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Children (9&10) left alone in house

(57 Posts)
Slipjigger Mon 20-May-19 09:31:12

Hi, my DS aged 9 went to a friend's house last week, his friend is aged 10. I don't really know the family well, they are new to the area but DS and this boy have totally clicked. They have had a couple of playdates in each others houses, both times in my house the mam stayed for 1.5 hrs!!
I'm not overly happy about the friendship as my DS has stopped playing with this usual friends and this boy has no other friends apart from my DS. The boy is nice but has odd behaviour. His mam said he probably has some additional needs, this doesn't bother me or my DS as I have a nephew with ADHD and other needs but it probably explains the lack of other friends and the odd behaviour.

I have been trying to encourage DS to play with this other friends too and include this boy so that he makes other friends but the other boy doesn't seem to want anyone else but my DS

Anyway last week my DH arrived at the boy's house to collect DS and the two boys were alone in the house. His friends answered the boor to my DH (they have never met so he was answering the door to a stranger). DS said the boy's mam told them to stay there that she was heading up the town for 5 minutes. DS said she was gone a few minutes when DH arrived, DH said he was there over 5 mins trying to get DS out the door and no sign of the mam nor did he meet her when he drove through the town.

AIBU in thinking you don't leave kids this age home alone especially not a child that is not yours and that you don't have permission to leave alone. I don't know whether my desire to discourage the friendship is clouding my judgment.

We live in a medium sized village, there are 6 houses in the estate where they live beside the busy main road into the village. Next houses are across that road

Slipjigger Mon 20-May-19 09:32:14

Sorry about the typos!

Slipjigger Mon 20-May-19 09:35:42

I should add that I have left my children (11,9,8) home alone for a few mins but we live in a large housing estate and I know there are a few neighbours at home that the kids know to call to if they need anything. The door is locked from the inside and they know not to answer it. I also leave my mobile with the eldest child.

BigusBumus Mon 20-May-19 09:36:24

Your DH was so concerned he left the 10 year old completely alone when he took your boy?

Smolo Mon 20-May-19 09:36:54

No YANBU! That is dreadful behaviour on behalf of the mother. We used to live in a cul de sac and there was a playground opposite our house. DD was allowed to go and play there on her own from the age of 8. If she had friends over I would always check with the parents if they were happy for their children to go out and play there without an adult.

Smolo Mon 20-May-19 09:37:35

Why did your DH not wait for the mother to return?

Alsohuman Mon 20-May-19 09:37:59

I thought that too.

BlackInk Mon 20-May-19 09:39:00

Well, I do think the most 9 or 10 year olds are old enough to be left alone for 10 minutes here and there.

My DS is 9 (10 in July) and we've recently started leaving him alone for short spells (10 minutes whilst we drop his sister at a club for example). he's also recently been allowed to walk home (5 minute walk through small town) from school - there's always someone in when he gets home.

A year from now these year 5 children will be at secondary school, and expected to be pretty much independent. They need to prepare.

Having said that, I would check with the parents of a visiting child if I planned to pop out. I trust my DS, but not are whether I trust all his friends!

Also, you need to let your DS make his own friends and choices - you won't always like them though! He obviously sees something in this new boy. Good for him for not caring about him being a bit different. Could you invite a few of his friends to do something together one day, including the new boy?

blackcat86 Mon 20-May-19 09:39:22

Your dislike of the friendship is no doubt making you feel more negative about the whole thing. If it was one of your friends who you trusted you might feel completely different. We have a little corner shop at the end of our road and I wouldn't think twice about leaving a 9 and 10 year old to pop out and get some milk but it would literally be a few minutes and I wouldn't do it with a child I didnt know well. If you dont trust the mum then I wouldn't be wanting my child over there purely for that reason. Letting on strangers is a concern to so it's best to discuss this with your ds as a learning experience

BlackInk Mon 20-May-19 09:39:58

Sorry for all the typos smile

formerbabe Mon 20-May-19 09:43:16

I wouldn't leave a 9 and 10 year old home alone.

If someone left their DC home alone at that age, then I'd say that was their business.

She was being very unreasonable doing that with someone else's child and not asking permission from the parents.

I wouldn't let my child round there again.

DippyAvocado Mon 20-May-19 09:44:47

I leave my 9 yo for a few minutes when I'm dropping her sister somewhere so I don't think that is a major issue. I think it is a problem if it's someone else's child and you haven't cleared it with their parents. If your DS enjoys the friendship then I would just have a quick word the next time he goes round to make it clear you are not happy for him to be left without an adult.

As for her staying over an hour if she drops her DS to you, I would just say you were going to take the opportunity while they're playing to do some work/gardening/ironing and usher her towards the front door.

YouLikeTheBadOnesToo Mon 20-May-19 09:45:23

I’m not sure that leaving a 9 & 10 year old alone for a few minutes is that big of a deal, a lot of children that age seem to play out alone around here (although I can understand why you feel strange it been done without your knowledge). I am a little bit confused about why your dh left the boy alone though. If the thought of them been left together was so terrible, surely it would have been better to wait?

