Mommy Dilemma: A mom left my kid alone at her home while she went shopping - WHAT?

Mommy Dilemma - My daughter goes to play at a friend's house one afternoon, she is nine. The mom wants to get food for dinner, apparently she asks the kids if they want to come and my daughter thinking it is a question, not rhetorical says, "No thank you."

So the mom packs up and leaves my daughter at her home and goes grocery shopping with her own daughter.  You get the picture -  My daughter is alone in this mom's home about 30 minutes playing happily with the family dog.  I learn the next day, shot gun in hand I...no really, what do you think, feel and do?

PS. Your answers might make local TV so if you wanna answer anonymously fine, if you wanna answer with your twitter ID & website fine too, although I can't promise they'll promote it, you never know. TY @thefamilycoach

Tags: anxiety, challenge, concern, kids, moms, worry

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Your daughter should not have been left alone in a strange house and she's too young to be left even in her own home.
I don't know what tone of voice there was in the conversation she had with the other Mom, but surely it is inappropriate to take your daughter's 'no thank you' as an instruction to leave her on her own. If your daughter did not want to go perhaps she could have been persuaded, or the Mom could have delayed her trip or contacted you to fetch her. There were plenty of alternatives to the action chosen.
I live in Canada...we have strict regulations here for ages of children being left at home....it's 12!

As a mom of six, I cannot believe that other parent did that! I agree with the other people that the parent should have phoned you....my younger daughter (who is about to turn 9) would have phoned me at home...she is one of those kids who doesn't even like being left in the other room by herself!

Perhaps the lesson here...is to educate our children, I always tell my children if they feel 'unsafe' at someone's home to phone us...and have them memorize our number (or put it on the inside of their jackets...so they can phone)

www.twitter.com/jodymal
I can't believe this mom left your daughter at home and took her daughter with her.

What was she thinking?

My oldest is only 6 and a half and I couldn't imagine what mischief he would get up to if left alone, especially in someone elses home.

I would insist that all future playdates with her friend be at your home as clearly this mother doesn't get it.

I think having your daughter know her phone number and be able to call home if she ever needs you is a great idea as well.

Aussie Rebecca
I am curious about a few things in this scenario: 1) Have any of the responding parents ever left their children at home alone, under what circumstances, and for what period of time? 2) For all the parents responding, how old were you the first time your parents left you home alone? and 3) Why so many strong reactions considering the happy ending and the fact that the girl was, "in this mom's home about 30 minutes playing happily with the family dog." Is there any real, statistical basis for fear here? How many children in your state have died in home fires in the last 20 years while being left unattended for brief periods of time? What are the actual statistics of non-familial abduction of children from their own homes? Where is the bogeyman here, and why are we all so eager to crucify this woman? Because we don't want people to put a magnifying glass on our own mistakes? Or because we're simply afraid, generally, and having a scapegoat can sometimes alleviate fears?
I think that the issue here is more about the fact that the decision was taken out of Mom ones hands. If she chooses to leave her own child at home alone for 30 minutes, that is of course her decision. But, her daughter was a guest in someone else's home and should be treated as such. I do and have left my own nine year old at home alone. As his mother, that is MY decision to make. I would not, however, leave another person's child alone in MY home ALONE. That was a poor decision on the part of that other mother. Should she be crucified? Of course not. Should Mom one tell her that it made her uncomfortable? Absolutely.

At some point children need to learn that it is ok to be alone. That is up to the parents - not someone else. I don't see any harm leaving the child for 30 minutes alone - as long as it was a decision made by her parents.... A phone call in this situation would have been a good idea

Fearless Parent said:
I am curious about a few things in this scenario: 1) Have any of the responding parents ever left their children at home alone, under what circumstances, and for what period of time? 2) For all the parents responding, how old were you the first time your parents left you home alone? and 3) Why so many strong reactions considering the happy ending and the fact that the girl was, "in this mom's home about 30 minutes playing happily with the family dog." Is there any real, statistical basis for fear here? How many children in your state have died in home fires in the last 20 years while being left unattended for brief periods of time? What are the actual statistics of non-familial abduction of children from their own homes? Where is the bogeyman here, and why are we all so eager to crucify this woman? Because we don't want people to put a magnifying glass on our own mistakes? Or because we're simply afraid, generally, and having a scapegoat can sometimes alleviate fears?
Totally agree with that.

Sara Roberts said:
I think that the issue here is more about the fact that the decision was taken out of Mom ones hands. If she chooses to leave her own child at home alone for 30 minutes, that is of course her decision. But, her daughter was a guest in someone else's home and should be treated as such. I do and have left my own nine year old at home alone. As his mother, that is MY decision to make. I would not, however, leave another person's child alone in MY home ALONE. That was a poor decision on the part of that other mother. Should she be crucified? Of course not. Should Mom one tell her that it made her uncomfortable? Absolutely.

