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Ex DIL leaving 8 year old in house alone
183

billybobhonking · 30/12/2021 13:05

Over the Christmas period I have found out my ex DIL has been leaving my 8 year old granddaughter alone in the house while she 'nips' to the shops. However, she can be gone for around about an hour.

When I brought up my concern to my son he said that he was fine with it, granddaughter is quite mature for her age I suppose. He said that ex DIL had spoken to her about what to do in an emergency/ to not answer the door etc. She has a snib on the door so whilst granddaughter is locked in she can very easily gets out. Ex DIL phoned her to check in.

It just doesn't sit right with me, I can't imagine leaving any of my boys alone at that age. Maybe in the car to nip into a shop quickly but nothing more than that. But since my son says he's fine about it I feel like there isn't much I can do. Other than look for reassurance that this is ok?

We are in Scotland and so there are no specific laws on this, it's up to the parents discretion but she just turned 8 in October. I feel it is far too young.

I could possibly speak to ex DILs mum to have a word but don't want to upset anyone.

AIBU to be concerned about this? I mean what about a fire? My son says she knows what to do but she 8 years old! Of course she doesn't know what to do!!

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MrzClaus · 30/12/2021 13:14

Do not speak to your ex DILs mum if you value any relationship you have with your GD / ex DIL / DS. This is just plain meddling.

If both parents are fine with it, the child is secure and safe and mature then it's not really your place to step in.

"However she can be gone for about an hour"

I'm sure sometimes it's 15 mins, other times an hour. An 8 year old playing / reading / watching tv won't even notice the time.

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SlashBeef · 30/12/2021 13:17

If both parents are fine with it, what is there to be done? Report them? I don't think it's your business if I'm honest.

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NellieBertram · 30/12/2021 13:19

At 8 it is a parenting decision. If the child was 3 or 4 maybe it would be different.
Unless you’re offering to babysit whenever the mum needs to nip out, then stay out of it.

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GrazingSheep · 30/12/2021 13:19

Yanbu to be concerned
I would be too
However I don’t know what you can feasibly do if neither of her parents are bothered about it.

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icedcoffees · 30/12/2021 13:25

I don't see an issue with leaving an 8yo home alone for short periods, tbh. I remember being left at that age, and also being allowed to walk 10 minutes to the shops and back to buy things like bread and milk.

As long as a neighbour or something is aware and available in case there's an issue, I think it's absolutely fine. You have to start building their independence up somehow.

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zingally · 30/12/2021 13:25

YANBU to be a bit concerned about it, but honestly, if you want to maintain relationships, don't even think of getting involved/questioning it. It's absolutely not worth the drama it would cause.

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Offmyfence · 30/12/2021 13:32

What age would you approve off?

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Hospedia · 30/12/2021 13:34

Her parents have risk-assessed that she's mature for her age and its only for short periods. The house is secure but with a means of escape if needed, a parent phones to check in, the child has safety instructions to follow and knows what to do in an emergency. I really don't see an issue and it'll be good for building her independence.

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MintJulia · 30/12/2021 13:37

Both parents are comfortable with it, so no need to comment unless you can see a specific risk.

I used to leave my ds at that age to nip to the shops. He had the phone, knew where I was, knew to go to a neighbour on the same side of the road in an emergency.

It was always with his agreement. He was proud of his little bit of independence and it gave him confidence.

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WonderfulYou · 30/12/2021 13:40

8 is one of those tricky ages.
Some are mentally way too young to be left but some are much more mature and would be fine.

It obviously depends what kind of area she lives in but if she’s gone no more than an hour and she rings to check in, the doors locked but she can get out etc - then I think it’s fine.

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Freddiefox · 30/12/2021 13:40

Oh don’t speak to her mum, I have a good relationship with my ex mil. But if she woke to my mum she’d have crossed a line and not br able to get back.

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GrazingSheep · 30/12/2021 13:41

As long as a neighbour or something is aware and available in case there's an issue, I think it's absolutely fine

It’s unfair to pass the responsibility to the neighbour.

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Sally872 · 30/12/2021 13:43

In a fire she would get out of the house. What else would she do?

Some 8 year olds it would be fine and others it wouldn't be. As child and both parents are fine with it I would trust their judgement.

