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Not to leave a 15yo and 10yo alone at home?

(94 Posts)
WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 13-Jun-18 23:11:00

I have two sons, 15 and 10. I don't feel comfortable leaving them home alone for any length of time. I think the 15 yo is old enough to look after himself, but not old enough to also be responsible for his younger brother.

The 15yo feels I'm being overprotective, and that it's a sign I love DS2 more than him, because I'm basically protecting DS2, but not him. (There's logic in there somewhere but I can't find it.)

If I need to go out, I'll take DS2 with me.

AIBU? I really don't know.

EduCated Wed 13-Jun-18 23:13:32

I think most people would expect a 15yo to be capable of keeping an eye on a 10yo for at least a short amount of time, assuming there are no specific additional needs on either side.

Ansumpasty Wed 13-Jun-18 23:14:03

15 year olds often get paid as babysitters so what’s the difference? I was regularly babysitting my younger siblings at 15.
You are the parent though and so if you don’t feel comfortable yet then that’s all that matters!

Ohyesiam Wed 13-Jun-18 23:15:57

I leave my 13 year old and 11 yo( and did when he was 10).
What do you think might happen?

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 13-Jun-18 23:16:37

Thanks. There are no additional needs, no.

kyrenialady Wed 13-Jun-18 23:17:12

It's fine. I have the same age gap and I have left my two alone. The 15 year old is more than capable enough.

Littletreefrog Wed 13-Jun-18 23:17:16

leaving them alone for how long? if its just a short while then the 15 year old doesn't have to be responsible for the 10 year old, the 10 year old can just be responsible for himself.

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Wed 13-Jun-18 23:19:42

Erm - the difference being 15 year olds can be in the middle of difficult pubertal hormones and younger brothers can be antagonistic little shits?!

That said, I think if you’re talking you won’t even leave them together to get some shopping or pick up a take away then it is a bit over protective, unless like my point above you expect them to try and kill each other the second you’re out of sight!

Pascall Wed 13-Jun-18 23:20:19

Is the 10 year old happy to go with you?

My 12 yr old has only just starting to refuse to come shopping (or whatever) with me and so I do leave him at home either with 15 yr old dd or on his own. I wouldn't have left him at 10, but then he is quite immature.

SuperSuperSuper Wed 13-Jun-18 23:20:32

A 15 year old should be perfectly capable of supervising a 10 year old, additional needs aside. Many get paid to do it. If you feel in general that he's immature for his age, perhaps you need to work on that, for his sake. Unless you have a specific worry, leave them.

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 13-Jun-18 23:23:12

For example, tonight I had planned to see my friend in town for about 2 hours (6pm-8pm). DH was late coming home. So I didn't go. I didn't feel it was responsible of me to leave them home by themselves.

lardymclardy Wed 13-Jun-18 23:24:09

My brother then 13, had to keep an eye on me aged 10 - we got up to all sorts! All day in the house on our own - we got an old sleeping bag and bombed down the stairs in it together (sledging!) When we were really naughty, he biked to the shop for a packet of custard whilst we made a microwave cake!! Back in the 80's. The cake was actually quite good.

Quick spray of polish and a wash up before Mum came home grin

This was from 8am-5.30pm.

Frequency Wed 13-Jun-18 23:24:27

I do it with a just turned eleven year old and almost fifteen year old. The older one is the key holder and responsible for making sure the younger one doesn't burn the house down aka supervising her supernoodle making.

There were a few teething issues when the youngest walked in and demanded the older one make her an after school snack immediately when she'd never pull that shit with me. You want snacks, you know where the kitchen is.

Once the oldest understood she could say no, things worked out and they get on well. The youngest even gets to tagalong to Miccy D's with her sister and friends, which she loves.

They're left for an hour atm but that might change when my timetable changes in September.

lardymclardy Wed 13-Jun-18 23:26:08

You know your 15 year old and whether he is responsible or not. My friends used to have my son babysitting when he was 15 knowing that he was capable of settling baby if needed or calling me or them in an emergency.

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 13-Jun-18 23:29:26

Erm - the difference being 15 year olds can be in the middle of difficult pubertal hormones and younger brothers can be antagonistic little shits?!

Thank you for this - I think a lot of it is that they're not very nice to each other. DS1 has never really been kind to DS2. DS2 has gone from idolising DS2, to winding him up. They bicker constantly.

But I'm also just an overthinky anxious type, so my worries are also along the lines of nut jobs coming to the door and abducting them, random fires breaking out (?), one of them choking, etc. My one mission in life seems to be to just keep them alive. I appreciate I might be being a twat about it. Am happy to be told IBU.

