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Was it wrong to leave my children alone for 5 minutes?

(164 Posts)
MrWrong Tue 27-Oct-09 22:58:09

This morning I took my 3yr old daughter to her weekly swimming lesson. As it's half term, my 5.5yr old son was with us. We had the pushchair etc as we were going into town after. When I got to the leisure center - late - I realized I'd left her swimming costume at home. We were in a cubicle in the changing room at the time. Panic, what to do? To go back to the house with the pushchair and kids would have taken too long, we were late already. So I asked my son to look after my daughter, stay there and help her get undressed while I ran back to the house to get her swimming bag which was in the hallway. There and back took about five minutes and when I got back they were fine and my daughter was undressed. She got to the lesson a couple of minutes late.

I swore the children to secrecy because I knew my wife wouldn't be happy about me leaving them. But my daughter blabbed and my wife almost burst into tears before storming off saying how upset she was. She made me feel as though I'd stamped on her hamster or something, but all I did was make a judgement call and felt I could trust my children for the few minutes I was away. (We live in a quiet town where a lot of people know each other BTW)

Was it a really terrible thing that I did?

ThisPhantomPlopsPumpkins Tue 27-Oct-09 23:00:40

Yes it was terrible IMO.

Did you not ask someone to even keep an eye on them?

llaregguBOO Tue 27-Oct-09 23:01:04

I have a 3 year old and I wouldn't have left him alone with a 5 year old. I think it places unfair levels of responsibility on the 5 year old and my 3 year old is a bolter.

DuelingFANGo Tue 27-Oct-09 23:01:36

Normally I might say that it's ok to leave kids that young alone (ie when paying for petrol) but in this case... Kids, water, very public place ... I think I can understand why your wife is upset.

LetThereBeRock Tue 27-Oct-09 23:02:10

YABVU.And making them swear not to tell was just as bad.

SlartyBartFast Tue 27-Oct-09 23:02:51

you'll learn.

ThisPhantomPlopsPumpkins Tue 27-Oct-09 23:02:51

You know what you've done is wrong anyway, otherwise you wouldn't have sworn them to secrecy.

Clary Tue 27-Oct-09 23:03:27

I wonder why you were able to run there and yet couldn't get there with the DC tbh (my DC can all run faster than me grin)

But anyway, that aside, no I wouldn't leave a 5yo and 3yo somewheer like that alone. I would have asked someone to watch them for 5 mins - someone they or at least you knew - then that would be OK.

SlartyBartFast Tue 27-Oct-09 23:03:42

dh learnt when he was told in no uncertain terms that he couldnt swan off to the shops leaving dd, aged 6, at home!

Spidermama Tue 27-Oct-09 23:04:08

Making them swear not to tell was very bad but I think it's just about acceptable to leave them for five minutes.

DuelingFANGo Tue 27-Oct-09 23:04:12

oh yes, and the secrecy thing is awful.

Waswondering Tue 27-Oct-09 23:04:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Haunty27 Tue 27-Oct-09 23:04:49


Northernlurker Tue 27-Oct-09 23:04:55

YOu left your three year old near deep water with only a five year old between her and starting on her swimming lesson early?

Well I can see why your wife was upset!

It's not wrong to leave children full stop but you have to think about where you are leaving them and if you are in earshot etc. You were leaving your child in a swimming pool whilst you left the building. I'm not surprised youw wife is upset.

zookeeper Tue 27-Oct-09 23:05:06

Do you really have to ask?

pruneplus2 Tue 27-Oct-09 23:05:27

Definately not something I would ever do but its done now, no harm came of it so not really worth worrying about.


Swearing kids to secrecy is always going to backfire and sends out totally wrong messages.

And FWIW - I would have just taken the kids back to get things and been late for the lesson.

Waswondering Tue 27-Oct-09 23:05:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ineedapoo Tue 27-Oct-09 23:07:03

Very wrong why didn'y you ask another parent to watch them for 5 minutes or let her be a bit later for lesson

mollymawk Tue 27-Oct-09 23:07:18

Is this really you posting MrWrong? Or are you going to reveal yourself as, in fact, the very upset MrsWrong?

mrspnut Tue 27-Oct-09 23:07:49

I'd have asked another parent to watch them. anything else was irresponsible.

Stayingscarygirl Tue 27-Oct-09 23:10:29

Five and a half years old is very young to be given such responsibility, MrWrong. He wouldn't have known what to do if something had gone wrong, or if something unexpected had happened. What if he'd suddenly, desperately needed the loo - he could have decided it was OK to leave your dd and go to the loo, and she could have wandered off. Or one of them could have slipped on the wet floor, fallen, and cut their head on a sharp corner, leaving the other to cope with the situation - either of them would have been pretty scared by that, I'd imagine. Or what if the fire alarm had gone off - would they have known what to do? They could have got separated and panicked.

As it turns out, nothing went wrong, and everything was OK when you got back, but that was luck, not good judgement, in my opinion. I think it was very poor judgement to leave your children alone in a public place at such a young age. If you had taken them with you and gone home for the swimsuit, the worst thing that could have happened is that she could have missed one swimming lesson. What could have happened to two tiny children left alone in a public place is far far worse.

So yes, your wife is right to be so upset and angry, and you did do a pretty terrible and stupid thing. You were just lucky this time.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 27-Oct-09 23:13:15

prob trip trap but just incase not wink

obv you were wrong to leave 2 small children alone and half naked in a public place with water hmm

many pools have spare cossies so ask

you may feel that you can trust your children,but you cant trust other people

<hamster lover here>

Vallhala Tue 27-Oct-09 23:15:17

Unforgivable. You put both your children in danger and tried to make them hide the fact from their own mother. If I were your DW I would never leave you alone with my children again .

However I do wonder if its a MUM posting here to see if she gets a different response posing as a dad to that she imagines she'd get as a mother. Either way the action was inexcusable.

IdrisTheDragon Tue 27-Oct-09 23:16:41

I have a nearly 6 year old and 4 year old and although I think I probably am happy with my children doing some things that others wouldn't, I wouldn't have done that.

Bigpants1 Tue 27-Oct-09 23:18:57

Cant work out if you are for real or not. But, if you are, I think you know it was wrong-VERY wrong. No swimming lesson is worth leaving 2 young dc alone, 5mins or less/longer.They were in a public place and vunerable to any adult who asked/told them to "come with me", let alone be near water.You should have asked someone to keep an eye on them.
If you are trip-trapping hope you feel better about yourself now, and that your medication starts to take effect soon.

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