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Old 07-22-08, 12:02 AM
wifeandmom wifeandmom is offline
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Question Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

For those parents in or past the teenage years, at what age did you let your ADDer stay home alone overnight? What was the longest amount of time you let him/her stay home alone and what kind of "safety net" did you have in place?

DD wants to stay home while we're out of town. In a year she'll be off to college, I hope. At that point, I won't have nosy neighbors, nearby friends, relatives within driving distance, etc. that can help her out or let us know if something "untoward" takes place in our absence.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:25 AM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

I haven't done that yet. My oldest is 15 and the most I've done was to go to a late movie with my younger son this summer.

So far, there hasn't been any issues and he keeps himself busy. I would imagine a girl would be more scared? I know I was. Every sound at night made me think someone was out there and my imagination was horrible.

These days, we have cell phones so I guess teaching her to get in the habit of calling you or others for help would be a good thing.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:39 PM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

That's a tough one to answer. A lot of it would depend on how long, how mature (I think) my kid is, what kind of neighbors I have nearby, and if any are willing to step in if necessary.

Could you do a test run for one night and see how it goes?
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Old 07-22-08, 01:26 PM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

I agree that it depends on the child. I have a child who is 16.5 and she has stayed overnight by herself when she housesat for people. I don't do much, but one night I was so sick I had to go to the E.R. and she - of course - stayed home with her little sister. I did alert my neighbor.

My daughter is incredibly mature - unusually mature - for her age. And she also has never been a "partier" or anything like that. She's almost overprotective of herself and others (which is good, I think).

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Old 07-22-08, 01:47 PM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

Our twins house sat for us, for the weekend, at age 17. We moved my Dad up here for recovery after heart surgery.

The one who's more responsible about money...we left emergency grocery money with. She was able to ride her bike, to get things they needed.

They fed the dogs.. and kept a close eye on things inside and out for the whole weekend.

We had emergency contacts listed on a pad of paper .. so they could get help if needed.

My inlaws live 4 miles away. Grandpa will come at a moments notice if needed. Our previous neighbors also kept an eye on things. Plus we have a good friend who usually house sits and collects mail drives by once in a while to make sure nothing bad is going on.
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Old 07-22-08, 02:17 PM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

TAing and studying (and partying) at a couple of universities in Canada over the last 10 years had led me to believe that an awful lot of university frosh are completely incapable of taking care of themselves. They had parents that did everything for them up until they were 18, when they are suddenly given their own apartments, a $4000 student loan cheque at the beginning of every semester, and thousands of other equally clueless peers to help them decide how to spend it. A shocking number of 18-year-olds can't boil an egg, can't do laundry, and don't know what to do if someone collapses. (On of my friends rents part of her house to four female university students... she found them trying to shovel out their car out of the snow, dressed in nighties and slippers. Sigh.)

Anyway, if you supervise them all the time when they are 16 or 17, how are they supposed to know what to do with the infinite freedom of being 18?

If you want your child to be a casually promiscuous binge drinker, just shelter them completely until they are 18, then send them off to university and give them a student loan cheque.
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Old 07-22-08, 03:29 PM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

Disclaimer: I do not have teenage children.


My next door neighbor does though. She seems to have a balanced way of bringing up her kids. I should also add that her kids proved to be responsible.

One thing she did that I took notice of was this: She told her 17yox daughter that she could stay overnight at home (daughter seems to be the responsible type), but that another adult/friend of the family might/might not drop in/call/drive by to see what the daughter was up to.

So, when we called to see if the daughter could babysit, she thought we were checking up on her! It wasn't us, but we didn't tell her that.
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Old 07-24-08, 09:02 AM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

Our 16 yr old will be staying alone this weekend. He has 2 shifts of work to do and new X-box games LOL

He is not a partier or smoker and we are letting him know our friends will be driving by or popping in without warning to check on him. He also has their number so if he needs to call them he can.

