Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html en-gb 30 Mon 26 Jan 2015 03:38:01 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html seasand123 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=99#comment504 The crux of the matter is at what age a person can be assessed as mature enough or responsible enough to care for himself or herself and take charge of their younger siblings. There is no easy answer for this predicament as attaining maturity and being resposible varies with the individual depending upon intelligence, upbringing, environment and family affiliations.I only can say that once a parent they are forever parents. They are the better judges for making such decisions but ultimately, should anything untoward happens, they should be held accountable. Sat 12 Feb 2011 05:10:54 GMT+1 Fred Schuhmacher http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=99#comment503 This post has been Removed Fri 11 Feb 2011 22:59:19 GMT+1 firemensaction http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=99#comment502 I have just turned 70.Born during the war, my dad was working shifts 6 days a week, my brother was in the army, and when I was eight, my mother died.I went to school on my own, returning to an empty house, (no key, back door left open).The action of these policemen was OTT.PARENTS are the ones who have brought the children into the world, and parents have the responsibility to care for the children.In my case, I was adult enough at 8 yrs old, to know what to do, where school was, and how to prepare a snack to "fill in" til someone came home.I deplore the way that parents have been sidelined by Govt bureaucracy. Especially when we cannot trust said MPs (especially when their lips are moving!!The Chief Constable should act against the constable. Max Clifford should act for the mother!! Fri 11 Feb 2011 21:44:23 GMT+1 Blogs On http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=99#comment501 It appears that the answer is very dependent upon individual circumstances and situations. Children differ greatly in their ability to assume responsibility and exercise judgment. Also, the answer depends upon the parents or guardians and their educating their charges to be responsible and to know what to do in emergencies and crises. Fri 11 Feb 2011 19:59:41 GMT+1 anon94 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=99#comment500 I hope she understands the implications of accepting a caution.She has admitted to a criminal offence and this will be recorded on her criminal record.She will now have difficulty volunteering or getting a job working with children, or on law, accounting, banking or anything else where there is a CRB check. Fri 11 Feb 2011 17:05:45 GMT+1 Bwise http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=98#comment499 While it is contingent upon the maturity of the teen who is being entrusted with such a responsibility, it is always prudent to err on being the cautious side. Teens of yesteryears appeared to be more sane as life then was much more simpler and with much less negative and violent influences coming from the internet, video games, television, movies, celebrities, etc. In fact, the moral standards of yesteryears appear to be more sacrosanct than the obviously ‘looser’ morals of today. Rarely do we read in the news then of teens stabbing or shooting others or engaging in forbidden sex compared to nowadays where teen violence and sexual misconduct are occurring almost on a daily basis in most part s of the world. Rarely too, do we read of teens committing suicides but now it is frequently reported. Worse still, the suicides did not just confine to one individual teen but it seems to be a trend to rope in other teens too. Given such a scenario, I would be very careful to allow my young toddler to be in the sole charge of a teen – whether my own teen or a relative’s. Better be safe than sorry, I would say. Fri 11 Feb 2011 16:36:39 GMT+1 Bwise http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=98#comment498 Fri 11 Feb 2011 16:28:33 GMT+1 MrsPisaroni http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=98#comment497 When our child started nursery and my husband had to fetch the car from the garage a few streets away he would get her ready for school and tell her Dad was going for the car. He'd sit her on the bottom stair with her reading book and when he came back she would be in the same spot waiting for him. Irresponsible? No, she knew not to move or touch anything. She was in no danger, she would never put herself in a dangerous situation. At 4yrs old she knew right from wrong and would look askance at others her age causing mayhem for their parents in shops. To many people professional bodies stick their noses in where they are not wanted-I well remember my health visitor being very threatening to me when I did not attend the weekly 'Mums and toddlers' group. I went once-because I felt bullied into it-but that was it. If social services took more notice of the real cases of neglect instead of picking on soft targets it might just be a better world for us all. Fri 11 Feb 2011 15:41:35 GMT+1 SSnotbanned http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=98#comment496 This post has been Removed Fri 11 Feb 2011 15:22:23 GMT+1 Positive Thinker http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=98#comment495 Many children I know have a better sense of values than their own parents - so there is still hope for the next generation! Fri 11 Feb 2011 14:00:41 GMT+1 mr beige http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=97#comment494 I'm 46 - my Mom still will not leave me alone. Fri 11 Feb 2011 13:24:54 GMT+1 WanderingWill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=97#comment493 It is not a question of age, rather of responsibility. The parents are the only ones to know about this, and even then there will be huge variants between children.It is not such a black and white issue that can be cut off at a certain age. Fri 11 Feb 2011 12:41:04 GMT+1 James T Haddock http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=97#comment492 For a basic answer you need to calculate the environment x the age of the child x the mental age + the age of any other dependents they look after divide by the amount of children present and finally deduct by the number of hours they are left alone.Seriously there is no magic answer other than trusting parent's common sense. If they appear to have none, ie. going on holiday and leaving the kids at home alone then fair enough there is a good case for a ticking off.We are however very irresponsible to let them go out alone too, so maybe parents should be forced to go out with their children too. Sit in class with them perhaps? Fri 11 Feb 2011 11:49:35 GMT+1 topumpire1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=97#comment491 A fixed age should not be made "legal" or illegal as it does depend upon each child, around 12/13 is reasonable to be left alone but around 15/16 before allowing them to look after younger siblings (babysitting).The main problem with "have your say" today is we are NOT being permitted to give thoughts on the REAL important news items: The news that the Government acted illegally when SCRAPPING the schools rebuilding programme, which WAS obviously to save money (& NO other reason). Thsi Tory led, Sorry CONservative / Lib DUM coalition should be now taken to court BY every group that has had funding cut/ scrapped due to this administrations desire to save the money that PREVENTED this country from going deep into recession over the last two years, Yes, it has to be repaid, BUT ONLY at a rate that the country can afford, The CONservative/ Lib DUMs seem to want to repay it FAR too quickly and "to hell with the consequences" and IF the UK goes into recession, "too bad".Cuts to many areas WILL mean that spending will have to increase in others to compensate, If an old school colapses, where are the kids to be taught? what if that building colapses during a schoolday? the injured will need emergancy treatment (at hospitals!) and those left behind, compensation Fri 11 Feb 2011 11:37:22 GMT+1 EarlyBaby Boomer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=97#comment490 I was always under then imptession that it was deemed legal for a child of 14 to baby sit, and that it was the parents responsibility to ensure that at that age the child was mature and sensible enough to do so. There are adults that I would not consider to be able to babysit. Fri 11 Feb 2011 11:25:56 GMT+1 Shaunus