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KatawaGrey's avatar

Parents, did I over-react?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21461points) May 14th, 2010

Yesterday, I came home from being at my mom’s house and saw that my neighbor’s door was slightly ajar. I could hear young kids inside but I went into my apartment. After about ten minutes, I peeked outside my door and saw the door was still ajar and I could still hear the kids. I knocked on the door to let their parents know that the door was ajar, thinking the door hadn’t latched when they closed it or that maybe the kids had opened it while playing. Two little girls, no older than six or seven opened the door. I asked them if their parents were home and they didn’t answer me, they just stood there giggling. When I asked again, two adults came into the hallway and said they were the girls’ parents and went into the apartment. I told them I was just making sure they knew the door was open. They told me they did and I went back to my apartment.

Was I wrong to try and let the adults know the door was open? It was very obvious that there were two young children in the apartment and when the girls opened the door themselves, I was glad that I had knocked on the door and not someone less harmless.

Am I over-reacting? Parents, would you be okay with leaving young children alone in an unlocked apartment for any length of time?

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15 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

I think you did the right thing. I would have done the same. And no I wouldn’t leave young kids alone in an unlocked apartment for any length of time.

MissA's avatar

You were okay in what you did. And, they probably wondered what you were concerned about. That’s the way it is.

marinelife's avatar

I definitely think you did the right thing. But since the adults were in the apartment with the children, they probably didn’t think anything of it.

MissAusten's avatar

I would have done the same thing. Maybe next time they won’t just leave the door open, which I don’t get at all. Even if I was home, I’d have the door closed. Why take the chance on leaving it open? And no, I wouldn’t leave children that young home alone unsupervised. My daughter is 11 and I have just started letting her stay home alone when I have very quick errand to run. Even that makes me paranoid, but it’s a problem I have to get over at some point!

A few weeks ago, I was outside waiting for my son’s school bus and noticed the front door of the house across the street was hanging open. It kept banging in the breeze, and I could see that something was in front of the door, preventing it from closing. There were no cars in the driveway. After the bus came, I kept looking over at the house and wondering why the door was open like that, and worrying that someone had broken in. I finally went across the street and knocked on the door. I called out a couple of times, “Hello, anyone home?” There was a small stool holding the door open. I walked around to the side door, didn’t see anyone in the back yard, and went back to the front door. This time I yelled louder, and the woman who lives there finally came to the door. She was fine, and just propped the door open to get some air in. Probably some bugs too, but maybe she doesn’t mind that so much. I felt a little silly, but there have been more break-ins around here lately and I’d do the same thing again. She was very nice and thanked me for checking on her. She said, “It’s nice to have neighbors that pay attention!”

It makes me want to stage a crime scene on the front lawn and see how long it takes for someone to stop and question me.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I think the bigger problem here is that there were two very small children alone unsupervised. I am assuming the parents left the door ajar so they could say they could “hear” the kids if something went wrong. It is a poor excuse. If it happened again I might even find it reportable. Not that anything would be done but just for it to be “on record”. I personally find that such small children being left alone is very dangerous.

To answer your question, Yes I absolutely think you did the right thing. Absolutely.

Am I understanding this right? The parents were in a different apartment, right?

Storybooklover's avatar

No, I would have checked on them, also. Were the “parents” in the same apt. or did they come into the hallway from another apt/ outside ?

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s a good idea to check and avoid possible tragedy

jazmina88's avatar

I leave my back door open for the dog to get out.

Kayak8's avatar

To put it in a context, one day driving home, I found a two year old wearing diapers and sitting in the middle of the street. I used my truck to block the road and went and picked him up. All the doors of the nearby houses were closed except for one. I went and knocked on the door and the Dad who answered the door couldn’t really see what I was upset about. I was livid.

I think you did absolutely the right thing!

Silhouette's avatar

Maybe, but who cares, better safe than sorry. If it had been my house and my children you’d be my hero.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

You definitely did the right thing. Unfortunately the parents probably didn’t learn their lesson.

bea2345's avatar

Better to do the right thing, even if it leaves you feeling out of step. Perhaps it might have been a wake up call for the parents, however improbable.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I actually just spoke to my own mother about this and she was astonished that anyone would do that. To be clear, the parents were not in the apartment and the apartment door is not visible from outside. Also, we live in ground floor apartments and the building does not have a lock on the front door. There are also two entrances, one in the front and one on the back. I could have easily lured the children out of their apartment and out the back entrance.

I could understand leaving the door unlocked if you had to run outside really quickly for something, but leaving the door ajar for 15 minutes? Also, when I was their age, I was instructed quite fervently by my mother to never open the door, not even if I thought I knew the person.

Thanks everyone for validating me. Since I have no children and since the parents weren’t all that concerned, I was wondering if perhaps I had no reason to worry.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Kayak8 Wow that makes me sad and scared. Poor kid.

Buttonstc's avatar

Unfortunately there are license requirements for driving, owning dogs and even fishing, but any idiots can have kids and care for them abominably and very little gets done about it.

You would think the parents would have more sense than that, but…

You absolutely did the right thing. If it were me and I saw it happening ever again, I would make a call to 911 to report a possible break-in/burglary and tell them I was afraid of the danger in investigating it alone.

Let them explain themselves to the Police when they show up.

Stupid idiots.

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