Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Home Alone

Boy did I step in this time, let me explain. My daughter is home sick with a fever, her teacher from last year (who has become a good friend) posted on Facebook to just leave her home. I responded with a statement saying that where I live, no child under the age of 12 is allowed to be home alone. I honestly thought the state had this law on the books. I was wrong, therefor let me apologize for mistaking the age a child is allowed to babysit with the age a child is allowed to be home alone.

Below is a direct quote from an article about Latchkey Kid Age Limits:

At what age can a child be legally left at home alone? See the chart below.

The National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that no child under the age of 12 be left at home alone.

However, consider a child's age and maturity level. For example, if a child is extremely impulsive, it might be best to wait until he or she is older than 12.

There appear to be very few states with specific regulations about the age of a child left at home alone. However, since the number of latchkey kids is growing significantly due to 2 income parents and single parents and guardians, there is a growing movement within state agencies to set guidelines.

Lynn Yaney, spokeswoman for the agency that handles child welfare in Contra Costa County, California, states:
    "A general rule of thumb is that kids under age seven aren't capable of thinking logically and putting cause and effect together," Tanner said. "They are reliant on caregivers to structure their day." Children between ages 7 and 10 years aren't generally ready to self-supervise for an extended period, but in a routine and predictable environment, such as just after school, they can manage, Tanner said. Children 12 and 13 years old should be judged on a case- by-case basis but should not be left alone overnight.
My friends may not agree with me but I do not believe a child under the age of 12 should be home alone, ESPECIALLY when they have a fever. What if I am at work and her fever spikes, is she going to be smart enough to call me? I know when I feel like crap or have a high fever, the last thing I am doing is getting on the phone to call someone. What it comes down to in MY family is I don't trust my kids as far as I can throw them and I shouldn't have too. They are only 11 and 8, there should be no trust there whatsoever yet because they are still at the age of "Do something now that causes a big problem and then realize later that they screwed up and are going to get in trouble".

Let me clarify something, I trust my kids to take out the garbage, put their laundry in the hamper, let the dog out to go to the bathroom....but they still have trouble managing these simple things. So it is very hard for me to even begin to think about letting her be in the home alone without an adult. I have 8 months before my daughter turns 12, at this time I "hope" to have had several successful attempts at leaving her home alone for maybe half an hour possibly an hour, but that is still many months down the road. Am I wrong, am I just an overprotective mother who because of her past refuses to let go? Or am I a mom who realizes the dangers posed to our children by child predators and just wants to make sure that her kids are armed with all the information they need before they are left on their own.

Weigh in on the "Home Alone" debate and post your thoughts below.
(Remember this is a safe forum and all discriminatory or rude comments will be removed.)


1 comment:

  1. While I think the law is important to note, it doesn't mean that you don't have parental authority to make your own decisions. I actually agree that you should make sure she is being monitored with a fever. I may not make the decision that she could not be alone if it were more simple, say the sniffles or even a cough. But fevers are different. My idea in stressing the law had 2 points, A) if you are indeed comfortable in making the decision to do so, you are not in violation of any law and therefore can feel confident in your choice and have confidence in the maturity of your child, and B) to relay information regarding the violations of parental rights continually perpetrated by DCFS (or CPS in other areas). It is a problem and people fear them; it literally takes NOTHING to put you on their radar and they consistently ignore the laws, including basic constitutional rights of parents. BUT I will not use your blog to rant (for now:)) And just say that I hope she feels better.