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Mom Defends Leaving Son Home Alone: ‘A Five-Year-Old Is Perfectly Capable of Fending for Himself for an Hour’

Mom Defends Leaving Son Home Alone: ‘A Five-Year-Old Is Perfectly Capable of Fending for Himself for an Hour’

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When is a child old enough to stay home alone while you run a short errand? Parents often disagree on the right age, but many would say that five is too young.

As Mamamia reports, a mom named “Tarin” recently wrote about an argument with her fiancé when he discovered that she had left their 5-year-old son home alone.

In a post that was later shared to Reddit, Tarin explained that she is 34 weeks pregnant and a stay-at-home mom. Her fiancé only has one day off per week, leaving Tarin alone to deal with any small errands.

Like many pregnant moms, Tarin finds it difficult to get out of the house. So she found a way to avoid the chore of dragging a young child with her everywhere she goes, by leaving her son behind. As she explained:

It’s a pain being pregnant and having to get my son ready and in the car, so I usually leave him home behind my fiancé’s back. (No judgment please.)

However, as Tarin continued, her fiancé recently learned about this firsthand. And he was not pleased.

(Warning: Some of the language seen below may be offensive to some.)

As Tarin explained, she had a pregnancy craving for lunch from a specific place at the mall and figured she could run out, pick up her lunch, and be back in less than an hour:

My son’s lunch was in the oven and [I] figured by the time it was ready, I would be home considering the mall isn’t more than 15 minutes away. My son is potty trained and just plays games on his iPad/watches TV.

However, about 30 minutes after Tarin left, her fiancé came home from work early. He wasn’t pleased to find his son at home alone and sent Tarin a series of angry texts.

“Why the f*ck is Brent here all by himself, are you crazy?” the fiancé asked in one text. After being assured that she just ran to the mall while her son was watching TV, the fiancé added, “How do you not see this is wrong?”

Tarin explained to her angry fiancé that the reason their son was home with the oven on was because his chicken nuggets were cooking and would be done by the time she got home.

The mom didn’t include her fiance’s response to that explanation, but it’s clear that she was deeply offended by his texts. Her objective in posting about the incident wasn’t to ask whether she was in the wrong for leaving her 5-year-old at home, but rather to ask, “Would you guys be mad if your significant other spoke to you this way?”

“I feel degraded and belittled over nothing,” Tarin explained. “A five-year-old is perfectly capable of fending for himself for an hour.” She concluded:

“I’m honestly about to pack my bags and never let my son see his father again as well as when this baby is born. I would rather be a single mother than be spoken to this way.”

On Reddit, most commenters were more concerned with the decision to leave the 5-year-old at home alone than the relationship question Tarin asked about.

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Some did point out that the standard on when you can leave kids at home is a flexible one. However, most disagreed with Tarin about a 5-year-old being self-sufficient.

“I might argue a kid can handle themselves for a bit, but a whole hour, with the oven running, no food ready, while she is out at a mall?” wrote one commenter. “Five minutes in my kid would have burned himself on that oven.”

Another commenter explained that whether a child can entertain himself isn’t the measure of when he can be left alone:

Even if you set aside the question of whether a child can take care of themselves, there still is a question of what would happen in an emergency. The door is unlocked, will he walk outside? What would he do if a stranger walks in? The oven is on, Will he open it because he’s hungry and end up burning himself? What if the nuggets catch on fire while they remain in the oven? Will he call 911? Will he know to leave the house? Or will he hide under the bed?

More than one person commented that things wouldn’t get easier for the pregnant mom after her second child was is born. As one person wrote, “If she can’t manage putting a 5-year-old in the car to grab lunch, she won’t be able to take care of a 5-year-old and newborn as a single mom.”

Finally, there were a few who weighed in on the relationship question at the heart of Tarin’s post. However, they didn’t agree that Tarin’s fiance was out of bounds, on the contrary:

“Given the gravity of the situation, I’d say he’s pretty composed,” wrote one person.