I have let him know this could be a building block. Either he does well and is allowed more freedoms or he screws it up and and I rell the rope in a bit. It's up to him.
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Old 07-24-08, 02:28 PM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

This depends upon your child and your child's friends. There is enourmous pressure on kids today to have "kick-its" or all out parties when their parents are out of town. Its not just a little peer pressure -- there is a huge circuit of kids who pass around the info -- including posting to Facebook & myspace, so little get-togethers that your child might think are he can manage can quickly mushroom and get out of hand. I know kids who had to call the police themselves to have them break-up parties that got way too big - and started with just a couple of friends. And of course, there is the drinking, drugs and sex. So many kids are into it, and it doesn't have to be your child doing it to make you responsible for what other kids do your home, or when they get into their cars to leave. It's really tough to give our kids appropriate independence - and if the are ADHD they're predisposed to abusine drugs.

The counselor at my son's preppy high school told parents to stay home for four years. He advocated 'sideways' parenting - "hiding in the bushes so you can keep watch without them knowing it..." and try as hard as you can to keep in touch with your child's friend's parents....something my son hates, since we all compare notes to try to keep the vow of silence teens ascribe to in check.

If you do leave a teen home alone, I really like what Pray4Him suggested about telling the teen that neighbors and friends are going to swing by to check in on him. And then have them do it. (this is a great idea.)
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Old 07-24-08, 11:28 PM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

Thanks all. We've worked out the following arrangements:

DD will stay home alone two nights. The next door neighbors are aware and have our cell numbers and DD's. The nosy neighbor across the street (who came over to advise me that two of DS's 16 year old friends were kissing in our front yard) will be on "alert." My dear friend four houses down is keeping an eye out. Our house sitter will be here to stay overnight after the weekend. The two nights she's sitting elsewhere, she's going to drive by and come in unannounced. DD has been advised of all of these arrangements and at the moment is agreeable (we know how that can change!) We'vd discussed the fact that we don't want any myspace or facebook announcements. We are DD's "friends" on both of her accounts, so we'll know if she slips up in a broad way.

DD has stayed with an 18 year old friend (another ADDer) for a week during the school year while her parents were out of town and they managed to hold things together as far as we know. Made it to school on time, etc. That was a little easier because we were in town. This time we won't be.

I agree that a little independence under close supervision of friends and neighbors is far better than packing her off to college with no experience.

Thanks, all!
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Old 08-03-08, 06:53 PM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

Just to update:

We all survived our little experiment. DD had one girl friend spend one night with her over the weekend. The house sitter was here by 9:30 every night. At the end of our week away, DD drove alone about 200 miles to meet us half-way to do some family time, outlet shopping etc.

Now, the most interesting thing about this past week is that I now suspect DD has some social phobias. For most of high school, she's been drifting in and out of intense one-on-one friendships with other girls but hasn't had a group of friends like she did in Junior High. She hasn't had a real boyfriend since the end of her freshman year. (She's starting her Senior year) She hasn't invited a boy to "hang out" at our house in over a year and hasn't had a mixed boy/girl group over in almost a year. I assumed it was because she didn't want us meddling in her life, knowing too much about who she was hanging out with, etc.

Most teens with the freedom of DD would have had a few people over during our absence. Some would have had all-out wild parties. But DD didn't do those things. In fact, the house sitter told us she got all dressed up to hang out with a guy she seems interested in. Her plan was to go eat with him, then bring him back to the house to watch a movie (sitter here in the other room). At the last minute, DD canceled, telling the boy that she was "too tired." But she stayed up literally all night reading a book.

So, all in all, this was a good experience for all of us. DD learned to manage on her own, she hopefully felt that we had confidence in her, she made a short (by Texas standards) road trip alone, and I learned something to address with the Pdoc (possible social phobia/anxiety).
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Old 06-08-09, 07:05 AM
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Re: Teenager Staying Home Alone Overnight?

look i'll tell you the truth,

oh god that is too tempting for me i just get ****ed and everything, raid the alcohol cupboard, look through the email searching for ones from the school (trust me theres lots).

but they havent really caught me doing any of them sorta things as before everyones back (usually go out at 6 and back by 10) i'm in bed sleeping so they dont see how intoxicated i am or anything.

i'd never throw a party though as at mates parties something always gets smashed. I always tell my parents its a small get together and they're parents are mega anti alcohol, works every time.
I do play loud music however and have two blown up speakers in my room which i havent told them about (they're very expensive to repair as well).
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