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Author Topic: What age is okay to stay home alone?  (Read 6950 times)

Luving StepMom

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What age is okay to stay home alone?
« on: May 12, 2009, 08:33:16 AM »
My stepson's BM wants to have him stay home alone at her house this summer. He is 11 years old, and my husband and I feel strongly that he is not ready for this yet with his maturity level.  We think he's okay to stay maybe an hour or two by himself, but not 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  And the frustrating part is that we live in the same town, and my husband works from home. So he is home and AVAILABLE for my SS to have supervison. BM just does not want to drive him to our house (8 miles, about 15 min).  And she refuses to pay anything for any type of summer programs.  She lives in a neighborhood that is not good - older kids that are not good influences live near him and are home alone this summer too.
 
My question is what can we do about it... if anything?  If we call CPS when he's home alone will they do anything or will they think 11 is old enough?  He's in 5th grade, and she does not have a home phone, but she does have a cell phone that he usually has with him there.


Giggles

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Re: What age is okay to stay home alone?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2009, 08:49:32 AM »
There really is no set age, but I doubt CPS would do anything in this situation.
 
What if your DH were to pick up/drop off SS daily?  Or if your DH would get him in the morning, BM could pick him up in the evening?  Would she then agree to have SS stay there during the day? 

My DS just turned 12 (in April) and I was quite comfortable leaving him home alone when he was 11.  He's pretty mature, listens well and plus I laid out very specific rules (no one in or out of the house).
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Luving StepMom

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Re: What age is okay to stay home alone?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2009, 09:40:49 AM »
I think for some 11-yr olds it wouldn't be a concern, but he has no rules at his mom's and with her living in a bad area this is a concern for us. He is very easily influenced by other kids, and I have no doubts that there would be kids at his door and/or he would be leaving to go walk around and play.
 
We have 50/50 custody of my SS so my DH already drives SS to and from school twice a day all school year long... which is why it shouldn't be too much to ask for his mom to drive him a few days a week for the summer.  My husband offered to drive one way and she still will not agree.  It's not that we think he can't be there a few hours, or even a day or two here and there, but he has behavior problems at school with staying focused, not listening, etc.  So if he's left in an environment to do what he wishes with no accountability while he's at her house we're concerned with what will happen...
 
i doubt CPS will do anything either, so i think we're just stuck with it and have to hope and pray that nothing happens to him.

Giggles

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Re: What age is okay to stay home alone?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2009, 10:09:03 AM »

We have 50/50 custody of my SS so my DH already drives SS to and from school twice a day all school year long... which is why it shouldn't be too much to ask for his mom to drive him a few days a week for the summer. 

 
This is sadly one of those pick your battles type of things.  No...it really shouldn't be too much to ask, but....well the reality of it is...do you want your SS to be safe?  I've always wanted my kids to be safe than sorry....JMHOP!  At this age they are soo vunerable to peer pressure....I'd re-think the driving and do it just for peace of mind.
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Kitty C.

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Re: What age is okay to stay home alone?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2009, 10:11:14 AM »
There's another option........ask for a welfare check from the local law enforcement agency.  I'm not saying you can do this everyday, because then they will think you're 'crying wolf'.  But if you have any concerns at any time while you know he is there alone...and especially if he calls you with a problem or you try to call him and he doesn't answer.......call and ask for a welfare check.  The LEA will go to the residence to see if he's okay.   

If this is in a bad neighborhood and there are others in the house that shouldn't be there or there is something else going on that concerns the responding offficer, he/she has the right to take the child out of the home if they feel he is in 'imminent danger'.  So when you call, give a contact number and ask them to call you regarding what transpired.  If they do have to take him out of the home, make sure the LEA knows you have 50/50 and they can bring the child to your home while they try to get in touch with the mother.

If all this were to happen, then the LEA has an obligation to notify CPS/DHS and give them a report.  It's called 'mandatory reporting' and that's the whole idea behind this.......getting an objective 3rd party to witness what's going on and reporting it.  That could force BM into a corner to comply for the safety of the child.
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gemini3

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Re: What age is okay to stay home alone?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2009, 04:35:32 PM »
You should check the laws for your state and/or county.  Some places have specific guidelines for leaving children alone, in others it is more subjective.
 
Your husband could ask that a first right of refusal clause be added to the custody agreement.
 
My husband and I went through the same thing.  In the end she allowed my husband to watch the children because she knew we were heading to court if she didn't.
 
One option, though I know it's hard to give in - offer to pick SS up for BM.  Yes, it's a pain, but is it really about the child being home alone, or BM being in the wrong?  If it's the former, then you'll suck it up and pick up the kids so he's not home alone.

MixedBag

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Re: What age is okay to stay home alone?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2009, 02:24:14 PM »
I think you've been given great advice so far.
 
it really depends on the maturity of the child.
 
and if there's anything your particular state says.
 
are either you or dad gonna be home all day to watch him while BM is at work?
 
I'd make sure that he knows he can phone dad (or you/stepmom) if there's any problems during the day too.

Davy

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Re: What age is okay to stay home alone?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2009, 06:46:37 PM »
I have to ask.  Would it be appropriate and Ok for Dad to drive both ways.  At his age I was able to ride a bike all over town.  Is a bike an option. 

It seems to me the custodial arrangement (or lack of) is far more important issue than the age of the child.  This child is essentially grounded to the the home front and should be granted a more supervised/structured environment in which to thrive. 

Is a custody change of the custodial parent an option.  Makes one wonder how the well-being of of a child has digressed to a level where the child could be considered  'at risk'. 

Can you explain how this came to be ?

armycoppertop

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Re: What age is okay to stay home alone?
« Reply #8 on: Aug 03, 2009, 10:34:13 AM »
You say he is staying only 8 miles away? Does he ride a bike? For me, 8 miles does not seem like a very long bike ride, perhaps he could ride his bike to your house in the mornings, just require him to be at the house by a certain time, or dad is coming looking for him and will tear him a new one if he is late because he was screwing around instead of riding.

I also agree, get ROFR added to the custody arrangement. I don't think 11 years old is an appropriate age to be left alone if the child is not mature enough and lives in a "bad" neighborhood... especially when another adult is willing to take him during the day.

 

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