At some point children need to learn that it is ok to be alone. That is up to the parents - not someone else. I don't see any harm leaving the child for 30 minutes alone - as long as it was a decision made by her parents.... A phone call in this situation would have been a good idea

Fearless Parent said:
I am curious about a few things in this scenario: 1) Have any of the responding parents ever left their children at home alone, under what circumstances, and for what period of time? 2) For all the parents responding, how old were you the first time your parents left you home alone? and 3) Why so many strong reactions considering the happy ending and the fact that the girl was, "in this mom's home about 30 minutes playing happily with the family dog." Is there any real, statistical basis for fear here? How many children in your state have died in home fires in the last 20 years while being left unattended for brief periods of time? What are the actual statistics of non-familial abduction of children from their own homes? Where is the bogeyman here, and why are we all so eager to crucify this woman? Because we don't want people to put a magnifying glass on our own mistakes? Or because we're simply afraid, generally, and having a scapegoat can sometimes alleviate fears?
Okay first No more playdates at said person's home! Period end of story. Second I would tell the mother that in the future, you do not leave kids alone in YOUR HOME that ARE NOT YOUR CHILDREN and are MINORS!!! Then I would proceed to tell her that your child is not longer allowed over and the reason why.

All the things that could have happened! What an idiot parent!
So, I'm just curious, Sara--If you were Lynne and wanted to call Playdate Mom to let her know what happened made you uncomfortable, what would you say? Would you still let your child play there on playdates? Do you think Lynne could have had any discussions with Playdate Mom beforehand so that the situation might have been avoided? I know that I have made a lot of assumptions regarding the care of my children at a playdate or drop-off party, and it never occurred to make sure the Playdate parent and I were on the same page regarding supervision. Guess we all make mistakes.

Fearless Parent said:
Totally agree with that.

Sara Roberts said:
I think that the issue here is more about the fact that the decision was taken out of Mom ones hands. If she chooses to leave her own child at home alone for 30 minutes, that is of course her decision. But, her daughter was a guest in someone else's home and should be treated as such. I do and have left my own nine year old at home alone. As his mother, that is MY decision to make. I would not, however, leave another person's child alone in MY home ALONE. That was a poor decision on the part of that other mother. Should she be crucified? Of course not. Should Mom one tell her that it made her uncomfortable? Absolutely.

At some point children need to learn that it is ok to be alone. That is up to the parents - not someone else. I don't see any harm leaving the child for 30 minutes alone - as long as it was a decision made by her parents.... A phone call in this situation would have been a good idea

Fearless Parent said:
I am curious about a few things in this scenario: 1) Have any of the responding parents ever left their children at home alone, under what circumstances, and for what period of time? 2) For all the parents responding, how old were you the first time your parents left you home alone? and 3) Why so many strong reactions considering the happy ending and the fact that the girl was, "in this mom's home about 30 minutes playing happily with the family dog." Is there any real, statistical basis for fear here? How many children in your state have died in home fires in the last 20 years while being left unattended for brief periods of time? What are the actual statistics of non-familial abduction of children from their own homes? Where is the bogeyman here, and why are we all so eager to crucify this woman? Because we don't want people to put a magnifying glass on our own mistakes? Or because we're simply afraid, generally, and having a scapegoat can sometimes alleviate fears?
You bet everyone makes mistakes. I believe I addressed that already. What I would say exactly would be Hey - my daughter told me that she was left alone while you and your daughter ran to the store. In the future, I would prefer that you not leave my daughter at your house unsupervised. I don't think that is out of line. At the same token, I would fully expect another parent to let me know if something that had happened while their children were in my care made them uncomfortable. It's a matter of respect. I wouldn't go crazy on the lady, but as the parent I have a right to let you know if a decision you made while my child was in your care made me uncomfortable. Things can be done tactfully and everyone can still enjoy a playdate. We aren't in highschool. It's ok to be truthful and still be friends at the end of the day.

Fearless Parent said:
So, I'm just curious, Sara--If you were Lynne and wanted to call Playdate Mom to let her know what happened made you uncomfortable, what would you say? Would you still let your child play there on playdates? Do you think Lynne could have had any discussions with Playdate Mom beforehand so that the situation might have been avoided? I know that I have made a lot of assumptions regarding the care of my children at a playdate or drop-off party, and it never occurred to make sure the Playdate parent and I were on the same page regarding supervision. Guess we all make mistakes.

Fearless Parent said:
Totally agree with that.

Sara Roberts said:
I think that the issue here is more about the fact that the decision was taken out of Mom ones hands. If she chooses to leave her own child at home alone for 30 minutes, that is of course her decision. But, her daughter was a guest in someone else's home and should be treated as such. I do and have left my own nine year old at home alone. As his mother, that is MY decision to make. I would not, however, leave another person's child alone in MY home ALONE. That was a poor decision on the part of that other mother. Should she be crucified? Of course not. Should Mom one tell her that it made her uncomfortable? Absolutely.

