Police Show Up at Doorstep of Mother Who Let Age 8 Daughter Walk Dog Alone


When was the first time you were allowed to be home alone? How old were you when you first took a walk or rode your bike without adult supervision?

Kids mature at all different ages. Some 12-year-olds are more grown-up than some 30-year-olds.

Corey Widen was shocked when cops showed up at her door to talk to her about her daughter. She had let her 8-year-old daughter, Dorothy, walk their small white dog around the block.

Dorothy was close to home and not gone long when there was a knock at the door. An anonymous tip had apparently come in saying that a 5-year-old girl was out by herself.

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“She was gone for about five minutes and the next thing I know the police were at the door,” the upset mother said, according to Inside Edition.

“It was terrifying for all of us,” Widen said. “It startled her right away, so she burst into tears and ran away.”

After the police spoke to Widen, the Department of Children and Family Services followed up on another tip that they’d gotten about the same incident.

Do you think an 8-year-old should be allowed to walk alone?

“It was an obvious false report,” Widen said, “it was obviously not true that I was neglecting my kids. You can see it when you walk through our door. I felt they should have pursued charges against the person who filed two false complaints.”

The family doesn’t know who called in about the child, and whether it was out of true concern or being overly nosy. But Widen isn’t happy about it and prefers that people stay out of her business.

“Even if you’re not 100 percent on board with your child walking around the block, most people are confident that a North Shore mom who stays at home with their kids, who’s devoted their life to them, has got good enough judgment to decide when her child is ready or not ready to do that,” she said, according to TODAY.

The incident has elicited the entire range of responses, from people chiming in to say that 8 is still too young and the girl could have been kidnapped, to others who think people are overreacting.

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TODAY spoke to Anne Marie Albano, a Columbia University professor of clinical psychology, who seemed to think Widen was within her rights.

“The main thing that we have to bear in mind is that we are training our kids from early on to be independent adults. Picking out their own clothes by age 4, walking the dog by age 8 or 9, these are appropriate things for them to do in a safe place around your home or neighborhood,” Albano said.

What do you think? Is the world too dangerous for an 8-year-old to take a short walk by themselves, or are people too protective these days?

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