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13 and 12 year olds cooking dinner unsupervised

(114 Posts)
HelgaHufflepuff76 Wed 26-Apr-17 16:12:11

I've encouraged both my dc to cook from a young age. Dd likes to bake and ds prefers to make salads and pizzas. However, I have only let them do any cooking while supervised by an adult.

Today Dh was about to go out and asked if I wanted to come along (would have been gone about half an hour) I said no because I was about to begin cooking dinner. He then suggested that the kids could cook the dinner while we were out. The cooking he wanted them to do would've been simple, but involving the cooker and sharp knives, which they know how to use safely.

Both kids are sensible and mature so I don't mind leaving them at home for short periods, but leaving them cooking doesn't seem right to me. He thinks I'm overprotective and that most kids should be doing this kind of thing unsupervised at their age.

So AIBU or is he?

ILookedintheWater Wed 26-Apr-17 16:15:37

Depends. At 12 I used the oven (Aga) and the hotplate but wasn't allowed to use the chip pan.
I wouldn't be too concerned about sharps if they have done it before successfully and you trust them not to mess about. Presumably they know what to do if there's a stabbing or a fire.
What are you thinking of them cooking?

Singyourheartout Wed 26-Apr-17 16:19:01

I do think your being bit YABU.
I was using a pearing knife to cook from 11.
Obviously I wouldn't let them loose with a cleaver or massive carving knife.
But basic sharp knives should be fine

HelgaHufflepuff76 Wed 26-Apr-17 16:19:17

Maybe something like spaghetti and sauce with salad.

They would know what to do in an emergency and they both have phones, but I worry that they might panic if something went wrong!

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Wed 26-Apr-17 16:19:27

probably not if there was to be frying /grilling, things go bad fast if that sort of thing goes wrong but prepping something to hurl in the oven, or pasta on the hob then yeah, I'd leave them to it for the half hour you'd have been out.

Pinkheart5915 Wed 26-Apr-17 16:20:38

It depends on the common sense of the child

Mine are only babies but by time I was 13 I could cook Spag Bol, bake cakes and put a pizza in without supervision. My parents worked late and my older brother wasn't always home.

My nephew is 13 and when he comes to stay he cooks here unsupervised simple stuff like pasta, pizza, brownies etc

halcyondays Wed 26-Apr-17 16:21:35

I don't think I'd be keen on them using sharp knives when I wasn't there. I definitely wouldn't have been at that age but I always had bad coordination and had trouble with peeling and chopping.

RedSkyAtNight Wed 26-Apr-17 16:21:43

Wouldn't have even occured to me that this was an issue.
My 12 year old regularly makes himself some food if he's home on his own and gets peckish.

Sparklingbrook Wed 26-Apr-17 16:22:59

it depends on the DC really. I would have just suggested them bunging a pizza in though.

These threads generally end up with people saying how their DC have been able to cook 3 course meals and have been an expert with a carving knife since they could walk etc. grin

FlannelTimCircleSocks Wed 26-Apr-17 16:23:45

My 13 year old cooks unsupervised and did do this when she was 12 too. She makes better meals than me too!

5moreminutes Wed 26-Apr-17 16:25:30

Hmm - mine are a bit younger and cook but not unsupervised. When to allow cooking unsupervised is an interesting one actually, but as there are two of them and they are experienced etc I think yababu... It's boarderline.

When I was 14 I was left in charge of 3 younger siblings and expected to plan and cook dinner to have on the table when my mum got in during the school holidays, for which I was paid £5. (I wasn't forced to do it, I agreed for the £). However the past is another country and all that...

