Would you leave your 7 year old child ...

@maddysmommy (16243)
United States
May 17, 2007 8:47pm CST
at a kids play area inside a mall while you and your husband goes shopping for an hour or so? My son and I were at Tysons Mall today and I let him play at the kids area for a couple of hours while I watched him and read my book. My son made friends with a young boy name Hector and he said he was 7. I asked him when we were about to leave if his parents were here and he said they were downstairs shopping. I asked him do they always leave you here on your own? and he said yes. I then asked him if he was going to be ok when we leave and he said yes. I asked him again if he was going to be ok and he said, yes I always come here when my parents shop. I wasn't sure if there was anything else I could of done so we left. My son turned around and asked me why Hector was on his own? where was his parents and I said "good question" and then my son said "but mommy you never leave me alone" and then it got me wondering... was he old enough to be left alone? should I have done something? is it my business to say something or find the parents or ??
17 people like this
38 responses
18 May 07
I think its wrong to leave your child in a play area while the parents are shopping,with what goes on these days. Im a mom of 4 and would never leave any of them where i go they go.
2 people like this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
18 May 07
Me neither! Thanks for your response yamahagirl!
1 person likes this
@sanell (2114)
• United States
18 May 07
that is a good question, My 3 year old likes to play on the porch at our home, and actually she was just outside on the porch, across from the porch and a lady with two kids came up and said that she wanted to make sure that I knew that my kid was outside by herself. I was so embarrased I just said, oh thanks, so sorry and then she left. After that time I decided that I can not allow her to go outside to the porch by herself anymore. even if the door is open it is just too crazy. I want her to feel like she can be independent but at the same time I need to feel at ease and know that she is in my peripheral vision.... I do not think it is right that they leave their 7 year old by himself, regardless, even if he is old enough. If he had a friend who was with him, that would not be okay either. there is a fine line but 7 is questionable, could be borderline....you just never know.
• United States
18 May 07
I don't think it has whole lot to do with the age of the kid as much as does with all the preditors that are lurking around.All you have do is watch dateline and see all the creeps out there.I have called the police because I found a two year old playing outside with no clothes on and her mother was sleeping.i can't count how many kids I have found at my job just wandering around and have come up to me saying their lost and haveing to take them to the personel office.How many more kids are going to die or come up missing before somebody does something. Kids need to know how to get touch with their parent should something happen.I gave my daughter a cell phone.They should also know where the security office is.
@golfproo (1841)
• Canada
18 May 07
That child was way too young to be left alone. There is no way a child of that age sould be left on their own. I think in this instance I would have alerted security. The parents of this child need a wake up call I am afraid. cheers,
• United States
18 May 07
I have a 5 year old tat never leaves my side. Even when he is using the mens room I stay close enough to hear things. A seven year old isnt old enough to know what real danger is. I dont know what you should have or could have done. It is putting you in an odd spot. Dont people realise that there are other people out there who look for kids wo are left alone to victimize? How long is it okay to leave your kids? I dont even let my kids play in our front yard with out checking often. Maybe I am over protective.
2 people like this
• Canada
18 May 07
At that age no friggin way would I leave my child alone especially in a shopping mall omg thats basically asking for your child to be kidnapped. If it was a supervised area and completely enclosed then that would be different but anyone could have taken that child and done who knows what to him If it were me I would have reported the parents to the mall security. I dont' think you should have found the parents but i would suggest if you see that boy alone again to talk to the security for the mall.
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
18 May 07
Your right, I should of told mall security and they could of kept an eye on him - I'm still bothered by this! I feel stupid for not doing anything!!
1 person likes this
• Canada
18 May 07
Oh don't feel stupid hun its not your fault his parents are retards GEESH!! you can't go back and change what happened so just move forward and you will know what to do next time right? Hugs
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
18 May 07
Right, thanks strawberrykisses :)
• Philippines
10 Jul 07
you did what you could,.. and the boy seems pretty sure he's ok , and used to being left there when his parents do their shopping..i think the kid is a bit mature for his age,..
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
10 Jul 07
Thanks sharonercastillo, he said it was normal for him to be there while his parents shopped, I know i could never do it with my son!
• Philippines
10 Jul 07
i know, me too! i could never do that to my daughter! Good day!
