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how old is old enough to leave home alone

Im dating this guy that has a 12 year old son. He lives with his mother who leaves him home often alone. Sometimes not coming home all nite. I would say he could stay at my house so he didnt have to stay home alone but i am dating his dad. And his mom doesnt like me. I know that she doesnt come home due to the fact that i live just down the road from her and whenever i past the house there is no car in the yard even at 11 at nite. she doesnt work so i know that isnt it. She is at her bf's house. THe boys dad is on the road working otherwise he would have him.I dont know what to do. I know that i cant do much due to the fact that it is not my kid. His dad calls him often to check on him and i try what i can to keep an eye on him. Even if i wasnt dating his dad i would be concerned. we live in a small town but still everyone knows that he is home alone. I would hate for something to happen to him. I told his dad that he should have the law go by and make a welfare check on him when he knows that he is alone but he is afraid that child services will be called and he will lose his boy. so what can i do. His mom doesnt seem to care. I am a mother and would never dream of leaving my children home alone. Mind you my oldest is 8 but even when she reaches 15 i wont leave her alone. But then i am a worry wort.

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Asked by Anonymous at 1:56 PM on Nov. 22, 2010 in General Parenting

Answers (8)
  • I'm overprotective and a worrier too. I personally think 12 is too young for if it's like a trip to the grocery store or something then I would think it's fine. Have you talked to the dad, your bf? What does he think. I think each child has a different maturity level, but I'm pretty sure each state has laws too about ages and amounts of time that kids are allowed to be home alone. I know one of the states there was might want to look into it and talk to your bf about it.

    Answer by Hannah22 at 1:59 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • I wouldnt' leave a 12 year old alone at night. My 17 year old has never been left alone all night. I will leave my 11 year old home for an hour or so. Like today when I went to the gym, but I wouldn't leave her at night

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 1:59 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • The legal age here in Illinois is 14 I believe.

    Answer by SuperrMommyy at 1:59 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • Generally, the issue isn't the age of the child, but the situation the child is in and whether or not that specific child can reasonably handle it. There is no 'minimum age' for being left at home, nor any 'maximum duration' --it's obvious that 6 & 8yrs is too young to be left alone while mom and dad are on vacation in Acapulco... but it's not so obvious that a 9yo might well be fine for a few hours at home when there's someone within shouting distance (a friendly neighbour or nearby relative). At 12, all alone in a new subdivision is probably a problem, even for a few hours...but in a familiar neighbourhood with lots of people who know where he is all the time who are close enough to be able to help is a different situation.

    I would also be very wary of leaving a child of this age alone, but not because I would be particularly concerned about what might happen to them... people need others, and being alone a lot isn't good.

    Answer by LindaClement at 2:04 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • thanks I just looked up the information for our state it is 8 years old for the state of sc. i wouldnt leave my child home alone at 8 that is ridiculous

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 2:04 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • I would say during the day, 12 yrs old as long as he's a mature 12 & knows what to do in the event of an emergency is fine. BUT all night? Absolutely not. You say his dad is on the road working and his mom does not appear to care, I would sit down with his dad one night and tell him that during the day you can see his son being left alone but that something needs to be done.

    Is there any chance that his dad could get a local job, or could get an agreement for his son to stay with you at night while the mom is away? It just might be that she thinks her son is mature enough to be left alone night while she goes to her bf or even if she comes home at like midnight or in the wee morning hours that he is okay to be left alone, but it really is NOT safe because anything could happen.

    I think dad and mom need to sit down together before any kind of law enforcement or gov't agency is called in and talk about their sons safety.

    Answer by NEMommaOf3 at 2:04 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • if you move in with the dad - then get involved in watching the son. the kid at that age - with that happening all the time - he might be used to it and like it by this point.

    Answer by AmaliaD at 3:50 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • well it is 8 at nite and i just talked to his dad. His mom is out of town now. 40 miles away.
    i havent been dating him long enough to do any think i think but it worries me to know that this is the 2nd day that he has been left alone

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 8:14 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

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