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TOPIC: Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong?

Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 3 weeks ago #110930

  • dlondon
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I've just found out my ex leaves my son alone at home with three of his friends instead of him going to after school club. They are all 10 and from different schools.

I discovered a few weeks back one of the boys at my sons house by accident thinking he had gone there without his parents knowing so called them and they didn't seem bothered but collected him.

Now I find out this boy is there again and now with two others.

I think there are two issues - my son is uncontactable sometimes - he forgets to charge his phone so in my view he isn't responsible enough yet to be alone. This is tied to working out why my sons mother is leaving him at home.

Second is the parents of the other kids - I'm half minded to have a concerned word with them and ask them that this doesn't happen in future.

That said - am I over reacting? I feel like it isn't right and I'm worried what if they get an idea to go out, there is a fire, someone knocks on the door, a neighbour notices and is concerned - anything really.

When I raised the first situation with my sons mother she just ignored me so I don't feel I'm going to get anywhere there.

However, I can resolve the issue with the other parents and ensure my son has a means of contact with me if his mum insists on him being home alone. Unfortunately I'm not local enough to pick him up daily - I thought after school club is what my maintenance money was being used for - it seems not!

Of course they should not be mixing anyway what with lockdown. These parents don't seem concerned!

Am I over stressing? Thank you.

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Last Edit: by dlondon.

Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 3 weeks ago #110931

Hi,

this is from NSPCC website:

There's no legal age a child can be left home alone. Every child matures differently, so it would be almost impossible to have a "one size fits all" law.

However, parents and carers are responsible for keeping their children safe. If leaving your child home alone puts them at risk of harm – because they’re too young to care for themselves for example – the law might consider this neglect.

A child who isn't old enough or who doesn't feel comfortable should never be left home alone. If this is the case, it's best to look into childcare options that might work for your family. Read our advice on this below.

- Children under 12 years old shouldn't be left home alone for long.

Children in primary school aged 6-12 are usually too young to walk home from school alone, babysit or cook for themselves without adult supervision. If you need to leave them home, it's worth considering leaving them at a friend's house, with family or finding some suitable childcare.

www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/in-the-home/home-alone/

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Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or trained professional. I am not in a position to give legal advice. Please consult a qualified professional for legal advice.

Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 3 weeks ago #110934

There is no actual law saying you cant leave children home alone. Every child is different and whilst some 10 year olds arent responsible enough there are then plenty that are. Your ex probably sees it that she would rather have a few responsible 10 year olds indoors than down the park in the cold instead. I am sure if they disrespected the home it would be knocked on the head and it is also for a short period after school. I certainly wouldnt speak to other parents about it. It is normal to be concerned about it as every child is different.

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Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 3 weeks ago #110936

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I forgot to say how long this is for. It’s for up to three hours.

He never remembers to charge his phone so that he has a way of contacting me and his mum isn’t contactable at all when she is working.

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Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 3 weeks ago #110937

I would encourage what hes doing at moment but on basis that can you please just have your mobile phone fully charged incase either parent needs to contact you. i am sure if he is allowed to spend time with his friends for few hours with your blessing the phone will be charged without any argument. U could even ask son to give u a 5 min call or a few messages. i bet your son and mates if indoors probably playing consoles ps 4 or xbox 1 etc where time flies quickly

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Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 3 weeks ago #110938

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I'm not sure I agree. He has nothing to do at home other than his laptop as his mum won't let him have the toys from my house (she says they are clutter).

There's nothing to eat or drink in the house (he always complains of being hungry when he comes to me) and none of the kids are particularly mature for their age.

It's ok for a one off perhaps but this has been going on for a long time it seems. I expected that if there was a childcare issue it to be raised with me so it can be worked out and at least some plan made and what should happen if there is an emergency.

Forgotten key? Flat phone battery?

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Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 3 weeks ago #110939

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Have you thought about getting him a power bank so that he can re charge his phone? I do realise this also means it needs charging too so isn't always the best solution.

You could have a chat with the school if you are concerned? If they are concerned, perhaps they can flag this with the parents if necessary.

It's difficult as my son at 10 would really not have been mature enough to be left that long, but my daughter would have.

Hope you can find a solution. It must be such a worry for you.

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I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 3 weeks ago #111031

Hello dlondon,
After reading through the threads here, and having had two 10 year olds myself, I would want my child to be attending the after school club. Firstly because he is in a safe, warm environment with activities and a snack, secondly both you and your ex partner have peace of mind that you know where he is. At the moment with the current covid situation you are advised not to be in others houses if you can help it, and at school they are in a covid secure environment as best as they can be.
I really think it’s a matter that should be discussed again with your sons mum, as it seems to me like your son is not yet ready to be left alone at home or with friends for the time you said. Little things like having no snacks in the house or not charging his phone are indicators of this. It doesn’t mean to say that the situation could not be reviewed in the future, but perhaps once he has begun senior school then it could be looked at again. As your sons parent you too can take an active interest in the after school club, familiarise yourself with timings, costs etc so you have a clear picture of what’s going on.
I hope this helps a little, your sons safeguarding is important and after school clubs can provide that reassurance for both parents.
Best wishes, Fegans Parent Support Volunteer

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Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 3 weeks ago #111032

There arent after school clubs due to covid . Also been a non resident parent its very difficult to do anything about this situation dont you think. Do you think an awkward ex partner is going to consider fathers views.

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Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 2 weeks ago #111085

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It's actually got more serious - the school phoned as they were concerned about a small injury at which point he revealed it happened while he was at home alone with friends. His mum said she was there but I have my suspicions she was not.

The school set up a video call to discuss as the year just went into isolation - and guess what, his mum went to work and left him at home all day with a sandwich and packet of crisps!

On the day of the call his mum had allowed a child from a school that is not isolating to come to play. Breaking the rules left right and centre! My son has been very upset as his mum tells him to keep secrets about breaking the rules and having friends to stay - it's very hard on him because he knows it is wrong but doesn't want to get his mum in trouble.

The school are concerned on two fronts - breaking covid rules and a child being left alone.

I am very much powerless and of course if this continues it could get very serious indeed. I've split the isolation so I do half with him and she does the other half but I'm very concerned she will just go to work and he will be alone and let friends come to play again.

Why are some people such hard work?

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Last Edit: by dlondon.

Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 2 weeks ago #111089

hi,

maybe you can tell the school that they should report concerns to social/childrens services, as you are not on good terms with your ex and she does not listen to you.

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Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or trained professional. I am not in a position to give legal advice. Please consult a qualified professional for legal advice.

Son left home alone with friends - is this wrong? 1 month 2 weeks ago #111094

  • Yoda
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I agree with Bill. Definitely worth further discussion with the school.

Does the mother have another solution for when she is at work? Has she made other suggestions? Do you have any suggestions?

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