Monday, September 12, 2005

How young is too young to be alone?

Thirty four years ago,when I was Lillianna's age,I walked to school by myself and no one worried about that.My Mom left the house at 7:00am every day and I left the house at 8:00am and walked to school. Dad was home but he was asleep.
I can't even imagine this scenario for Lillianna.

Up until I was 10 years old,I had a babysitter at my house after school. I didn't enjoy them all that much so I asked Mom if I could stay alone until she came home at 5:00pm. With some hesitation,she allowed that. I was a bit scared but I did it.

I make sure I am home for Lillianna every single day after school. If there is a reason why I can't be home for her,I ask a friend or neighbor to pick her up for me. She is 3 weeks away from turning 8 and I would never leave her alone for any reason.

A ten year old boy who lives in the building next to us,is left on his own from 2:30pm-6:30pm. He seems absolutely fine with it. He rides his bike all around the complex as well as in the woods on a bike trail. When he told me that, I tried not to shriek in horror. Alone in the woods? No matter how you spin that,I am not comfortable with that.

The other day he was out riding when he saw Lillianna on her bike and asked her to come up to the club house. So, we went up there and the two kids rode around on the basketball court. He is a sweet boy and he seems like he has a good head on his shoulders. He said that he would love to play basketball with Lillianna one day after school. Her face lit up. She loves basketball.

We just found out that a woman was raped this past Saturday,three buildings away from us. She was outside,in the middle of the day, and a man dragged her into the woods. That puts me in a panic because I come and go as I please and don't worry about being dragged anywhere and raped. We pay high rent here and it's a gated community! Yet,we're not safe at all.

Rich always watches me from the window when I come home late at night but now he will start watching me when I leave the house early in the morning.

But what about the young neighbor who is home alone every afternoon? Is he safe?
I have already told him what apartment we live in and that he can come to me anytime he needs anything. My friend,Sherri,lives in his building and he knows he can go to her too. I guess that's all we can do.

How old do you think a child should be to stay alone for 4 hours every day after school?

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