13-Year-Old Helps Capture Burglar & Proves She's Old Enough to Stay Home Alone

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houseAngelina Scisco's mother got a phone call she never expected from her daughter last Friday afternoon. The teen called, shaken, to tell her that there was a burglar in their home stealing things and she was hiding inside the closet. Frightened, the mother alerted police, who descended upon their Florida home and captured 47-year-old William Wilson -- who just recently got out of prison this past November after serving 20 years for armed burglary.

Wow. Just wow. Angelina's quick thinking to run to the closet and shut herself inside may have saved her life. Who KNOWS what he would have done to her, especially considering his criminal record.

With that said, I can only imagine what was going through the mother's head when she heard her daughter's voice on the other end of the line. Whatever the reason may be, Angelina was home alone. I'm sure in that moment she wondered: Should I have allowed that to happen?

The question comes up: What is the right age to leave your child home alone?

At the polar extremes, the answer is logical. Obviously you can't leave a 6- or 7-year-old home alone -- but a 15-year-old? Most likely. The confusion generally strikes at the ages where children start to become independent. I remember when I was first left home alone. It was after I was allowed to go to the mall with my friends "alone." The catch? Although I was allowed to be home, it was never for longer than a few hours.

Obviously, each teen and scenario is different. There are a few important questions you can ask yourself when making the difficult decision:

  • Think about the neighborhood you live in. Is it safe?
  • Is your teen a good decision maker? Are they responsible and do they listen to your directions?
  • Can they take care of themselves? If they get a cut, are they calm enough to handle it? If something falls and breaks, do they know the right way to take care of it?
  • Do they know everything about your home they will need to know? Not to turn on certain electrical appliances, correct address and phone number, how to arm and disarm a house alarm (if you have one), etc.?

Of course, there are endless questions you can ask. And at the end of the day, if you're still a little uneasy, the administration for Children and Families suggests attempting a trial period. This way you can see how your kid will act and handle the responsibility.

Lucky for Angelina and her family, she was OK. While her mother may wonder if she made a mistake, it's clear Angelina was prepared to be there solo. Most importantly: she remained calm enough to protect herself.

Do you leave your children home alone? What rules do you follow in your household?

 

Image via alex.shultz/Flickr

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Elaine Cox

but can she be left alone in a hot car?

Jespren Jespren

I'm glad it turned out okay, and I think certainly the vast majority of 13 year olds are not only capable of home-alone time but of taking babysitting jobs (like they've been doing to centuries), but by the time they're 13 I'd hope a young adult is smart enough to call 911 not a parent in a true emergency!

nonmember avatar Hannah

I have to stay home alone every day during the summer because both of my parents work. I don't live in a neighborhood though. I've been staying home alone since 5th or 6th grade. I'm heading into 10th grade this fall. I know to go upstairs and hide in my parents room if there is someone on the property or in the house. I also know how to load and use a gun properly in case I have to protect myself.

kckcm2 kckcm2

Good for you Hannah. (I say that sincerely) Jespren I have to agree, while the girl had good survival skills to go hide, calling a parent was the wrong decision. I'm glad she's safe but calling 911 would have been a much better decision

sassy... sassykat122

Most 13 year olds are old enough and mature enough for two to five hours at a time. Parents need to know their own kids though. If doubtful maybe try it for an hour and have a neighbor watch the house

sassy... sassykat122

Most 13 year olds are old enough and mature enough for two to five hours at a time. Parents need to know their own kids though. If doubtful maybe try it for an hour and have a neighbor watch the house

Sara Cunningham

Are you kidding me? I was babysitting by the time I was 13 and left alone in the house by age 8 or 9. I don't think I was more responsible than the average kid, and I did just fine.

femal... femaleMIKE

She's not that responsible if she called her mother before calling 911.  Im glad it ended okay for her.


I was a dumb child and I was good enough to be home alone at 10.  I survived it.  By 13, I was babysitting.

Pixie030 Pixie030

I was 12 and my sister was 9 when we started getting to stay home alone during day time hours, I was technically in charge of my sister but we never had any probs with being there alone. Our mom was pretty strict though and we knew the house rules.

Natasha Nicole

I think it all depends on maturity I know some 13 year olds who are way more responsible then some adults this girl did the right things and I'm so happy she is safe.

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