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when I was 8 years old

(45 Posts)
irrationalme Thu 20-Feb-14 19:45:26

my mum worked and got home at 5.15 - 5.30ish. I came home to an empty house, no brothers or sisters.
I could knock on the neighbours door if I needed anything but I never did. One dark winter evening, I walked to where my mum worked to see her.
I cannot imagine leaving my DC who is 8 now in this position he's still so young.
this was the norm in our house as I grew up and I feel now its affected my whole life in the form of relationships where I always seem to allow others to take advantage, always try to keep them happy at the expense of myself and my needs.
Don't really know what I'm asking here, just feels like same shit different day

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 20-Feb-14 20:31:37

Hi irrational. Have you taken a look at the Stately Homes thread? It's for any posters here who are survivors of inadequate parenting.

RollerCola Thu 20-Feb-14 20:37:22

Surely a lot of us were in this position when we were younger? Maybe not quite that young but I definitely remember coming home myself at 10 (maybe 9?). Do you think it's this alone that has caused your relationship issues now?

My daughter came home alone from 10. I'd hate to think it's caused her permanent damage in the future, but as a sole parent I have little options for after school childcare at the moment.

BumPotato Thu 20-Feb-14 20:55:57

When I was 8 and my brother was 6, I used to let us in with my own key and we were home alone until mother came in at 5 from work. She and my father split when I was 5.

We used to play with matches. I can't believe we didn't burn the house down.

Age 8, I gave myself a bad steam burn to my hand when I boiled the kettle to wash my hair during the home alone time. That evening we were visiting a relative in hospital and a nurse there did something with my burnt hand.

I have 2 DC ages 9 and 5 and it is only now I can appreciate how neglected we were as kids.

Nottalotta Thu 20-Feb-14 22:13:17

I didn't come home to an empty house, but due to parents running a pub, was upstairs alone from 7pm onwards, and got myself up, washed, dressed and breakfast, and cycled to school alone from age 9. I don't think it harmed me.

Goldencity1 Thu 20-Feb-14 22:20:38

My mum was left on her own when I was a baby, I walked to the bus stop, got the bus to school (20 min journey) , and came home alone, mum got in at 5.30 or 6pm, from 7 - 8 years old.
There was no csa then, my father hardly ever gave mum any money for me and she had to work to keep a good over our heads.
Age 10 I used to do most of the weekend shopping, I can remember having a 10 shilling note to go to the butchers and greengrocers, and actually getting change!
We had an incredibly close relationship, she was a wonderful mum and I miss her still. We didn't have a lot of money, our holidays were staying with nana (her mum), we didn't have a lot of material things, but we did have a lot of love.
Was I neglected? Absolutely not!

AmazingJumper Thu 20-Feb-14 22:32:49

I don't think coming home alone and being a 'latchkey kid' as they were called then would necessarily lead to the issues you described. Even if it was from such a young age. My experience growing up was similar and I don't feel I was neglected, there were just very different levels of what was acceptable in the 70's.

AmazingJumper Thu 20-Feb-14 22:34:55

Sorry, that might come across as a bit 'I'm alright Jack', it's more that I think there must be other things in your background that you've not told us.

serenshiningstar Thu 20-Feb-14 22:52:53

Same here.

NoIamAngelaHernandez Thu 20-Feb-14 22:57:31

DH had his own key and used to walk home from school aged 5 because both his mum and dad worked. He has not been noticeably damaged by this. I did similar from the age of 10. I liked it as I could do what I liked for an hour or so!

Sorry you feel it has affected you, op.

Coolfonz Thu 20-Feb-14 23:01:08

irrationalme - i think i've had a few issues with being to eager to please people in relationships which may have backfired. i wasn't neglected as such as a kid, but i was an only child mainly cared for by one parent and spent a lot of time on my own.

MyChildDoesntNeedSleep Thu 20-Feb-14 23:02:58

My mum was a single parent, working hard to keep me and my brother. There are a few incidents that I look back on now in horror, but I believe she did the best she could and I don't think they have harmed me.

There are things from my past that have harmed me, but they are things like bullying, and adult men being inappropriate.

redundantandbitter Thu 20-Feb-14 23:14:50

My poor DM suffered horrendously at the hands of my DV father. We all did. Unfortunately she was so busy / damaged and working in crappy jobs that the failed to notice I was being abused my a family member. Still unaware

I watch my kids like a bloody hawk.

