Would you leave a five-year-old home alone if you had to run out for an errand?
What if she was “sensible”?
It’s the debate heating up the mothers on the UK chat site, Mumsnet, with the simple question provoking more than 200 answers.
A mother phrased it as “asking for a friend” who does it a lot.
Mumsnet user, Selly24, said her friend’s five-year-old often wakes up to find her mother is out and becomes upset.
She said her friend’s child didn’t understand the concept of babysitting and was “often left alone”.
The post was titled: “Neglect or just crap parenting?”
Another mother, Enb76, was quick to answer.
“I used to leave my five-year-old for about 10 mins to do an errand. I'm not a neglectful parent. I would never have left her asleep to wake up on her own. I'd tell her where I was going and how long I'd be. She's now still alive at eight and I am happy to leave her for longer periods. She's a sensible child.”
She was told quick smart: “That just means you're a crap parent too.”
The debate then began.
”People know their children and we need to remember there are children that young in other countries fending entirely for themselves. Neglect and abuse? No, potentially negligent? Yes, ever so slightly,” a commenter added.
Another was blunter: “Absolutely shit parenting whatever way you look at it.”
"Yep it's bad parenting and neglect," another said.
Mumsnet user, Witsender, said it was "not on" at the age of five. “What about if the parent was in an accident?” she asked.
"'I did it and my child is alive' is merely a sign of poor parenting," said another.
“Probably pilloried to boot," the teacher added.
But another Mumsnet member, named "Sohackedoff", disagreed.
“I spend longer than that up the garden sticking washing out and I leave my six and eight-year-old in the house. Front door is locked. I leave back door open so they can find me. I could have an accident. I could have an accident or die with them in the house. My kids go upstairs and play or out in the garden. I don't have CCTV on them, nor do I check them every five minutes. Do people not do that? What I do see is parents in parks etc ignoring their kids cos they are more interested in their phone. I think that's neglect.”