Lizzie Heiselt, not a helicopter mom, has bravely taken to the internets to proclaim her son’s ability to stay home without supervision.
In fact, he’s been asking me if I can let him stay by himself while I do little things around the neighborhood (laundry pick-up, library book return) for over a year now and I’ve been hard-pressed to find a reason why he can’t.
Saying she had been “worried the neighbors might think I was being neglectful and I’d get an unexpected visit from CPS”, her first step was to check the laws of the state to make sure it was legal to leave her 7 year old home alone. Satisfied she “would be able to say…to any nosy neighbors” she was not breaking the law, she decided to test the limits of her son’s ability to take care of himself.
After letting him go downstairs and get the mail, she then chose to try letting him also mind her 2 year old daughter – alone.
I decided to see how my son would do supervising his almost-2-year-old-sister for three minutes in our apartment while I took my 4-year-old down the stairs and back up…when we emerged from the stairwell a couple of minutes later, our apartment door was opened and my daughter was standing by the elevators, waiting, I assumed, for me. My son hadn’t noticed that she had opened the door or that she was not in the apartment.
Lizzie goes on to explain that she knew he was probably too young to care for a toddler on his own, but that it was “eye-opening to see what could happen even in the space of a few minutes”. Still, she declares the idea a success, saying her son can “handle himself at home alone for short periods of time” and run errands inside their apartment building alone.
I’m not into the whole helicopter parenting thing either, but I’m not sure letting a 7 year old run around alone in a New York apartment building is a great idea. Not to be all doomsday about it, but this sounds like a Law & Order episode waiting to happen.