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Is Mom A Jerk For Leaving Kids Home Alone While She Goes On A Cruise?

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Home Alone or Home Sweet Home? We are assuming you all saw Home Alone. Hey, Macaulay Culkin ended up just fine! Well, that was a movie character he was playing, but still. Such ingenuity.

A Mom took to social media to ask if she was being a jerk for wanting to go on a cruise and leave their 14 and 19-year-old boys alone. The Internet had opinions. What a surprise.

How Old Is Old Enough?

woman saying me?
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Here is what the Mom asked: 

“Would I be a jerk if I left my 14 & 19 year old boys at home alone (with an adult occasionally checking in on them) and took a cruise?

They are both pretty mature, self-sufficient and I’d have someone check in on them daily. They would have plenty of food and cash. I’d be gone a week. 

My only concern is that I’d be so far away and if anything happened, I might not be able to make it home. 

I trust them not to be drinking or partying. Besides my youngest is a snitch and the neighbors are, too.”

Well, about 1000 people weighed in. Which way do you think the tide went?

Take Your Trip!

happy family.
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Right away, posters were in support, many with personal experiences. 

“I’ve been watching my siblings overnight since I was 17. As long as the 19 yr. old can drive in case of an emergency, or someone can get there quickly, it’s totally fine. Enjoy your time.”

“As long as the older one agrees to being responsible for the 14 y/o while you’re away, and they have a Designated Adult in case of emergency.”

“14 and 19 is perfectly fine. I’m a flight attendant and my base is 2 hours away. I’m gone 14-days a month, 4-5 days at a time. Mine are 14 and 20, I’ve been doing this for 2 years. Trust that you’ve taught them the basic life skills. Plus, it’s literally just a week. Be confident in your boys, mama!”

19-Year Old’s Weighed In

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Several young adults chimed in:

“I feel like a bunch of movies start out this way LOL. I took care if my 5 yo sister when I was 19 and my mom was in the hospital having surgery.”

“I’m 19 and my sister is 14 too, and I’ve watched her for an extended time, up to a week as well, and it was okay. I did feel good having my grandpa come by and check on us, so having that older adult check on them is a good idea. Definitely not a jerk, as long as both the kids are 10000% comfortable with it!”

“Absolutely not a jerk. 14 and 19 are more than old enough to be home and take care of themselves. When I was 19, I had taken over all the cooking for my house, doing mostly everyone’s laundry when need be, etc. 19 is old enough to take care of themselves and safely watch their siblings.”

More Stories From 19-Year Old’s

young mother and child.
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Maybe the world is okay. Lot’s of responsible young adults out there:

“At 19, I was married and owned a home. I think you’re fine.”

“I was a mom at 19. They’re fine. God what is this world coming to?”

“I was a parent and lived on my own at 19. What is wrong with people these days?”

“I was a mother at 19 and fully moved out from my parents. If someone is checking in regularly, I think you’re fine. Wyze cameras are super cheap, and you would be able to keep an eye on who’s coming and going.”

Be Practical 

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Many folks had practical things to say, like, maybe just expect a house party, and, think about medical power of attorney before you leave:

“U have a 19 year old ur fine dude. Granted ur kids may throw a party but they will be fine.”

Many people agreed with this commentor, pointing out the difference between telling the 19-year-old they had to do this, and asking them if they felt comfortable with the responsibility: 

“Not a jerk, but have you run this by your eldest son? Just because he’s of age does not mean he should be solely responsible for his little brother unless it was discussed in depth prior.”

“The adult that’s checking in should have temporary medical power of attorney for the 14 year old. Just leave a note that says that ______ can sign for medical care. Leave the dates for the trip, emergency numbers and insurance info. Sign and date it. Then get it notarized and leave it in the care of the responsible person. Don’t leave the 19 yr. old in charge of that.”

“Can you give a trusted neighbor a heads up to watch for parties etc.?”

Nope. Don’t Do It!

graphic saying NO.
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A few think the poster is a jerk:

“I’d be concerned from a safety standpoint. If someone figured out they were there alone I’d be afraid of a break in because people are crazy. I’m not worried about parties; I’m worried about who comes to them and what liability…they will be quick to sue for when they make a stupid decision.”