in Poole http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=96#comment489 I HAD TO SHARE THIS.To all the people born in the 50/60/70s...........You write that and then you seem to get comments mentioning that you forgot 2 world wars and high child mortality rates, or sending boys up chimneys.Sorry mate, they just don't get it do they. But hey they can spend all day being paranoid about their kids. Just go Yadder Yadder Yadder when they next speak about the threat levels around - works for me. Fri 11 Feb 2011 10:55:41 GMT+1 truth_not_tax http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=96#comment488 488. Well they were not right either. Two high achievers who could not even be bothered to spend time with their children when on holiday together. I think the idea was that they suffered enough for their misdemeanour. In days gone by you had to work like the devil just to eat. Children included (in the work that is!) Nowadays you have to work like the devil to not be able to afford your mortgage not afford to retire and not afford to send your children to university. We are not progressing much are we. Sacrifice some income which buys you nothing except tax and stress and take some time out to watch your children grow. Fri 11 Feb 2011 10:39:21 GMT+1 Graham http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=96#comment487 Scenario 1:Mother leaves 14 year old in charge of 3 year old.Result 1:Police caution and derision from the luvvies posting hereScenario 2:Mother and father leave 4 year old in charge of two 2 year olds to have meal.Result 2:Child abducted, parents meet pope, president, prime minister and fly round the world getting sympathy from all the luvvies. Fri 11 Feb 2011 09:52:56 GMT+1 Terry http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=96#comment486 It depends on the child really I was left alone at the age of 8 all day during school holidays whilst my parents were working,key on a string through the letter box to get in when i needed to, trouble is today there are too many busy bodys not minding their own business and the so called do gooders who are actually causing more damge by making to much fuss, I and many other kids of our age grew up fast. Fri 11 Feb 2011 09:45:51 GMT+1 truth_not_tax http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=96#comment485 I don't think we need, even more, legislation for this issue. Common sense should apply. Children mature to responsibility at different ages and parents, likewise, have varying abilities. The law seems to be right on this matter. No minimum age but as a parent you are still responsible so you take the decision. Personally I would trust my 10, 12, 13 year old children but I would not burden them with the responsibility of caring for a 3 yr old. When you think what young children do with regard to eating/choking/climbing/falling it is a miracle that any of us make it to adulthood. In mitigation I think it is entirely wrong that, as a society, we seem to endorse both parents working when I believe they should adopt joint responsibility for child rearing. I wonder if the parent in this case was under these pressures. A police caution seems an appropriate corrective measure for the parents priorities. Fri 11 Feb 2011 09:18:40 GMT+1 ProfPhoenix http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=95#comment484 Should there be a law specifying the age a child can be left alone?Yes and no. Fri 11 Feb 2011 09:14:24 GMT+1 Janet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=95#comment483 Just when you think life can't get any harder a peer is given a police warning for leaving a 14 year old in charge of a brother.We don't control our lives - we don't set school holiday dates or training dates and most of us work - thousands of us regularly leave our children on their own and in charge of brothers and sisters - if we didn't we wouldn't be able to go to work, we'd lose our jobs!I wouldn't leave my children with most adults, they are far better protected following my rules and taking care of each other and becoming independant responsible people themselves.By the same token I would never leave them without trusted adult supervision if I was going to the pub.I can't change my families life and I will not be scared because someone accepted the police warning - we should always contest them and prove we put in place safe measures for our most treasured possessions - OUR children. Fri 11 Feb 2011 08:57:58 GMT+1 Dave http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=95#comment482 I am surprised that there is, as yet, no taxpayer-subsidised child-minding service that allows parents time off to go down the pub whilst their kids are dumped on social services. I believe, however, that that is going to be in the next Labour Manifesto.Parents should look after their own kids, full stop. Thu 10 Feb 2011 21:53:11 GMT+1 yonex83 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=95#comment481 Upon reaching the end of its development, the egoistic desire feels emptiness and a lack of fulfillment. It can’t develop any further, neither in regard to normal social behavior and interaction, nor in the sphere of science and culture, nor education and family relations. Humanity is experiencing a crisis because our life is built on the egoistic nature that has reached the end of its development. This is precisely the cause of social disorders, autism, and developmental and behavioral problems.The affect of medical advances is also at work: In past generations such children simply didn’t survive because no one knew how to deal with them.Only the general correction of egoism can help these children. After all, they are a part of society which is spoiled relative to the entire “organism” of humanity. If we begin to correct ourselves and strengthen the positive force of love and interaction within the society, we will cure these children. Thu 10 Feb 2011 21:22:47 GMT+1 Asdral http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=95#comment480 As an 11 year old I cared for a 3 month old baby who later became my step brother and his 5 year old sister after school. I collected them from my Nana's and took them home and looked after them until their mum came home at 6 ad I did this monday to friday. I had access to a phone and numbers for an emergency. My parents were nurses and I new what to do in a number of emergency scenariosIn the early 1970's and no one would have thought there was anything wrong. I would have never let my older son look after his younger siblings at 16 but my daughter at 12 was more than capable of looking after both her brothers. Did a certain couple get a British caution when their unattended daughter was taken from a Portuguese hotel room? Thu 10 Feb 2011 20:06:23 GMT+1 Mat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=94#comment479 Judging by personal experiences, I think the age should be 14. But ultimately that parents should judge the age based on the behaviour and the ability to be self-sufficient for short periods of time (ie for a few hours) Thu 10 Feb 2011 18:26:21 GMT+1 lesey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=94#comment478 the 14 year old could have a child of their own to look after in this day and age so what's the difference. Thu 10 Feb 2011 16:01:37 GMT+1 sporpo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=94#comment477 What I want to know is - what is the definition of leaving a child or infant unsupervised? If my infant is asleep upstairs, how long can I go out in the garden to peg out the washing, garden, etc, before being in dereliction of duty? Or does it only count if I leave my property completely? It is impossible to be physically supervising a child at all times and it can only take a few minutes for a child to choke or fall down stairs, etc. What is considered "reasonable" ?In today's world with mobile phones, I would be perfectly happy to leave my child with a young teenager if I considered them responsible enough to ring either me for advice, or the emergency services if there was a serious problem. Thu 10 Feb 2011 12:43:54 GMT+1 PurpleGladys http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=94#comment476 What a lot of nonense!On the days that our mother had her part time job (at the local post office/supermarket) I was regularly responsible for collecting my younger brother from Infants and then Primary School, on my way home from my Secondary School (so from about 12 years old!) and for then getting our tea ready.I also raised my own pocket money by regular