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to think leaving an 11yo alone for a few hours is ok

(209 Posts)
TalkofSummertime Sun 30-Oct-16 10:22:21

I'm no fan of Michael Gove but I think he's getting too much of a bashing- apparently he left his son in a hotel room for 6 hours one evening with takeaway, access to soft drinks at the bar etc. The porters knew he was there.

Personally I think leaving a mature secondary child alone is quite unremarkable. Let's face it, it's different from when they were three or whatever.

I was from a stable, affectionate family and was left at home for a few hours the odd time from the age of 7 (IRRC). I stayed home alone for a few days aged 14 (my parents had accidentally booked a surprise holiday for the same date as my music exam).

I think our society infantilizes older children far too much, and this is just the press making a mountain out of a molehill.

TalkofSummertime Sun 30-Oct-16 10:23:36

*secondary-school age child

Trifleorbust Sun 30-Oct-16 10:25:28

The hotel staff are not responsible for his 11 year old, and are strangers. I wouldn't leave my child alone for 6 hours in the middle of the night just because there were staff on Reception confused

PoldarksBreeches Sun 30-Oct-16 10:25:30

Was he in bed for some of that time? I think 6 hours is a long time for an 11 year old, I wouldn't choose to do that (3 would be about the max at that age) but I guess if it was 8pm-2am then he would have been awake for about half of it.

thedogsvagina Sun 30-Oct-16 10:25:59

Generally I would agree but 6 hours seems like a long time, especially in a hotel. Would be slightly different in his own house. Also, isn't 11 the end of primary school rather than the beginning of high school?

usual Sun 30-Oct-16 10:26:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SamhainSoubriquet Sun 30-Oct-16 10:26:44

An hour, yes

Maybe 2 maximum.

6 hours, no way

greenfolder Sun 30-Oct-16 10:27:43

Yes. I would.

MsJamieFraser Sun 30-Oct-16 10:27:50

This wouldn't bother me, I leave my 10 year old all the time, not for 6 hours however, but at least a few hours, he even makes his own simple meals. Im getting him prepared for high school, as next year he will finish school at 2.30pm and will be home for a few hours at a time.

reallyanotherone Sun 30-Oct-16 10:30:03

Considering there's no wrap around or holiday care for secondary age children, I strongly suspect there's an awful lot of kids out there being left 8am-6pm in school holidays while parents work. Or on a friday evening.

I don't see anything wrong with it. I'd do the same with my 11 year old no problem. They have a phone, know where I am, and a hotel room with porters, room service etc where they can access help easily is probably better than being left at home.

longdiling Sun 30-Oct-16 10:31:28

6 hours at night in a strange place. I dunno. I do leave my 11 year old for a few hours here and there in the day. I don't think she'd be happy being alone for that amount of time somewhere other than home especially. What was Gove doing for those 6 hours?

TalkofSummertime Sun 30-Oct-16 10:33:30

He was at some literary awards do, I think.

KittyAlPick Sun 30-Oct-16 10:34:35

In the daytime maybe. I wouldn't have left DD in the evening.

NightNightBadger19962 Sun 30-Oct-16 10:34:37

Depends how the 11 year old feels about it, whether they can contact you quickly and easily and you can get back quickly if they feel they want you to. I don't know the details. I kind of agree about infantilising, but on the other hand, teens and pre teens can often feel abandoned and insecure if left to their own devices too often and maturity 'assumed'.

BarbarianMum Sun 30-Oct-16 10:34:50

I'm amazed the hotel staff agree to supervise him, which seems to be what's being claimed. I personally think 6 hours is too long to leave an 11 year old, unless the function you'd be attending was somewhere in the same building.

JellyBelli Sun 30-Oct-16 10:35:58

I would have been fine with that at 11, my brother would have wrecked the room and started a fire. (only half joking).

IneedAdinosaurNickname Sun 30-Oct-16 10:36:51

Depends on the 11 year old. My ds1 would enjoy the fact he could play on his tablet for 6 hours without me telling him he'd been on it too long!

BarbarianMum Sun 30-Oct-16 10:40:23

Jelly my parents first left my brother alone for the afternoon when he was 11 whilst they went shopping. When they came home 2 hours later they found he and his friend had spent the time constructing/trying to construct flame throwers in the back garden. Scorch marks all over the lawn and bits of the fence had clearly been on fire.

I don't think they left him 'home alone' until he turned 18 after that grin

TalkofSummertime Sun 30-Oct-16 10:41:59

Seriously? Hahaha!

QueenLaBeefah Sun 30-Oct-16 10:42:17

I have an 11yr old and he would be fine for a couple of hours but not 6. Really does depend on the child though.

Roomba Sun 30-Oct-16 10:45:26

I tend to agree with you, although it obviously depends on the 11 year old. I can see that my 11 year old is perfectly capable of looking after himself sensibly for a few hours, though I've only had to leave him on his own for an hour or so up to now. He's very sensible and I'd trust him.

That said, I really wouldn't leave him for that long in a hotel, or any other unfamiliar environment. At home, he knows what hazards are present, and what to do in an emergency. In a hotel, he'd be more likely to panic or do something dangerous due to being unfamiliar with where he was. What if there was a fire alarm, or drunken guests banging on the door, or there was a power cut? He'd know what to do at home, but I would worry in a strange place.

Then again, secondary age kids have plenty of opportunities to wander off, go missing or do dangerous things during their day, and people don't worry too much about that.

What I absolutely would not do is tell my child/staff that I'd be back at a certain time, and then come back four hours late! That really would lead most kids to worry, possibly panic and then do something stupid. Most adults would worry if their family member was four hours late coming back!

LittleBearPad Sun 30-Oct-16 10:46:38

I wouldn't leave him in a strange hotel whilst I was elsewhere until the early hours with no phone signal.

Plus they said they'd be back at 9.30 and rolled in at 1.30. Not fair on the hotel staff at the very least.

leanback Sun 30-Oct-16 10:47:49

I'm not sure I'd leave an 11 year old for six hours without a babysitter in my own home. Don't see why leaving in a hotel makes it any better. Not the staffs job to make sure this child is okay.

Cel982 Sun 30-Oct-16 11:03:10

If what's being reported is true, they told him they'd be home at 9:30 but instead rocked up four hours later. That's not ok. The child clearly wasn't mature enough to deal with that unexpected situation (not that he should be), since he was found wandering around the B&B looking for help. Most 11-year-olds would feel really worried if their parents didn't come back when they said they would. It was crappy parenting.

HeteronormativeHaybales Sun 30-Oct-16 11:03:30

I have an 11yo. I leave him for an hour or so, in the day.
6 hours? NFW.
In the evening, when it's dark outside? NFW.
In an unfamiliar, semi-public environment? NFW.
Sounds a bit like entitlement - 'I'm Michael Gove, so the hotel staff can act as unpaid babysitters for my child' hmm
Surely he had the money to book a dedicated babysitter to come to the hotel.
Very poor show all round.

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