“I wouldn’t let my 21yo watch my 13 and 15yo for an entire week. It’s not a trust thing so much as a ‘she’s 21 and her priorities are somewhere else’ kind of thing.”

“I’ll be honest. I was 14 getting left home alone for a week on end and I got into the worst stuff possible. They are gonna cause trouble.”

“Be prepared to get a call that there was a house party, possibly cops showing up lol.”

“I accidentally had a party with like 50 kids when I was 19 and my 17 yo brother was the one who kicked them out.”

“Be prepared to find your 14-year old in foster care when you return.”

“So glad my parents didn’t have cameras back when I was that age.”

“The one time my mom left me at home for a long weekend trip @ 17 …I had a huge party (I think about 75 unattended teens with copious amounts of alcohol etc.), so hopefully your son is more responsible than I was.”

You Came To Be Judged

people pointing and blaming woman.
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This responder is judging. And shaming:

“This is wrong for so many reasons. Even you are doubtful, or you wouldn’t be asking. All you want to hear is ya it should be fine, they are responsible. Big mistake. You may end up regretting forever. Hire someone or send to relatives. OR, here’s an idea, cancel your trip as you are being selfish and putting your needs before your children’s. FOR SHAME.”

Intense Stories

teenager consoling mom.
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There were a couple of very intense, real-life stories shared:

“Well… I wouldn’t take the risks. My parents did when I was 14. One of my brothers 20 year old friends pinned me down during a party he had. He had too much to drink. Thank God another friend heard me screaming and got him off of me. I would have been assaulted for sure.”

A child advocate shared a story that she said was one of many histories she has heard being a child advocate:

“Was 13 under my brother’s watch; well I got pregnant. have a baby at 14 …my brother left me alone to go with his friends, and the adult that was keeping an eye… well he abused me.”

Girls? Yes. Boys? No! Unless The Girl Is Feral

woman looking upset.
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The conversation turned to the fact that it was boys we were talking about…

“Sorry, but boys? Probably not. If the 19 year old was a girl, I would say maybe. I love my son. I love my nephews. But they mature so much slower and at those ages they aren’t close to making adult decisions. Cruises are long and I would not be able to relax.”

“My 5 yo daughter sometimes displays more responsibility than her 7 and 10 yo brothers.”

But then again…

“I have to disagree. I 100% trust my son. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave my daughter in my house alone. At any age. She’s completely feral.”

Don’t Necessarily Expect Disaster

young boy cleaning.
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A few posters said that they went away, and when they came back, their house was cleaner than when they left.

They admitted that the kids might have had a party, and tried to cover the evidence…but they will never know for sure.

Is 19 Adult Enough?

teenage boy in stripe shirt.
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There was a lot of discussion about how 19 is legally an adult, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are responsible. And also, that maybe older kids and young adults are irresponsible, because they have never been given or taught responsibility.

“I think it is fine with the 19-year-old being home and an adult nearby. People have started treating teenagers like they are babies. Children do not have enough responsibility these days. I was reading a thread earlier and someone thought a 10 year old was too young to take care of a dog!!”

“Am I the only one that noticed she’s referring to the 19 year old as a child and says adults will check in like they aren’t one lol”

Poster responded: “he’s just a beginner adult lol I’m gonna have an adultier adult check on them. Like a mom friend.”

“Not being a jerk. There’s no reason a 19 year old can’t watch a 14 year old for a week. When I was 14, I was making my own meals, rode my bike wherever I needed to go. Independence is good for kids.”

“It’s not the same anymore. In the days of helicopter parenting and putting kids in car seats until they’re old enough to shave, 19 is the new 12.”

19 Is Fine. 14? Not So Much

young teen boy.
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Some folks suggested dividing and conquering the situation:

“The 19 year old? Fine. He’s a legal adult. The 14 year old, I personally would not – I’d find an older adult for him to stay with for a week if I really wanted to go.”

“Can you actually have a good time if you’re worrying about your youngest? My husband has ruined vacations by worrying about our dogs! I would have the 14 year old stay with a family friend or relative just so you don’t worry.”

Lots of Encouragement

woman on cruise.
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In the end, the great majority of responders were encouraging. The original poster was not a jerk at all:

“Go! I’m literally on one right now! 19 and 15 home and fine…”

“Enjoy your cruise!!!! They will be okay.”

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