babysitting for friends, neighbours (and from their 'recommendations' to their friends) and this was from when I was 10 or 11 years old and until I started work at 17.This is something that has to be left to the parents to decide, if they feel their child is sensible and responsible enough to leave them in charge - then that should be accepted by everyone else. I am sure there are isolated occasions where irresponsible (or unsuitable parents) merely 'abandon their children' for purely selfish reasons e.g. because they want a night out, where this may not be ideal or a responsible action. But surely then in this instance it is down to the council (or whoever) to make a 'reasoned decision' to fine the parent or to get social services involved. You cannot on the one hand complain that parents are not managing or caring for their children properly where you have unruly behaviour such as we read about on housing estates, and then on the other hand criticise or interfere in a situation where clearly the parent does care and decides to trust their child to take care of their siblings while they are out.If you do not allow your child to learn to take responsibilty for themselves and others, is it any wonder that so many children leaving school do not have a clue how to behave when out in society?! Thu 10 Feb 2011 12:03:43 GMT+1 jim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=94#comment475 the age question applies to all activitieslooking after younger child looking after dog/cat or any petriding a bikegoing fishingwalking on the streetusing the internetcooking foodgoing campingthe list is endless...it's just life....let children live their own lives Thu 10 Feb 2011 11:39:27 GMT+1 recrec http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=93#comment474 If someone of 14 is not capable of looking after a three year old, there is something badly wrong. When I was that age it was normal for children to be paid to act as baby sitters for other people children. Is it really the fact that children who have so many rights (which they know all about are so irresponsible that they cannot be trusted? What an indictment of our modern society! Thu 10 Feb 2011 11:06:04 GMT+1 John Charlton http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=93#comment473 When our first child was a baby a friend popped in to visit my wife, who asked where was her similarly-aged baby. "Oh, I left him asleep in his cot," was the reply from the mother whose house was two miles away. She was a child social worker!!! Thu 10 Feb 2011 11:00:20 GMT+1 zrzavy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=93#comment472 Up until 1960 - age 11.Now - age 18.In some ways children mature earlier now, but in terms of being "a responsible person" they grow up considerably slower now. Thu 10 Feb 2011 10:48:18 GMT+1 Martin1983 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=93#comment471 I would say it's down to common sense. Some children are more mature and responsible than others. I think if you have kids then presumably you should know when the time is right to leave them at home alone. Thu 10 Feb 2011 10:42:19 GMT+1 Why_Why_Why http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=93#comment470 I wish no child ever came to harm. Avoidable or otherwise.The last paragraph. Untrue. It is not a laughing matter. It strikes me that in England: The age of "criminal responsibility" = 10 The age of "civil responsibility" = 16We left London for Switzerland with our pre-school children. Quality of life was the deciding factor. We both grew up overseas and it was out of the question for us to bring children up in Central London.In Switzerland, babysitters are expected to attend classes. Here they can start at 13, overseen by a respected community voluntary organisation.The bad experiences of some correspondents, I suspect, come from unfair expectations and demands of parents.The key here in Switzerland is individual and civic responsibility.Regarding walking alone to school, after careful consideration, our children started to walk to and from kindergarten at about 5½. Some of their peers started even earlier. Walking, whether alone or accompanied is actively encouraged by ALL the authorities and kindergartens are situated to enable this wherever possible.What are the statistics for injury and death due to "the school run"? Very little in the last 7 years has made me want to consider returning, especially as the BBC's international news coverage is available to me here, just as the BBC World Service was on the radio when I was a child. Thu 10 Feb 2011 10:34:29 GMT+1 mocambique1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=92#comment469 I was left in charge of my bother who was 7, he did a fine job and through this the bond became very strong. We knew right from wrong, no fires, no playing with the electrics, no cooking, to keep the doors locked. The dogs would guard us too. Oh, I went to boarding school when I was 5 through no fault of my parents and only saw them 3 months in a year. So really, brother and I were independent, something I have taught my own children who do not rely on the Nanny State for direction Thu 10 Feb 2011 09:44:04 GMT+1 FriendlyNemesis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=92#comment468 It depends on the child. Personally I was happy to be in charge of my siblings at that age while my parents were out, and probably started younger. I don't have enough information on this particular case, but it seems to me an official police caution was very probably out of place. Thu 10 Feb 2011 09:38:51 GMT+1 AM http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=92#comment467 I can see why society is like it is – and a lot of it is the parents fault! Yes, Really! I see it everyday when I chuck my little one out of the car at primary school. Too many parents getting out of the car, holding their little ones bags, taking them into school, hanging up their coat, making sure their save and secure from all the nasty people outside. I drive to work past the secondary school and these are nearly doing to same but with their 15 year olds. How about given some responsibility to your children and not pander to every little of their whims? Thu 10 Feb 2011 09:05:51 GMT+1 holierthanthou http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=92#comment466 It is my understanding that the police "offer" a caution and you can accept or refuse, if you refuse they may prosecute you over the "crime".The woman, if she believed her child was responsible enough to mind the 3 yr old, should have refused the caution and taken it to court, to allow the court to make the judgement.I think most 14 yr olds are perfectly capable of minding their siblings for a short period. It helps develop a sense of responsibility too. I would expect a 14 yr old to know when, who and how to call for assistance if it was required. I would also have expected my own children at the age to be able to make a hot drink and a simple meal safely.When I was 14 in the 70's, my parents (and older siblings) worked shifts and I often cooked the evening meal for the family. Thu 10 Feb 2011 08:50:40 GMT+1 Childrens Legal Centre http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=92#comment465 The Children's Legal Centre has a very helpful downloadable fact sheet on 'Leaving Children Home Alone' which can be found at [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] Thu 10 Feb 2011 02:26:38 GMT+1 Pakkamac http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=91#comment464 Children:: should be supervised untill they start making their own independent way in the world. Thu 10 Feb 2011 00:48:51 GMT+1 Vickymac http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=91#comment463 So, where do we stand as parents in allowing, as I do, my 14 year old son to take his 5 year old brother to the swing park. Alone and unsupervised, for a couple of hours? Is this now unacceptable? I can see no difference other then him being outside! Wed 09 Feb 2011 21:53:16 GMT+1 pb http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=91#comment462 It is not that black and white. There are many adults not fit to have children let alone look after them. We also have 13 year old mothers these days. Some children are mature at 14, some are not. You can't let the parents decide if you don't think they are fit parents... so we end up with one size fits all rules. Wed 09 Feb 2011 18:56:01 GMT+1 Rachel http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=91#comment461 Having been phoned