Note: I want to try not mentioning sex/gender to see how answers may depend on this.

Consider 2 children Ashanti Smith, 17 years old, and younger sibling Bidatz Smith, 9 years old.

  • Ashanti has recently started to be a tutor for several of Ashanti's own classmates (actually people in the same year and school but not necessarily the same class). This includes Mikoto and 2 of Mikoto's friends (all are 17 years old), all 3 of whom recently transferred (due to academic problems, hence the tutoring) to the school of Ashanti and Bidatz. This tutorial is really paid work namely from Mikoto's parents (and the parents of the others) to the parents of Ashanti and Bidatz. The parents knew each other from before but weren't really that close, but Ashanti and Bidatz 1st met Mikoto et al just through the recent tutoring.

  • Early on in the tutorials, Mikoto once came over to the Smith residence for dinner where Bidatz and Mikoto had become very friendly. Later on, Mikoto, Ashanti and Bidatz hung out together and then Mikoto and Bidatz exchanged contact information. Sometime later on, Mikoto and Bidatz were hanging out on their own on weekends (eg at malls or computer shops), where by 'their own', I mean without the presence of Ashanti, Ashanti's parents or Mikoto's parents.

Question: Can it be appropriate for Mikoto and Bidatz to hang out in this way?

  • Edit 1: I had an idea. Maybe the parents really trust Mikoto as if Mikoto were like a babysitter or something? Seems quite normal for 17 year olds to babysit 9 year olds...Hell even 30+ year olds baby sit 9 year olds. Yeah maybe I was just overthinking it. Idk.

  • Edit 2: Presumably, Bidatz got permission from Bidatz' parents. It's not like Bidatz and Mikoto were sneaking around. They were hanging out in broad daylight, and it's not like Ashanti or Mikoto's friends don't know. It's just that Ashanti and Mikoto's friends aren't with them sometimes.

Related stackexchange questions:

  1. Can it be appropriate for a 3 year old to play with a 9 year old?

  2. How to respond to 17 year old daughter going out with a 25 year old man?

  3. Is it okay for two 6- and 9-year-olds to share a bedroom with their 18-year-old step-brother?

  • 2
    I think that trying to make this question sex-neutral makes it impossible to answer. Crimes, most notably age-gap-related crimes, are almost entirely perpetrated by adults of one sex against children of another. Yes, there are exceptions, but this is a question about patterns, and sex is a massive determining factor in these patterns.
    – ribs2spare
    Jun 22 at 16:51
  • 1
    Oh, okay, I thought that your question was requesting for answers not to mention sex, but I now understand that I did not read the question carefully enough.
    – ribs2spare
    Jun 23 at 17:44
  • 3
    Questions are not the appropriate venue to post the answers of others. You posted those answers in their appropriate places, they got down votes, you deleted them, and sought this workaround. If you want those answers and the information they contain to appear, undelete them. That would be the appropriate approach, and they might get upvoted. Thanks.
    – anongoodnurse
    Jun 24 at 12:59
  • 1
    @ribs2spare That's not true. There's also a significant portion of crimes committed by adults of that sex against children of the same sex.
    – nick012000
    Sep 6 at 21:11
  • 2
    @BCLC - in answer to all 3 of your questions, please stop doing it. I have already pointed you to the help center and How to Ask pages. There is no point you saying "I get away with it on site X so it must be okay" - it isn't
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 8 at 6:29

4 Answers 4


I don't see a problem a priori.

  • My son (3 years) loved playing with a 6-7 year old boy he met on the playground; the older boy clearly enjoyed it as well.
  • I know a girl that happily played with the new school children (6 years old) when she was 11-12.
  • There are people who would love to have a smaller sibling but don't have any, so they could enjoy the company of someone who could be.
  • In youngster sports clubs, it is common that the older teach/train the younger. Age 17 and age 9 are quite possible in such a setting.
  • Maybe Mikoto and Bidatz share a common interest, like chess or Pokemon or slacklining or juggling. Then it could develop into something like a mentor-student relationship, like in the aforementioned sports club trainings.

