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Old 19.09.2007, 18:22
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children left home alone

What are the laws here for leaving children home alone?

Little smilerbaker has wednesday afternoons off, so one of his friends who lives next door came over to play, his mum had gone to work (and left him home alone) he is 7. Anyway little smilerbaker has a golf lesson at 3pm so I told mrs smilerbaker to take his friend with him as I don't want him being home alone, She asked him and shockingly he said he couldn't as his 2yr old sister is in the house alone as she normally sleeps at this time!!!!!!

They live in a 2nd floor flat!!

We are going to have a word with the parents, but if that fails who should we report it to?
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Old 20.09.2007, 01:05
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Re: children left home alone

It's certainly out of the norm to leave a two years old unobserved for an entire afternoon but the law to my knowledge isn't detailed enough to specifically interdict this - It's the job of the communal guardianship agency (Vormundschaftsbehörde) to evaluate the kid's situation. They can assign a helper who supports the parents, and it's this agency who executes the ultima ratio of absolving overextended parents from their parental duties.

However I appreciate it that you intend to talk to them directly first. Maybe they show understanding or this afternoon was an exception, in this case you probably don't want to give the guardianship agency a hint.
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Old 20.09.2007, 14:11
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Re: children left home alone

Bloody hell. Two years old? At that age they are able to climb, jump, manipulate cooker knobs.....................I was astonished when our relocation agent told me that our six year old would be able to go into town on the bus on her own. She is so muddle headed we just about trust her to go to the toilet on her own in the flat. On the other hand, it has struck me how independent Swiss children seem to be. Our neighbour's little girl walks to school on her own. 15 minutes each way, maybe I am overprotective (although I don't think so), maybe it is because we haven't lived in Europe for 8 years and I am used to the ex-prat way of doing things; but to my mind, two is far too young to be left alone.
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Old 20.09.2007, 15:08
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Re: children left home alone

Doesn't matter where you're from, you shouldn't leave a two-year old. I'd have given the parents more than a talking to.
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Old 20.09.2007, 15:51
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Re: children left home alone

I've also been quite shocked at how independent the kids here seem to be, and from such a young age. To my way of thinking, there's plenty of time for them to be responsible and grown up later on - I'm happy continuing to watch out for my big little boy of 6 and a half for a while longer yet

Smilerbaker this is a horrible situation for you to be in (although not as bad as the situation the kids were in )- I'm interested to know: what did happen when you talked to the parents?
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Old 20.09.2007, 15:55
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Re: children left home alone

What's wrong with kids being independent at a young age? Why is that shocking? IMO there is a definite trend among a lot of societies for people to not be grown up even in their early 20's which I think is a product of kids being coddled too much when their growing up. Independence is an important way for kids to establish their own identies.

However, 2 years old is entirely to young to be left alone.

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I've also been quite shocked at how independent the kids here seem to be, and from such a young age. To my way of thinking, there's plenty of time for them to be responsible and grown up later on - I'm happy continuing to watch out for my big little boy of 6 and a half for a while longer yet

Smilerbaker this is a horrible situation for you to be in (although not as bad as the situation the kids were in )- I'm interested to know: what did happen when you talked to the parents?
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Old 20.09.2007, 16:03
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Re: children left home alone

Well I guess it's all about where you draw the line. It only takes one wierdo, it only takes one bad driver, and although I know the time will come when I have to trust my kid to know how to react in certain every day situations, for now I'd rather be there to oversee the road crossing or the interaction with the stranger if I can. Just for another year or so - I don't think you should force a child to be independent before it comes naturally, and for me, 6 is still too young to fully understand the significance of some of the major rules of life.
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Old 20.09.2007, 16:07
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Re: children left home alone

You've done too much
much too young
Now you're married with a kid
when you could be having fun with me.

dave

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What's wrong with kids being independent at a young age? Why is that shocking?
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Old 20.09.2007, 17:15
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Re: children left home alone

I have been thinking about this on and of since I posted. I think I am too overprotective of our girl, however it is a hard habit to break. She was born in the Middle East and we moved to Bangkok. Both countries love children and they are extremely indulged. She was a novelty in both places due to her blonde hair and blue eyes, now she is just another kid. Whilst abroad (and in Thailand in particular) I have always been aware of a certain unsavoury element and maybe I have sheltered her too much. As far as crossing the road goes, she has no idea. It has only been since our move that I discovered she could walk more than 50 metres - average journey on foot from car to mall/school/house and the sanctuary of A/C.
Don't envy the original poster one little bit, but it is good to know that someone is concerned.
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Old 21.09.2007, 14:20
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Re: children left home alone

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What are the laws here for leaving children home alone?

Little smilerbaker has wednesday afternoons off, so one of his friends who lives next door came over to play, his mum had gone to work (and left him home alone) he is 7. Anyway little smilerbaker has a golf lesson at 3pm so I told mrs smilerbaker to take his friend with him as I don't want him being home alone, She asked him and shockingly he said he couldn't as his 2yr old sister is in the house alone as she normally sleeps at this time!!!!!!

They live in a 2nd floor flat!!

We are going to have a word with the parents, but if that fails who should we report it to?
What became of them? I just can´t get my head around it. I look after a 2y/o, there is no way he could look after himself.
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Old 21.09.2007, 14:36
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Re: children left home alone

There was an article I read recently about how in the UK even though less children walk to school there are more children involved in traffic accidents. The article attributed it partly to motorists not being used to seeing kids anymore but also to the fact that some kids end up being 10-12 years old and never have crossed the street by themselves so when they time comes they don't know how to be responsible for themselves. It was an interesting article but I can't find it anywhere.