Isindesidecar Thu 20-Feb-14 23:18:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bragmatic Thu 20-Feb-14 23:26:50

Same with us, from when we started school at 6 or so. I think mum got home around 5.

There were 3 of us, though.

peppapigmustdie Thu 20-Feb-14 23:28:48

I was left to make my own way home and re heat our dinner, with assistance from my older db (by 18 months) from 7. My DM had no choice' there were no tax credits etc. I look back now with dc's of my own, thinking it is wrong but in the early 80's quite normal.

eeetheygrowupsofast Thu 20-Feb-14 23:29:16

It's great and interesting to have people share their own experiences.

But saying 'I had the same childhood and I'm fine' is unhelpful as OP clearly isn't fine and I imagine there is much more to this.

As someone else said there is the Stately Home thread or this thread to post more about your experiences and feelings, OP.

peppapigmustdie Thu 20-Feb-14 23:33:41

Sorry, that sounded flippant. Just because I am not afffected by it, doesn't mean you are not.

QueenofallIsee Fri 21-Feb-14 00:06:16

I think we do imprint from our home life...that you are aware of it is a great thing OP. Have you considered CBT or similar?

My relationship with my mother has suffered in adult hood, I so clearly see how we were raised and the shortcomings. I think it has led me to my passive aggressive control freak tendency. This self awareness is helping.

Aaliyah1 Fri 21-Feb-14 01:20:07

I was left home alone from the age if 7 caring for younger siblings. I think it matured me far too early and has led to me being a people pleaser.

On the flip side my younger siblings never had that amount of responsibility as I was there and our situation changed somewhat. Now they are adults and can barely look after themselves.

A balance is what I'm aiming for with my kids!

noslimbody Fri 21-Feb-14 02:12:37

I had to look after my younger brother (by one year) and sister, who must have been 3 shock, at the age of 7. I had to cook and clean. But I was also abused, neglected and ignored for the whole of my childhood. That is what made me an easy victim of abusers in adult life, not being left home alone. The only shit part of being home alone was when I had to miss school, due to having visible bruises. My primary school teacher noticed the one on my face one day and asked my mother. After that, the beatings were followed with having to stay home from school, and I wished the teacher had never noticed because I loved school.

noslimbody Fri 21-Feb-14 02:15:41

Aaliyah1, my siblings now try to take liberties with me and pass off their responsibilities to me as adults. I have had to learn to say no, now they all accuse me of being selfish and I no longer care.

Missesbumble Fri 21-Feb-14 02:32:03

I was an only child with a SP mum. She did have on and off relationships, new men moving in and out and I pretty much looked after myself in my early years. Mum always worked full time and I had to walk to and from school and let myself in from as young as 7/8. I too could have gone to neighbours if needed but never did. I used to get home from school by 4ish, mum would be home from work between 5.30-6.00pm. I had chores to do before she came home, Hoover and dust round, wash any left pots etc. we had a coal fire so when it was winter I also had to have the fire lit for when she came home from work. Mum had a good social life and went out with friends for the evening frequently. I rarely had a babysitter and she would bring me a packet of crisps and bottle of coke home from the pub occasionally.

I shudder when I think back and know I'd never have lived that way myself. I think it's affected me in the way that I am incredibly over protective with my DC's. I've done everything for them and never left them. I think on the flip side, I've probably disabled them somewhat by being too much of the polar opposite to my mum and they have often felt smothered by me.

I feel my life has definitely been affected by it though.

irrationalme Fri 21-Feb-14 07:40:39

Thanks for sharing everyone, I've been having a bit of a shit time recently which will pass as I do have some really good RL support.
I've carried into adult life a real sense that I will be 'abandoned' if I don't please/behave myself and my self esteem can get desperately low sometimes.
I've been thinking back to this time a lot recently. I guess it made me independent and self reliant, but only because I thought that's what I had to do to be loved hence the pleasing people at the expense of my needs.
I also find it hard to ask for what I need even if it's not unreasonable and can get aggressive when I really have to as I don't know how to express it. I feel like I'm a bit stuck in that abandoned little girl.
My DS who is 8 now, I just look at him and want to cry at the thought of him being alone like that, he's so small and needs me or even if I'm working, to be looked after until I get home.
I will look at stately homes thread as suggested upthread

WaitingForMe Fri 21-Feb-14 07:55:22

DH was a latchkey kid and it has definitely affected him. Maybe if the parenting is good in all other areas it can limit the damage but MIL was pretty bad all round.

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