From my experience and others', there seems to be the following rule of thumb: If a child is not mentally on the bright side (i.e. average or below), then they seem to enjoy company of younger children. Probably because they are more on equal grounds, or they may even feel smart and being looked up to (an experience they rarely get in their age group).

I assume this applies to adolescents as well, since mental development is still going on. (It probably does not apply any more for age 30 and up since age and mental capabilities do not correlate very strongly then.)

Since Mikoto needs tutoring, this might apply here.

Anyway, as long as both do it of free will and both their parents know about it, it is totally OK. If parents are suspicious, if they have a good relationship with their children, they can just ask them what they did together. If something strange is going on, they will probably find hints in the children's answers.

  • 2
    @BCLC - As I’m sure you know, comments are not for discussion. If you want to start a conversation, please use the site chat room. Asking repeatedly for an opinion on someone else’s answer is inappropriate, full stop.
    – anongoodnurse
    May 27 at 1:54
  • If you have any questions not directly pertaining to clarification of a post, either use chat or bring it up on meta, as explained in the link above.
    – Stephie
    May 27 at 17:20

No. There's no reason a non-family individual twice the age of a child should be hanging out with the child socially. What good could possibly come of it? The first problem is that an 8yo has the ability to give out his/her contact information to anyone.

In this scenario you have, for all intents, an adult in a relationship with a very, very minor child. This is suspicious in and of itself as there couldn't be any real shared interests. It's creepy.

This is dangerous in every sense.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 20 at 15:40
  • Btw, 9yo not 8yo
    – BCLC
    Aug 7 at 23:50

Got an answer from reddit by user DuePomegranate:

You know how there's a very successful NGO Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, where adults, often college students, volunteer to be 1-on-1 mentors to at-risk kids? And how previously, many teens like working as summer camp counselors?

Some older teens like being looked up to by a younger kid, and enjoy mentoring. If it's the summer holidays, both the 9 yo and the 17 yo may be pretty bored. And the 9 yo's parents are probably pretty happy that the 17 yo is keeping the 9 yo occupied for free. Sounds like sometimes, the big sib is with them, sometimes not, sometimes it's the group of 17 yos with the 9 yo hanging on.

It's quite likely it's the 9 yo initiating too. The 9 yo is bored and has no transport. The 17 yos may have transport. 9 yo wants to go to the mall and their big sib is busy? Call the other 17 yos. When parents can't afford to occupy the kids with summer camps and other programs, this kind of thing happens.

Yeah, it's legit: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. From Wikipedia:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to "create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth".3 Adult volunteers are matched with children from age 5 to young adulthood.

I think this kinda programme is what Angelica Pickles from Rugrats/All Grown Up was a part of in All Grown Up S01E07 Thief Encounter when Angelica becomes a 'mentor' to 1-time character Bernadette.


Got an answer from reddit by user NotChistianRudder:

I'm just thinking this through more and here's my checklist for if I, as a parent, would sign off on my 9-year-old hanging out unsupervised with a 17-year-old:

  1. Is the social time occurring organically? Is the nine-year-old mostly the one initiating contact?

  2. Has the 17-year-old taken initiative to include the parents in their plans, ask permission, and communicate thoroughly?

  3. Has the 17-year-old demonstrated a normal level of emotional and intellectual development?

  4. Does the 17-year-old pass the gut check? Am I not getting any other weird vibes from them?

  5. Have I prepared my nine-year-old to handle an emergency on their own? Do they know my phone number by heart? Do they know who are the appropriate people to seek help from when out in public? Are they comfortable communicating with me if someone hurts them or touches them sexually?

If the answer to all these questions is yes then I'd be okay with it.

  • @Rory Alsop♦ why the rollbacks?
    – BCLC
    Sep 7 at 8:55
  • Your edit was not constructive, but served simply to bump visibility. That is not welcomed.
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 8 at 6:30
  • @RoryAlsop btw do I have to do 1 post per answer? or can i just combine both answers from reddit into 1 post?
    – BCLC
    Sep 12 at 15:11

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