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Leaving a 10 year old at home alone

(73 Posts)
TadDad Mon 25-Feb-13 19:12:08


A little background first. I am a Dad to 2 children living 20 miles away, they live with their mum - we are divorced.
Just this evening I phoned to speak to the children and my youngest (age 10) answered and said he was on his own in the house as his 12 year old sister was at a dance class and his mum had gone to the gym.
When I asked how long he'd been on his own he didnt know, but his mum had said that his sister would be home in 10 mins. I stayed on the phone until his sister got back after 40 minutes.
What I would like to know is is this normal as I wouldnt personally leave him on his own but dont have a say as they live with their mum and for me to bring it up would cause an arguement no doubt.

I just feel that leaving a child of 10 on their own (even for an hour) to go to the gym seems odd, but maybe i am over cautious.

Please let me know what you think on this as i feel bad about the whole situation.

bluebluecow Mon 25-Feb-13 19:14:01

I have a 10 year old and I wouldn't leave her to go to the gym.

derektheladyhamster Mon 25-Feb-13 19:16:54

Yr 5, 10 year old or yr 6?

I left my then yr 6 for up to about an hour, my now yr 5, probably for about half an hour.

TadDad Mon 25-Feb-13 19:18:32

Year 5 10 year old. He is 11 in September

freddiemisagreatshag Mon 25-Feb-13 19:18:55

This is one of those situations where it really depends on the child. I leave my 11 year old if I have to to go to the supermarket or pick up her siblings. But not for more than about an hour.

Fairylea Mon 25-Feb-13 19:21:05

Personally I wouldn't leave my year 5 dd home alone. I don't think they have the sense to make judgements about opening doors to people or fire hazards no matter how sensible they seem to be.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Mon 25-Feb-13 19:21:15

I think so much depends on the child. I would leave my Year 4 (9 year old) DD in a pinch but she is extremely responsible and conscientious. Not to go to the gym though. My 6 year old DD on the other hand I suspect will not be left alone even for 5 minutes until she is 21. grin

I do think it's a shame that you can't discuss this with your children's mum though. Maybe she has put some safeguards in place, e.g. a neighbour is calling in, or the 10 year old has been coached how to call for help, not to answer the door etc.

mercibucket Mon 25-Feb-13 19:21:41

I probably wouldn't go to the gym, but might go for a run, and have definitely done pick up/drop offs at after school club while the ten year old played on his xbox

mercibucket Mon 25-Feb-13 19:21:41

I probably wouldn't go to the gym, but might go for a run, and have definitely done pick up/drop offs at after school club while the ten year old played on his xbox

Hulababy Mon 25-Feb-13 19:21:41

I have a 10y DD (11 in April) and I wouldn't leave her for that length of time, home alone. DD is a sensible girl and no doubt would be fine, but it just feels wrong to me. I've left her for 20 minutes maybe to go to local shops, but that's it.

She does go and play out for longer, but she isn't alone - she is with friends. So that feels very different.

HotPinkWeaselWearingLederhosen Mon 25-Feb-13 19:22:36

I'm happy to leave my 10 yo for 20-30minutes. But not to go to the gym or similar. He is very sensible and can call me if he needs to.

TadDad Mon 25-Feb-13 19:23:55

Fairylea, I was a bit worried when he said he didnt know how long he'd been on his own or what time his mum would be back. She may have told him but the fact he didnt know makes me think he shouldnt be on his own. He said the door was locked, which is great but i didnt ask if he had a key.....what would happen if he needed to get out??

TadDad Mon 25-Feb-13 19:25:47

I tried to phone his mum but phone went to answer phone, so it would be the same if my son tried to call her in an emergency i suspect.....too busy in the gym

freddiemisagreatshag Mon 25-Feb-13 19:29:10

I can leave my kids and have a neighbour on standby who they know to go to.

Is this something you want to make an issue of TadDad? Do you generally have a good relationship with your ex?

Hulababy Mon 25-Feb-13 19:29:43

Many gyms don't allow you to have a phone on. I definitely wouldn't be comfortable being somewhere my child couldn't contact me if they needed to.

LineRunner Mon 25-Feb-13 19:30:54

My DCs walked to school alone when they were 10, so I wouldn't have a problem with them being safe at home for an hour.

Why is the fact that their mother was 'at the gym' such an issue? Would it be ok if she were miserable having root canal dentistry?

TadDad Mon 25-Feb-13 19:33:25

Freddie, i try very hard to talk to my ex about issues i have but she takes everything personally...dont want to bog down this thread with those issues really.
I do know that she doesnt know the neighbours that well so i doubt they would be on standby.
I wish I lived closer as I would have them both whilst she goes to the gym

LineRunner Mon 25-Feb-13 19:35:19

What message did you leave her?

TadDad Mon 25-Feb-13 19:35:35

LineRunner, I dont have an issue I was just nervous after i had tried to call her and she didnt pick could have been our son calling her in trouble.
The problem to me is that she doesnt tell me these things

ggirl Mon 25-Feb-13 19:36:13

well it's a choice issue I guess, if she was stuck and desperately needed root canal treatment then it's a one off
going to the gym can be done at another time

TadDad Mon 25-Feb-13 19:37:12

I didnt leave a message, just phoned my son back straight away until his sister got home

mumblecrumble Mon 25-Feb-13 19:37:19

God, what a nightmare for you. Really sorry and it must be difficult to make these kind of decisions etc when not living together. Really think you should talk with her, however tricky.

How lovely you wish you could have them while she is at the gym - I;d be the same, true. Must be hard to think he's alone when he has a perfectly good parent that good look after him.

Is he usually left with big sister?

TadDad Mon 25-Feb-13 19:37:46

Thats what i am thinking ggirl

TadDad Mon 25-Feb-13 19:39:56

mumblecrumble....thank you for your support. I dont really know and i guess that makes me a bad parent for not knowing. I know that my 12 year old daughter is left alone but i am ok with that but this is the first time i have found out that he has been home alone

ggirl Mon 25-Feb-13 19:40:40

My ds walks to school with friends
I would leave him alone at home for a short time , 20mins ish . He's better if there is a friend here with him.
My ds gets a bit nervy on his own though. Some kids are absolutely fine.
OP was your son relaxed about it?

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