My mum said it would probably be fine, and that DS1 might welcome the sign that I trust him... but she used to leave me in a cot, alone in the house, when I was a baby, to go to coffee mornings at other houses, so I don't know.

Justgivemesomepeace Wed 13-Jun-18 23:36:21

I leave my 15 yr old with my 5 yr old for short times e.g. nipping to the supermarket. I dont like leaving then too long as she doesn't really have much patience. When he is a pest as 5yr olds can be, she gets stroppy, as 15 yr old can be! The longest I left them was 3.15 - 6pm when I was on a course. She picked him up from school, did him his tea and they were fine and I think she enjoyed the responsibility. She did however do him mashed potatoes and chips for tea confused. I think if they get on ok the 15 yr old should be fine to keep an eye out for a short time until you feel more confident in leaving them.

Justgivemesomepeace Wed 13-Jun-18 23:39:20

Just read they don't get on too well. Mine aggravate each other when I'm there but both are always keen to stay home together and make a bit of a deal of it. I will still only nip out though. Maybe try a really short time and build up?

SimSeed Wed 13-Jun-18 23:40:27

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Jenny70 Wed 13-Jun-18 23:44:28

I have a 14yr old, 12 year old and 10 year old - I will leave them for a few hours in virtually any combo EXCEPT the 14yr old and 10yr old together - they fight, wind each other up, bicker. When I walk in the door it's "he did this", "I asked him to Y" "He won't be quiet".

Leave all 3 is OK, middle one is the peacekeeper, leave them individually is OK but the dynamic between eldest and youngest doesn't work at the moment.

But also, I don't tend to leave them to cook for themselves, or late and they need to go to bed with no adult home.

I can't see it as evidence of loving one more than the other either, surely the older is happy to be left without annoying sibling, or they are welcome to come along to shops if they wanted not to be left behind. Freedom to choose is benefit of being older... as my youngest constantly whinges about not having as much freedom as the elder two.

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 13-Jun-18 23:45:59

Maybe try a really short time and build up?

I wish I knew what they were like when I wasn't around. I could very easily be letting my nerves create "what if?" scenarios that aren't realistic. I'm hugely protective, probably far too much. I still hold DS2's hand when we cross the road. I'd hold DS1's too if he'd let me. 🤣

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Wed 13-Jun-18 23:46:54

I have three boys, they’re not get teens (or even 10) but if they’re of a mind to they’ll be back trying to kill each other the second I turn my back.

I think if you haven’t left them before then it was probably the right call not leaving them to go out. I suspect a lot of taunting about bed times would have happened!

Maybe you could use this as a opportunity for your older boy to learn some responsibility by telling him you’ve taken on board his remarks and will start leaving them together a bit more. I’d suggest starting at half an hour trip to get milk as a starting off point!

halcyondays Wed 13-Jun-18 23:48:27

It's definitely easier to leave one than two, unless of course they're two angelic siblings who never argue!

corythatwas Wed 13-Jun-18 23:50:10

If you worry about someone coming to the door and abducting your 15yo, OP, how do you ever manage to let him go out on his own?
Surely at 15, he goes all over the place without an adult looking after him? Why would he be more at risk from abduction than you would if a dodgy stranger came to the door when you were at home alone?

As for him being responsible for the 10yo, well if they fight that is obviously a different situation, but I think most people would expect a 15yo to be able behave sensibly for a few hours if he knew he was responsible. And that would involve dealing with any situation that might arise: including ringing an ambulance in case of an accident/sudden illness. If he can't do that, then you probably do need to start thinking of training him.

Your responsibility is not just to keep them alive for the time being: it's to give them the skills to keep themselves alive when they come of age and are no longer under your authority. In the case of your 15yo, that is 3 years from now.

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 13-Jun-18 23:51:22

I have a 14yr old, 12 year old and 10 year old - I will leave them for a few hours in virtually any combo EXCEPT the 14yr old and 10yr old together - they fight, wind each other up, bicker. When I walk in the door it's "he did this", "I asked him to Y" "He won't be quiet".

This rings so many bells! Sorry you're going through this too. Seeing your DC being mean to each other is awful.

Blinkingblimey Wed 13-Jun-18 23:52:14

I have an exceptionally responsible 11yo who I occasionally leave for a short time (up to an hour) with the 7yo (& we have a relative in very close proximity in case of emergency). I would never leave the 11yo with the 9yo as the dynamic would be a disaster. It basically all comes down to personality and reliability of their character!!

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