by our local police during last year's snow because our highly responsible 11 year-old daughter was out in the snow with her sled ON HER OWN, getting an early start on the only hill in our area where all the children eventually congregate, I have come to the conclusion that we are all living in a nut house! Wed 09 Feb 2011 17:58:34 GMT+1 Casitian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=91#comment460 i should say about 10 years of age. Wed 09 Feb 2011 17:14:10 GMT+1 reflector2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=90#comment459 what no one has asked is; How did the police know she had left them?What 'caring' neighbour reported her? Wed 09 Feb 2011 16:57:33 GMT+1 ichugsy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=90#comment458 Heather, your experience sounds horrendous and I'm sorry for the trauma you went through. Yet there is clearly a world of difference between a mum who pops out for half an hour to do some shopping, and parents who delegate the care of a child to another for considerable lenghts of time for years on end. This is clearly wrong. Wed 09 Feb 2011 16:49:11 GMT+1 KarenZ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=90#comment457 Nanny state gone mad. I baby sat for my younger brothers and sister from age 10. I had the phone numbers of adults & my parents I could contact in case of need. No one came to any harm.But in those days we were not wrapped in cotton wool and prevented from growing up into responsible adults. We were given chores and held accountable. Wed 09 Feb 2011 16:40:00 GMT+1 jtwiggs http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=90#comment456 What happens if the 14 yr old left in charge of the baby is its mother? Are we saying that she's not allowed to be left alone with her own child? Wed 09 Feb 2011 16:26:02 GMT+1 Heather http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=90#comment455 When I was 11, I was taken out of a foster family I loved very much and left alone every night to look after my younger brother while my parents worked in their shop at the other side of the city. I wasn't allowed to tell anyone at school and if anyone came to the door, I wasn't to answer it in case they asked for an adult.It was tough and there were some horrendous incidents. Not only did I have to deal with my own growing pains (I was also being bullied at school), I had to care for another child. As the dutiful daughter, however, I had to shut up and get on with it.This continued for about 6 years. By the age of 16, I hated my brother for his very existence and my parents for putting him before me. I was suicidal, but I managed to get a place at University and got out as soon as I could. Uni kept me busy, but after I'd left and had a chance to process it all in my head, I had a nervous breakdown. Years later, I'm through it all but I'm aware that I could have ended up a lot worse. However, the old wounds open up occasionally, especially when reading through debates such as this one. Despite my own experiences, I'm still struggling to answer all the questions HYS has posed. The quick answer it that it really depends on the child concerned, but Parents Be Warned - just because a child seems to accept being left alone with a huge responsibility dumped on them, they may just be putting up and shutting up and you will have no idea of what's really going on inside their heads. You could be seriously damaging them on the inside. Wed 09 Feb 2011 16:06:49 GMT+1 ichugsy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=89#comment454 If the police didn't caution her, and the next day the house burn't down with the children inside, then the newspaper headlines would scream at the police for not protecting the helpless children from their hapless mother and the officer and his superior would probably be jobless. Think about it, in these days of litigation, once it has been reported to the police, they have to follow it up to cover themselves - dont they? This is not a police issue, it is a society issue, where neighbours don't look out for one another and instead cast judgement. In days gone by I'm sure the mum could have asked her neighbour to keep an eye out for the kids while she was out, and the local "bobby" knew the families on his beat and was better placed to use his discretion.In our blame clulture, should something happen, we would have to place the blame and so compare ourselves favourably, "I would never have done such a thing", rather than accept that accidents do happen, sometimes with sad consequences and trust that the mother acted with sense and needs our sympathy not judgement. Wed 09 Feb 2011 15:57:35 GMT+1 yellowsandydog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=89#comment453 "392. At 6:34pm on 08 Feb 2011, Mike Scott wrote:I HAD TO SHARE THIS.To all the people born in the 50/60/70sFirst, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank etc etc"It always occurs to me when I read this sort of argument,if we hadn't survived we wouldn't be here to read this. So using it as excuse to behave recklessly and ignore current scientific knowledge is rather silly.As a toddler I suffered a broken femur in a road accident because of the lack of safety belts and child seats. I eventually made a full recovery after several weeks hanging upside down in hospital but had the accident happened at a higher speed I would either be dead or disabled now.Most of the regulations we have now are there for good reasons. Wed 09 Feb 2011 15:00:18 GMT+1 Mad Bad and Dangerous http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=89#comment452 Well, I have two children, a 13 year old, and a 4 year old.Like it or not, when I go to the shops, I leave the 4 year old with the 13 year old.He's competent, clever, knows how to dial a mobile number... and watches his sibling like a hawk.The parents were idiots for accepting a caution - thus accepting that they had done something wrong - when - frankly, if they had put it to the courts (and a jury) the CPS would never have let it be laughed out of court, and would have backed down, and they would have had an apology from the police.Children are different. Mine are competent. Other people have children who are disobedient. The rules require the parent to make a call. Wed 09 Feb 2011 14:51:56 GMT+1 D G Cullum http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=89#comment451 When they can afford their own place and the same applies to having a car when they can buy their own then they can doe as they pleases till then you stay in or take them with you. Wed 09 Feb 2011 14:50:22 GMT+1 yellowsandydog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=89#comment450 I read up more about this case on the Daily Express website. It says there was no "incident" while the teenager looked after his little brother and that the mother has been suspended from her job as a health care assistant since 2009, apparently indefinitely. It doesn't say what other source of income the family has, if any.It seems ridiculous because I babysat at 14 and got a badge at Guides for it, but that was 40 years ago.It is easy in hindsight to say she should have refused the caution, but if she wanted the police her alone and she worried about prosecution it must have seemed the best option at the time. Wed 09 Feb 2011 14:40:30 GMT+1 Mahatma http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=88#comment449 Next thing the government will dictate is how much I should or shouldnt love my kids or wife. ITS SICKENING TO THE CORE... Wed 09 Feb 2011 14:02:22 GMT+1 Mahatma http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=88#comment448 STOP TRYING TO SET THE OTHERS' HOUSE IN ORDER(be it someone's family or another country). Wed 09 Feb 2011 13:57:52 GMT+1 Mahatma http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=88#comment447 I very strongly agree with the opinion voiced by the child development specialist Sue Palmer and would like to add that everyday common sense decision making has become a legal exercise. This is leading to no less than "state terrorism". The pursuit if more legislation stems from the accountability required from government to ensure so called "safety". The fact remains that governments are supposed to deal with macro-policy not micro-policy (down to rules within the family). Wed 09 Feb 2011 13:53:55 GMT+1 Seqenenre http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=88#comment446 It is not a case of age but of maturity.One 14 year old is not all 14 year olds.C0ome nto that we all know that many parents