I was never one eventhough my mother was a widow when she was in her 40s. And I pray my kids will not have to be too.
Once in a while, my kids’ friends who are latchkey children will drop by. There is something sad about it. They have all the freedom. Creature comforts. A cool handphone, broadband at home, ability to go everywhere. Not required to return home until they feel like it. A maid at their mercies.
I do not know if these latch key children enjoy their status. I do not know if they gleefully smirk when they are in my house. Listening to their friends (i.e. my kids) being nagged by the mother. I do not know if they feel envious or relieved.
I never ask. I also never ask my kids if they prefer to be in their friends’ shoes. Because I know that children, unless they are way past 17 years old ought not to be left alone at home. No matter what the reason is. I know some parents have no choice. But most parents do have a choice.
These parents that I am talking about are those who are in pursuit of more and more money. With the false belief that money is the best they can offer their kids. This is so wrong. Time is most important. Being there for them when they return from a hard’s day school.
Getting their meals ready. Providing a listening ear. Just chatting and being together.
Many parents will probably leave their younger children at daycare centres. Which is a better alternative. But when a child reach secondary school, they probably think that it is safe for the child to be alone at home. At the age of 12/13 years, they are most easily influenced by the internet, TV, video games and peers.
Here’s something I found on Canadian Child & Family website:
According to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, a well known professor of pediatrics and writer, “right through the teen years, youngsters desperately need the supervision of loving adults. They need a responsible person who cares about them to greet them after school and say “how was your day?” They need an adult present to offset peer pressure and to put limits on exploration into such things as matches, inappropriate TV, or in the case of teenagers, drugs, sex and the liquor cabinet.”
Latch key children. Were you one of them? Does it affect you in a negative or positive way? Do you think there is a ‘safe’ age when children can be left alone at home while you are at work?