance) I worry.

About what?
Can the 16 or even the 12 yo not dial 999?

Jizzomelette Thu 01-Sep-16 14:18:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LifeInJeneral Thu 01-Sep-16 14:20:56

My mum frequently left us home alone for days at a time while she stayed at her boyfriends. I was 10/11 when she started, sister was 7 and brother was 13. This happened most weeks (obviously this wasn't great but she had MH issues and that's a whole other thread) but we were always fine. Teenagers can be quite sensible and it sounds like they are in this case.

TwentyCups Thu 01-Sep-16 14:21:55

Some 16years old have babies of their own they look after. I don't see this as a problem.

Pandsala Thu 01-Sep-16 14:23:07

Blue, he can be super sensible, when he wants to be, but he's also quite an emotional child and has been known to wander off in a strop, throw things etc.

I don't know Hedda, I moved out at 16 but I didnt have a 12 year old to worry about.

bloodyteenagers Thu 01-Sep-16 14:26:40

I don't see the problem. I wasn't living at home at 15.
Before that I would often be left at 14 with 2 kids under 6 for a few days.
The parents obviously know their children and their capabilities.

tiggytape Thu 01-Sep-16 14:29:52

YABU - 16 is more than old enough in terms of the responsibility. People can live alone and become parents of their own children at that age if they wish to.

The only time it would be a problem is if the 16 year old didn't want to look after the 12 year old with any friction that would cause. But that would be the same if the older sibling was 17 or 18 and didn't want to babysit.

As for getting there at night - what could an 18 year old do in a dire emergency that a 16 year old couldn't do (or a sensible 12 year old for that matter)?

BarbarianMum Thu 01-Sep-16 14:29:53

I think if the 16 year old is sensible and the 12 year old reasonably so, then it should be OK. I was a super-sensible 16 year old and would have been fine with this.

jimbob1 Thu 01-Sep-16 14:29:55

I think I would be fine with the 16 yr old staying home for the week - not sure about the 12 yr old. If they had been gone just the 2-3 days they stated I would be less worried.
The parents obviously know this isn't a wise idea or they wouldn't have instructed the children to lie and say that the 18 yr old was staying.

Pandsala Thu 01-Sep-16 14:35:35

Of course they can Izzy but what if there's a not 999 type issue, like the 12yo has a strop or the neighbours start being arses again? Like I said, I might be wrong but it doesn't seem fair on the 16yo to me.

Anyway, since the majority think I'm wrong I'll leave it, the kids are only just back out of care and I just think it's time my parents started putting them first.

Italiangreyhound Thu 01-Sep-16 14:35:42

Well I am happy to go against the grain and say it sounds very irresponsible to leave the kids alone for so long at that age.

What could happen? Who knows. That's just the point.

I think it is too long alobr and at too young an age.

And the fact they are pretending the 18 year old is there means they also know it is not good.

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