A Connecticut mother was recently arrested and charged with risk of injury to a minor when her 4-year-old daughter--whom she had left under her 13-year-old son's watch while she went to church--wandered alone into a neighbor's yard. Rebecca Young's son was also supposed to be watching his two other siblings ages 10 and 1 1/2, but only until the real babysitter arrived. When the neighbor saw the little girl in her backyard, she apparently called the police to report what was going on.

While I think it's pretty ludicrous that Young got charged for this incident, I must say I'd have a very hard time leaving a 13-year-old in care of three children--especially a toddler, even if it was only for a short period of time. To me, it just seems like that's giving the teen way too much responsibility, regardless of whether they're related or not.

I know that lots of parents differ on this point. Many of them started babysitting at around that age themselves and sometimes younger. I never did. I've never really understood this and even though there are obviously a lot of differences between some 13-year-olds and others, I just don't think they're old enough to really be able to deal with any kind of situation that could arise while in the care of little children. 

I guess I'm lucky because I've never been in the kind of bind where I've needed to be rescued by our neighborhood's teen babysitter. Not only do I have a full-time nanny who is in her late 20s, but I've also got family in town who helps me in terms of childcare. And when none of these people are available, I'd much rather take advantage of our local hourly childcare program than hire the 13-year-old who lives three houses down and constantly leaves flyers at my door advertising her services. 

Maybe I'm just being a freak of nature, but I just don't see how a 13-year-old who's probably more preoccupied about texting or checking her Facebook timeline, would adequately take care of my children. 

Would you let a 13-year-old babysit your children? Have you? Tell us your opinion by leaving a comment below. 

Image via Daquella manera/flickr

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is a Staff Writer for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a first-grader and a preschooler. She loves languages, traveling and good food – especially if it's cooked by someone else.

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