Mother Arrested for Using 13-yr-old as Babysitter
When does one become qualified to babysit? Is there a specific age or grade level that accurately measures the aptness of a sitter?
A 39-year-old woman was arrested for leaving her four children – ages 13, 10, 4, and 1 1/2 – alone at home while she attended church. According to this article, she left the children in the care of her eldest child; but when a neighbor called the police, stating that the 4-year-old wandered into the yard across the street alone, this mother was charged with “risk of injury to a minor.”
Some people are criticizing the mom, while others are pointing fingers at the neighbor, “accusing her of acting in anything but a neighborly way.”
When I was 13 years old, my parents felt I was qualified enough to be entrusted with my 9-year old sister and 5-year-old brother while my mom went to the grocery store, or while my parents went out to dinner for a Friday-evening date. I don’t know if they would have done the same if I’d had an even younger sibling; but regardless, they were never gone that long, and they were never too far away. If my younger brother had wandered out into a neighbor’s yard, I think that neighbor would’ve walked him back over to my house and then, perhaps, stayed until my parents returned. Or, that neighbor may have just returned him and scolded me, warning me about the possible dangers, and would’ve later told my parents what had happened.
I also don’t think my little brother would’ve wandered off without my knowledge. I was a bossy 13-year-old, and I loved authority and responsibility. My siblings probably hated when I was left in charge. I was a helicopter babysitter, just as I am a helicopter mom (I make no apologies for my hover-hover-hovering).
Times have definitely changed since I was 13 and children wandering out in streets or into neighbors’ yards can lead to much more dangerous situations than they once would have; but have the times changed so much that using a 13-year-old babysitter is considered child neglect, or “risk of injury to a minor”?
When does one become qualified to babysit? What do you think?
What? Bizarre. My little sister watched my son for short periods of time starting when she was 11ish and he was 6. My sister and I were also very young when we started staying home alone. maybe 10 and 7.
13 seems definitely old enough to me! Maybe not to watch a baby, but older kids, sure.
legal babysitting age where I am is 12 but they have to take a class. I know because my mom teaches the classes. on the one hand the neighbor was a little unreasonable, on the other why did the mom not take the children with her? most churches have childcare.
by momtimesx4January 18, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Hmm...so it seems that the entire could have been avoided if the 13 year old kept the 4 year old from wandering off, leaving the house, crossing the street and ending up in the yard of a neighbor.
I babysat for several different families since I was 11.
Where I lived, If a child wandered into a neighbor's yard, they would offer them a peanut butter sandwich.
It could happen to the mother, too (a kid wandering off while you're in the shower or whatever).
This is crazy.