@mummymo (23709)
8 Jul 07
I am usually the first to say that we all have different parenting styles and shouldn't judge but I would never have done this unless the area was supervised and secure, to leave a child of this age alone in an area that is unsupervised and unsecure is just plain irresponsible and constitutes neglect! I know it must have been a hard situation to find yourself in and I don't know what I have done but i think I may have informed the mall security about this and left it at that! xxx
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
8 Jul 07
I have never been in this situation before at all. I think if I was smart enough to even care more about that boy, I should of reported it. My gut instinct was telling me this situation wasn't right, but i did not act on it only because i did not know what would happen if i did. You know, being new to a place and not knowing how people react to things like this, is one of the reasons why I held back. I have seen the reactions of people when you do something nice for them, they are ungratelful and tell you to mind your own business. You know?!? Next time I will not hesitate to let security know. Thanks mummymo :):)
1 person likes this
@mummymo (23709)
8 Jul 07
Hey you shouldn't worry that you didn't report it - the parents are the ones neglecting this boy not you! It is never easy to report something like this - espescially when you are in a new area. I am glad you fel you would inform security in future - glad if I could help in anyway! xxxx
1 person likes this
@4cuteboys (4103)
• United States
18 May 07
Nope, I have a 7 year old and would never leave him alone. The mall is probably one of the worst places because there are so many people and a child could easily be kidnapped. That is scary! I think that the age would have to be much older to be left alone. If it was me, I might have went to mall security and let them know so they could keep an eye on the kid and find the parents or make an announcement for them. But its a tough call and the security might not have done anything anyways.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
18 May 07
Thanks 4cuteboys for your response. I have been bothered by this all night and should of done something about it but I didn't. Tough call alright but I will know what to do next time (and I hope there isn't a next time!!) Thanks again!
1 person likes this
@4cuteboys (4103)
• United States
19 May 07
I hope not either!!! Don't feel bad. We probably have all been in a situation where maybe we should have done more but didn't. I know I have, and since you can't change it, don't worry yourself about it!
1 person likes this
@butterfly39 (3907)
• Philippines
10 Jul 07
At seven, he knows what is being instructed by his parents of what to do and I am sure he enjoys a lot playing there, but for me I can't leave my son alone. I'll make sure that his sister will watch over him if ever he wants to play at the station to be safe.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
10 Jul 07
Yes, he said that it happens all the time. I just can't fathom why parents think it is safe to leave their kids at that age anywhere, as I know I wouldn't do that to my soon to be 5 year old son. Thanks for responding butterfly39~
@Rozie37 (15505)
• Turkmenistan
9 Jul 07
I think that being that he was seven years old, he would probably be okay. He knows not to leave because his parents have told him and he is old enough to understand. If someone were to try and take him, he could scream. If he couldn't scream, surely someone would see that something was amiss. Now, would I ever leave my seven year old unattended like that? Not on your life. There is too much insanity going on in this world to take a chance like that with my child's life. But, all parents don't think like that. Do I feel that there should be a law against that. Yes, why take that kind of risk to just go shopping.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
10 Jul 07
Absolutely. I don't know why parents would do that even if he was mature for his age. I just couldn't leave my son like that knowing I wasn't there to take care of him. There should be a law against it or something that doesn't allow parents to do this. Anyways thanks for responding Rozie!
@tsgirl01 (900)
• United States
9 Jul 07
Hi maddysmommy, I think you did all that you could do. You showed your concern and your son met another child. I think that if the parents thought that was the right thing to do and the child is used to being left like that, you could not have done more. I would never leave my granddaughter alone like that, never left my children alone when they were kids either. Your son noticed the difference in Hector and himself. That let your son know that you value him. Nice job! Take care...
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
9 Jul 07
Thanks for your lovely comment tsgirl01. I now know what to do if this happens again.
@wiccania (3362)
• United States
8 Jul 07
No chance. I'd never do something like that. Especially not that young. I think kids need to be supervised at the mall until they're at least 10-12, depending of course on whether they're mature and responsible enough to handle it.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
10 Jul 07
I agree. Thanks for responding wiccania.
• United States
6 Jul 07
No way I'd ever leave my child in such a place. Chances are the kid's parents are breaking the mall rules by leaving the child unattended. I hope they got reprimanded by mall security at least. More than one child has been abducted from a mall setting. A local girl was abducted from a nearby store parking lot. Nowhere is safe enough to leave a child alone. Ever! For any reason. You are doing the right thing and being a good mommy by keeping a watchful eye on your child. There should be a few good parents in the world to set the example for those that seem to care less!
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
6 Jul 07
Where I use to live in Samoa and New Zealand, things don't happen like this, well none that I know of. We don't have kids areas in malls and when there are play areas in some food places, parents are always with their kids. So this struck me as very odd and even though he said it happens all the time, I was not sure whether it was my place to say anything. Being new to USA, I don't know how the parents would of reacted and so forth, thats why I was hesitant, but it did stick with me when we did leave, and I should of done something about it. Now I know that if it happens again, not to hesitate in seeking out security. It's funny now though as everytime we go back there, I am forever looking out to see if ALL parents are with their kids LOL I'm still learning. Thanks again!
