For those of us from multi-child families, we remember the days of being 8 years old and left home alone with our 12 year old sister and 4 year old younger brother. Back then, it wasn’t a thing for mom to lock you in the house and tell you not to answer the door or the phone while she ran down the street to get some milk real quick. Or maybe mommy and daddy just wanted a few minutes to themselves, so you and your brother baby-sat yourselves while they went out to dinner. It’s nothing. I think I was about 9 when I started getting left home alone with my sister who is almost five years younger than me. When my brother came along, I was 10, being stuck home babysitting those two.
It wasn’t a big deal. It was something that every family on my block did. We used to do things like eat foods we weren’t supposed to, watch certain TV shows we weren’t allowed to. One time, we even sneaked out of the house to play down at the park with some friends whose parents had also left them home alone. Whatever stupid kid tricks we did, we certainly did not beat each other to death.
I just read this story on CNN about an 11 year old baby-sitter who beat a 2 year old child to death. The first thing you want to do is throw the book at her, but I see a bigger problem here.
Okay, I did just finish saying how we were all left home alone at very young ages to take care of babies and toddlers, but there’s one thing you might notice: we were taking care of ourselves. I did not babysit other people’s kids at age 11. My mother did not bring other people’s infants over to our house for us to take care of, and we certainly did not go over anybody else’s house to babysit. Not at age 11.
The 11 year old girl is charged with felony murder and cruelty to children after she beat the two year old to death. At first she tried to lie and say that the baby fell off the bed but an autopsy revealed marks consistent with beating and not falling. The 11 year old was at her own home taking care of someone else’s baby.
Does anybody see anything wrong with this picture? Why is an 11 year old girl taking care of a baby? I guess some people might not see the difference of me staying at home to watch my baby brother and this girl watching someone else’s kid, but I do. It’s not to say that family members don’t do bad things to their own relatives, but it’s less likely to happen, and most of the time, someone else in the family will realise if you’re sane enough to watch the kid or not. You don’t know what you’re getting with someone else’s kid.
If I had a kid, I wouldn’t let an 11 year old child that I barely know watch my infant. Adults get frustrated taking care of babies. How do you think a child feels? When babies start screaming because they’re upset and you don’t know why, how do you think an 11 year old is going to react?
The one thing the article doesn’t mention, and probably because the investigation is still ongoing, is if the babysitter had any malicious intention. Yes, killing a kid is malicious, but did she beat the baby for the sheer joy of it, or did she beat the baby because the kid was screaming, wouldn’t do what she told her to do, or something to that effect. If she beat the kid because she thought it was funny, then yes, she deserves everything they can throw at her. But if she beat the kid because she was upset, couldn’t handle the pressure or something like that, then other people in this sad story need to be punished as well.
The mother should have never let the girl babysit her child. The mother of the babysitter should have said, “Don’t you think she’s too young for that?”
The article also doesn’t say if this is the first time she’s baby-sat the kid. That would be interesting to know as well.
I think this story is sad. This is sad for everyone involved. The dead child, the 11 year old babysitter, the parents of both these kids. It also highlights other problems we have. The mother probably had no other choice but to leave her kid with this 11 year old. From what I hear from my friends, daycare is expensive as hell. I have a cousin who purposely doesn’t work because it’s so expensive to put her kids in daycare that the entire paycheck she would earn would go to the babysitter. That’s kind of sad. So if you’re young and struggling, or even middle-class and struggling, you have to make a choice on where you send your kid. You have to decide between a decent daycare up the street that won’t hopefully serve your kid radiator fluid by accident, or the fat lady down the street who takes care of 15 kids in her one bedroom apartment.
What’re you gonna do?
And just so you know, only two states have laws about the age children can be left home alone, or in the care of a specific aged babysitter. In Maryland, the babysitter has to be at least 13 years old, and no child under 8 can be left home alone. In Illinois, no child under 14 can be left home alone for an unreasonable amount of time.
Everywhere else, it’s use your best judgment.