Another wrote, “I was home alone after school quite often a couple years older than this so it’s hard for me to be too critical of her on this. However, her attitude towards being called out on this really speaks a lot more about her mindset which concerns me more than anything.”

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View Comments (44)
  • My take is it’s all about her. I was pregnant and had a 2 year old as well. Didn’t stop me from taking the 2 year old with me. Having kids isn’t easy.. Your life isn’t the same so think about it before you get pregnant.

  • Hello I used to babysit in my home many many years ago. At the time I had an infant , a toddler 2 yrs old and 4 kids approx 4 -5 yrs of age , This was my light day too .
    I also took care of my mother , Picking her up from work, taking her to the grocery store, to the post office, wherever she needed to go. Some days I had my nephew as well . He was also an infant.
    I took these children with me everywhere I went
    And never left them in the car or at the house alone nor with anyone else.
    It wasn’t the easiest job I had but I wanted to let those children know somebody cared about them always.
    (Oh did I forget to mention that about half the time I was in a leg cast to my knee.)

    Tarin number 1 should never have left that child alone at his age. C’mon 5? Five yr olds cannot make those type of emergency decisions.
    She was selfish and thinking of only herself.
    He could’ve use a little less vulgarity but in all honesty I don’t blame him one bit.
    If she thinks she can’t handle one w/him what makes her think she can handle 2 alone?

    It just seems like girls today don’t think!!!

  • yes you should leave but leave the kids with him seems like you have a hard enough time figuring out how to take care of yourself kids deserve better,five is way to young to stay home alone and then you leave the oven on to boot.to hard to put him in car,HELLO.once the baby is born are you going to let the 5 year old watch the baby as you run to the store?cause it s to hard to put them all in the car

  • Well for one thing it’s against the law to leave a five year old home alone in most places. For another she is totally selfish. She did this to go get lunch she wanted??? And then says she’s tempted to leave her fiancé because he cares about the well being of their son and never let him see the kids???? He needs to call CPS on her and get custody of both children.

  • How about using Grubhub, Uber Eats or any of the other delivery services?

    My SO gets nervous if I am in the back yard & our 5 1/2 yo is inside on the couch. I would never ever leave her for an hour to get food. Either she goes with me or I stay home.

  • What I have to say about this would take several pages , here is the condensed version ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR EVER LOVING MIND.

  • Yes, 5 is too young, especially since you left the stove on! You didn’t need to run to the MALL. You wanted to. Don’t blame the father of your kids. He’s not the one lacking good judgment & common sense. Frankly, this is child neglect & you should be facing a judge. Thank God we’re not reading about another innocent child who lost his life, because of his parent’s selfishness. We have enough heartache to deal with hearing about the thousands that are murdered in the womb every day!

    • While I agree 5 years old is WAY too young to be leaving a child home alone (and for Pete’s Sake with the oven on!), bringing abortion up has literally nothing to do with the post. It’s a medical decision. Instead of shaming people who are trying to take care of themselves and their health, let’s talk about the mothers who do shit like this and their children die.

  • Your 5 yr old child’s life is a LOT more important than any pregnancy craving you might have. I don’t blame your sons daddy from chew your butt out for endangering his son. If I was him and youthreatened me with leaving and taking him, I would file for permanent custody of both children. He works 6 days a week providing for his family and you want to leave that over a few words???

  • Actually, if she checked her state and city laws, it is illegal to leave a minor child under a certain age at home alone. It is even against the law to have a babysitter under a certain age to take care of small children because of the responsibilities and liabilities involved. This woman needs to check her attitude and be glad her boyfriend/fiance or the neighbors didn’t report her to child welfare services because they will be there to take the 5 year old away and also be there when the baby is born and it will take a lot more than some hurt feelings and a lame excuse to get your children back. Grow up and act like an adult mother and put your child first. I am sure there was something in the house for you to eat or to hold you over until your boyfriend/fiance got home and then you could run out and get your craving at the mall.

