The Days of the Latchkey Kid & Learning ‘Real’ Responsibility
Are you raising ‘really’ responsible children? One of my mama’s friends said that when he was eight he had to take care of the chickens on his family’s farm or else the family would have no eggs. I also had someone the other day tell me that when they were in third grade they had to make sure they and their little kindergarten brother got on the right school bus and got home safely. Wow! I shudder to think. Could my oldest handle these types of major responsibilities at that age? When I was coming up there used to be such things as latchkey kids. I was one of them. There were no stay at home mama’s on my block. It was around fourth or fifth grade that my parents entrusted me with the responsibility to make it from the school bus stop to the house without getting kidnapped. It was a proud and scary moment all at once. I’d longed for my very own personal house key and the moment when I could supervise myself. But it was scary too. My mama and daddy gave me all of the warnings and I’d seen enough afterschool specials to know staying at home alone wasn’t just about doing and eating what I wanted until my parents came home. I had to be responsible. Go straight home. No letting any friends in the house. No cooking anything on the stove. No leaving the house once I was inside and definitely, definitely knowing how to get in contact with 911 if necessary.
- Only one in nine kids aged 5 to 14 spends after-school hours in a home without parent.
- Some 4.5 million children were alone for an average of 6.5 hours every week in 2011.
- In 1997 about one in five kids aged 5 to 14 were left unsupervised.
How do you teach your kiddos ‘real’ responsibility?