At some point children need to learn that it is ok to be alone. That is up to the parents - not someone else. I don't see any harm leaving the child for 30 minutes alone - as long as it was a decision made by her parents.... A phone call in this situation would have been a good idea

Fearless Parent said:
I am curious about a few things in this scenario: 1) Have any of the responding parents ever left their children at home alone, under what circumstances, and for what period of time? 2) For all the parents responding, how old were you the first time your parents left you home alone? and 3) Why so many strong reactions considering the happy ending and the fact that the girl was, "in this mom's home about 30 minutes playing happily with the family dog." Is there any real, statistical basis for fear here? How many children in your state have died in home fires in the last 20 years while being left unattended for brief periods of time? What are the actual statistics of non-familial abduction of children from their own homes? Where is the bogeyman here, and why are we all so eager to crucify this woman? Because we don't want people to put a magnifying glass on our own mistakes? Or because we're simply afraid, generally, and having a scapegoat can sometimes alleviate fears?
I think there are so many great messages here. One is that just cause I wld never think of leaving a child alone unsupervised doesn't mean another mom feels that way, I like the idea of some clarification ahead of time. The challenge is this wasn't even on my map, it never occurred to me a mom I knew wld leave my child alone. So this is my responsibility to clarify that my child will be supervised by a qualified adult I know and trust. Interestingly, when I have a playdate and we go play tennis or something I have the child call their parent and ask if that is okay. I don't feel it's about abduction it's about how many accidents happen in homes and how many things we cannot predict. We are adults and we need to monitor our kids, carefully. The responsibility always falls in my court, they are my kids and now it has been said aloud - again - call me anywhere anytime any circumstances, I will come get you.

Sara Roberts said:
You bet everyone makes mistakes. I believe I addressed that already. What I would say exactly would be Hey - my daughter told me that she was left alone while you and your daughter ran to the store. In the future, I would prefer that you not leave my daughter at your house unsupervised. I don't think that is out of line. At the same token, I would fully expect another parent to let me know if something that had happened while their children were in my care made them uncomfortable. It's a matter of respect. I wouldn't go crazy on the lady, but as the parent I have a right to let you know if a decision you made while my child was in your care made me uncomfortable. Things can be done tactfully and everyone can still enjoy a playdate. We aren't in highschool. It's ok to be truthful and still be friends at the end of the day.

Fearless Parent said:
So, I'm just curious, Sara--If you were Lynne and wanted to call Playdate Mom to let her know what happened made you uncomfortable, what would you say? Would you still let your child play there on playdates? Do you think Lynne could have had any discussions with Playdate Mom beforehand so that the situation might have been avoided? I know that I have made a lot of assumptions regarding the care of my children at a playdate or drop-off party, and it never occurred to make sure the Playdate parent and I were on the same page regarding supervision. Guess we all make mistakes.

Fearless Parent said:
Totally agree with that.

Sara Roberts said:
I think that the issue here is more about the fact that the decision was taken out of Mom ones hands. If she chooses to leave her own child at home alone for 30 minutes, that is of course her decision. But, her daughter was a guest in someone else's home and should be treated as such. I do and have left my own nine year old at home alone. As his mother, that is MY decision to make. I would not, however, leave another person's child alone in MY home ALONE. That was a poor decision on the part of that other mother. Should she be crucified? Of course not. Should Mom one tell her that it made her uncomfortable? Absolutely.

At some point children need to learn that it is ok to be alone. That is up to the parents - not someone else. I don't see any harm leaving the child for 30 minutes alone - as long as it was a decision made by her parents.... A phone call in this situation would have been a good idea

Fearless Parent said:
I am curious about a few things in this scenario: 1) Have any of the responding parents ever left their children at home alone, under what circumstances, and for what period of time? 2) For all the parents responding, how old were you the first time your parents left you home alone? and 3) Why so many strong reactions considering the happy ending and the fact that the girl was, "in this mom's home about 30 minutes playing happily with the family dog." Is there any real, statistical basis for fear here? How many children in your state have died in home fires in the last 20 years while being left unattended for brief periods of time? What are the actual statistics of non-familial abduction of children from their own homes? Where is the bogeyman here, and why are we all so eager to crucify this woman? Because we don't want people to put a magnifying glass on our own mistakes? Or because we're simply afraid, generally, and having a scapegoat can sometimes alleviate fears?
I've read quite a few of the responces,i agree with most,but there are always view points to any senerio.The real question before flying off the handle(since your daughter is not harmed)is have you talked with the other mom?Also if "she" sees nothing wrong in how the situation was left,i too would not let my daughter go to thier house,instead your daughters friend should be invited to your house.Remember we teach our children what is "proper",also we teach patients for those who don't feel the way we do.
I would be so mad! There is no reason why this woman couldn't take your child home or call you. I would talk to her and make sure you think that is unacceptable. I wouldn't allow my child over there again.

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