SAH early years vs teen years

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
SAH early years vs teen years
53
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?












Pages

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 11:27am
I am afraid that even if the kids are as nice as they are, the Greek islands with all her friends would still win.

*^*^*^*^*


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

Avatar for mom34101
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 11:48am
We live near the university, so around here, it's not unusual for working parents to hire a student to keep an eye on teens in the summer. I don't think they're looking for somebody for the kids to talk to, just somebody to keep an eye on them for part of the day and drive them places, so they're not stuck at home all summer. I haven't heard of any issues with authority over this. I think my teen would probably think a college student was pretty cool too. But if I needed to do this, I would never tell her I was hiring a "sitter." I'd tell her I was hiring her a driver. ;)
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 11:49am

ITA with you and this is so very very important.

Avatar for mom34101
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 11:56am
I agree with you on the issues for little kids, and also that most parents I know are concerned about supervision for young teens. It's not necessarily hiring a "sitter" (logistically, that's hard to do anyway)--but more keeping them busy after school with activities or after school programs run by the schools (the MS equivalent of before-and-after school care). In the summers, there are camps and classes.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 11:59am

A sitter at 14?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 12:23pm

As well they should ;-). She deserves a fabulous summer after all of that hard work!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 12:24pm

<<>>


as one of the posters who has spent more than a decade touting the relative merits of being ah during these later years compared to the earlier, i didn't realize i would have had to quit my job altogether to pass your litmus test for sincerity. my dh and i both work around our kids' school schedules--we are both

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 12:29pm

Like I said, my kids (ages 11 and 15) must be freaky. I've floated the idea of a summer au pair from the U.S. or Germany to hang out with them over the summer (go places, do things together etc.), and they've been pretty thrilled at the idea. If I could convince one of their adult cousins to do it, they'd happily accept any description of the role...even sitter.

Admittedly, I'm more interested in the idea from the perspective of language and cultural development...

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 12:40pm

I did not read your other post,

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 12:54pm

But my point was that my 15 year old is neither bothered nor insulted by the idea of someone spending the summer with us as a "sitter". He'd probably go his own way a fair bit, but he would respect the authority of the "sitter" to make some decisions about how he should spend his day.

So far, we've managed to cover summers without any issue, but I'd really love to have the option of a summer au pair before it's too late for ds, particularly for the chance to speak German or English with someone other than a parent. It would be a golden opportunity to pick up all of the slang we never think to use with them ;-).

Pages