My Girlfriend's Daughter Home Alone - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Preteens and Teens > My Girlfriend's Daughter Home Alone
nd_deadhead's Avatar nd_deadhead 11:23 AM 01-25-2012

Hmm, I have two teenagers at home, and while we eat dinner together every night, after that we might not see each other until bedtime (I make a point of saying goodnight). They are in their rooms doing homework, or playing their instruments, or just hanging out - but not with DH and me. In any given week, DH might have a meeting at church, a work-related function, or a shopping trip, leaving the boys home alone.

 

My sons and two friends went on a no-adult backpacking trip with they were 14. They planned their meals, bought their groceries, packed their gear, planned their route - all I did was register their campsites in a state park (since one needs to be 18 to do so). Teenagers can be pretty responsible, given the opportunity.

 

Look at the OP's situation from the other side: 3 or 4 nights a week the Mom IS home with her teenage daughter. Maybe on those nights they cook something special, watch a movie together, play cards, chat - they could have a lot more quality time together than a parent/child who are in the same house every evening, but don't communicate or interact at all.



Raquel12's Avatar Raquel12 02:51 PM 01-25-2012

A parent who leaves a teenager alone 2-3 nights each week is most definitely taking time off as a parent.  A normal developing teenager is indeed ready to spend time away from a parent.  I myself babysat every Wednesday night for my neighbors from ages 15-17.  Not a problem for me at all.  Why?  Because it was my choice.  It was wonderful practice for making decisions and being responsible before I left for my college years.  All the stories being told on this forum about being left alone as a teenager are wonderful opportunities for maturity.  They are NOT the same thing as being left alone for half a week year after year.  There will be scars. 


Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 09:04 PM 01-26-2012


Quote:
Originally Posted by Raquel12 View Post

A parent who leaves a teenager alone 2-3 nights each week is most definitely taking time off as a parent.  A normal developing teenager is indeed ready to spend time away from a parent.  I myself babysat every Wednesday night for my neighbors from ages 15-17.  Not a problem for me at all.  Why?  Because it was my choice.  It was wonderful practice for making decisions and being responsible before I left for my college years.  All the stories being told on this forum about being left alone as a teenager are wonderful opportunities for maturity.  They are NOT the same thing as being left alone for half a week year after year.  There will be scars. 



I agree with this post.

 

It is normal and healthy for parents and teens to spend time away from each other, and most teens are capable of spending the night alone without adults.

 

None the less, the degree to which the  teen in the OP is being left alone sound really unhealthy to me. Not because the teen isn't responsible enough to care for themselves, just that at some point, it get lonely.

 

I can think of lots of ways for a 16 year old to stop being lonely, and none of them good. Part of the reason that humans come in families is so we can keep each other company.

 

 


sharon71's Avatar sharon71 04:18 PM 01-27-2012

We don't know anything other than what the OP has posted we don't know if the teen daughter and mother have an agreement and the daughter is ok staying alone while her mother is gone or not.

 


Jennyanydots's Avatar Jennyanydots 03:12 AM 01-28-2012


Quote:
Originally Posted by Raquel12 View Post

A parent who leaves a teenager alone 2-3 nights each week is most definitely taking time off as a parent.  A normal developing teenager is indeed ready to spend time away from a parent.  I myself babysat every Wednesday night for my neighbors from ages 15-17.  Not a problem for me at all.  Why?  Because it was my choice.  It was wonderful practice for making decisions and being responsible before I left for my college years.  All the stories being told on this forum about being left alone as a teenager are wonderful opportunities for maturity.  They are NOT the same thing as being left alone for half a week year after year.  There will be scars. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

It is normal and healthy for parents and teens to spend time away from each other, and most teens are capable of spending the night alone without adults.

 

None the less, the degree to which the  teen in the OP is being left alone sound really unhealthy to me. Not because the teen isn't responsible enough to care for themselves, just that at some point, it get lonely.

 

 


I agree with these.  I'm really surprised so many people can't understand why the OP would be concerned.  I have 2 teenage daughters, and while they are perfectly capable of being left on their own, if I were to do what the OP's friend is doing it would undoubtedly be destabilizing and unhealthy for them.  I've never left them alone overnight, but I have on occasion left them alone until very late, and I have little doubt that they're responsible enough to handle anything that might come up.  DD1 will be 16 in a couple of months, and I would be very concerned if I found out one of her friends was being left alone overnight several nights a week.  

 

I did have a friend in high school whose mother did something similar.  My friend and her older brother (both still in hs) were left alone several days straight every week while their mom stayed with her boyfriend who lived on the other side of town.  They eventually married and she actually moved out informally- maintaining both houses and keeping one foot in the door with the kids!  No one burned the house down, starved to death, or threw huge parties, but there were plenty of other things going on that shouldn't have been, and it left a lasting mark on the kids.  They felt lonely and abandoned, and neither one has a good relationship with their mom, even all these years later BECAUSE of how she left them.

 

I know the anecdote about my friend is just a personal story and may not bring much to bear on the OP's situation, but it came to mind immediately when I read her post.  I thin k OP should keep encouraging her friend to let the girl stay with her.  She may not need a babysitter, but she's still a kid and could probably use the guidance, company, and stability of having an adult around.   


bronxmom's Avatar bronxmom 08:23 PM 02-17-2012

I am a fairly liberal parent and believe I err on the side of encouraging independence. In fact, my daughter (almost 13) is quite independent and will spend days and early evenings by herself.  However, I also question this arrangement. The question really isn't whether the 16 year old is capable of spending the night alone. Frankly, I think my daughter is likely "capable" of spending the night alone.  But most people of all ages need some kind of regular social interaction and it seems a lot to ask a 16 year old to handle themselves half the week.  And I would imagine there's at least the possibility of feelings of abandonment if mom is off with boyfriend.  One night a week I could imagine.  Of figuring out a way for the kid to spend the night at a friend's house so mom can go out. I am a single mom and so am sensitive to the need for mom to date, have a life, etc. But if the OP is willing to host the daughter a couple of nights/week that seems ideal. It could be an opportunity for the 16 year old to bond with an adult female who is not a parent and have another person to confide in.  I know kids are becoming really independent at that age, but I feel like the security of knowing that an adult is always there to catch and support you is critical.

 

also, i'm wondering why the daughter doesn't want to spend time with the boyfriend.  that struck me funny as well


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