UnsureAndUnsteady Mon 20-May-19 09:47:38

To me the issue isn’t leaving a 9 &10 year old at home alone for 10 minutes while you pop to the shop. If they are your children, you know they are sensible etc then it’s not a problem. However, I would be very annoyed if it were my child and the parents didn’t ask me. YANBU at all to expect a parent to check with you before making that sort of decision.

outvoid Mon 20-May-19 09:52:59

I leave my 9 year old DS quite confidently and happily, he never causes any trouble and knows what to do if a random emergency should occur. I wouldn’t leave someone else’s child though, not at all.

If your DH was so concerned he could’ve stayed with the boy until his Mum returned.

S1naidSucks Mon 20-May-19 10:05:32

Poor woman probably didn’t want to be seen as a CF, dropping her child off without speaking to you, or she wanted to get to know the person her son was staying with. It sounds like this young boy could benefit from having a wider circle of friends. If you’re concerned about him monopolising your son, why don’t you invite him over for a play date, while your son has other friends over?

While it’s not ideal leaving the two boys unsupervised, maybe she thinks her own son is fine with it and mature enough to be trusted, but unfortunately thought yours would be the same. It just sounds like an oversight on her part and you and your husband are looking for an excuse not to like him, because of his odd behaviour. Having a relative with SN does not prevent people from judging others with SN.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 20-May-19 10:06:08

I would leave my 10 (now 11yo) alone in the house by himself for up to half an hour, if I had to. No longer than that. I would not ever leave a friend with him of similar age, even with permission from their parent - too risky. I also wouldn't leave my 11yo and his 6yo brother alone for more than a few minutes (to collect takeaway, for e.g.) because there is more likely to be trouble when there are 2 of them.

DS1 is pretty responsible but can be easily distracted.

Mind you, one of DS's friends is left alone with his younger brother every day after school as both their parents work and can't always get home in time - but the younger brother is 8, so not as risky as my 6yo.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 20-May-19 10:16:51

It is one the cusp of acceptable in my books, we tend to leave ours home alone from age 10. I would though always check with a parent whether they are happy for their child to either go out to the shop unaccompanied or stay home unaccompanied up to the age of about 11/12. It wouldn't be a 'never again' problem for me, but if I wasn't happy with it then another time I would make it really clear that they were not to be left.

bringthethunder Mon 20-May-19 10:19:12

I leave my 9 & 10 year olds (very nearly 10 & 11) in the house alone for around an hour at a time. Sometimes they qill just chill & watch tv/ipads, or sometimes they will be out with their friends and I'll phone them & say I'm going to 'X' place, I'll be 'Y' amount of time and back door is open if they need to come home. They both have mobiles, both are well versed in what to do if there are emergencies and we have nice neighbours/family close by. It is not illegal to leave children alone at that age if they are able to react in an emergency.

I would not however EVER allow one of their friends to be in my home if I wasn't there as that would be my decision and my liability if any harm came to them. I would be annoyed at the mother in that situation.

Abra1de Mon 20-May-19 10:21:01

Mine were fine to be left at that age but were fairly sensible.

titchy Mon 20-May-19 10:24:12

So you're concerned about this mother leaving a 9 and 10 year old alone for a few minutes, but you do the same with the same age kids and it's fine...? hmm

elfycat Mon 20-May-19 10:30:10

I leave mine, 10 & 8, for up to an hour ( started with 5-10 mins and have built up over months) but I'm never more than a short walk from home. I might pop to the shop -- Pokemon gym-- but my DDs are very sensible, and can call me anytime and I'll come back. The school allows y5 to arrive and leave on their own so her classmates who are not as sensible are off to the park/ shops/ home without parents.

Our rules: only answer the door to 3 named people, no using knives or heat in the kitchen ( they don't cook, but might slice a melon under surpervision), no fighting, if there's an emergency fire they go to the next door neighbour - a quiet pub and stay in the main rooms to wait for me, or call 999.

blackteasplease Mon 20-May-19 10:32:10

I would leave my 10 yo dd alone for anything up to an hour with a phone.

I wouldn't leave a playdate child at all. It's someone else's child and you've offered to look after them on the play date not leave them.

I don't know exactly what age that will change as I obviously wont be saying that about 15yos!

RedSkyLastNight Mon 20-May-19 10:40:53

Don't have an issue with leaving DC of this age on their own for a short time. But I would probably check if leaving someone else's DC.

However, it does sound a bit if you are letting your dislike of the friendship cloud your judgement e.g. mentioning that DC's friend had never met DH so was opening the door to a stranger - it looks like you are trying to find as much to be annoyed about as possible. Presumably DS was with his friend and was able to confirm that it was his dad?

redhotchill Mon 20-May-19 10:41:29

So you leave yours but she can't. And you leave your mobile at home? How do they contact you then?

And your DH was so unhappy with it yet he left the boy too?

Double standards or what?!

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