Friday, August 15, 2008

Home Alone

So, the New York Times has this interesting article about when children should be left at home alone. Interesting, because, my parents started leaving me at home alone when I was eight years old, and growing up, I always found the whole babysitter thing a little hard to fathom for kids over the age of 9. And one would think in this age of cell phones that it would be even easier to step out for an hour or two without worry.

However, when I posed the question of when our hypothetical future children should be left at home alone to CH, he answered, "12 or 13 at least, depending on how responsible they are." Then as a narrow-eyed afterthought, "Why? When do you think you they should be left at home alone?"

I decided not to press my eight-years-old theory, since apparently it doesn't really fly outside wild and wooly 80's. But read about all the parents struggling with this decision themselves here.


cybele said...

I think the whole siblings thing complicates it. I know my sister was watching me & my younger brother at age 11 (I was 8 or 9).

At age 12, my sister (14) and I took a summer program at the community college - which was in the next county and three bus rides away.

I was babysitting full time at age 13 in the summer.

I think it depends on the kid, but leaving a 10 year old at home alone for a couple of hours with a phone is perfectly fine with me.

Anonymous said...

I think it totally depends on the child. My first memory of being left alone was at age 10. But, as Cybele said, siblings are a complication. My parents trusted me at home alone, but wouldn't trust me to be home alone with my younger brother b/c he was a handful. I think he was nearly 12 or 13 before they trusted he wouldn't burn down the house!


Ernessa T. Carter said...

I totally agree with the whole siblings complication note. Though, sad-but-true, I think my parents were depending on my little sister, who is a year younger, to keep ME in line. If left to my own devices, I often got into hijinks. But she was extremely practical from day one. They also always gave her the money for both of us, b/c I had a terrible habit of losing things. That lasted pretty much until I left for college.