How Young Is Too Young to Stay Home Alone?

One mother left her 7-year-old child home alone, explaining it teaches him independence and responsibility.
3:40 | 08/18/14

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Transcript for How Young Is Too Young to Stay Home Alone?
Move on in the heat index to the mom sparking a fierce debate, leaving her 7-year-old son home alone. Featuring him Independence and responsibility. Paula has the story. Reporter: In "Home alone," 8-year-old Macauley Culkin is accidently left alone. But this child is left home intentionally. I'm a home body. Do you know what that is? Yes. What is it? Someone who likes to stay at home. You look for ways for your child to grow up and become more independent. Reporter: Lizzie, a mom of three says Simon is the one who started asking for the alone time. Why do you think you're ready to be left alone? Well, I'm mature. Reporter: So Lizzie occasionally leaves him home alone while she goes for a run or errand. Never more than 45 minutes. Simon knows what to do in case of an emergency. If somebody knocks, don't answer. We have talked about so many different scenarios. He would be able to call someone, go to the neighbor, realize when he needs help. Reporter: Only three states actually define the age a child can stay home by themselves, new York not one of them. Making her decision perfectly legal. Yet critics are calling her parenting choice ridiculous and crazy. It's not really a difficult decision. If you know your child. I know my 7-year-old C, and he is a mature child. Reporter: For "Good morning America," Paula Faris. And we're joined by our editor from thestir.com. Parents have done this for generations. And there's something good about teaching our kids Independence and responsibility. But you have to ask yourself, what is too young? And 7 years old just seems too young. You're dealing with a 7-year-old brain, and only takes a split second for them to make a bad decision leading to something dangerous. This mother is not a helicopter parent, and saying there are those -- they're too involved. Right. And she wants to teach her child Independence. That's her claim. This is the other extreme to the helicopter parent. But there are other ways to teach your child to be responsible. You know, let them have toys around the house, weigh in on family additions like vacations. And don't jump in every time they have an argument with another kid. Let them work on problem-solving skills. All teach a child to grow. Only three states have laws regarding minimum age that you can leave your kids home alone. That is Illinois, 14 years old, Maryland, 8 years old, Oregon, 10 years old. Were you surprised? I sort of just assumed. It is shocking. The lawmakers want parents to be responsible. They're betting on parents to be responsible and make safe decisions for their children and not always doing that if they leave their kid alone too young. Arrested for leaving in the kid in a car, but not home alone. Is there an age you recommend? There's a maturity test. Does your kid make good judgments? How does he handle emergency situations, run and hide or calm? Would you trust that kid to take care of younger siblings? If that's yes, maybe leave them alone. But 7 is young. Thanks very much. We wanted to know, when is is child old enough or left alone?

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