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14 Year Old Deemed Unfit to Watch Sibling While Parent's Go Out: Safety Issue or NWO Family Busting

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posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:02 PM
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www.bbc.co.uk...


8 February 2011 Last updated at 04:56 ET Share this pageFacebookTwitter ShareEmail Print Should a teenager be left to babysit a toddler? By Marie Jackson

BBC News



A mother has been given an official police caution for leaving her 14-year-old son in charge of his three-year-old brother. So at what age can children be left at home alone without parental supervision?

It's a story that would sound alarm bells for many mothers and fathers.

Any parent who sometimes nips out to the shops, leaving their children to look after each other, will take note.

Or with the prospect of a rare night out, the couple that offers £20 to a sensible teenage neighbour in return for keeping an eye on their little ones, may now think again.

A mother-of-three from the Thames Valley area has been cautioned by police after leaving her 14-year-old son at home with his little brother.

Sources quoted in the Sunday Times are reported as saying the mother, in her 40s, was away for 30 minutes, the time passed without "incident" and the toddler was never in any danger.

It's very rare to hear about cases like this, but is 14 too young to be babysitting and might more parents find themselves facing a caution?

At the heart of this is what all parents of teenagers - and anyone who has ever been a teenager - knows, that one 14-year-old can differ dramatically from another in their maturity and reliability.

The law on this is vague but the police can - and do - use their discretion in judging these cases.



There is no minimum age at which children can be left on their own, nor does the law specify how old someone needs to be to babysit. However, if the babysitter is under 16, then the parent remains legally responsible for the child's safety.

And, under the Children and Young Persons Act, parents can be prosecuted for wilful neglect if they leave a child unsupervised "in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health". Punishment ranges from a fine to 10 years' imprisonment.

Without legally specified ages to guide them, parents may be left scratching their heads over this grey area.

But children's charity, the NSPCC, advises that children under 13 should not be left at home alone for long periods and children under 16 should not be put in charge of younger children.

Chris Cloke, from the NSPCC, says calls to its Childline helpline showed that being left alone to look after young children can be distressing - one 10-year-old boy called to say he had no idea how to comfort his younger brother to stop him crying.

Jacqui Gilliatt, a family law barrister, says there are difficulties with bringing in an age barrier as it would only ever be arbitrary and you will never eliminate the need for agencies or authorities to step in if something came to light.

She points out that parents do not have to accept a caution, which indicates an admission of guilt. Instead, she advises seeking legal advice and perhaps putting the case before a magistrate.


"Children are becoming less competent because they are being treated like carefully protected pets”

Sue Palmer

*snip*



Child development specialist and author of Toxic Childhood Sue Palmer argues that parents, as well as too much legislation in the UK, are part of the problem.

"Children are becoming less competent because they are being treated like carefully protected pets.

"Unless you let them take on chores and take responsibility for their own behaviour and learn to deal with real time, space and people, you won't be able to leave them in charge of another child."

But she also says such state interference, including the recent threat of more criminal record checks for people working with children, means people are ceasing to use common sense and losing their own ability to judge other human beings.


As a mother of two boys who are five years apart, I can say I never used the older child as a babysitter for his younger brother. Never. That said, I was a stay at home mother. My only job was childcare. Other families may have different dynamics.

The conspiracy is against families, and I see this more of an NWO move towards keeping families busted up. A fourteen yr old should be quite capable of watching his toddler sibling, for thirty minutes or an hour or two. I disagree with the quote in which some woman disses kids nowadays by saying parents are coddling their children thus they are incapable of being responsible enough to babysit.

I babysat for two or three kids at atime when I was thirteen. Have times changed that much? Have kids changed that much that we now need the Police (oh them again) barging into our alread tenuous family lives with more Family Busting nonsense?

Or am I wrong, and do you think children nowadays ARE incapable of babysitting? Is there a pressing need for Police assistance in raising our children?

Once again I say NO POLICE, let parents make these family decisions.

What are your thoughts? More proof positive of NWO interference into our family lives, or a much needed safety measure for our children?

The reasoning, that our kids are not being raised as pampered pets, is ironic considering the solution is to pamper the teen even more by disallowing by citation an opportunity to mature.


edit on Tue, 08 Feb 2011 17:05:52 -0600 by hotbakedtater because: snipped some of the quote




posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:05 PM
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reply to post by hotbakedtater
 


At the end of the day it's down to the family and decision, on one hand I'd say that at 14 I often looked after my younger brother at home and personally if a child isn't capable of simple responsibility at that age then something is wrong.

On the other hand, I have known plenty of 14 year olds who would encourage their 12 year old brothers and sisters to drink cider when the parents (or usually parent) was out.

Difficult one to call but in the majority, I think most kids that age should be allowed the responsibility.
edit on 8/2/11 by Death_Kron because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:11 PM
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Seems like too much to me, this isn't an issue the police should be getting involved in. There are plenty of other important issues that police need to deal with, and things like this is probably why you don't see "bobbies on the beat" anymore, for example.

