February 20, 2012

Apparently, nowadays you can get arrested for leaving a kid home alone...

... when that kid is older than the kids we hired to babysit really little kids back in the 1980s.

I used babysitters who were only 12 or even 11. These days, in some states at least, they expect you to hire a babysitter for a 13 year old. Who are these babysitters supposed to be? It's younger teens who want to earn money babysitting, isn't it? Older teens can work in shops and restaurants.

This is a bizarre notion of progress. The message to young parents is: Never go out. Or: Never go out together. It's a good rule for keeping young mothers housebound!

And then there's this crazy story about the mother who got arrested for making her 10-year-old walk to school — 4.5 miles — after he missed the school bus. (Via Instapundit.)

41 comments:

Bob_R said...

You only thought they were your children. They belong to the state.

ricpic said...

13 year old son: Please mom, tar and feather me, throw me in the briar patch, but please, please don't hire that 16 year old cheerleader to babysit me...he he he.

MadisonMan said...

Sixth or seventh grade is when the daughter started babysitting, as I recall.

The first linked-to story has a whole lot of nothing in it, IMO. Sure, you can't have kids alone with a 14-yo for an unreasonable amount of time. Where unreasonable is not defined, and no citation on the law being enforced is offered.

It sounds like lawyers talking hypotheticals in a classroom, AFAIC.

It's not the end of the World as we know it.

Yiddishe Bloyger said...

As ricpic suggests, hiring a babysitter for a 13 year old just seems like a really bad idea. Unless that babysitter is Mrs Doubtfire or the Great Santini.

The message appears to be: don't try to figure out the rules and decide for yourself, parents. We're the state, and we'll tell you if you're raising your children correctly.

traditionalguy said...

"Back when things were sane" was the neighborhood in the age before illegal drugs and sexual license had not changed so many neighbors into mentally destroyed psychopaths, like in Florida.

Original Mike said...

"It's not the end of the World as we know it."

I wouldn't want to be a kid nowadays.

Crimso said...

Look at our society on the run in the 21st century.

Mary Martha said...

I am of the opinion that we should *encourage* young tweens and teens to babysit. I can think of no better form of birth control than having been the one responsible for a screaming child... even if only for a few hours.

I started as a 'mothers helper' when I was 10 and then made some very serious money babysitting until I was in my early 20s.

At no point did I ever think that having a baby before finishing my education would be a good idea. I always joked that I would only have kids when I could afford to hire a babysitter occasionally.

Seeing Red said...

I was at the local pool and the male lifeguard was constantly monitoring this group of pre-teen males, I asked him if it made him want to have kids because they never listened to him. LOLOLOLOL

NO!

Larry J said...

In the second story, the kid was a repeat discipline problem on school buses so his mother made him walk to teach him a lesson. We can't have that!

The Nanny State reminds me of the old Pink Floyd song Mother, only with the Nanny State playing the title role:

Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb?
Mother do you think they'll like this song?
Mother do you think they'll try to break my balls?
Mother should I build the wall?
Mother should I run for president?
Mother should I trust the government?
Mother will they put me in the firing line?
Mother am I really dying?

Hush now baby, baby, dont you cry.
Mother's gonna make all your nightmares come true.
Mother's gonna put all her fears into you.
Mother's gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She wont let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Mama will keep baby cozy and warm.
Ooooh baby ooooh baby oooooh baby,
Of course mama'll help to build the wall.

Mother do you think she's good enough -- to me?
Mother do you think she's dangerous -- to me?
Mother will she tear your little boy apart?
Mother will she break my heart?

Hush now baby, baby dont you cry.
Mama's gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Mama wont let anyone dirty get through.
Mama's gonna wait up until you get in.
Mama will always find out where you've been.
Mama's gonna keep baby healthy and clean.
Ooooh baby oooh baby oooh baby,
You'll always be baby to me.

Mother, did it need to be so high?

Pogo said...

And don't even try to pack them a lunch.

They own us.

I mean really own us.

The Drill SGT said...

MadisonMan said...
Sixth or seventh grade is when the daughter started babysitting, as I recall.


Yeah, I was the oldest of my generation (mom had 5 brothers, I had 16 cousins and a younger Bro). I remember baby sitting and cxhanging diapers at 11-12.

Chip S. said...