  • To me it’s not so much is he capable of being home alone for 30 minutes..
    It’s the “what ifs.”
    What if the mother has am accident?
    A medical emergency?
    Traffic jam?
    What if the house catches fire?
    The child gets hurt or choked?
    Too many things can happen.
    Life isn’t 100% predictable.
    So no…I don’t believe it’s ok to leave a child that age at home alone.
    As far as the husband’s language, treatment of the mother…
    My gosh… he’s probably really, truly concerned for the child’s wellbeing.
    And I’m sure he used choice words out of fear, anxiety and anger.
    So I believe it’s understandable and forgivable, under the circumstances.

  • I hope he takes both those kids away from your stupid ass. U definitely don’t deserve to ever raise them. That’s stupid asf and really pissed me of that u are trying to justify this with “because I am pregnant and I was hungry” !! U yes ma’am are a dumb ass bitch and unfit parent for sure!!!

  • This is serious business. A mother is someone who protects her child with her life. I really think the father of this child and unborn baby should think seriously about getting mom some professional help. Perhaps parenting classes and a psychologist to evaluate her.

  • Tarin feels belittled and degraded over how her fiancé talked to her! Is there something mentally wrong with her? She is endangering her 5 year old. I have questions for her…What would happen if you came home Tarin and your house was burning down with your son in it or you came home and he had choked on something or what if you came home and someone entered your home while you were out getting your snack and kidnapped him or he got outside and got hit by a car? You are putting your needs before your child’s and that’s pretty scary. You need help.

  • I was pregnant with twins, had a 1yr old and a 4 yr old. they went everywhere with me. Never in my life would i leave them alone at that age and with the oven on anything could have happened. it dont take that long for nuggets to cook. Shame on her, my oldest is now 15 and im still nerves about him being home alone even if its for 30 min and he still dont cook in the oven or stove

  • I would be ashamed- I hope she’s actually reading these comments. I’m a mom of a one year old, and have kept many other kids for friends and family members. I am not perfect, but let me tell you something- this is absolutely ridiculous. The nerve! My husband also works 6 days a week, comes home and works ANOTHER JOB on top of being a father and husband. I cook, clean, and CARE FOR OUR CHILD. That means taking him with me, everywhere. How could she be so selfish to be concerned about her fiance being mad? And leaving the oven on!? That’s just downright STUPID!!! Was she trying to kill her son and make it look like an accident? What if she had gotten in a wreck and wasn’t home for Hours? That poor baby. I cant explain how badly I just wanna teach this woman a lesson on how to be a mom! Ugh!

  • She’s out of her mind. At 5 it isn’t that big of a deal to take them with you. The safety factor is off the charts and she made it worse by having the oven on. Somebody slap some sense into her. I would have been livid too. Another example of lazy parenting

  • In most states, it is illegal to leave a child under 12 or so alone. She might would be in legal trouble regardless of what any of us think. Also, as a couple there are things you need to talk out and agree on. Sneaking behind a partner’s back is not ok. As far as his reaction, it is understood even if I don’t use that language.

  • Children should not be left alone untill they are mature enough to do the right thing all the time. Its a hassle sometimes to get children ready to leave the house I know I have twins that are 4yr old and a 5 month old too. Grow up and take care of your children.

  • I’m not so worried about her judgement as Baby Daddy’s. She’s so obviously an unfit mother, why’d he get her pregnant the second time? Both of them need basic life lessons, and probably the 5-year-old could use a little psychological intervention himself, if his Mom’s as narcissistic as she sounds in this post. And, really–you guys use language like that in front of your 5-year-old? Get a grip on yourselves.

  • Not a good idea to leave your child at home at 5 years old with the oven on. PERIOD! There were and are lots of women in your shoes that would never do what you have done.

  • Leaving a 5 year old alone is bad enough… but leaving the oven on… one wrong turn leaving the mall and there is an accident… wow are people really this careless with their children?🤬😡

  • This is so friggin ridiculous to read that I cannot believe it to be real! Poor judgment. I side with the father. I wouldn”t trust her.

