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11th Feb 2022

Is it okay to leave my 7-year-old son home alone?

“I can’t leave him because society says so”

A mum has caused quite the heated debate after asking if it is okay to leave her 7-year-old son home alone.

She admitted it would only be for ten minutes and both their neighbours would be next door if he needed anything.

She wrote, “In reality, I am not going to, however, he is happily reading his book, would be happy for ten minutes while I pick his brother up and both next-door neighbours are in.”

“It seems silly that I can’t leave him because society says so when I know he would be fine and knows what to do in an emergency,” she continued.

She explained that he often sits in the car on his own when she is shopping. “To me, that is riskier as we are out and about but he prefers that to be dragged into shops.”

She asked if it is really unreasonable to leave him alone and fellow mums were not impressed.

“He’d have to be a pretty exceptional 7-year-old to know what to do in an emergency and stay calm enough to actually do it. It would probably be fine 99 times in a hundred, but the one time it wasn’t he’d likely panic and do the exact opposite of the right thing.”

Another mum shared: “I’ve got a 7-year-old and would absolutely not leave him unsupervised, whether in a house, car, or any public place.”

“There are so many things (fire / break in / injury / strange person at the door / choking / boredom and doing something stupid etc) to consider, that I don’t think a 7-year-old could be reasonably expected to deal with,” another said.

One mum agreed that it isn’t a bad thing to do. “My own child was fine being by himself at home for short periods at that age. A lot of people frown upon it but you know your child best and can assess if they’re ok to handle being without supervision for a while.”

What do you think? Is she wrong or is it acceptable?