All babysitters must be licensed by the state. Every sitter must feed the sittee an approved vegetable, preferably one grown in an early-presidential-primary state.

Methadras said...

The state has no business in the rearing of children unless their is an imminent danger to those children. This is clear overreach and should not be tolerated. We've been saying this for years that shit like this is coming. It's here. Now what are you going to do? Apparently a whole lot of nothing since the incremental inculcation of statist guilt is working. Thanks Dr. Spock, you piece of shit.

Pogo said...

You're too stupid to choose the right light bulb, so why should the gubmint trust you with their kids?

Saint Croix said...

The first linked-to story has a whole lot of nothing in it, IMO. It sounds like lawyers talking hypotheticals in a classroom, AFAIC. It's not the end of the World as we know it.

It amazes me how liberals can be so glib about the power of the state.

LilyBart said...

All babysitters must be licensed by the state.

And dues-paying union members.

George Grady said...

You've mistaken a detail in that second story. He didn't merely miss the bus. He was suspended from riding the bus.

I know that if I had been suspended from riding the bus when I was a kid, there was no way my parents were going to bother to drive me to school.

Peter said...

Reminds me of the book, "Hard America, Soft America : competition vs. coddling and thebattle for the nation's future" by Michael Barone.

"From ages six to eighteen Americans live mostly in what I call Soft America- the parts of our country where there is little competition and accountability.

"But from ages eighteen to thirty Americans live mostly in Hard America-the parts of American life subject to competition and accountability.

"While Soft America coddles, Hard America plays for keeps."

(Except, we're working to do away with that part of "Hard America" too.)

edutcher said...

Sooner or later, some Nanny somewhere will do his/her CYA/Big Brother and end up killing or seriously injuring a kid and, hopefully, the lawsuit will be big enough to make some of these morons see the light.

I know... Optimist.

Ann Althouse said...

This is a bizarre notion of progress. The message to young parents is: Never go out. Or: Never go out together. It's a good rule for keeping young mothers housebound!

Barefoot and barren?

Original Mike said...

"It's not the end of the World as we know it."

I wouldn't want to be a kid nowadays.


Good point.

I have a feeling there's gonna be youth rebellion in the near future that's gonna make the 60s look like the 50s.

Icepick said...

ricpic @ 12:11 wins!

It's a good rule for keeping young mothers housebound!

Hey, some of us fathers are the primary care givers these days.

DaveW said...

13 years old is fine for a baby sitter, depending on the 13 year old and the 'baby'.

Kids should be taught to earn money that way to learn responsibility.

I had 2 14 year old buys mowing my yard toward the end of last year and I thought it was wonderful to see a couple kids out trying to EARN some money. I even tipped them when they did an especially good job and they quickly caught on to that trick.

It's really counterproductive for the government to intrude in this sort of thing.

Sofa King said...

I have a feeling there's gonna be youth rebellion in the near future that's gonna make the 60s look like the 50s.

But that's what's so genius - they've been conditioned to the point that they wouldn't know how to, if they tried.

edutcher said...

All they have to say is, "No".

With all that self-esteem training they've gotten when they should be learning to make change, it'll be a snap.

sleepless nights said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcommal said...

From 1st through 4th grade in Illinois, I walked to and from school twice a day (there was no cafeteria; you went home for lunch). We lived precisely a mile from the school (I just google-mapped it, to make sure I wasn't misremembering), which, thank goodness was not uphill both ways, LOL, though it could be a slog when snowy in winter. Yes, that adds up to four miles of walking without parental supervision as early as age 6.

Later, in 6th grade, in Delaware, my parents agreed to pay for Ballet lessons, but the deal was I had to transport myself, which involved an almost 4-mile bike ride in each direction (8 miles roundtrip), twice a week. That was considered no big deal (by both parties).

Child abuse? Criminal?

I don't think so... .

--

I started babysitting at age 10. By age 13, I had a steady Saturday night gig (and sometimes more frequently) with a neighborhood family watching their 5 children under the age of 7. For a whopping $1.00/hour, LOL.

Yes, I was cheap as well as abused. ; ) But not unusual!

Freeman Hunt said...

In the days before kids on my way home from work, I used to see a blind, teenage girl walking by herself to a taekwondo gym two or three times a week. Busy street too.

Darrell said...