have no responsibility either....in fact some have kids with more sense than they have. Wed 09 Feb 2011 13:52:04 GMT+1 zoe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=88#comment445 My son has been my young carer since the age of 9 , ( i was involved in car crash ) i couldn,t walk , stand, make food, bath , dress myself, i asked social services for help and they told me i needed to be refured by somebody in authority , when i explained that my 9yr old was lookin after me and his younger siblings they didn,t care???? my son is now 15 yrs old studyin for his GCSE and still my carer, but a neighbour phoned police and social services a few months ago because i left him in the house with the younger siblings , i was questioned, intimitaded made to feel i was a bad mother , yet it was ok for my son to bath me dress me and look after the family at the age of 9 .... he lost his childhood , and now they sayin i bad for leavin him in charge while i was in hospital havin physio, one mucked up society , Wed 09 Feb 2011 13:32:39 GMT+1 Freedomknight http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=87#comment444 My Father was killed in the RAF in the last war and my Mother had to work as we were growing up and we all had to do our bit. My sister 10 and I 8 used to come home from school and peal the potatoes and put them on to boil slowly so that they were ready for when my Mother came home.I always prepared and lit the coal fire every morning from the age of 7 and always chopped the sticks to do it the next day. My Granddad started work at 12 learning to be Waterman and his first job was to be hoisted up the mast of a sailing barge and varnish it gradually lowering himself till it was done. Children now seem very immature compared to when I was child. Wed 09 Feb 2011 13:09:00 GMT+1 Black_And_Proud http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=87#comment443 Any age, really, it depends how busy you are. Wed 09 Feb 2011 13:04:43 GMT+1 Catcradle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=87#comment442 I remember my friends and me coming home from school at 11 while parents were at work and going out to do household shopping or work experience at 14. We would have been walking ourselves to school from about 8, and a lot of 10-11 year old children walk themselves to school today.This does not seem to be about whether you can leave a 14-year-old, but whether you can leave a 3-year-old safely in the care of a 14-year-old. It is fairly normal for teenagers to babysit, so as long as the teen is sensible (I bet they've looked after their sibling before) I can't see why they couldn't. There are some very young parents around - you wouldn't stop a tenage mother from looking after her own child. So it may not be ideal, but it's reality, and you will find that teenagers are much more responsible when they are given responsibility than when they are treated like children and end up acting out. Wed 09 Feb 2011 12:52:55 GMT+1 Katescomment http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=87#comment441 Not only should it be normal for a 14 year old to babysit for short periods, it should be considered a vital part of their upbringing and training for entering the adult world of responsibility. Childhood is a time for gradually teaching our children to cope with adult life and responsibilities, especially parenting skills, as most will later require them. The adult who does not expect his or her children to babysit, walk to school, cross roads etc as they progress is failing them and needs parenting education themselves. There is no miracle that happens on your 16th or 18th birthday that magically makes you grown up and competent. Wed 09 Feb 2011 12:46:04 GMT+1 Romford_Manda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=87#comment440 Lets be realistic here, some adults really shouldn't be allowed to stay home alone! I don't think age is the deciding factor. Some 8, 9, 10 and more year olds are more sensible that their parents whereas some would not cope with the responsibility. I don't think it is sensible or rational to make a decision based on age. Wed 09 Feb 2011 12:40:35 GMT+1 Daisy Chained http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=86#comment439 Most adults cannot be trusted alone. I think a lot of kids could give them lessons on how to behave too. Wed 09 Feb 2011 12:01:18 GMT+1 lucyloopy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=86#comment438 437. At 11:22am on 09 Feb 2011, KenThompson wrote:Quite right that the Mother has received a police caution.If you can't look after your children....simple.Don't have children.There's too many parents these days who think it comes without responsibility.******************************************************I don't really think leaving a child home alone for half an hour is irresponsible and means she shouldn't have kids!You MIGHT have a point if it was every evening after shcool while the mohter was at work and all weekends as well. But not for a half hour trip to the shops... Wed 09 Feb 2011 11:57:58 GMT+1 JLN22 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=86#comment437 437. At 11:22am on 09 Feb 2011, KenThompson wrote:Quite right that the Mother has received a police caution.If you can't look after your children....simple.Don't have children.There's too many parents these days who think it comes without responsibility.-----------------------So a mother who chooses to let their sensible and well brought up 14 year old take some responsibility and look after their sibling for half an hour in an emergency is every bit as irresponsible as for example one who leaves a small child completely alone or leaves a child while at the pub/on holiday etc in your opinion? Do you have children yourself? Let me put it to you - what would you do if you had a toddler fast asleep in bed and a responsible teenager who you trusted also at home and you had to go out for a short time in an emergency? Would you wake the youngest, drag both of them out in the cold and dark, or would you ensure the eldest was happy and competent to be left (with instructions and contact numbers) and be as quick as you can (while of course worrying as any (responsible) parent would, but feeling that your worry was less selfish than dragging your child out of bed). I think this would be a dilemma for most caring parents, NOT an action of cruelty!! Wed 09 Feb 2011 11:43:42 GMT+1 KenThompson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=86#comment436 Quite right that the Mother has received a police caution.If you can't look after your children....simple.Don't have children.There's too many parents these days who think it comes without responsibility. Wed 09 Feb 2011 11:22:02 GMT+1 TheGrassAintGreener http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=86#comment435 397. At 6:59pm on 08 Feb 2011, Magi Tatcher wrote:392. At 6:34pm on 08 Feb 2011, Mike Scott wrote:I HAD TO SHARE THIS.To all the people born in the 50/60/70sFirst, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos...They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints...And YOU are one of them!CONGRATULATIONS!You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.Some may say that the reduction in the UK infant mortality rate was worth the regulation.http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/data_rate_page.jsp?u_id=10001043&c_id=0&data_theme=T_VITAL&id=0If it hasn't been mentioned in this forum already, I image this data doesn't take into account two world wars, child labour, and scientific, technological and medical advancements which have prolonged life expectancies. Wed 09 Feb 2011 11:14:48 GMT+1 devilzadvacate1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=85#comment434 It's very difficult to set a specific age because all children develop at different rates.I actually know some 14 year olds who are far more reliable, trustworthy and sensible than their own parents. Wed 09 Feb 2011 11:11:26 GMT+1 Wrinklyoldgit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=85#comment433 At 14 years of age I had two paper rounds in the morning and two in the evening, delivering over 1,000 newspapers and magazines a week in all weathers, and collected the delivery charges from the people on a Saturday - all for a pound a round a week and a pound for collecting the paper delivery money.Were my parents irresponsible? Not in the least, in the late fifties it was do or starve, the choice was contribute to the family income or do without, the small income delivering papers made a huge