Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

A 3yo and a 9yo left home alone?????........opinions please!

(36 Posts)
ammylovesolivia Mon 26-Feb-07 16:04:23

I am no longer with DDs father. She is 3 and her sister (different mum) is 9.

They both stayed together at their dads last night. I have a fairly good relationship with him- not best mates but at least civil and able to talk to him.

However, DD has just informed me that her and her sister were left alone in his house last night while he 'popped' to the shop.

I don't know how long for or where the shop was but feel a bit sick to my stomach when I think of my daughter left in the care of a 9 year old ( all be it an extremely mature and intelligent 9 year old).

But then I only have my daughter and get told all the time that I am over protective and 'too soft'. What is the general opinion on children left alone??!! I dont want to create a row without getting some wise opinion first!!

Feel like a bit of a shite mum even asking because really I should be wringing his bloody neck if thats my gut instinct but really want to be sure before I kick up a fuss. Hope nobody thinks I'm a knob for even asking! x


BoolieTC Mon 26-Feb-07 16:07:09

You have every right to kick up a fuss and insist it doesn't happen again. Beside the fact it is illegal and downright dangerous, she is your daughter and you have a right to say how she should be looked after.

ammylovesolivia Mon 26-Feb-07 16:08:42

Thats the thing- I've just looked- and it's not illegal. Its personal choice as to whether the child is responsible enough. Hope I've looked in the right place at that

madmarchhare Mon 26-Feb-07 16:09:11

I dont think it is illeagal is it?

Anyhoo, I wouldnt be happy. I imagine though that there are many who would think its ok.

ScottishThistle Mon 26-Feb-07 16:10:46

I'm sure you'll get a very varied response to this!

I as a 10yr old was regularly left in charge of my 6/7yr old siblings & the neighbour was there if I needed help!

My Friends Boss asked her if it was unreasonable for her to go to the pub at the end of her street taking the baby monitor!!!

If you feel uncomfortable with the thought of your children being left alone then bring it up.

Freckle Mon 26-Feb-07 16:10:52

It is not illegal to do this, but it is stupid. If anything happened to either child, your ex could be found guilty of negligence.

ammylovesolivia Mon 26-Feb-07 16:15:56

I was expecting mixed response.

I do get told I am protective to the point of mental especially when I'm due on! But I cant imagine leaving her alone at 12 let alone 9.

Although I used to walk home from school and let myself in home and start the dinner at 10. But I remember thinking back then that it was unfair!

BoolieTC Mon 26-Feb-07 16:17:05

I thought it was,I must be wrong, however my sd was in a similar situation with younger siblings which we objected to and social services intervened with her mother.

Seems its one thing to leave a child alone and a different one altogether to leave them in charge of a younger one.

ammylovesolivia Mon 26-Feb-07 16:18:13

Mmmmmmm......that could be a point.......being alone and being the 'responsible person' at 9 is slightly different.

BoolieTC Mon 26-Feb-07 16:24:35

nspcc's guidelines
This may be of help.

ammylovesolivia Mon 26-Feb-07 16:31:03

Thank you


superloopy Mon 26-Feb-07 16:37:05

Apart from the obvious child caring for a child issue, what if your ex was involved in an accident while he was out?

If he was knocked down by a car crossing the road how long could it take for someone to know that there were 2 little girls at home alone waiting for him?

This thought stops me from ever popping out to the post box while my DD was asleep.

Just explain to your ex you aren't comfortable with the girls being left alone.

tortoiseSHELL Mon 26-Feb-07 16:44:46

I think it depends on how long he was out for, how far the shop was, and what they were doing at the time. So if your 3 year old was asleep, the 9 year old was reading or watching tv, the shop was a corner shop literally just round the corner it would be ok. 9 year old girls can be very mature.

If he went to do his supermarket shop and your 3 year old was charging round the house, while the 9 year old boiled some potatoes for tea, that would be different.

And there are a million points in between.