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SarahBellam · 30/12/2021 13:43

It’s none of your business. If both parents have agreed that it’s safe then there’s nothing you can or should do about it.

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Warblerinwinter · 30/12/2021 13:45

I mean what about a fire? My son says she knows what to do but she 8 years old! Of course she doesn't know what to do!!

Do you? The only things you need to know about a fire is

  1. Mitigate risks of having a fire in first place- an 8 year old is perfectly capable of understanding not to play with fire, light candles, or start a bonfire in the same way as I am. They get taught this at school, at home, and pretty much rammed down their throats
  2. If there is a fire, get out. Do not attempt to put it out, get out. Then call 999. Most kids a lot younger than 8 know to get out. It is crazy adults that think that are capable of trying to put fires out and put their lives at risk
    I have a relative who is a fireman. He says unless you live in deprived areas with poor housing conditions, smoke, or light chip pans, or overload electrical sockets the risk of house fire in tiny. Houses simply do not spontaneously irrupt into flames.

    Stop helicoptering. Educate your grandchild to be independent and self reliant for goodness sake.
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northstars · 30/12/2021 13:54

You are really out of line to be considering speaking to DIL’s mum. Most definitely not your place. You’ve expressed your concerns and beyond that it’s not your business, especially as both parents are satisfied.

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AFS1 · 30/12/2021 13:54

I don’t think there’s anything you can really do without risking alienating your ex DIL further, but I understand entirely why you’re concerned and I’m surprised how many people on here are ok with an 8 yr old being left for up to an hour on their own.

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HestersSamplerofCarrots · 30/12/2021 13:55

Why is it your ex DIL you’re pissed off with and not your son, who is fine with it?

Everything in this post is aimed at your ex DIL and how to try to get to her, rather than at your son to try to get him to change things.

He’s the girl’s parent too. If you have a problem with joint choices they’ve made in how they parent her - regardless of whether they’re together or not - you need to be talking to him. Not circumventing both of them.

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billybobhonking · 30/12/2021 13:55

@HestersSamplerofCarrots

Why is it your ex DIL you’re pissed off with and not your son, who is fine with it?

Everything in this post is aimed at your ex DIL and how to try to get to her, rather than at your son to try to get him to change things.

He’s the girl’s parent too. If you have a problem with joint choices they’ve made in how they parent her - regardless of whether they’re together or not - you need to be talking to him. Not circumventing both of them.

Because my son doesn't leave her alone when she is at his house but ex DIL does.
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KurtWildesChristmasNamechange · 30/12/2021 13:56

Absolutely none of your business how your son and ex-dil choose to parent. Also how do you know she's being left for an hour? Just because you wouldn't have done it with your DC doesn't make it wrong.

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EerieSilence · 30/12/2021 13:57

At 8 years old it's definitely not a problem if the child is mature enough for their age and got enough warning.
This trend of helicoptering is getting ridiculous, to be honest. You drive them to school and pick them up till they're 14, they can't be left on their own and then next year they're given condoms so they don't get pregnant or get STID.

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WonderfulYou · 30/12/2021 13:59

Do you live quite close to her?

If you’re concerned you could always say that she can drop her around to yours if she needs to go shopping or anything

  • but try and say it in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re concerned just that you’re helping out.
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icedcoffees · 30/12/2021 14:00

@GrazingSheep

As long as a neighbour or something is aware and available in case there's an issue, I think it's absolutely fine

It’s unfair to pass the responsibility to the neighbour.

Why on earth is it unfair if the neighbour is happy with it?
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HestersSamplerofCarrots · 30/12/2021 14:01

But he has said he is ok with it

So you need to change his mind. Then he can talk to her about it.

But it is absolutely not your place to go running to HER mother about a parenting choice they have BOTH made, which - on the face of it - is neither cruel nor neglectful.

Talk to HIM.

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GrandmasCat · 30/12/2021 14:04

If she is mature enough, ok with it and parents agree to it, there is nothing to report.

It is not as if they are leaving their 8 year old for hours on end or overnight.

Obviously, there are people who wouldn’t leave their kids alone until they move out and those are the personal choices but there are no rules in England preventing them your DD’s parents from leaving her alone for short periods at that age.

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