difference to our family, it paid for the first television we bought in time for the 1960 Rome Olympics. The nanny state today has no recollections of or interest in what it was like to live on the bread line in the fifties, at the first sign today of a problem people expect the state to rush in with cash benefits. People need to learn to be independent, look after themselves, we dont have a bonus culture, we have a state hand-out dependency culture. Wed 09 Feb 2011 10:59:53 GMT+1 JLN22 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=85#comment432 I have already commented on how ridicoulous I think this police caution was, however I did have to respond to all those who seem to think the mother had a choice between her 14 year old looking after his younger brother and getting a professional to do so - I think given that it was half an hour it was probably spur of the moment/an emergency. What kind of childminders and nurseries do you have where you live who could accept a child for that period of time and at short notice? Because if I am required to work a different day from my normal hours, for example, I have to first notify the nursery (usually 1-2 weeks beforehand), they then check they can accept her for the EXTRA day, I pay the extra day in advance and still have to pay my usually monthly fee so that regardless whether she attends on her usual day, I will be paying. I can hear the echos of their laughter now if I asked them to "look after my daughter while I pop to the shop"!!! I doubt many teenagers are looking after their siblings in place of full time childcare so the parents can work (since they would be at school surely) - and it is certainly not the case in this instance! Separating the facts of the case from suppositions about using teenagers as child slaves would be a start! Wed 09 Feb 2011 10:58:31 GMT+1 Wrinklyoldgit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=85#comment431 This is politically correct lunacy - or its council child protecction officials and/or the the police meeting NuLabours discredited targets.A 14 year old is not responsible? The nanny state has lost its collective marbles, in some countries people at 14 are looking after families or are married with children, earning a living, or even fighting for their countries independence.Who is making the decisions on what age is a person responsible, and what are their qualifications for making such decisions? If their only qualification is that they are a paid official then the decision might as well be made by the council refuse departments or the traffic wardens or the street sweepers - they probably know just as much about life in the real world as anyone, and possibly even more as they deal with the public face to face every working day.There are sane rational people over 40 in court every day for acting "irresponsibly" - should the state employ minders to look after "irresponsible" sane rational adults as well? Some sane rational people in the past have been criminally responsible for some of the most attrocious cases of child neglect and abuse continuing unchecked for years, some cases even leading to children being killed in their own home. Wed 09 Feb 2011 10:30:11 GMT+1 putyourselfintheirshoes http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=85#comment430 It's really a common sense issue whether parents a) leave a child alone when they nip out for half an hour and b) if a teenager can be trusted to look after a smaller child. The answers to both depend on the individual - if they are capable and mature enough there should be no reason not to.My concern for the family involved is rooted in the fact that the mother does not appear to have had any legal representation before accepting the caution, for a lawyer would surely have advised her that no crime had been committed and that she did not have to accept the caution.I see too many children unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions and attainment, because they have been so mollycoddled that, as teenagers, it is too late. Children learn from being independent and making mistakes. We need to give them the same opportunities we had to grow and develop into functioning, contributing, mature members of society. If we don't, we can't complain about the way they behave. Wed 09 Feb 2011 10:23:06 GMT+1 Grey Animal http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=84#comment429 As many people have written, age is not the touchstone; maturity is what counts.I'm seven years older than my sister. In order that my parents could have a well-deserved evening out together once a week, from the age of twelve or thereabouts I was trusted to look after, put her to bed, read her a story, make sure that she went to the loo before I went to bed, and go to bed myself before my parents got home about 11pm. We had good neighbours, and had there been any problems that I couldn't deal with, I should simply have called on them for assistance. Fortunately, this was never needed!This was in the 1970s; nobody then seemed at all disquieted that a teenaged boy should be looking after his younger sister in such a way.Similarly, after my grandmother had a stroke when I was fifteen and she was living with my aunt, I would look after her, again on my own, for a evening a week so that they could have what we would now call some respite time together. As my grandmother was immobile and blind, I would have to feed her and toilet her as well as keep her company.Again, this was not seen as abnormal or to be deprecated, but rather as a measure of my trustworthiness and the love I had for my family. Wed 09 Feb 2011 09:24:47 GMT+1 mudsailor http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=84#comment428 As so many have commented, it depends on the children, the circumstances and the age in which we live. At five, I was left on a stairwell behind Waterloo Station while my teenage sisters sneaked off to join the crowds celebrating VE Day. Imagine doing such a thing today. Now I was a cute looking kid; large women used to clutch me to their bossoms and strange men would stare at me from behind their Daily Telegraphs, but I never came to any harm. It was such a different world. Wed 09 Feb 2011 09:16:14 GMT+1 Angryfinlandfff http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=84#comment427 I grew up in the UK in a time when it was seen as the norm for older kids to look after younger kids. I was myself responsible for looking after my young brother and sister form the age of 12 when my mum was at work in the evenings!Now I live in Finland, and luckily I do otherwise I would probably have had my kids taken off me years ago. When my son was 11 my wife and I decided that he was old enough to look after his sister who is nearly 3 years younger while we did such things as going to the shops walking the dog etc.It is the norm here that kids from the age of 6 will travel to school on their own, it is the rare parent who can take them there in the morning given that work usually starts at 7 or 8 and school starts between 9 and 10. The vast majority of school age kids will also be going home to an empty house after school and have to look after themselves (including for many preparing food) until their parents arrive home.Now that our kids are older (son 14, daughter 11) we will leave them on their own in the evenings once or twice a month while we go for a friday night out. The kids will watch tv, chat with friends online (I have a perental supervision program on the computer which limits what they can do there and reports to me what they do) and put themselves to bed. They have their own mobiles and we always have ours with them so they can call if they need to, also they know that if anything happens they can call on the neighbors for help.Other than going out to enjoy ourselves (and keep our relationship strong) my wife and I are also heavily involved in several volunteer associations which leads to us both being absent for several evenings every other week. As a low income family there is no way we could do any of this or lead a social life if we had to pay for somebody over 16 to come and babysit whenever we want to go out.I often wonder what has happened to the country of my birth, a place that has a reputation of being friendly, welcoming to strangers, open, having trustworthy citizens, and maybe above all else of bringing up people who are able to get on in the world and look after themselves. How on earth are todays kids going to grow up knowing how to look after themselves if they are