As the oldest of seven who grew up in New York, I was my mother’s helper, lending a hand whenever and however she needed it.

By the time I turned eight, I had two brothers and a sister and the maturity to handle watching them occasionally for very short periods when my mom needed to go to an appointment or run an errand.

Helping my mom and looking after my siblings wasn’t anything I ever gave a second thought. Being responsible and caring for my siblings was a job I’d been given to do and I just did it because I had to.

Now, I’m the mom of a boy who is a year older than I was when I began to be trusted to stay home alone, or alone with my younger siblings, and I can’t even wrap my head around leaving my son home alone even for ten minutes to run to our nearest gas station.

98.1 The Hawk logo
Get our free mobile app

It isn’t that my son doesn’t have the same maturity or know-how that I did. It’s that he does and it scares me. My son is fully capable of cooking basic meals, knows how to do laundry and other chores, and is comfortable but cautious with strangers – all good qualities for a nine-year-old.

However, my son is confident that he is basically a full-grown man and is constantly set on proving that to me and my husband. If left on his own, even for a short period, my child would get the brilliant idea that he needed to do something like pick up an axe and split some wood to help out his parents. That’s what scares me. That’s why he’s not ready to be left at home alone.

Believe it or not, in New York State, no law states at what age a child must be before they are legally allowed to be left alone at home. I know, I find that boggling too considering all the other restrictions the state has in place but it's not such an awful thing to allow parents to parent their own children.

In New York, it is up to the parents to decide if their child is old enough to look after themselves but here’s the catch - if something goes wrong while the child is unsupervised (say a kid who wants to show off his manliness by splitting wood), parents could face charges for being reckless.

Experts say that there are some things that parents need to consider before they decide whether or not their child can stay home alone. Parents should take into consideration the age of their child and how mature they are, how safe the neighborhood is, how well their child knows how to call for help, and what plans are in place for their safety, if they can prepare their meals, and what dangers they might be able to get into such as knives or tools.

Experts agree that some ten-year-olds might be okay to be left alone, while others wouldn't leave a fourteen-year-old unsupervised. It all comes down to using common sense.

Re-Live Your Childhood Memories at This Enchanting Park in the Adirondacks

Check out these photos of Enchanted Forest Water Safari and see if it's the way you remember it being when you were a kid (we're guessing it is!).

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

20 Things You Should Avoid Buying at a Dollar Store in New York

Several publications, including Reader's Digest, warn that if you spend your hard-earned money on any of these items at a dollar store, you'll just be wasting it.

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

More From 98.1 The Hawk