You should hire a 30-year old, like Laurie Dann. She was a great sitter in affluent Winnetka, Illinois. Well she was until she killed a girl and shot many more.
I really felt bad for the families that hired her--until they gave interviews detailed her bizarre behavior over many months, then all said they continued to hire her to watch their kids. What behavior? Having her stand on an oriental rug in the study while they got their wallet to pay her in cash only to find her standing in the middle of a huge wet spot. Then testing the wetness after she left and saying "This smells like urine." Or coming home to find her watching TV then going into the rest of the house and seeing that it is all torn up. Well they question her she tells them that someone broke in and did that--she just forgot to mention that or call the police at the time. They all continued to use her, though. Good sitters are hard to find.

Henry said...

@Darrell. We once hired a teenage girl who, in a fit of squeamishness I think, put my toddler son's diaper OVER his pajamas before putting him to bed. That was a wonderful 2AM surprise for us.

There was a sitter never hired again.

w/v -- I swear the first w/v was in Hebrew characters. I don't know how to type that.

Gene said...

If a mom can be arrested for making her kid walk 4.5 miles to school, I wonder what the lower limit is, below which there is no criminal conduct. No one would arrest a mom who made her kid walk 100 yards to school, but what about 500 yards, which is how far I had to walk to catch my school bus every day?

If that's too short to be abusive, what about 1000 yards? That was how far my best friend's house was from mine and I usually ran that distance, sometimes several times a day.

What about a track and field coach who makes his team run 10 miles in practice? Is he guilty of abuse too?

Unless a kid is injured by walking to school I don't see that making the kid walk any distance is a problem. Didn't Abraham Lincoln walk five miles to school everyday, uphill both ways?

Penny said...

No surprise that the age of "babysitters" is increasing.

Bet there's an increase in the NUMBER of "babysitters" too.

Penny said...

And I wasn't even counting parents.

That would just be an embarrassment to the fifty-somethings working hard at being the new forty-somethings.

cassandra lite said...

I'm AA's age almost exactly, and was raised by a single mother. At age 8 I walked home from school and fooled around in the apt. by myself till Mom got home 3 hours later. As far as I can tell (which is like trying to lift yourself off the ground), this was a net good to me.

Ann Althouse said...

When I was a babysitter, in the 1960s, the pay was 50¢ an hour. And if they stayed more than 4 hours, they still wouldn't fork over more than $2. It was like they had a $2 ceiling, and they'd hand you the money and never concede they owed you more. I put a lot of time into thinking about how unfair that was, and what I could do if they underpaid me like that again. I decided to say they owed more, and I guess I said it the wrong way, because they never had me back again.

Ann Althouse said...

I think they thought that once the child was in bed, there wasn't any work being done, so what difference did that last hour make. You were just watching TV, as you would at home.

rcommal said...

I think they thought that once the child was in bed, there wasn't any work being done, so what difference did that last hour make. You were just watching TV, as you would at home.

Yep. Except that at the time, and also at that time, I WOULDN'T have been watching TV at home.

MathMom said...

I babysat 2-year-olds when I was in 5th grade. My mother stood by in case I needed her.

My brother and sister and I also used to ride bikes 4 miles one way to school (mine was a 20" - I was in 2nd grade), when my parents couldn't afford to pay for the bus.

I turned 58 today (John Glenn orbited Earth for my 8th birthday). Things have slid a long way in 50 years. Kids are not better off for being so much less competent now.

Penny said...

"Yep. Except that at the time, and also at that time, I WOULDN'T have been watching TV at home."

Course not, rcommal.

You're a reader, most likely way too engaged in a good plot to have kids.

Unless you really DID have kids?

GMay said...

"It's not the end of the World as we know it."

The rationalization for the inexorable creep of the state in our daily lives, summed up as concisely as I've ever seen it.

rcommal said...

Penny: At the time, we only had one TV, a small portable, and it was in my parents room on Saturday nights.

Also, I'm raising a kid right now.

Suburbanbanshee said...

I recently ran across an ad for a couple wanting to hire an adult nanny for their tiny little baby. 40 hrs a week, 200 dollars.

Except that minimum wage here is $7.70 an hour, which means that they should have been paying at least $308... and most in-house nannies or babysitters get paid a lot more.

Did I mention that this couple lived in the richest neighborhood in the city?