At What Age Should Your Child Be Able to Do Things Alone?

July 14, 2011  |  

I’ve heard many of my elders say that when they were a child back in the day, people could leave their doors open and suffice with a screen door into all hours of the night. Why? Cause they knew the people in their neighborhood and thought nobody’s crazy behind would come in and do them harm. It was chill like that. Kids could walk the streets with their friends or alone and not have to be looking over their shoulders every five seconds. But boy, how things have changed.

After hearing about the murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, a young boy from Borough Park in Brooklyn, I was probably just as stunned and disgusted as everyone else who heard the news. That a little boy could be walking down the street to meet his mother, get lost and think he could trust an adult to help him only to be VERY wrong hurts. This innocent child was abducted, murdered and dismembered by a man from his neighborhood who would later say his actions “may” be wrong–a blatant display of how sick some people in this world have become. And to think, this all got started because Leiby wanted to walk home alone.

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  • BrendaSmith009

    I would let my kids do things alone for them to get matured, but it depends on their age. I would like to share this article that got my interest, because it gives me the confidence that I can now leave my kids at home alone with just his cell phone and the safety service mentioned on the article

  • Krazidawg

    My son has such a innocent nature about himself that their is no way I would let him out of my site. Not sure how to say it but he is the best part of me. He truly sees good in people and I love him with all my heart because when I was his age (8) I was nothing like him. I know some predator would see that kindness and trusting nature in him so until he is 17-18 years old he will be with me at all times, never walking alone. If that would have been my son that animal killed no jail could keep me from dismembering him the way he did that little boy. RIP to the 16yr old and the little boy.

  • Lisa

    This is really bad. I feel very sorry for the families of the little boy and the young girl.
    Let´s not forget, however, that this does not happen every day but is rather a horrible exception.
    When I was little (and I am 24 years old now, so it is not so long ago), when I was 4 years old, I was allowed to play outside by myself, but had to stay where my mom saw me through the window. At age 7, I was allowed to go almost everywhere. And I think my parents did nothing wrong.
    Nowadays, in my neighbourhood, it is not uncommon to leave the doors unlocked or even wide open (though not overnight), and nothing has ever happened. And I live in a 200 000 resident city in Germany.
    What I want to say with this: Let´s live our live normally, let´s be reasonable and not panic. A child getting murdered is one of the absolute worst things that could ever happen to a family, but so is a child falling off the stairs and dying. And why do you let them walk the stairs instead of carrying them up and down? Because it is very unlikely that something happens, and there are risks to every thing in life, so you let your kid live normally instead of curtailing his freedom.

  • melissa

    This story just tears me up inside. Its bad enough to kill a child but to dismember. I mean think about that to actually dismember what type of sick person does that to anyone much less an innocent child. I just wish we could just do away with people like this senetence them to death immediately no trial, no appeals, no cries about how they were abused as children, just automatic death. It just sickening that these people can just walk the streets again(casey anthony) after knowing that she killed her child. im just disgusted

    • Bill

      No trial? So just find a guy who "looks like he sure could have done it" and up on the electric chair with him? You are a moron.

  • Leticia

    This really does depend on the mind of the child. A parent needs to know the state of mind their child is in. I say this because I have 2 boys and I was able to let my oldest walk a block or 2 to and from school without any hesitation in the second grade (age 7-8). Now my youngest son who is in the 3rd grade going into 4th grade(age 9) I hesitated. My youngest is, to me, still young minded. Now with that being said I have always spoke to my kids about the dangers of the world and who to talk to and who not to talk to. Oh & don't misunderstand me I am the type of parent to tell my boys to walk with a sharpend pencil and if anyone grabs you…stab and run!

  • Over it…

    My mother was a police officer so I didn't do a damn thing ALONE! She didn't trust anybody but herself and my father and (some) family members….she introduced herself to everyones parents before I went anywhere with friends… sleep overs she was the first parent there the next morning (and the last to leave when she dropped me off)….she let me live and have fun, but she was never too far behind…and I respect parents who choose to raise their kids that way!

  • Isis

    My oldest will be going into second grade in September, and I take him to school everyday. He prob wont be walking to school until he is at least 13.