@34momma (13918)
• United States
19 May 07
i would never have left my boys alone at that age. not so much fear that someone else would do something to them, but that they would hurt themselves and i would not be there to kiss their boo boo. i think, no i know i would have said something. i don't like to walk away from an uncomfortable situation like that, but you do what you think is best in any giving situation, so don't beat yourself up
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
20 May 07
Appreciate your comments 34momma!
• Canada
19 May 07
i can see that this discussion is really bothering you about how you handled the situation. i know you're wondering what could have happened to this child should the wrong person have come along. you're right to feel this way, although it is the parents fault in the end if anything had happened to the boy. i know you would have felt somewhat responsible because as a parent you know how it would feel to lose a loved one to an abduction or worse. there is only so much a person can do. if you had been able to find his parents, do you think they would have accepted your suggestions that they should keep closer eyes on the boy. i think not. most likely they would have told you to mind your own business. thus makeing you feel worse for haveing intervened. i would never leave a child unattended, anywhere , anytime
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
20 May 07
Thanks helpmehelpyou for your response. It did bother me and I was not able to sleep well last night, but I'm ok now. Reading your response contributed to making me feel a whole lot better, I really appreciate it :) thanks again!
@charms88 (7546)
• Philippines
18 May 07
I have never once left my girls in the kids play area not unless I am there to look out. I can't say that it's bad or good to leave our children alone at a place like that. Most of the play area adhere to a strict rules and make sure that the kids are safe and secured. My sister is always leaving her one and only child and fortunately, there was never a single problem. I don't think that you should bother to talk with Hector's parents. I'm not saying that you're wrong to show any concern. I'm just saying that Hector seems to get used to this kind of set up.
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
18 May 07
Thanks Charms :) I do feel a little better after reading your comment. Hector did say he's there a lot of the time when his parents do go shopping. I just wasn't sure whether it was my place to say or do anything in terms of making this an issue. The area is well secured and there are security tv and camera's there too so... he did seem quite mature for his age. I was surprised how open he was towards me when I did ask him those questions. After a not so good sleep, I do feel better. Thanks Charms :)
@magikrose (5425)
• United States
18 May 07
I would NEVER leave any of my kids alone in a playgroud in a crowded mall like that. My oldes is 11 a the only time I let him walk away from me is when we are in Walmart and I know where he is going and I tell him where I am going to be so we can find eachother. Other than that I will not let my kids go off alone like that it is not right. Honestly I am surprised you didnt call a mall security officer and tell them what your son told you. Those parents wouldever know it if that child was picked up and kidnapped untill they c back then they would realise that what they did was wrong.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
18 May 07
I wouldn't leave my son either and yes I should of called a mall security but was not sure whether it was my place to do so. Its a regular thing for Hector and he is comfortable being there without his parents. The kids area is well secured and they do have a camera and tv monitor there as well. Thanks magikrose for your response :)
@lingli_78 (12852)
• Australia
18 May 07
there is no way i will leave my kids alone at such a young age... God knows what can happen to him/her in this crazy world nowadays... anything can happen... it is just amazing that some parents just don't care that much about their child... they care much about their shopping... i had seen a lot of parents just leaving their children like that... i think it is totally irresponsible... for me, i will definitely report it to the mall security to have somebody watching over him until his parents come... unless it is a supervised kids play area and it is enclosed, it is not safe at all to just leave the kids just like that to play by his own in such a young age...
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
18 May 07
Yes I agree, as I wouldn't leave my son alone even if it was secure and safe. Thanks lingli_78 for your response.
@whyaskq (7553)
• Singapore
18 May 07
I think kids of certain age like to be on their own. If they prefer to be left alone, why not? I have seen many parents doing such. Even my nephews enjoy being at the toy mart by themselves without their parents bothering them. You have seen for yourself how independent that kid is. He has proven to his parents that he can be trusted to be on his own. It is the same as leaving him alone in the library. Somehow, it is just how comfortable the parents are leaving the child alone :P If the child has been educated to be independent and has proven he can be left alone without wandering out of the store, it would be a good idea to leave them there instead of dragging them along while you shop. As a safety measure, the child should be "equipped" with a contact card so that the parents can be contacted. Also the child can be taught to go to the information counter to "broadcast" for his parents. I would think it is pretty safe.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
18 May 07
Thanks whyaskq. He is a sweet kid and seemed very capable of being in the kids area on his own. He actually looked older than 7, I would of thought 9 because of his height but then again, my son is tall for his age and he is only 4 1/2. Others think he is 6 or 7. It seems like it is a normal routine for him too and the kids area is well secured. It just bothered me that maybe I should of said something to the mall security to keep an eye on him or something. Anyways thanks whyaskq!