  • Not appropriate at all!!!!!! Sorry I had 4 kids all 22-24 apart they always went with me. They are all grown now n never left their either.

  • You had a craving??? Seriously? OK, maybe going across the street to the neighbor’s house to borrow a cup of sugar or to check the mail would be reasonable to leave a 5 year old home alone,but you were home over an hour and left the oven on, how can you not see how wrong that is? You’re selfish! You don’t need another child. Your fiance should take this post to a lawyer, petition for sole custody court. Thank God he came home early, who knows what could have happened. And you have the nerve to to say you won’t let your children see their dad over something like this? Again, you are selfish! I have a daughter with 4 children, she just gave birth to her youngest 2 months ago. If she had a craving she would have called someone to go get it for her, or she would have waited till her husband came home, because she’s not selfish. Get a grip!

  • The five year old should be removed from the home as well as the newborn when it is born. What an idiot, child protection services should be notified. She will probably be leaving the newborn with the 5 year old to go get a “craving”. I crave to see her punished, take the children away, sterilize her so there are not any more born to be left waiting for an accident to happen.

  • Wow how stupid can you be! I have an 8 year old, 3 year old, and newborn sons, nd i have never even left them in the car to go pay for gas let alone leave them home alone for any length of time! There is too much that could go wrong, children are unpredictable

  • I am a gr mother of 7 and mother of 4. A 5 year old that has been drilled in basic safety info. ie don’t open door, don’t answer phone, etc might be left while mom is next door or close. Even then I’d be nervous. A 5 yr old should never be left alone when mom is going across town!!! Especially now, there is so much that can happen to them! I’d make an allowance if a neighbor is home and willing to keep an eye out for the child for 1/2 hr or less and the rules are drilled into the child etc. Never leave him with an oven on. This is begging for problems. This girl is self centered and needs some parenting classes!! as well as perhaps a slap up along side the head to get her attention!!

  • I had 3 children close in age I never left them at that age that’s way too young. She can’t handle one while she’s pregnant how can she handle two.

  • We all understand cravings especially while pregnant, but the safety of your child should always come 1st. My opinion is a five year old is too young to be left alone, especially with the oven on. Anything could happen at the house and anything could happen to the parent while gone for what is supposed to be a few minutes. What if the parent gets into an accident on the way to or from their destination? What if it’s a serious accident? Then your child is at home alone for God knows how long… then there’s the added danger of what if the house catches on fire? Would the 5 year old know what to do? I realize we can’t always be living in fear about “what if’s “… but we can use some common sense when making decisions that concern the safety of our children.

  • 5 is far too young to be left alone at home or anywhere else. No matter how ‘sensible’ or ‘mature’ a child seems 5 year olds are still too young to make wise judgement calls if something unusual or an accident happens. .. 12 is soon enough to leave a child alone and even some 12 year olds may not be that reliable… pregnancy craving is no excuse for stupidity or neglect. ..

  • He should be the one leaving you, and filing custody now for the newborn when it arrives. Obviously you’re much more concerned about yourself than you are about being a mother. You should be forced to take parenting classes until you can show that you are capable of taking care of your two children.

  • If he had any sense he would take his kids and leave you, anything can happen in a sec. And you have the audacity to ask should you be talked to like that your lucky the police didnt catch you because your son would be gone. #whatafuckingidiot,somepeopledontdeservetohavekids

  • What happens if you have a fender bender? a flat tire? car won’t start? You say the mall is short time away but things can happen. You plan on being gone 15 minutes…that could turn into an 45 minutes or an hour. Do not leave a 5 year old alone at home and don’t do these things behind their father’s back.

  • She should have taken the child with her. Anything could have happened in that hour and he wouldn’t know what to do. I say he was too young to be at home alone.

  • A 5 year old needs parental guidance at all times ! I feel sorry for her second child ! She may leave the baby home because two kids are to much To run to Walmart with ! I would of called the state and took the child into custody myself ! She just needs a puppy.. they can be home alone! People these days !!

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