  • Dimples

    This story was so disturbing. I pray for the family. I think I started walking home from school in the 2nd or 3rd grade. My mom always walked me from school until one day, I decided to walk home with friends before she got to me and we didn't go the same route but I made it home and got into trouble. It truly depends on the child but even with that, I would let them think they were walking home by themselves but would have to find someway to watch them or have someone I trust nearby to make sure they were ok – that could go on only for so long so then I would instill in them to walk in groups and never alone. You don't want to scare your child but they must know that there are CRAZY people in the world.

  • Creating in Cali

    Not only kids these days have to be wary, young adult women need to be aware as well. My first year in college I was followed home after getting off the bus. I noticed the same guy on the bus and got an eerie feeling… After arriving home I looked out my window to see this dirt bag staring in… Thank God I had a man in the house to run him off… I used to be against owning guns, but it look like they're going to have to lower the age limit of ownership because of the vulnerability of our children.

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  • Kayla

    in this world, you children arent safe no matter what age they are. It disturbs me to no end. Im on the bus and i see little children as young as 6 get on by themselves and get off. There's only so much protection and guidance you can give your kid, this proves it.

  • practicaldreamer

    Please let's not forget that the parents are NOT to blame here. From what I've been hearing of the story (and it's nonstop here in Brooklyn), the parents did all they could reasonably do to ensure this child's safety during this first walk alone. Let's put the blame on this psycho where it actually belongs.

  • Thandie

    i started working to school when i was about eight but my mom gave me a cell and she was calling me every 2 minutes she did that till i was bout.. 11. i remember the first time i walked to school i noticed a car was following me it was my mom using my grandma's car. LOL!

    • Over it…

      LOL…damn mom's was checking up…that's how you have to be tho…good stuff!

  • Sad to say, kids today can't be left alone to do much like we were when I was younger. And that wasn't that long ago. So many things have changed. I used to be able to walk to school, to the corner store and back when I was 6 or 7. Granted I was usually with my sister or some friends but the point is that we were allowed to do that without having to worry about somebody trying to kidnap us or do unmentionable things to us. I'm afraid to let my future children do that now.

  • Anon

    If I had a child in today's world……..they would need to be in a supervised group with a responsible safe non pedaphile adult most if not all times away from me. The world now is too phukced up. You have to safegaurd your children, not shield or keep in bubble, even around fam members/other children. Talk to them about being honest, smart, and safe, what's approporate and what's not appropriate. Your have to start teaching responsibility, and safety awareness, how to handle and protect themselves EARLY.

  • Cici & Coco -The Besties

    Stop lyin u did not start doing that so young. That’s not funny. You couldnt even write a damn paragraph. Anyway. When they reach 16 it seems more appropiate. Call me paranoid but at times u cant even trust ur own fam with ur kids. Dont throw em out into the world. Protect ur babies at all cost cause theres always someone out there that would love to take em & i’ll be damned. Always have ur gun ready.


      You don't know how I grew up. And the key words were " Starting at 4-5 years old." My parents didn't baby me nor were they neglectful. Plenty of people I grew up with grew up the exact same way. That was just how it was.

      • Isis

        I too think that walking throughout NY city starting at 4-5 is CRAZY!! HOw long ago was this 1930's? I mean wow, I just think that is WAAY too young to be out alone.

      • HeadSmackeroni

        I grew up with two working parents, in the same city as you – and never noticed kids that young walking to or from anywhere by themselves in droves. Some people make up weird crap about NYC as if it's some magical place no one not from NYC visits. LOL

    • can

      Now granted I'm from Oregon…But I started walking to and from school (crossing intersections and all) in the first grade. I don't think it's that crazy; it was a sign of the time and place I was raised in. People did lot's of things 10-20 years ago that they would never do now. So I think we have to keep that in perspective when we compare how we were raised to what today's reality is.

    • Melissa

      I completely agree with u im all for kids being independent but if a parent a sane parent that is lets their 4-5 year wander the streets by himself at anytime whether back in the day or no they ought to have been locked up. Its by the grace of God that something didnt happen to him. No parent in their right mind would allow a 4-5 year old to walk anywhere alone unless the parent was on drugs

      • melissa

        or now*


    Now being a native NY'er, being a latch key and street smart kid was a necessity. My parents worked opposite shifts and I had to learn to cross the street, ride the buses and trains and walk home from school starting at 4-5 years old. It's not odd for city kids to be that young and that independent. That certainly does not mean my chances of being kidnapped or harmed in someway was reduced- but you could be with your parents and something could go down. It's a tough world nowadays-nobody is safe.