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: 05-27-1998
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 1:10pm

"we intend to be home when our kids go to school, and when they get home from school.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 1:13pm

This sounds like a experience you all want...

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 1:19pm

Sadly, I think our chances are waning, especially for ds. By next year he ought to be starting a summer job. Still, if we could swing it for at least a summer or two for dd, he might still benefit a bit.

Avatar for mom34101
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 1:44pm

Shrug. You're right that I don't give much credence to those who tout the importance of sah during the later years rather than the younger and then don't do either. The fact that you don't find it necessary to quit your job to supervise your teens pretty much proves my point.

It seems your real point is that people who sah won't have flexibility later. That hasn't been my experience (or, evidently, yours, since as I recall, you did a short stint as a sahm yourself). IME, latchkey kids are the exception, regardless of work status. Most women sah for only a few years, so by the time of the MS years, they've been back at work for quite a few years. In addition, they don't need to work ft (the family is able to live on one income), so they work pt. Seniority is certainly a helpful thing, but these days, most people don't stay in the same job 10+ years anyway.

Avatar for mom34101
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 1:48pm
I don't think you're necessarily arguing that 14-yr-olds can be left home alone all day during the summer, but I can think of a practical reason they shouldn't be. They don't drive, so they'd be stuck at home all day (unless there are places close enough to bike or walk to).
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 2:06pm
Laura, it is too late for this summer, but I know several teens who go to the independent school here, which has an international emphasis, who would have been thrilled to do something like this this summer, say between high school and college.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 2:06pm

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What's wrong with seeing high value in multiple life choices?












iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 2:07pm

Or there is decent public transportation. I don't think it really hit me until this thread just how much ds depends on public transportation to get him to from point A to point B these days. I rarely have to drive him places nowadays. Dd is not quite there yet, but will be soon, I hope :-).

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 2:08pm
Seriously?? I will definitely be getting into contact with you about that next summer. That would be such a great option!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 2:18pm
Yeah, do get in touch.

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