The Working Parents Dilemma- when It’s Okay to Leave Your Child Home Alone
Summer break is coming soon and for working parents, the nightmare begins. Leaving your child home unattended is a scary thought to many parents but sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any options.
Here are some tips and ideas on how to get through summer break and keep your 12 to 14 year old safe.
Make rules and stand by them. A young teen is likely to sleep away half the day if no one is there to insist that they get out of bed. Have a pre-determined, reasonable time that you and your teen agree upon that he or she is to contact you whether by phone or text. If they do not get out of bed follow through with taking away privileges.
Assign chores for your teen to do during the day and if they are completed, give them an allowance that they can use for movies, roller skating or other activities with their friends.
Speak to the parents of your teens friends and see if there are any programs that you can sign them up for. See if between the two of you an arrangement can be made for carpooling. Getting your teen out of the house and involved in an activity will help to keep him/her out of trouble.
Know who your teens friends are and what their parents work schedules are like. If you feel strongly about not allowing your teen to either have friends over or be at a friend’s house when no parents are present, be firm about enforcing your rules.
Consider hiring a “buddy” for your pre or younger teen. A 16 or 17 year old who can hang out with your teen a few hours a day to swim together, go to a local park, mall or library can be a good influence and will keep your teen from just hanging in the house playing video games or surfing the Internet. A better way to do that could be to find an au pair agency that can assign a young adult to stay at your home and look after your kids in exchange for a room, food, and pocket money.
Try to take some time from work to do day trips with your teen. If you cannot get a weeks vacation or cannot afford to, maybe taking a day or two will fit better into your schedule and budget. Do something together that you both can enjoy. Offer to bring a friend along to make it more enjoyable.
Pre and young teens can often be self-absorbed and have a hard time understanding that parents do not have the luxury of a summer break. Allow your teen to have fun but keep in touch with any plans they might make. To avoid extra stress, confirm with your teen’s friends parent when they make plans to do things together. No teen is perfect and just as young children test their parents, teens test their parents by trying to get away with things from time to time. In order to keep your teen safe you need to keep in contact and ask questions.
You can provide a safe atmosphere for your teen over the summer while you are at work. The key is to insist upon communication and adhering to the house rules of behavior.
Parents are basically keeping their children in a daycare centre in order to prepare them when they go on to have children of their own someday and wear the mantle of parenthood with pride.