not allowed to walk to school alone or look after themselves for an hour or so while their parents go to the shop?Britain is more and more becoming a joke and a laughing stock for the rest of Europe to make fun of. GET REAL! Wed 09 Feb 2011 07:24:19 GMT+1 Clear Incite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=84#comment426 392. At 6:34pm on 08 Feb 2011, Mike Scott wrote:I HAD TO SHARE THIS.To all the people born in the 50/60/70sFirst, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos... They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds , KFC, Subway or Nandos.E ven though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on a Sunday, somehow we didn't starve to death!We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with. We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O..K.We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii , X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY , no video/dvd films, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were noLawsuits from these accidents.Only girls had pierced ears!We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time...We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays,We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet because we didn’t need to keep up with the Jones’s!Not everyone made the rugby/football/cricket/netball team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Getting into the team was based on MERIT Our teachers used to hit us with canes and gym shoes and throw the blackboard rubber at us if they thought we weren’t concentrating .We can string sentences together and spell and have proper conversations because of a good, solid three R’s education.The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!Our parents didn't invent stupid names for their kids like 'Kiora' and 'Blade' and 'Ridge' and 'Vanilla' We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL !And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike you forgot sheath Knives at 10yrs for which we may have accidentally cut ourselves, but generaly didn't go around stabbing each other. Wed 09 Feb 2011 06:12:55 GMT+1 clamdip lobster claws http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=84#comment425 Sorry, If parents have children they shouldn't ask their older children to babysit for them. I think its unfair and its like unpaid child labor.Keeping their room clean and getting good grades is one thing but turning them into unwilling family slaves is another. Wed 09 Feb 2011 04:41:40 GMT+1 LondonHarris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=83#comment424 When I hear do-gooders telling us that their kids have to be driven to School every Day, for back in the 1950's and 1960's there was by far alot more danger while walking to School.For there was something back then far worse than the current fumes of today from motor vehicles. It was called SMOG.The Clean Air Act of 1956 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in response to London's Great Smog of 1952. It was not until 1964 when this Act came fully into effect, while being sponsored by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in England and the Department of Health for Scotland.This Act of 1956 introduced a number of measures to reduce air pollution, especially by introducing 'smoke control areas' aka: Smokeless - Zones in some towns and cities in which only smokeless fuels could be burnt.It a wonder that every Child living before 1964 did not died from a Chest Infection relating to breathing in daily Smog during the Winter months,( while also NOT being able to see your Hands in front of your Face ), while on top of this with ALL the coal burning Open - Fires around everywhere in every Home, we quite offen also sometimes did breath in Soot, which was always around once the Fires needed cleaning.To those of you that have never understood why many People cannot understand why we wrap our Children up in Cotton - Wool these Days, then you really DON'T no what the lives of many was like in what now is a by-gone Era, whereby those that were there are wiser for just the once of simply being there. Wed 09 Feb 2011 02:07:57 GMT+1 angelholme http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=83#comment423 So if a child of fourteen is not considered old enough to look after their younger brother, why is it that same child can be considered old enough to be tried as an adult for a crime that they might commit? Either they are responsible or they aren't - you can't have it both ways. Wed 09 Feb 2011 02:01:05 GMT+1 Ghost1972 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=83#comment422 So no one got hurt and everything was fine..am i correct?Maybe the police should do more for the poor little kids that get killed by sicko parents. When i was a kid my brother looked after me and my sister, and he was younger than that....admittedly we played football in the house and broke a lot of Beswick china animals and hid them (My mom still doesn't know half of what got broken 30 years on) If you think your child is capable and responsible enough let them babysit, i mean don't let them use a chainsaw or anything that would be stupid. Maybe they would grow up more balanced and better prepared for life, if we still had community`s (remember them) people would look out for one another.But if you are going to do this, don't put upon your kid as a baby sitter, they might actually have a life of there own and not like baby sitting. but my first girlfriend had to babysit every Friday for years and years for her brothers and sisters and the dog of course, it worked and she grew up well balanced and who, with a shout could stop a clock and make your ears bleed!But things have to be done, kids have to be looked after, my sister used to baby sit for money and she was 14 or so.After reading the tosh on here i guess that you lot got beaten and starved by your brother and sisters then? well you really do need help.14 year old look after a 3 year old...and? if its a sibling so what, if the kid doesn't have swine flu or a life threatening condition, what's the big deal? If the media didn't just concentrate on the negative (good news makes hacks shrivel up, like slugs and salt) and the peedo under every bed.Come on, have a little trust in your offspring or are they all ready to kill a granny and rape a telephone box. If you think this maybe you should have been spayed at 14.We pushed cars up the hill in the snow for money, i was in charge of the carpet that used to go under the wheels running up and down hill with it for ages just to get some money for chips or batters with a can of pop. i was 10 my brother was 15 my sister was 9. we are all here and not scarred by it in any way.Have a little faith in your kids they might actually surprise you. Wed 09 Feb 2011 00:41:28 GMT+1 stingfan1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=83#comment421 COMMENT 392!!! MIKE SCOTT!!!BRAVO...WHAT A COMMENT..!! It REALLY made my day - THANK YOU!! As a child of the 60's/70's myself everything you say is true and you just described my childhood (and that of my siblings). Your comment will certainly be 'passed on' to the wimpy parents and kids I know - and there are plenty of them believe me. Today = (mostly) paranoid parents who will never cut the umbilical cord. Ever. Until of course it's cut FOR them by their own kids as they argue over who's going to look after them in 'the home'.... Tue 08 Feb 2011 22:42:21 GMT+1 keithl http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=83#comment420 "Chris Cloke, from the NSPCC, says the law doesn't specify the age at which children can be left alone, but you can face charges if you put a child at risk."What about the parents who a couple of years ago left a four year old and two twins under two whilst they went out for a meal with five friends? Why have they never been prosecuted for child neglect? Tue 08 Feb 2011 22:37:55 GMT+1 leoRoverman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=82#comment419 Well what a load of Rubbis- a 14 year old is not cpapble for looking after a younger sibling- thats cruelty is it? Fine then don't expect sub 14 year olds to look after ill people at home which they do. Oh and my Generation should put in a class action for cruelty against this country because most of us were latch key kids. Tue 08 Feb 2011 22:25:27 GMT+1 spacekadet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=82#comment418 If the child is born of intelligent, caring parents, he or she could be left alone at the