The thing is, what with rising costs of living, fewer job opportunities, and so on, people are being forced to at least consider this as an option. No longer can people afford to find an ideal job, which perfectly suits their home-life i.e looking after their children, as jobs are hard to come-by, and you can't afford to be picky anymore. Additionally, less and less people will be able to afford to be stay at home mums.

Of course, there is a line- I'm not saying leaving your 4 year old and 2 year old unattended is fine, and that's where the difficulty arises. How young is too young? How long is too long? Perhaps it is just best to stay out of it, as per one of your suggestions, but it really is a tricky one.

I fear this is a scenario we will probably see arising more, given todays economic climate. Part of a conspiracy to further weaken the strength of families? Perhaps, perhaps not, but a difficult topic, nonetheless.
edit on 8-2-2011 by ScepticalBeliever because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:15 PM
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reply to post by ScepticalBeliever
 


I agree, but like I said above, it's a matter of common sense; I'm fairly certain most intelligent adults are capable of making the decision as to whether or not one of the younger children can be trusted and left alone to care for a younger sibling, even if it's only for a few hours.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:16 PM
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At 14, a child should be capable of taking care of a sibling.

In fact, it was quite common in the not too distant past for 12-13-14 year old children to look after younger family members on most farms...generally, the boys would drive the FarmAll tractors and go rabbit and squirrel hunting by themselves at that age...the girls would babysit and cook while the family worked the fields....

The parent should decide what their kids are capable of at that age... the police need to go after some real criminals and stop babysitting the populace.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:17 PM
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reply to post by hotbakedtater
 



How is this family busting?

Its hard to say at what age you can in trust a child to look after another. I used to babysit some toddlers when I was younger and had no problems other than changing a poopie diaper. Its sad to say that there are parents who lack any sensible reasoning and need the police or neighbours to help guide their decisions making.

I don't know the answer to this. Kids are definitely different from when I was a kid and I'm only 30. Whats with kids getting all padded up to ride a bicycle?



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:20 PM
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But children's charity, the NSPCC, advises that children under 13 should not be left at home alone for long periods and children under 16 should not be put in charge of younger children.


That's pretty crazy. Here in Canada, the age for being left alone legally, ranges from 10 to 12, depending on the province. By the age of 13, they're babysitting others. They even have babysitting classes in some communities, so that parents can know that the young babysitter knows what to do in case of an emergency, and how to be responsible.

There are "children" under the age of 16 having their own babies, whether we like it or not, so we should think that they should be able to look after them.

Even just a few generations ago, women used to have their babies at very young ages.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:22 PM
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reply to post by hotbakedtater
 


WHAT!?!
As a fourteen year old I babysat for most of the kids in my neighborhood. I was good enough at it that some of the parents asked me how come their kids would mind me and not them.

This is entirely up to the individual. I have met 12 year olds I considered "responsible adults" and 18 year olds who were mentally children.

Heck I have met 13 year olds in a foreign country who were MOTHERS.

The GOVERNMENT needs to BUTT OUT.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:22 PM
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reply to post by hotbakedtater
 


The article doesn't say why the police were called or what brought their attention to this case. As far as I'm concerned I think it's o.k. to leave a 14 yr. old in charge of younger siblings for 30 mins. I wouldn't leave them in charge if I was to go out all night but I know people who have. I think there is a certain amount of responsibility that has to be shown by both the child and the parents. Too often when the oldest child reaches a certain age the parents think they can go out any time they want without regard to the childs wants or needs. However I think the police and the powers that be need to butt out of our life. Unfortunately there are too many people out there who want the government to save them from there mistakes. What they don't realise is that once Big Brother has his foot in the door he's there to stay.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:28 PM
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Originally posted by topdog30
reply to post by hotbakedtater
 



How is this family busting?

Its hard to say at what age you can in trust a child to look after another. I used to babysit some toddlers when I was younger and had no problems other than changing a poopie diaper. Its sad to say that there are parents who lack any sensible reasoning and need the police or neighbours to help guide their decisions making.

I don't know the answer to this. Kids are definitely different from when I was a kid and I'm only 30. Whats with kids getting all padded up to ride a bicycle?

This is 'family busting' by breaking up the family if the police decide to take the children away from their mother instead of giving a warning. I don't think the police should be involved in this decision.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:31 PM
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reply to post by hotbakedtater
 


When I was a child I would watch my sisters at 11 years old. I was very capable of doing so. 14 is three years older than that so as long it is not for days on end it should be fine. It does depend on the marity of the child as well I have seen some 16 year olds who would not want to babysit my nieces or nephews.
I started babysitting other peoples kids at the age of 12.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:35 PM
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Originally posted by comody88

Originally posted by topdog30
reply to post by hotbakedtater
 



How is this family busting?

Its hard to say at what age you can in trust a child to look after another. I used to babysit some toddlers when I was younger and had no problems other than changing a poopie diaper. Its sad to say that there are parents who lack any sensible reasoning and need the police or neighbours to help guide their decisions making.