Mumzypopz Wed 26-Apr-17 16:25:53

Oh dear. There's been another thread going all day where people have been saying their ten year olds are home alone cooking. Pretty sure 12/13 is fine.

grasspigeons Wed 26-Apr-17 16:26:22

My childen are younger so not at the unsupervised point yet, I guess I always think you look at the least sensible/youngest one and think would they be ok. I also think talking through things to do if it goes wrong such as getting a burn in the cold, turning the oven off, who to call etc. I am sure they would be brilliant whilst all going well but even some adults get in a pickle if something goes wrong. My eldest cooks with minimal supervision bit is prone to just wandering off.

sirfredfredgeorge Wed 26-Apr-17 16:28:48

Of course you can expect to leave two competent cooks free to cook unsupervised. If you normally watch them and you spend the whole time putting out fires and stiching fingers back on, then no don't do it - but if they are normal competent cooks as you would hope they are by 13 just carry on, especially if there are two of them to help each other out if anything bad does happen.

I really don't understand the sharp knives thing - If you encourage people to use inappropriate tools (small or blunt knifes for chopping things that need a proper knife) then accidents are more likely, not less!

C0RAL Wed 26-Apr-17 16:29:41

Could you send them over to ours to teach my 11 and 12 year old to cook ?

Sparklingbrook Wed 26-Apr-17 16:30:51

Mine are 15 and 17 and although they know full well what to do laziness prevails and the sandwich toaster usually comes out.

Sweepingchange Wed 26-Apr-17 16:31:38

Same here, dd regular cooks meals and bakes unsupervised and semi-supervised and has done so from about the age of 11 yrs. I am a very anxious mother but I wouldn't worry about this at all, as long as you are at the end of the phone and not too far away, and they are not going to be deep frying anything! Just remind them to use oven gloves, to be careful with knives and when opening tins, to be careful of hot water if draining a heavy pan of pasta for example and to remember to turn rings/oven off! They'll be fine!

Cutesbabasmummy Wed 26-Apr-17 16:33:07

My DH was cooking regularly for his 2 younger brothers and himself at that age as his parents were out at work (both doctors). He's still here but I think he was a bit young to be doing it tbh.

HelgaHufflepuff76 Wed 26-Apr-17 16:35:21

They can both do stuff like make themselves a sandwich or beans on toast for example without adult supervision, I'm just questioning if they'd be able to do something a bit more complex and do enough for all four of us.

Also, they are both sensible when an adult is there, but have a tendency to bicker when it's just them, so still a bit unsure.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Wed 26-Apr-17 16:36:28

DS has been cooking unsupervised since he was about 11, he even has his own knives that were a Christmas present when he was 13. He kicks us out of the kitchen when he is in there, and cooks at least one a week (he's now nearly 17).

IsithormonesoramIamadcow Wed 26-Apr-17 16:37:05

I was the main cook for the family at this age. Everything up to and including Christmas dinner.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Wed 26-Apr-17 16:41:08

My sister and I used to start dinner for Dad from the age of 12 - he would ring as he left the office and say 'peel potatoes/put pasta on/chop veg and fry it/put sausages under grill' etc. He did all the planning and he told us how to do it, but we were expected to use knives/frying pan/grill etc.

The only accident I recall is where we foolishly assumed you could heat up cold chicken by putting the ceramic plate straight from the fridge onto the electric ring. The plate exploded and the chicken fell through the ring. No one was hurt!

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Wed 26-Apr-17 16:43:06

One of the contestants doing really well on Masterchef this year said that she started cooking the family meals at age 10 because her mother was a terrible cook and it was the only way to get a decent meal. Seems to have served her well!

PolynesianGirl Wed 26-Apr-17 16:45:18

Both of mines have been cooking their b'fast for a looong time (they were what 7, maybe 8yo when they started to do that on their own). That involves using the cookers (porridge done in the pan) and knifes.

Your dcs are both secondary age kids. Please do them a favour and SHOW them that you trust them to be able to do those very simple things.

As for doing something a bit more complex. It depends. Have they being shown how to do something more do,Plex, have they ever cooked with you? Then I'm sure they will be able to. Maybe not perfect but totally eatable.

BeMorePanda Wed 26-Apr-17 16:46:01

I was cooking spaghetti & stuff unsupervised from age 12.
But I'm not so sure I'd want my own DD doing it at home alone - times have changed.

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