SAH early years vs teen years

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
SAH early years vs teen years
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Sun, 06-13-2010 - 4:26pm

This past weekend I shared a room at a church youth conference with a mom of three girls (6 years, 13 years and 15 years). In getting to know each other, she mentioned that she has recently quit her job after being a working mom her entire children's lives. She was concerned about her 13-year-old and decided to stay home so that she could focus more fully on some problems that have been surfacing.

I nodded in approval and casually mentioned that I thought that if there was a more critical time to have a stay home parent, it wouldn't be the infant years; it would be the teen years. She nearly burst out crying and said that she was SO RELIEVED to hear somebody say that. She said that she always hears people talk about how we should stay home when our kids are really little, and so she felt guilty (her words) that she didn't choose to stay home when they were little and yet she was choosing to stay home now.

My take on the matter, which I conveyed to her, was that when they are small children we WANT to stay with them but nothing serious is likely to happen by trusting another loving, responsible person to take care of them while we work. By contrast, when they are teenagers, they are much more independent and much more capable of getting into serious trouble. For some families, having a stay at home parent would be a good way to increase the diligence factor (eliminate the distractions of work and use that time and energy to get more involved and keep an extra close eye on things).

She had never thought about it this way and was really, really grateful to hear it. You could tell it was something that had been eating her up. She thought that society was somehow looking down on her for her choices because "all you ever hear is messages about how important it is to stay home when the kids are little; you never hear anything about staying at home when the kids are teens."

So my question is: Why do you think hardly anyone ever touts the benefits of staying home once the children are teens?












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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2010
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 10:02am
Interesting! You should have told her to come to this board--since many posters feel that same way about the teen years.

“Clearly," said Arthur,"you're an idiot- but you're our kind of idiot. Come on.” 
― Markus ZusakThe Book Thief

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 10:10am
Our experiences differ greatly. IMHO, sitters for little kids would have to be really awful to inflict actual harm. As far as the teens, among the people I know, the main reason for private school beginning in middle school is the sitter problem. So, I am obviously not the only one with the experience that making teens mind a sitter is an iffy proposition. OTOH, you are certainly right that this does not make it a universal.

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If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
Erica Jong

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 10:14am
She didn't discuss the specifics, but I do know that there are trust issues, and that the girl has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.











Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 10:14am
Yes, I agree. Then you also have kids like mine who started resenting sitters around age 6-7 or so, but she is a little freaky. It did mean, however, that the option of getting her a sitter at 14 was pretty much out.

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If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
Erica Jong

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 10:29am

I wonder if part of the problem with sitters for older kids is actually a timing thing. Maybe my kids are freaky, but I wouldn't be too worried about them not listening to a sitter or respecting him/her.

The much bigger issue for me would be finding someone who could come exactly the hours we would need him/her (e.g. after school, some weeks during the summer). I'd love to find an American or German summer au pair for the kids sometime just to give them the experience of having to spend the summer dealing with someone else in English or German, but I haven't found anyone yet who would be willing/able to take the time during the summer...

Avatar for mommy2amani
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 10:47am

I don't think it's necessary to SAH when the children are teens, but we intend to be home when our kids go to school, and when they get home from school.

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 10:48am
I am sure many things factor in. I tried to interest dd in the job you offer, lol, but nuttin' doing, I am afraid. I will keep my eyes out for someone who might fit the bill.

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If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
Erica Jong

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 10:59am

If you ever find a good candidate, that would be brilliant! Your daughter's reaction is pretty much par for the course, unfortunately, which is why it can be so hard to find someone.

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 11:05am
Yes, I am sorry. OTOH, she has 3 weeks booked in the Greek islands, so it is kinda hard to blame her.

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If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
Erica Jong

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 11:11am
Hmmm...chasing after two obnoxious kids vs. 3 weeks in the Greek islands. I can't for the life of me understand why the Greek islands would be the more appealing choice ;-).

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