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?












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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 5:46pm

i was thinking more along the lines of how i tend to their needs, comfort them, etc.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 5:55pm

Right,

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 5:55pm
Of course. In our case the 13 yo and 16 yo both can and do act as sitters for the younger kids. We don't hire sitters specifically to watch the teenagers. At the same time, the teens are supervised by non-parents of all varieties almost daily, and I think this is a good thing. Their dad might know them like nobody else does, but he isn't the only one they trust, not the only one they talk to, and keeping tabs on them or keeping them out of trouble need not fall solely on his shoulders. Thus, he need not be AH in the afternoons.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 5:56pm
my neighbor's DD graduated from HS two years ago already.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 6:03pm

I would be very very leary with my DS,

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 6:05pm
Yeah, I was talking about tending to their needs, too. There was a time when I had to wipe their bottoms and they got their food directly from my body, and that has changed. They set their own bedtimes now, and I very rarely come into their rooms to tuck them in and make sure all is well, as I am usually in bed before they are these days. I do usually stop to say goodnight and tell them not to stay up too late doing homework, things like that, but it is very different from the time they begged me for one more story and then dragged out their nighttime prayers for ten minutes in order to delay my leaving their room. Their needs have changed over time, so my parenting has adjusted itself to try to meet their changing needs.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 6:07pm
Why not? There are a lot of women having children in their forties nowadays, and if their husbands are in their fifties, like mine was when my kids were born, there is a good possibility that at least one parent will be of retirement age, or retirement eligibility when the kids are teens. At least three of my kids' friends have retired fathers who more or less stay at home with them.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 6:08pm
Yeah, I am thinking that my 18 year old son would have loved a 19 year old babysitter around when he was fifteen or so.....
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2009
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 6:15pm

Avatar for mom34101
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 6:21pm
I know people who've changed their situations, but no one who has actually quit. I know one mom who quit because she wanted to spend her son's last year of high school at home, but the following year they talked her into coming back in a different position.


Edited 6/14/2010 6:30 pm ET by mom34101

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