I don't know the answer to this. Kids are definitely different from when I was a kid and I'm only 30. Whats with kids getting all padded up to ride a bicycle?

This is 'family busting' by breaking up the family if the police decide to take the children away from their mother instead of giving a warning. I don't think the police should be involved in this decision.


Where did they break up a family? I don't think the police just showed up at their door for nothing. I also think that children shouldn't be put in compromising situations. I don't think we know the whole story.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:41 PM
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reply to post by Death_Kron
 


You're right, the majority of parents can make that decision perfectly well. However, there is still a minority who probably couldn't care either way- though, these people aren't fit to be parents in the first place, and a caution is not going to fix anything.

Like I say, I just fear that typically responsible people may be forced down this route, as they cannot afford child-care, and are having to work daft hours in order to put a meal on the table. Although, in that case, it's not necessarily the parent who should be punished, as it's the system that's failed them- the banksters who needed bailing out, yet hand out billions in bonuses not long after, or the MPs who fraudulenty claim thousands in expenses, for example.

Additionally, cautioning them is only going to put further unnecessary strain on the system. 10,000 police are set to go over this coming year, I believe- so that shows how stretched we already are. What would they do for a second offence? Fining someone would only make the situation worse, and imprisoning them would just be ridiculous. So yes, all-in-all, I agree that the police should not get involved. My only "problem" was when looking at it from a moral position, in an ideal world, and I suppose that isn't anywhere near relevant to the world we live in!

With regards breaking up the family, it may not directly be doing that, in this case- however, what it is doing is undermining the authority of the family, and taking decisions out of its hand. One could draw the conclusion that the family is not the most important aspect with regards shaping a child, it is the government, with cases such as this- or, at least, it's tilting away from the family being the most important.
edit on 8-2-2011 by ScepticalBeliever because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:55 PM
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I Am sorry but 14 years old kid shouldn’t be in charge of taking care of youngsters.

Let the kids be “kids”, feel like kids, live like kids, experience like kids I don’t vote for their “horny” parents “needs”.


Someone should draw a line somewhere..


edit on 8-2-2011 by amkia because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:13 PM
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Ummmm...how does the government, local or otherwise, have any say in the matter? Really, on what authority can they advise anything like that? What business is it of anyone else for that matter? No criminal activity is going on so leave it alone! Way out of bounds here and people who "they shouldn't bla, bla, bla" need a sock in the mouth!
edit on 8-2-2011 by SmokeandShadow because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:24 PM
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under the age of consent or what its called minor / juvenile
meaning the parent has full responsibility
until the person in question is legally (over the age of 15)
fit to take care of him/her self ,



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:25 PM
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More nanny state intrusion.

You are not permitted to live your own life. You are not capable of doing so. Submit and comply.

Nosy idiots.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:30 PM
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Age, for the most part, shouldn't play a factor into whether or not someone is capable of providing care for younger children and/or siblings. Maturity, trust, mental capability, responsibility etc is far more important. When I was only 10 years old I was babysitting children in my neighbourhood for an hour here or there. By the time I hit grade 9...about 13/14, I had a "full time" babysitting job watching 3 young girls after school until 9 pm everyday. I was just that type that worked well in those situations and loved doing it. However, I had friends the same age that I wouldn't allow to take care of a houseplant for more than an hour :/

There has to be something more to this story. If the time passed with no incident to the younger sibling...how on earth did the police even become involved enough to find out that the 14 year old was babysitting? Secondly, it doesn't mention at all in this article the abilities of the said 14 year old. Again, like I said, age isn't a question...what if it were a 14 year old with an intellectual delay, medical condition, history of criminal activities etc....before we can decide whether the police should have a say in this matter we need all information.

Michelle

P.S. I disagree with the poster saying that older siblings should never babysit. I have 3 children, the oldest is almost 8 years older than our second. He babysits for us the majority of the times we need a sitter. He earns money and/or privileges for doing so. For the most part, he has the choice and chooses to do so to earn money or outings. There are times however that he may not have a choice if something comes up unexpectedly. But, that is what being a family is about...a team that all help when it's needed. There have been plenty of times his younger brothers couldn't do something because he had plans come up and needed a ride, or had lessons or what have you. We all make sacrifices for each other and all help where it's needed.

Michelle



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:30 PM
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Originally posted by amkia
I Am sorry but 14 years old kid shouldn’t be in charge of taking care of youngsters.

Let the kids be “kids”, feel like kids, live like kids, experience like kids...


Sounds a little like:


"Children are becoming less competent because they are being treated like carefully protected pets.


Children are more than capable of stepping up and taking responsibilities in the family dynamic. The article is right on the mark: People treat them like pets nowadays.

Here's a perfect case in point: My nephew is 17 years old. He does poorly in school (and has for a while now). He was given a



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:31 PM
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Originally posted by amkia
I Am sorry but 14 years old kid shouldn’t be in charge of taking care of youngsters.


So when a 14 year old has a baby the baby should be raised by the state, right?

And we should go into all ignorant countries where 13 is adulthood and teach them to be civilized, right?




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