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PIOG: Leaving an 8 YO home alone for an hour or two on a Saturday night... Looong post, sorry.

Posted by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 2:15 PM
  • 15 Replies

The background:

Hello everyone.

I'm sorry this is a little longwinded. I'm really stressing out and I need a little outside perspective. I would normally ask my sis or my mom, but I don't want to worry them.

I have an 8 yr old dd who spends every other weekend at her father's house. He is remarried and DD has been having sleepovers at his house for about 2 years now.

He took me to court 2 years ago to have the parenting plan changed to mandate the sleepovers, (he chose to stop them over a year earlier because she "wasn't listening to them" and I was not ready for him to try again after he pretty much dumped her like that) In order to have the parenting plan changed he came up with accusations like I wasn't taking her to school (No, my mom was taking her 3 days per week because I worked overnight and didn't get home in time) and that I changed our number, and didn't tell him (I was between cells for 2 weeks BUT he still had my mother's home number - Where dd and I LIVED) In other words, totally ridiculous stuff that looked bad on paper until I hired a lawyer and they were explained in his deposition when he had to elaborate on these accusations. Exdh and I do not have a communicative relationship... I've tried, but as you can see, he's an extremely petty and difficult man, effective communication and trust isn't there. 

DD informed me last night that she gets to stay up very late on saturday nights at her dad's house because they go to visit their friends, and if she doesn't feel like going she is allowed to go home and watch TV instead. Just her and the dog. 

I have to talk to DD after school to get more details, I was seeing red and trying to hold it together when she told me this so I kept the convo short so as not to make her think she had done something wrong and make her clam up. Dad has in the past told her not to tell me things, and she loves him dearly  and I think she is afraid he will "dump" her again if she does something wrong. I know she is very well behaved when she is there now.

Here's what I know and think: 

I think the friends live just a few houses down the street.

I know it is considered a "safe" neighborhood.

I know she knows at least one of the nextdoor neighbors well.

I know that they do not have her lock the door behind her.

I know that this is not a rare event.

I'm going to write him a letter, I've decided, and send a copy to the lawyer who deposed him. I can't afford this lawyer AT ALL, but it won't cost much for him to just throw it in the file. I'm going to tell EXH that our not quite 8 and a half yo daughter should NOT be home alone, certainly without locked doors, on a saturday night. 

Can you guys think of any other information I should get from DD, and also, do you think I'm overreacting?

I need some outsied perspective.

Thanks so much if you actually read this!

chick BabyFruit Ticker

by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 2:15 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 2:52 PM

An 8 year old left home alone for an hour is illegal.  What if she is left for over an hour up to several hours and is afraid to call you or anyone for matter in case is something happens?  An 8 year old isn't old enough to fend for herself.  I don't think a child can be left home alone until they are at least 11 or 12 (depdning on the state law).  If a cop or anyone from social services gets wind of this your ex could be taken into custody for child neglect and your DD could taken to child protective services.  Not sure if you would be held liable or not, but your ex certainly will.  I think the best thing you can do is to over all the details with your DD and write down everything then submit that to an attorney at child services.  Since you can't afford an attorney there is always one there available to legal aid.   Your ex is an ass for allowing his own child to be left home alone especially at her age. 

by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 2:59 PM
You should ask her to call you if she is home alone to say goodnight. And if she has no access to a phone in case of an emergency that's even worse. I'd never leave an 8 yr old home alone to begin with let alone at night. But talk to an attorney.
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by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 3:08 PM

I have an 8 yr old dd and I wouldnt think of leaving her home alone for 20 mins let alone over an hour at night time. I would be furious if my exh did this! Bad things happen even in "safe" neighborhoods. I would definately contact your lawyer and see what you can have done about this. Maybe you can have it put in the custody agreement that she is not to be left home alone until ____ age. So if it happens again you have documentation that he knew it was not allowed.

by Ruby Member on Feb. 21, 2013 at 4:03 PM

 i dont think its a huge deal but i would want her locking the door. and they should be checking on her.

by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 4:08 PM

 Your doing right thing.  Good Luck.

by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Depending on the state, it is not necessarily illegal.  Truthfully, I don't see the huge deal, except that you were caught off guard.  I agree that she needs to lock the door and she should have a way to call if there is an emergency (or you should be sure that she knows a CLOSE neighbor).  We have left our 8 year old home in our oh-so-quiet neighborhood for short amount of times, especially if we were just down the street.

by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Im my state there is no legal age cutoff to leave a child home alone, it's up to the parents to decide when the child is ready. (there are rules about how old they have to be before they can watch other kids,but thats not whats happening here).

I think the bigger issue is that if dad wanted overnights so badly he should spend all 4 evenings a month he gets with her... WITH HER! 

If both parents are not comfortable then it should not be happening.  

I would send the letter, file it with the lawyer and if he keeps it up take him back to court and explain that you are more than willing to supervise your daughter all night long, so if its too much trouble for him the custody should be rewritten. 

In the later part of my childhood I only got to see my dad two weekends a month, but he dropped EVERYTHING when we were there.  

by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 4:56 PM
I don't think its that big of a deal I used. To be alone by myself when I was ten. I know a little older.if someone walker her home, and she knew to lock the door and not answer the door for anyone, and she was left for a short amount of time l, like I said not a huge deal. But you know your dd. Best if you don't think she's ready for that. .well mother knows best..
by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 5:07 PM
At 8 I think it's a little young.
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by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 12:44 AM

yikes an 8 year old should not be left home alone I wish i had advice but i would have a fit

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