Did anyone else read it?

In the town I lived in before moving to Zurich there was actually a law stating that kids below 12 yrs of age where not allowed to be left home alone or the parent could be charged with child endangerment. IMO it is extremely ridiculous.

But again, a 2 yr old and a 7 yr old shouldn't be left alone, although I think I would be okay with the 7 yr old being left alone for a few hours.

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I have been thinking about this on and of since I posted. I think I am too overprotective of our girl, however it is a hard habit to break. She was born in the Middle East and we moved to Bangkok. Both countries love children and they are extremely indulged. She was a novelty in both places due to her blonde hair and blue eyes, now she is just another kid. Whilst abroad (and in Thailand in particular) I have always been aware of a certain unsavoury element and maybe I have sheltered her too much. As far as crossing the road goes, she has no idea. It has only been since our move that I discovered she could walk more than 50 metres - average journey on foot from car to mall/school/house and the sanctuary of A/C.
Don't envy the original poster one little bit, but it is good to know that someone is concerned.
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Old 21.09.2007, 14:40
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Re: children left home alone

I didn't read it no - but I agree with the principle. A lot of people complain about their kids etc having no common sense, and can't be trusted to do things on their own etc, but a lot of this is because they've never been in the situation where they had to do something for themselves, or had to use common sense.

One more for the word of the day thread - mollycoddled.
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Old 21.09.2007, 14:48
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Re: children left home alone

My mum used to leave us home alone all the time, brother 14, me 12 sister 7 (she was a single mum who had to work and this was a long time ago). The problem with this is that while we were very well behaved kids our judgement wasn´t all that hot. Just recently some kids in my area, set fire to their appartment as they were alone with the parents working. These kids aren´t unruely, but I remember being left without supervision and I know that it was oft just luck that no serious injuries occured. Giving kids more responsibility is something else, a pet or a garden to look after, for example.
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Old 21.09.2007, 14:58
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Re: children left home alone

I was in the same situation Deborah, almost the exact same ages as well (elder brother, younger sister) - I don't think we got up to anything more mischievous than we did when generally left to our own devices with parents present.

At the end of the day it's a fine line to walk, but surely keeping a child under constant supervision until they're teenagers is just asking for trouble - the only way to learn how to ride a bike is to fall off a few times.
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Old 21.09.2007, 15:02
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Re: children left home alone

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There was an article I read recently about how in the UK even though less children walk to school there are more children involved in traffic accidents. The article attributed it partly to motorists not being used to seeing kids anymore but also to the fact that some kids end up being 10-12 years old and never have crossed the street by themselves so when they time comes they don't know how to be responsible for themselves. It was an interesting article but I can't find it anywhere.
Of course mothers little darlings can't walk anywhere as it's terribly unsafe. They must be driven to school, the shops, friends houses etc in a huge gas guzzling 4x4 and woe betide any peasant pedestrians or cyclists getting in the way

Last edited by owls_79; 21.09.2007 at 15:03. Reason: fix quotation
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Old 21.09.2007, 15:10
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Re: children left home alone

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I was in the same situation Deborah, almost the exact same ages as well (elder brother, younger sister) - I don't think we got up to anything more mischievous than we did when generally left to our own devices with parents present.

.
We did . But nothing too bad as we were little angels when mum was home and wouldn´t have know how to run amok with the instuctions supplied! I also think it helped me rather than hindered in the long run. But in all honesty, at that age I didn´t have great judgement of situations or the decission making skills to have been given that sort of responsibility. I s´pose you´ve gotta know your kids before you leave 'em alone.
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Old 23.09.2007, 15:53
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Re: children left home alone

Richard Branson was left standing on his own feet from an early age on, which helped him develope his entrepreneurial skills.

I actually think that kids who are always looked after will have a much harder time to get successful in life. If you never get the chance to see things, you won't know were your passions are.

If I get to have kids someday in the far future I will encurage them to do their "own projects", explore things and find their talents rather than safeguarding them all the time.

But I agree, leaving a seven year old child with his two year old sister is probably a bit extreme. He should at least be told what to do if things go wrong.

Here's an Interview with Richard Branson talking about his childhood:
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Old 24.09.2007, 13:04
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Re: children left home alone

I would hate anyone to think that our girls is mollycoddled. She isn't. circumstances (ie the countries we have chosen to live in) have made her less independent than other children of her age. We are working on issues such as crossing roads, not talking to strangers and, to be truthful, walking in general. I had no idea that she could walk 5km without stopping, nor did she. It is a much healthier 'real' life she is living now. I can't get her to walk to school though, it is 15km each way.
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Old 24.09.2007, 13:20
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Re: children left home alone

I think the flavour of the original post has been lost. This is a 7 year old child being left as the sole carer of a 2 year old. OK, the 7 year old might be very grown up for his age and be brilliant at crossing the road and avoiding strangers, etc., but is he really up to looking after an active 2 year old??? I don't think so!

I do believe that kids should gradually be taught independence and how to be street savvy but any parent that thinks it's acceptable to leave a 7 year old in charge of what's tantamount to a baby needs their head looking at.

That's nothing to do with mollycoddling, that's just plain irresponsible.
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Old 24.09.2007, 13:25
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Re: children left home alone

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I do believe that kids should gradually be taught independence and how to be street savvy but any parent that thinks it's acceptable to leave a 7 year old in charge of what's tantamount to a baby needs their head looking at.

That's nothing to do with mollycoddling, that's just plain irresponsible.
Have you talked to his parents? What did they say?
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