I actually think we don't give kids enough responsibility these days, so they don't develop it. That's not to say they should be put at risk, but it's good to let them be responsible.

tortoiseSHELL Mon 26-Feb-07 16:45:48

superloopy, I do understand that thought, but to counter it, what if you AND your child were knocked down by a car? Would it not then be preferable to have left the child in the house while you popped round the corner to the post box?

superloopy Mon 26-Feb-07 16:56:20

Yes I agree with you tortoiseSHELL the what if's could go on forever..... Just thinking worst case scenario. If he's responsible for the kids he should be there for them. If errands need doing try to get them done when the girls aren't there.

But I guess we don't know the exact circumstances and I don't want to jump all over this if he only went out to get something from his car as opposed to going out to Tesco for the weekly shop.

The reasons I gave are simply what I consider when I am caring for my DD.

wanderingstar Mon 26-Feb-07 17:05:03

My instinct is that a 9yo, however sensible, shouldn't have sole charge of a 3yo. To have the maturity and necessary level of quick thinking in a potential crisis...well I'd say mid teens at least, and even then ideally not for very long. I have ds 13, ds11, dd8 and ds3. I never leave the bigger boys in charge of the little one. Now...13 and 5 or 6..I'd nip to a local shop in that scenario.

tortoiseSHELL Mon 26-Feb-07 17:07:33

hope you didn't think i was jumping on you, only really saw your post as it was the last one!

Actually, only yesterday I had a flashback to when I was 9 or 10, and I, along with my cousins, used to go out to the shops, along main roads, lots of roads to cross, and we used to take my 2-3 year old little cousin. The reason I remembered this was I used to carry him back, as we didn't have a buggy for him, and I suddenly remembered as I was carrying ds2! I don't think I'd be happy with this now!!!!

Eleusis Mon 26-Feb-07 17:10:29

I think it depends on how long. If it was a quick walk down the block to get some milk and back in 5 minutes while they were watching a movie, then no I wouldn't mind.

If he got in the car and drove 5 miles tto go to Tesco and came back an hour and a half later, then I'd say it was out of order.

superloopy Mon 26-Feb-07 17:19:56

TS didn't think you were jumping on me at all, we are all just having a healthy debate and giving our opinions .

I wouldn't want to think about all of the things I was allowed to do unsupervised when I was young. I grew up in a very small country town in Oz where my folks still only lock the doors at night!!

I do remember riding my bike to school(about 2 km) alone from about 6yrs along a main road.

deaconblue Mon 26-Feb-07 21:08:42

I think it's illegal apart from being bloody dangerous. Not surprised you want to wring his neck. I'm sure any child under 10 must not be left alone

FluffyMummy123 Mon 26-Feb-07 21:10:05

Message withdrawn

tortoiseSHELL Mon 26-Feb-07 21:13:00

There is no age specified to be ok to be left alone. The only rule is that the child must not be put at risk, and therefore if they did come to harm, he would be liable to be prosecuted.

BandofMothers Mon 26-Feb-07 21:21:20

Doesn't the oldest child have to be at least 13 to be left in charge of younger children?
I would get the details, then go mental at him. Even if the shop is a minute away he could be queuing for 5 or more.
If your dd hurt herself a 9 yr old would not be able to help her. My 3 yr old could do any number of potentially dangerous things in 2 mins let alone 5.
And if you're uncomfortable with it you shouldn't need any other reason to tell him not to do it again, or she can't stay there. (That's what I'd say.)
Besides which, if something happened imagine how awful his dd would feel if she was responsible at the time. It's too much for a 9 yr old to be expected to do.

Rhubarb Mon 26-Feb-07 21:24:01

I thought the minimum age was 14 myself.

But depends how far the shop was? If it was just round the corner and the youngest was in bed, then I'd be tempted myself too. But then I'm a baaaaaaaaaaad mother!

BandofMothers Mon 26-Feb-07 21:24:29

If they were both up, why didn't he take them with him?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: