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A dilemma...what would you do?


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I have primary custody of ds9 because ex-h lives in another state. I have had ds full time (other than about 30 days a YEAR when his dad gets him) since our divorce when ds was barely 3.

 

Ds will be 10 in August. At the first of July, he is going to visit ex-h during ex-h's vacation. That is all fine and good, but now ex-h wants to keep ds an extra week. Great...BUT

 

The catch - ex-h and ex-h's live-in gf both have full time jobs. During the 2nd week, they want ds (who is still only 9 years old and has ADHD) to stay ALONE while they are at work from 8-5 or so. I feel like it is a HORRIBLE idea. It terrifies me. At the same time, I know ds needs time with his dad (more time that dad gives him!) and he really wants to see his dad for this extra week.

 

I definitely have the right to stomp and scream and yell and I KNOW that my ex-h will not push beyond that. He may be mad, but he will not do it if I say no. I just hate to always be saying "no."

 

When I was a kid, I stayed alone after school and on days that the school was closed but my mom went to work when I was 10. I was alone more than I was with my mom (she was a single parent). However, this was in the late 80's and the world was a bit of a different place then. Also, I lived in a small neighborhood with good neighbors that everyone knew. My best friend was less than a block away and her mom was a SAHM who kept an eye out for me and was always there if I needed to call.

 

Ex-dh says he will be no more than a 5 minute drive away (which I know is probably BULL) and that gf will try to take a couple of half days to shorten the time he is alone.

 

Keep in mind that, without these extras, ds sees his dad about 3 weeks a year total. He is miserable and misses his dad something terrible.

 

If this was your child, what would you do?

 

ETA: I looked up the legality. Age 8 is the legal age in his state. I am in TN and there is no "legal" age, but the suggested age is 10.

Edited by Tree House Academy
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I don't know where you are, but you may want to check into the legalities of that.

 

I personally wouldn't leave my child alone for that long unless they were legally qualified to babysit, so age 12 and that is after passing a babysitting course or relevent first-aid course.

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I don't know where you are, but you may want to check into the legalities of that.

 

I personally wouldn't leave my child alone for that long unless they were legally qualified to babysit, so age 12 and that is after passing a babysitting course or relevent first-aid course.

:iagree: That would be illegal in my county! -Mandy

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I don't think I could do it. My DD is already 10 (and a pretty mature and responsible kid) and I do not leave her alone.

 

Do you think part of the reason your ex is suggesting it is because he doesn't spend enough time with your son to realize this is not a good idea?

 

Sorry you are stuck making this difficult choice. :grouphug:

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you'll have to check to see if it's legal in ex-h's state. In NH the child must be the age of 11 before left alone. My oldest son - totally and completely responsible at that age. I could completely trust him. Younger son has mild inattentive ADD and is NOT responsible. Great kid, NOT responsible. He's 13 and I'm just now letting him stay for periods of time alone.

 

Do you think your son will feel comfortable being alone in a home he doesn't spend much time in? That's another thing to consider.

 

Doesn't your ex have ANY friends or anyone with a teenager who could sit with him?

 

Honestly, I'd be surprised if it was legal in ANY state in the US to leave a child that age at home alone. And an entire week? I'd never allow it. To run to the store or something like that, while illegal, I have done when all kids were sick. I was freaked out until I got safely home.

 

I understand you want your son to spend more time with his father, but honestly, I wouldn't allow it. 9 is awfully young, and especially for an ADHD kid.

 

Blessings,

Denise

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I wouldn't do it - I think 9 is too young to spend that much time alone (short periods while Mum/Dad run to the store, yes, fulltime all week,no) but even beyond that, he likely doesn't "know" the place (you said he only spends about 30 days/year with his dad there, right?) or the neighbours or such very well, *and* you mentioned he has ADHD which can lead to a child sometimes not making the best decisions (bad impulse control and such) .... then there's also the possibility of YOU being held responsible if something did happen (if he got hurt - say he tries cooking something and gets a burn that needs treatment, anything like that) because YOU have custody and allowed him to stay there knowing he'd be unsupervised. Not saying that would definitely happen, but it could be a possibility - laws are diff everywhere, of course, but on the chance, y'know?

 

Check for a law, that might get you right off the hook with his dad anyway. (ie, if it's completely illegal for a child to stay home alone at that age or something)

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Are there metro parks in ex-h's area? Most working parents around here put their kids in one-week day camps during the summer. They're not outrageously expensive, and they are usually a lot of fun, and run 8 - 5ish. Our zoo does a marine science camp that's fabulous.

 

I am with the others that it is probably not legal to leave a 9yo alone that long. Working parents do childcare these days. If your ex-h doesn't want to spend the money on camp or a sitter, then he should come home, imho.

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I stayed by myself after school in 1st grade. By the time I was 10 I was staying home alone watching my brother who was in 2nd or 3rd grade during the summers.

 

That said, if your son is not used to being by himself, I wouldn't do it. Especially in a house/neighborhood he's just not familiar with. The adhd adds a whole other element to it.

 

Okay I'm guessing your a SAHM, so you probably don't leave him home alone, but say you suddenly got a job, or had to go out of town for a few days and he could stay home during the day while his step dad works. Would you leave him home alone at your house? The house he is completely familiar with and comfortable in? The house he knows neighbors at? With the adhd? Would you trust him enough to be responsible for himself and the house and follow the rules for the entire day?

 

If you say no to that, then you have your answer, and valid reasons to tell your ex. If you say yes, then you need to figure out if you don't trust him to do okay at the dad's or if it's the dad's and the situation is out of your control.

 

Have you talked to your son? Would he even be comfortable doing that by himself? Take the 'visiting dad' part out of the equation. (Kids will try to over ride fears to get things like more time at dad's.)

 

I don't know if I'm helping or putting more quesitons in your head.

 

Good luck.

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I would ask DH to find a day camp in his area. A week of tennis or swimming camp, art camp .... whatever. And I would suggest that he leave DS there during the day. I might even offer to help pay for it if that were at all possible for me.

 

I agree that a boy that age is going to usually have an increasing desire to spend time with is Dad, and that's a GOOD thing. You don't want to keep him from his Dad. You just don't want him alone all day.

 

There is no way, under any set of circumstance, ever, in a million years, that I would leave a 9 year old alone all day. No way. Not even worth talking about. That's CRAZY talk.

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I wouldn't let him stay by himself. He seems a little young, plus he'd be in a place w/ which he's not really familiar since he's not there that often.

 

Could you do something like find a college age student that would be willing to go to the town/city where your ex lives & watch your ds during the days? Or, would your ex be able to find someone like that (that you would trust to be w/ your ds during the day)?

 

Is there a local camp that your ds could sign-up for that week, which would basically provide daytime care for him, but let him stay w/ his dad that extra week?

 

Is there any way your ex could take the extra week off work, or maybe 2-3 days w/ his gf taking off the other 2-3 days?

 

Just a few options...

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Absolutely not. There's no way that I would let my 9 year old stay home all day long by themselves. Most children just do not have the right reflexes to know what to do in an emergency. Not only that, it may be illegal. And all in a child who is in an unfamiliar area, knows no one, and may have little impulse control due to ADHD, I would most definitely say no. Like the others, I'd ask ex-h to find childcare during the day....and if money is an issue, then you could help if you are financially able.

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ABSOLUTELY NOT!! And I don't know that I would even offer up the child care option due to the fear that I would just be told it would be done to appease me, and my child would be left alone anyway.

 

There are just too many things that can happen that a child that age is not equipped to handle. There are no neighbors that know him, the place is unfamiliar, and it's just plain unsafe and most likely illegal as well.

 

I think I'd just have to be the bad guy on this one.

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I leave my 9 year old daughter alone sometimes - for maybe an hour at the most, and this is rare, and usually just involves running out to the store for something that cannot wait until one of the older kids gets home. That being said, I would have been more comfortable leaving my son at home for a couple of hours if I wasn't far away when he was 9, he just was more attentive than my daughter is.

 

I would not be comfortable with this situation either, regardless of whether it is legal or not (that is another law that bothers me - there are some kids you can trust to be safe and leave at home, and some that could be 15 that are not ...but I digress). I second (or third, or fourth haha) telling your ex if he wants your son an extra week than reasonable child care MUST be set up and you should be able to confirm with whom - as in have all the contact and name info, regardless whether it is a daycare, a camp, VBS, whatever.

 

Does your husband have any relatives that live near him that you trust? Perhaps grandparents, aunts or uncles that he could stay with during the day? Perhaps even the husband could take a couple of extra days off and his girlfriend could the other days, or 1 each, and then find a solution for the three other days.

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I would tell your ex that if he wants the extra week, he needs to provide reliable child care while he is at work. I know it will be inconvenient and maybe expensive for him, but that is what parents everywhere have to do.

JMHO,

Joy

 

:iagree: Otherwise, No way! I have a 12, 10, and 10, about to be 13/11/11, and I wouldn't leave any of them home for that long alone. 2 hours tops. And not at all in a strange city! jmho

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I can't imagine why he is even suggesting it?

What would he do all day?

Why would he want to be there all day on his own.

Apart from it being called child neglect where we live I am stunned!

Surely he could find fun daycare for those hours if he wants to spend the evenings with him?

I don't think he has thought it through.

Stephanie

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Quite a risk just to spend an extra 20 hours together.

There are city parks that offer "camps" for kids whose parents work.

My dd will be going to one here for fun. It's a nature camp, $30 for one week. Tell your ex he needs to look up his city parks and what they offer.

 

There is no way my kid is going to spend that much time alone in a strange place EVER....and she's almost 12 and quite mature. I wouldn't leave any kid alone all day long like that. Maybe no boogie man is after him, but what if he falls asleep and the house catches on fire due to some faulty wiring? It's a risk I am not willing to take.

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No

 

Your ds has add and presumably has demonstrated add related symptoms like lack of judgement and impulse control.

 

Your ds is used to almost full time supervision. With a child this age , add or not, you cannot go from full time supervision to full time on your own.

 

I have a tendency more than most moms to push independence. As soon as my children were allowed to be home alone by law (8 in my area) we started being home alone, but not 8 hours a day, five days in a row. We started with 30 min to an hour, then later 2 hours and then 4, very gradually over a few years. Each step of the way, I watched for good and bad judgment by my children. I think I've trained the kids well and I suppose my 11 yo would be fine if I left her alone all day. I would do that if there were no other options at all. This child is on her own a lot, but not full days.

 

I think your exdh should investigate day camp options. A full day camp would be great. Or he could find two half day programs and patch them together--a morning VBS and an afternoon chess program. Obviously, your exdh will have to leave work midday and drive ds between the two programs. He needs to get to know the local resources now (community centers, YMCA, public school summer programs, church programs, ask neighbors, etc). Summer programs fill early where I live because of working parents needing childcare--that one reason why he may need to look at something that is two half days.

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I would only let him stay if there was childcare during the day or a camp of some sort he could go to, like some of the other posters suggested.

 

I would not feel comfortable leaving a child that age alone for that amount of time. It would be fine to run to the store, but all day every day for a week? No way.

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No way would I allow this....first, as many others pointed out, it's most likely not legal to leave a 9 year old alone. More importantly though, is it's not safe. Period. End of discussion. (and we didn't even get into the ADHD aspect, which adds a whole 'nother layer of no way).

 

Now....that all being said.....I think I would try to find a solution. Could your ex find a day camp for him, so that he has something to do that would be interesting (and more fun than a babysitter) while Dad works? Every city in our county has some kind of recreation program that goes the whole day....and there are more private ones out there as well. If so, and if the hours matched up with Dad's work so that the child would not be alone at home, then I'd agree to it. In other words, if Dad works a very long work day and camp isn't that long, then nope, sorry. Plus, of course, there is the issue of what kind of time would the child have with Dad in that instance anyway?

 

And while I also understand that you don't like being the one to say no all the time....the reality is that as custodial parent it's your job. Yes, Dad should be seeing that this is not a good idea, but if he's not been a parent for more than a month a year for most of this child's life, then the fact is that he's NOT going to get it. While technically he's not a "child-less adult", the fact is that it sounds like his thought process is the same as someone who doesn't have a child and therefore doesn't really realize all that can go wrong leaving a child home alone for hours at a time (and again, we aren't even addressing this child's special needs).

 

If you can financially help out, then maybe offer to pay for a portion of the camp. If not, tell Dad that this is the burden of parenthood.....either you have to give the time and effort to be with a child this young, or you have to pay someone else.

 

From my former career, I can guarantee you that no Court in the land is going to agree to a 9 or even a full on 10 year old being home alone all day for a week.

 

The other thought that comes to mind is that most people get 2 weeks of vacation.....so perhaps Dad should use both weeks for his son's visit. If he's not willing to do that, then I think that speaks volumes.

 

Good luck...it's never fun being the disciplinarian but the risk is too great to cave in on this one (at least to me).

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From my former career, I can guarantee you that no Court in the land is going to agree to a 9 or even a full on 10 year old being home alone all day for a week.

 

That isn't true and 9yo get left alone all day all the time. Here in NC there is no minimum age because it depends on the child and the situation. In your normal neighborhood where there is someone nearby they can go to or the parent is 5 minutes away - sure. That's assuming the child is mature (some are, some aren't.)

 

I would have left my now 11yo when he was 9, but not by current 8yo when he is 9. Totally different children, totally different maturity levels, totally different impulse control abilities.

 

In the situation proposed by the OP I would not leave him. Strange city, impulse control issues, and never been left alone? No way.

 

ETA: Have things changed that much in the last generation? I was left alone (and many friends were to) starting at age 7 or 8. At 7, I stayed home alone after school and at 8 I spent the summer alone. There was a neighbor or two on the street home, I had very specific rules to follow, and I knew my boundaries.

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9 yrs. old is too young to stay alone all day in our county too - CPS would be called.

 

Why would your ex-h want him to stay that extra week if he'll be at work all day anyway? You'd think he'd either take additional time off or have him come back when he's got more time off to spend with him. Not to be mean, just thinking out loud.

 

I know that my dds wouldn't be comfortable staying alone for that long & they are 10 & 12.

 

Good luck making your decision :)

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I wouldn't even consider it. If he wants more time with your son, he needs to take it off of work. period.

 

I agree completely.

 

And if that's a problem, why doesn't he occasionally make the trip to visit your ds for a few days at a time?

 

I would never, ever leave my ds alone all day -- not even in my own home, let alone in a strange house in a strange neighborhood. You have no idea what the neighbors are like, whether or not the gf and your xh would get home in time in case of an emergency, and whether or not your ds would be scared to death being left alone all day long. And what if he hears a scary noise or thinks he smells smoke?

 

Sorry, but I wouldn't allow it under any circumstances. Realistically, your son will only have a few hours each day with his dad, anyway, because by the time he and his gf get home from work, it will be dinnertime, and from there, it's only a few more hours until bedtime.

 

I think your xh is being extremely irresponsible for even asking you to consider such an arrangement. If he wants to spend more time with your ds, tell him to take some extra time off work while your ds is at his place, or else he can wait until he has some days coming to him and plan to visit your ds at your home.

 

Cat

 

PS. I don't agree with the suggestions to hire childcare or have ds attend a day camp, because your xh would have no knowledge of these people, and I assume you're not in the habit of leaving your son alone with strangers for days at a time. I would be livid if my son were visiting a relative and they hired a sitter to watch him for the day while they went off to work. Who knows what kind of nut could be watching your son? Regarding the day camps, you would know nothing about the quality of supervision there, and your ds wouldn't know a soul. What if someone was mean to him? It's not like he could call you and you could run right over there and get him. (Of course, for the record, my ds doesn't stay with relatives or go to day camp, anyway...)

Edited by Catwoman
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I was curious to see if there were any laws regarding this in my state, and I found this: http://singleparents.about.com/od/havingfun/f/homealone.htm

It says the only two states that have a minimum age when the child can be left alone at home are Maryland and Illinois. It goes on to say that the National SAFEKids Campaign recommends a minimum age of 12.

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PS. I don't agree with the suggestions to hire childcare or have ds attend a day camp, because your xh would have no knowledge of these people, and I assume you're not in the habit of leaving your son alone with strangers for days at a time. I would be livid if my son were visiting a relative and they hired a sitter to watch him for the day while they went off to work. Who knows what kind of nut could be watching your son? Regarding the day camps, you would know nothing about the quality of supervision there, and your ds wouldn't know a soul.

 

Are you serious?

 

A father has EVERY right to determine a decent caregiver or camp or daycare or whatever for their own child. Would it necessarily be what the mother would choose? Maybe not. And certainly it wouldn't be what YOU would choose since you choose not to let relatives or camps be something your child does without you. But, in general, the great majority of kids have this as a part of normal daily life and it isn't particularly dangerous (not ideal, but neither is divorce, visitation, etc).

 

And *IF* I thought the father was NOT capable of making this decision to SOME degree of accepable-ness, then I would simply HELP him make the choice. I would research camps or daycares. I would pre-screen caregivers. Whatever I felt was necessary to ensure basic care.

 

But I would definitely TRY to say yes, not to the proposal of staying home alone, but the proposal of him staying an extra week with dad. Again, ideal, no, but NOTHING about the situation is ideal as it is. And it is important for children to have time with their parents if the parent is fit "enough" (which wasn't the concern).

 

JMO.

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:iagree:

 

I think this goes back to that whole "free-range kid" thread from a couple of weeks ago. Some people don't allow anything separate from them and others allow total "free-range." Most people fall somewhere in the middle.

 

I have put up with a TON of junk over the years with my oldest ds and his father. Why? Because he is his father, just as the little boy in the OP has a father. There are no easy answers, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and realize that nothing is going to be perfect and the mere fact of divorce/separation means you don't get to control everything.

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Why have the child an extra week just to leave him alone all day? Spending time after work won't make up for the that. We're talking about a 9yo with ADHD whom you don't think is ready to be alone all day. Plus, this isn't like it's his usual neighborhood where he might know people to go to if something happened.

 

NO. He needs to provide childcare if he wants the extra week. You can tell him you're trying to work it out, but are uncomfortable with that.

Edited by Blessedfamily
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Are you serious?

 

 

Yes, I am very serious.

 

I would feel completely differently if the father had a regular role in his son's life, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. It doesn't sound like the dad has any other children that live with him, so I assume he doesn't have the slightest clue about where to find suitable child care or responsible day camps. If he saw his son on a regular basis, I would think he would already have some child care options in place, but I seriously doubt that he does if he thinks it's ok for a 9yo to be alone at home all day while he and his gf are at work.

 

If the OP's son was going to spend his days at the xh's mom's house or someplace else that she knew and trusted, I would certainly think that would be an acceptable option, but as things are, this is a father who is rarely involved with his son, and while his intentions may be good, I doubt he has much experience with things like hiring caregivers.

 

And *IF* I thought the father was NOT capable of making this decision to SOME degree of accepable-ness, then I would simply HELP him make the choice. I would research camps or daycares. I would pre-screen caregivers. Whatever I felt was necessary to ensure basic care.

 

I agree that this would be an excellent idea, but the OP and her xh live in different states, and I doubt that would be an option here.

 

Cat

 

PS. I am not, in any way, anti-day camps or anti-babysitters. I am, however, not particularly in favor of my son going to a full-day, out-of-state day camp with a group of kids and counselors he has never met. Maybe the OP's son is incredibly outgoing and would have a great time, but if he's not, what's the point? Time spent at a day camp isn't time spent with his dad, anyway, so why bother with an extra week of "visitation?"

Edited by Catwoman
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Yes, I am very serious.

 

I would feel completely differently if the father had a regular role in his son's life, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. It doesn't sound like the dad has any other children that live with him, so I assume he doesn't have the slightest clue about where to find suitable child care or responsible day camps. If he saw his son on a regular basis, I would think he would already have some child care options in place, but I seriously doubt that he does if he thinks it's ok for a 9yo to be alone at home all day while he and his gf are at work.

 

If the OP's son was going to spend his days at the xh's mom's house or someplace else that she knew and trusted, I would certainly think that would be an acceptable option, but as things are, this is a father who is rarely involved with his son, and while his intentions may be good, I doubt he has much experience with things like hiring caregivers.

 

 

 

I agree that this would be an excellent idea, but the OP and her xh live in different states, and I doubt that would be an option here.

 

Cat

 

PS. I am not, in any way, anti-day camps or anti-babysitters. I am, however, not particularly in favor of my son going to a full-day, out-of-state day camp with a group of kids and counselors he has never met. Maybe the OP's son is incredibly outgoing and would have a great time, but if he's not, what's the point? Time spent at a day camp isn't time spent with his dad, anyway, so why bother with an extra week of "visitation?"

 

:iagree:Wholeheartedly!

 

My big question is why does he want to have him stay an extra week if he is not even going to be home? Seems like a pretty selfish idea to me. I know my 10 year old would be terrified to be left alone for that length of time in an unfamiliar area.

 

Also, here is a good link covering the legality of leaving children at home alone.

 

http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-kids-age-limits.htm

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I would tell him that as a condition of your son staying there an extra week he needs to provide childcare while he is at work - perhaps a day camp? VBS?(:D - check out the VBS thread if you don't know why I'm laughing) For the days that his gf is home early he could come home from childcare early.

 

:iagree: Why can't you and hubby split the costs of a summer camp that meets from 9-3 (and get before/after class care-- 8am to 9/3pm to 5?). I wouldn't allow him to be alone.

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Yes, I am very serious.

 

I would feel completely differently if the father had a regular role in his son's life, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. It doesn't sound like the dad has any other children that live with him, so I assume he doesn't have the slightest clue about where to find suitable child care or responsible day camps. If he saw his son on a regular basis, I would think he would already have some child care options in place, but I seriously doubt that he does if he thinks it's ok for a 9yo to be alone at home all day while he and his gf are at work.

 

If the OP's son was going to spend his days at the xh's mom's house or someplace else that she knew and trusted, I would certainly think that would be an acceptable option, but as things are, this is a father who is rarely involved with his son, and while his intentions may be good, I doubt he has much experience with things like hiring caregivers.

 

 

 

I agree that this would be an excellent idea, but the OP and her xh live in different states, and I doubt that would be an option here.

 

Cat

 

PS. I am not, in any way, anti-day camps or anti-babysitters. I am, however, not particularly in favor of my son going to a full-day, out-of-state day camp with a group of kids and counselors he has never met. Maybe the OP's son is incredibly outgoing and would have a great time, but if he's not, what's the point? Time spent at a day camp isn't time spent with his dad, anyway, so why bother with an extra week of "visitation?"

 

 

You hit the nail on the head here. This is my fear. His dad has no other kids and has lived his life, basically, as a single man for the last 7 years. As a matter of fact...he sees ds 30 days a year, but lives with his girlfriend. So, when he gets his 4 weeks of vacation, he spends 3 of them (at different times of year) with ds...but 1 week is reserved for him and live in girlfriend. :glare: ds is NOT invited. They need alone time, you know...since they don't see each other EVERY SINGLE DAY and live alone with no kids. No, they need to exclude ds and run off to the beach for some rest.

 

His dad is not a *bad* person persay, but his dad never really had a dad who was around (until he was grown...now his dad is all over it!), so he didn't learn how to be a dad - at all. There are some days we don't hear from him for a week, maybe 2. Getting hold of him when you need him is hit or miss. He often calls ds on his drive home. If we aren't home at that time, oh well. The phone is NOT answered after that drive is completed.

 

Ds is heartbroken about it.

 

I do want to know the legalities. We don't even entertain the thought of leaving ds alone here. I mean, why? I am a SAHM and I wouldn't leave him alone even if I wasn't. He is a tempermental kid with ADHD who really often acts before he thinks. We are in TN. Ex-h is in Maryland. And...here is the law in Maryland: Unfortunately, it IS legal. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20060108/ai_n15993595/

 

Under Maryland law, for instance, children must be supervised at all times until the age of 8, and youngsters must be at least 13 to babysit for other children, including siblings. The law doesn't say how long children age 8 and older can be left by themselves.

Edited by Tree House Academy
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:iagree: Why can't you and hubby split the costs of a summer camp that meets from 9-3 (and get before/after class care-- 8am to 9/3pm to 5?). I wouldn't allow him to be alone.

 

 

Split the costs? Oh absolutely not. This man makes over $200K a year and I see $600 a month in child support without taking him back to court and making an issue of it. I dont' work. I can't imagine asking my dh, who basically supports ds9 completely other than that measley $600 a month, to pay for child care while ds is with his dad. :001_huh:

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No way! A normal child yeah probably I would be okay with them staying home, but as a mom od 2 adhd kids I know how that changes the scenario. Impulsivity is more like leaving a 5 year old at home alone, there is no thought to the consequences for actions ahead of time if left to their own devices. This is a recipe for disaster. Right now I only leave my big kids at home alone for 5-10 minutes for that reason, and sometimes even in that 5-10 minutes they will find a way to get into trouble without even trying. If I have tobe away from them for 1-4 hours I find a sitter, more than that and they are in a school aged daycare.

 

It is great that his dad wants to spend more time with him, like you I have full custody, my kids have virtually no contact with their father, so if he wanted more contact Iw ould encourage it, BUT I would say only if he was enrolled in a daycamp, or daycare program for that week to ensure he was well supervised.

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I have primary custody of ds9 because ex-h lives in another state. I have had ds full time (other than about 30 days a YEAR when his dad gets him) since our divorce when ds was barely 3.

 

Ds will be 10 in August. At the first of July, he is going to visit ex-h during ex-h's vacation. That is all fine and good, but now ex-h wants to keep ds an extra week. Great...BUT

 

The catch - ex-h and ex-h's live-in gf both have full time jobs. During the 2nd week, they want ds (who is still only 9 years old and has ADHD) to stay ALONE while they are at work from 8-5 or so. I feel like it is a HORRIBLE idea. It terrifies me. At the same time, I know ds needs time with his dad (more time that dad gives him!) and he really wants to see his dad for this extra week.

 

I definitely have the right to stomp and scream and yell and I KNOW that my ex-h will not push beyond that. He may be mad, but he will not do it if I say no. I just hate to always be saying "no."

 

When I was a kid, I stayed alone after school and on days that the school was closed but my mom went to work when I was 10. I was alone more than I was with my mom (she was a single parent). However, this was in the late 80's and the world was a bit of a different place then. Also, I lived in a small neighborhood with good neighbors that everyone knew. My best friend was less than a block away and her mom was a SAHM who kept an eye out for me and was always there if I needed to call.

 

Ex-dh says he will be no more than a 5 minute drive away (which I know is probably BULL) and that gf will try to take a couple of half days to shorten the time he is alone.

 

Keep in mind that, without these extras, ds sees his dad about 3 weeks a year total. He is miserable and misses his dad something terrible.

 

If this was your child, what would you do?

 

ETA: I looked up the legality. Age 8 is the legal age in his state. I am in TN and there is no "legal" age, but the suggested age is 10.

can't you just tell him that because of the ADHD bit it's a huge concern that might just blow the whole deal if they don't provide, in writing, a plan for babysitting/alternate care while they're out? If they get a nanny for the week to help out while they're gone then your son has the best of both worlds, security & time with his father.

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Is your ex near DC? There are lots of resources for summer programs, including programs geared toward kids with special needs in the DC area. They do fill quickly --although this year less quickly. Your ex makes enough money to fund a week of nice daycamp. I'd ask him to research what's available and share his research with you. It's probably too late this year, but he could get a head start on next year.

 

You say he's never been a custodial parent and he doesn't have a model of a parent. He may need someone to lay the steps for how to be a dad in a nonjudgemental way. This may or may not be something you can do. It certainly isn't something anyone could expect of you. I think you could suggest he attend something like CHADD support group meetings (these meet in various locations in the DC area regularly) to help you dh get an idea of what generally goes on with day to day raising of a child with ADD. Such a group would give him leads on summer care. If there was a good book which fell under the topic raising a child with ADD for dummies and the book provided sections on how to deal with child care and expectations for self care I might consider passing it on to him, but it's been a long time I looked at ADD related titles.

 

Unlike another poster, I don't think it is unreasonable for the dad to want the boy to visit even while he will be working. Lots of kids do this. Getting to spend time in the evenings going to the pool or playing video games together is really good for dads and sons. However, your ex probably isn't ready to do this this year because he's just not aware of his son's needs and how to meet them, but I would start a dialog on how he can be prepared for next year.

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That isn't true and 9yo get left alone all day all the time.

 

Children being left alone is completely different from a Court signing an order that permits it. Two different issues. No Court is going to write a custody/visitation order that allows a child that young (and again, we aren't even putting the ADHD in the equation) to stay home alone.