parents discretion. Having seen a recent charity advert starring a five year old indian girl carrying water and sewing for 10 hours a day, I don't really think we should be making laws to 'protect' the spoilt little brats we seem to be producing here. Tue 08 Feb 2011 21:41:52 GMT+1 C Beaven http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=82#comment417 This is totally absurd and a stark reminder that there is still a long way to go before Labour's nanny is finally made redundant. The real problem is that children are so over-protected that their rights seem much more important than the rights of adults. It's hardly surprising why there is a generation of gun toting and knife carrying feral yobs that roam the street because as the law stands at the moment, no-one can touch them.Having said that, if there are 10000 fewer police on the streets in the next couple of years, are the police going to have time to pursue these so-called petty offences. It depends if they are going after easy targets to get the numbers up i.e. speeding motorists and law-abiding citizens or tackling real criminal activity which is more difficult to detect and solve. Tue 08 Feb 2011 21:37:06 GMT+1 Davesaid http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=82#comment416 There is no right age. Some children as young as 10 have far more common sense that many who have supposedly come of age.In the war my eldest brother was given the task of ensuring my baby sister got to the shelter during the blitz to enable my mother to look after the rest of us. He was but 10 years old at the time & no child was safer than my sister. Tue 08 Feb 2011 21:10:13 GMT+1 reflector2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=82#comment415 2. At 1:40pm on 07 Feb 2011, Awld divil wrote:13 - which is also the age at which we should send them to work. There, that'll upset the socialist do gooders that populate these pages.--------------------------------Trust me when i say there are NO social good-doers that populate these pages. Just internet land hypocrites. I think they are running a virtual world called BELAM! Tue 08 Feb 2011 21:04:13 GMT+1 Fugl5 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=81#comment414 404. At 7:38pm on 08 Feb 2011, paulmerhaba wrote:What happens if,The three year old chokes on something.Someone breaks into the house.The house catches fire.I think you know where i am going, accidents do happen.......Isn't it(potentialy) a lot of responsibility to put on the shoulders of a 14 year old.-------------------------------------------------------------------------What if, what if, what if...Too many unlikely factors must be considered into everything if you take that approach.Any considerate parent would leave the 14 year old with a set of instructions of what to do in certain scenarios. Most of them would involve phoning someone which any 14 year old knows how to do. Would you rather it if a kid gets to 18 having had no responsibility and then suddenly have everything dumped on at once as soon as they leave home? Wouldn't it be better if at least a small part of childhood was spent learning life skills too? A 14 year old is more than capable enough of child-minding for a short time. It's not like a toddler needs constant parental attention like a baby would. Tue 08 Feb 2011 21:01:14 GMT+1 bobbgooduk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=81#comment413 I'm a September baby and started school a couple of days before my 5th birthday. My brother - nine years older than me - took me to school and collected me at the end of the day. That was until he was 15 in the March when he left school and started work.At the age of 5years 7 months, I took myself to school and brought myself home. My dad put a Yale lock in the back door half-way down rather than higher up, and I wore the key aroung my neck on a piece of string. I let myself in, made a cup of tea and watched children's TV or played with my Meccano until an adult came home.I was perfectly capable, trustworthy and nothing untoward ever happened.I didn't do that with my own son, but I was never in the position of having to choose between work or childcare.I think it depends on the child but I certainly think that 14 is old enough to take care of a younger sibling - I don't wish to rob them of their "childhood" but most teenagers are considerably more capable than they're given credit for. It's some of the parents you have to worry about! Tue 08 Feb 2011 20:47:49 GMT+1 markus_uk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=81#comment412 Sounds like good old Nanny at work and in full swing. Absolutely wonderful! Tue 08 Feb 2011 20:33:58 GMT+1 billyhano http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=81#comment411 405. At 7:52pm on 08 Feb 2011, Clear Incite wrote:397. At 6:59pm on 08 Feb 2011, Magi Tatcher wrote:392. At 6:34pm on 08 Feb 2011, Mike Scott wrote:"Infant mortality rates may be lower, 30yr + mortality rates are predicted to rise why perhaps some of the answer you will find in the list you dismiss so easily."-----------------------------------------------------------------------If you can prevent 30yr + mortality rates from rising you have discoveredimmortality!! Tue 08 Feb 2011 20:18:51 GMT+1 miss-ish http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=81#comment410 this law is far too vague . if the child was not in danger how was there any wrong-doing?i have been babysitting since the age of 12 sometimes looking after young babies often refusing to go home if a parent came home drunk! age is not an indication of maturity or competence. Tue 08 Feb 2011 20:12:11 GMT+1 britswife http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=80#comment409 Bravo for bringing up the children caring for parents or grandparents at a very young age - way below the age of 12. How "Brave" they are seen to be - How "Grown-up"! What little "Hero's" they are! What a load of C#@#! Is it because the social services people can't be bothered? Does it save the council money? Where is/are the cautions in these instances? And yet 10 year olds are treated as adult "Criminals" at age 10! & 14 year olds have children of their own. Small wonder your children aren't allowed out without a "minder". Why not build special "Youth Rooms" in all the houses. Anyone under the age of 20 would be sealed up with a TV and munchies (Hey, obesity would then be looked at as parental love!). Tue 08 Feb 2011 20:09:52 GMT+1 Peter Bridgemont http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=80#comment408 This post has been Removed Tue 08 Feb 2011 20:09:14 GMT+1 sausag3dog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=80#comment407 14 is an ok age to be left for half an hour with a three year old. I did it with my children and they never came to any harm, though I wasn't very relaxed while out. However, sometimes needs must and people should understand that and leave this family alone. What a ridiculous fuss, unbelievable. Tue 08 Feb 2011 19:58:14 GMT+1 Human http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=80#comment406 In mailand Europe children walk to school at a young age. Here this is considered to be neglect. My daughters were expected to walk up a steep hill and catch the school bus on their own at 5. I refused to be taken to school by my mum after the first week. We used to laugh at peopel whose parents brought and collected them. My brother and I would be left alone for short times when we were in primary school and in the evenings from when I was about 13. I used to have 14 year old babysitters for my children.The world is proabaly less not more dangerous. Let your children learn to be independant Tue 08 Feb 2011 19:57:18 GMT+1 clamdip lobster claws http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2011/02/at_what_age_can_children_be_le.html?page=80#comment405 paulmerhaba,Exactly. Should a child have to suffer the responsibility of the death of another child when he was given a responsibility far beyond his capability. Obviously, each parent has to weigh these dilemnas out for themselves. I just think that parent's should have numerous choices like free or inexpensive child care. I don't consider this a "nanny state". I consider it what a decent society should have offered from the get go. The reason we don't have excellent schools, excellent facilities for children is corruption. All the money is going into someone's bank account instead of into the lives of children where morally, if we truly are a democracy, it should go. Tue 08 Feb 2011 19:54:27 GMT+1