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Latchkey children

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So if you guys didn't know, I have three kids. An almost 7 year old, a 6 year old and a 6 month old. My wife and I are downsizing into an apartment and we're forced to have her go back to work. She's been able to stay home with the children since she was pregnant with our first child. Now the complexity of working out where the kids will be, made harder by the fact that we decided to send our Kindergartner to a different school than our oldest (who will be in first grade) and the bus drop off time is the same time as the Kindergartner's school let's out (which does not have a bus system-private school). My wife and I were discussing how it would work out and I half-jokingly said, we'll just make Willow a latch key child.

Well that started a "discussion" about the legality of it. She stated it was illegal to leave a child under 10 at home alone. I of course couldn't believe this and did research and found our state actually has no laws regarding it. But her point was she wasn't comfortable with it so I conceded my stance that it was fine.

Let me state that I don't know if I was serious or not, I hadn't really thought about it. On one hand it scares me to death, but then again I'm an over protective parent and my kids don't go anywhereI (or someone that is watching them) can't see them. On the other hand, my mom frequently left me at home alone to go to the grocery store (we lived in the country a grocery store trip took at least an hour) and when my parents divorced, we moved to another state and I was 8, in the middle of second grade (granted a year older than my oldest) and my brother and I were latch key children. It's not like we got home at 3:45 and my mom got home at 5, very often I had to use the stove to make dinner for my brother and I (mostly the microwave, though). I also had a one mile walk to school, the bus system was the public bus, which cost money to ride. I know that sounds like one of those, "in my day, we had to walk three miles to school, uphill both ways, in three feet of snow" but we actually drove it once and it was a mile to school. So it makes me think my oldest would be fine, she'll be getting off the bus with a bunch of other kids that live there, in the apartment complex and it would only be in the 30 minutes it would take my wife to go get our other child. Still, it makes me wonder. My oldest is also very responsible and mature for her age, yet she's also still my baby

My wife was raised in a house where her mom was able to stay home and not work until she was will into Junior High school, so she has a completely different take on the situation.

Feel free to share your thoughts. No need to call the police, my wife has put her foot down so to speak so there will be no latch key children in our family.

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  1. thedogwarrior's Avatar
    Cat - That's a tough call... and one I never had to make, forturnately. Almost in the same boat as you, kid-wise (I've got 4) and my oldest are old enough to take care of themselves (18 and 15) that the youngest (13 and 10) are practically old enough to take care of themselves as well.

    Kim went to work about 2 years ago, as I was running my consulting business from home then, and with business ups and downs, income was good, but not always reliable. Net 30 invoices frequently turned into Net 90 or even Net 120 - and it's tough to make people pay when you're a lone business owner. Everyone's scramblin' out there! Plus I think she wanted to go to work, just being here with me while I worked cramped her stay at home style, and she'd never had to work, and was sort of bored at home.

    But back to you... Like I said, tough call. I think for a half-hour or so, your oldest (7 right?) would be fine by herself. But I can see your wife's point too. We have always been a bit over-protective, like many parents are in the US I think.

    It's weird, but when you read about some western European countries, from school-age on (5-6+) they're walking to bus stops by themselves, walking to school - even in bigger cities.

    If the wife were to open it up for discussion again, I would see how other parents there at the complex where you'll be living do it, and maybe ask other parents at school, etc.
  2. Harlequin's Avatar
    You have two 6 year olds that aren't twins? Are they both biologically hers? If so, could you not give the poor woman a break?
  3. Catman1975's Avatar
    Damn, Harley, make me feel like a horrible father, middle child just turned 5 not 6, she was born in '06 D'Oh

    I'm sure it will come up again and we'll discuss it and see if Willow would even be OK with doing it.

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