Edited by ConnieB
correcting bad grammar, lol.
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PS. I don't agree with the suggestions to hire childcare or have ds attend a day camp, because your xh would have no knowledge of these people, and I assume you're not in the habit of leaving your son alone with strangers for days at a time. I would be livid if my son were visiting a relative and they hired a sitter to watch him for the day while they went off to work. Who knows what kind of nut could be watching your son? Regarding the day camps, you would know nothing about the quality of supervision there, and your ds wouldn't know a soul. What if someone was mean to him? It's not like he could call you and you could run right over there and get him. (Of course, for the record, my ds doesn't stay with relatives or go to day camp, anyway...)

 

 

I'm one that suggested the daycamp.....and I guess in my mind it went without saying that as much research and care that Mom would put into checking out the facility/staff near her would also be done.

 

But, I can also relate to your last line, as my children (eldest is a teen) have had 2 sitters in their entire life....my in laws and their godmother. But I can also count on (less than) both hands the number of times we've used even them as sitters. We've never done day camp either. But it is a viable alternative for most families, and just because I choose not to, doesn't make it a bad choice for others.

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Children being left alone is completely different from a Court signing an order that permits it. Two different issues. No Court is going to write a custody/visitation order that allows a child that young (and again, we aren't even putting the ADHD in the equation) to stay home alone.

 

I am not sure I understand this statement. The court did not issue any limitations on his visitation at all. When I looked up the law in Maryland, it states than any child under the age of 8 should not be left alone. Ds is almost 10. So...my take on it is that, legally, I have no leg to stand on. It IS legal in Maryland to leave ds alone.

 

The options I have are to let it happen...let dad use his parental rights and take him for the extra week and do what HE feels best as the other parent.

 

Option 2: Stomp, scream, b*tch and get him to agree not to take ds for the extra week.

 

I know you all think option 2 would be possibly silly and not work, but trust me...ex h does NOT argue with me when it comes to my decisions with ds9. (He knows I could go to court over the child support if he made me angry enough...and this is a man who may not see his son regularly...but who would NEVER be parted from his almighty dollar).:glare:

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The options I have are to let it happen...let dad use his parental rights and take him for the extra week and do what HE feels best as the other parent.

 

Option 2: Stomp, scream, b*tch and get him to agree not to take ds for the extra week.

 

I know you all think option 2 would be possibly silly and not work, but trust me...ex h does NOT argue with me when it comes to my decisions with ds9. (He knows I could go to court over the child support if he made me angry enough...and this is a man who may not see his son regularly...but who would NEVER be parted from his almighty dollar).:glare:

 

I'd take #2, though I might try it with less stomping & stuff. :tongue_smilie:

 

Fact is, your son is TOO YOUNG to spend all week alone. I don't care what that law says - there's a law here that says my dd12 could get her driving permit in two years, at age 14. Y'think I'm gonna let her? No freakin' way.

 

I would put my foot down, and I'd do it now - not closer to the time. No staying alone all week, thanks, end of story. If dad makes some other arrangments - summer camp, takes time off, etc, then great, you guys can prolly work it out. Alone? Nope.

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Are you serious?

 

A father has EVERY right to determine a decent caregiver or camp or daycare or whatever for their own child. .

 

 

 

Not necessarily.....IF Mom has sole custodial care then if she says no to a caretaker or day camp, or really any parental decision, than the Court says she has that right and Dad doesn't. That's what sole custodial care means (it's called different things in different states, but it's basically that mom has sole authority.....otherwise the term is something akin to "joint" not "sole").

 

OP only says she has "primary care".....so it depends on the wording of her Court Order. Often primary care is a catch all saying that mom has the kid most of the time so she makes the bulk of the decisions, i.e. she doesn't have to consult the non-primary parent to make decisions. Most orders get more specific, and it's probable that OPs does she just didn't provide that information.

 

Now...that's Court Order....that's not necessarily how a good parenting plan in a divorce should be, and one always hopes that the parents can somehow get over their own issues with the other parent and do what's best for the kids. Of course, if all parents could...well, there wouldn't be a need for family court would there? It does sound like OP and her ex have a healthy relationship when it comes to the child....otherwise this post would have had a very different tone. I applaud OP for wanting to do what's best for her son......but still contend that the child's safety has to come first.

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