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: 04-22-2005
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 4:25pm
Yep.











iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 4:26pm

People on this board may tout the benefits of sah with teens, but it seems relatively rare in IRL conversation (compared to the number of conversations about sah with little ones).


i don't know anybody IRL who has chosen to SAH with older kids/teens ( that hasn't already been a SAHM in younger years ).

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 4:27pm
With teens, I'm reminded of the expression "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." It's harder to keep tabs on the ACTUAL whereabouts of a covertly rebellious teen than of a rebellious toddler.



I think that's true whether you SAH or not. I can SAH, but I am not going to make the teens SAH with me every moment and I can't follow them around everywhere they go. They have friends, sports, band, one has a girlfriend and all those things keep them very busy. Even when my dh is out of town he talks to his kids, he talks to me, I talk to the sitter, dh knows the coaches personally, makes a point to occasionally speak to their friends parents, knows who their friends are, keeps track of their activity schedules, reads their facebook pages, reserves the right to check text messages on their phones, has a password to their email accounts which he would use if called for, etc., etc. He has pretty good tabs on their actual whereabouts whether it's Tuesday and he's 1,200 miles away or it's Friday and he's in his home office; but, but, but he always can find out more about what the 3 year olds are doing every waking moment than he can about the teens every waking moment. That's just from them being at a much different developmental stage, more than a SAH/WOH thing. And there are other things that make being with younger ones important, different issues but still important things going on that little one's get from their caregivers.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' -Kahlil Gibran



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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 4:38pm

i know a few AH moms

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 4:39pm

Same for the toddler years though, a lot going on in terms of emotional development. Things that will be impacting them the rest of their lives. If a SAHP is important for a teen's emotional development, then I'd think it'd be equally important for a young child's emotional development. There's a lot going on at every stage and if the parent is the best person to deal with it, then the parent is the best person to deal with it.

The good thing about older kids is if they are having an issue they can talk to you on the phone about it, and wait to discuss it later if needed. A very young child can't wait, and sometimes if you miss the opportunity it's lost, and not meeting that emotional need in the moment if it happens often enough, can have a lasting negative impact in terms of how the child views himself and how he relates to others. It could impact his relationships through childhood, the teen years and into adulthood.

Of course, working parents have options to make sure their children's emotional needs ARE met, whether their child is a baby, toddler, tween or teen.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' -Kahlil Gibran



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Ten Rules for Being Human


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"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 4:50pm

this may sound funny but i feel like i'm parenting my kids the same way now as i did when they were little..maybe i'm waiting for that other shoe to drop, you know the one in which a kid changes overnight and you much tweak your parenting accordingly or something, shrug.

 

Avatar for mom34101
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 4:56pm
Yes, the only sahms I know with MS kids have been sahms all along (and I can think of only a few of those). I don't know anyone who has quit to sah when the kids hit MS.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 5:26pm
I'm parenting mine much differently in some ways and very much the same in other ways. They don't need diaper changes or nursing; and their arguments often actually make sense these days. I am not sure that they are "smarter than me" yet, but they know a lot of things I don't now. Somedays their teeth still hurt; the older one is getting his wisdom teeth and the younger one has pain for a few days everytime they tighten his braces, so twe are still dealing with teething. They do still eat around the clock, and nowadays I often go to bed and set my alarm at curfew time just to make sure I am up when they get home from wherever they have been with their friends. We are still negotiating boundaries but the boundaries are much scarier than whether it's too close to dinner to have a cookie. And they both outweigh me and are taller than me now, so I have to stand on a stool so that "look me in the eye, young man!" has any force whatsoever. Oh, and I don't go in their rooms unless I am invited these days unless it's to put laundry away when they are away from home. They are as likely to go to a friend, coach, or teacher with a problem as they are to me; quite often by the time they get around to asking my advice (particularly the older one), the question will be phrased something like, "Dr Chippendale thinks I should take AP Ststistics instead of calculus, what do you think"" This indicates he has other adults in his life whose advice he trusts and that is a good thing, but it is a far cry from the days when he thought I could make the red lights turn green just by blowing on them.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 5:28pm
I actually know quite a few people who changed their work situations once their kids hit middle school and aged out of after care and summer camps. They either quit entirely, retired, went part time, or changed jobs to one that was more flexible.
Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 5:36pm
OK, so now you agree that it is not realistic to hire a sitter for a 14yo? As I said, that is why most people I know use private school with extended hours and long bus rides, but I am not sure what you see as the alternative.

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