Latchkey Children: I need my candles, please!

If only money just grew on a tree like green leaves- says a child

I would be home with my mom cooking me yummy food of which the smells steaming out of the kitchen window, and which I could smell soon I enter home after school, and later enjoying the food together with my dad. Just my mom, my dad, and I. But I guess they are just too busy.

There are quite many people claim that the prices of everything are getting insane nowadays. The prices of daily necessities or basic needs are often so suffocating that many parents choose to be real full-timers, dedicated employees, and are willing to work around the clock to meet the need. Thus, it has become more common that both parents earn the bacon to meet the need. Then their status become “Dual Income with Kids.”

There are the pros and cons of this decision or path some parents choose. Note : The quoted pros and cons here are based on my hidden interview with some working women whose names and info I decided not to reveal for the sake of privacy.

The pros say:

” It has become a MUST, that we women have to work. Not only is it for the sake of the family, but also it is for ourselves.”

“Well, what is our education for? We had struggled to pass university levels even with some degrees we hold. Why should we give those up? I feel a bit reluctant to ask my husband for money. I just don’t want to depend on him 100%. ”

“I think it’s just nice to have my own salary; you can do your own shopping without taking the money which is supposed to be your children’s money, for family matters.”

and the cons say :

I choose to be a full-time mum; I think it is also a job, in fact the highest “paid” job in the world. When you know your family is okay, and your children most especially are doing good in their lives, then your work pays off.”

“My family needs my full attention. I don’t want baby-sitters take care of my children, that’s for sure.”

“I am just afraid of human trafficking, so No,  I won’t work outside leaving my little children alone. I’ll stay home with them.”

Those who are pros to being full-timers to meet the need often have to leave their children home alone. Their parents often ask their children to keep the home key wherever they are, even some of them have keys as pendants. Or the classic way is to put the key under some objects. It’s like their own secrets what the objects are. These children who are forced to get used themselves to being independent at a very early age, are called Latchkey Children.

However, Rich families are capable of sending someone to baby-sit them, or sending them to some kind of children care centers. But, it’s not often the case with average-income family or below. How could they have all those capabilities the riches have? the only solution they HAVE to take is to leave their children home alone.

One of my students, aged 12 at that time ( 2003) said to have had this experience many times :

“Yes, Miss! I often have to come home with nobody’s home,but me. The food is sometimes already prepared, but once in a while I make instant noodles by myself. It’s not that bad. I am used to it. I get bored sometimes, but I can read.”

It’s a good thing to know she liked to read, but what was shocking me the most was that she read a book which was considered heavy kind of reading for her age. Do you know the book by David Peltzer? the book titled “A Man Named Dave” – a book about a child being abused by his parents at a very early age, and managed to survive even being fed by some stale food. She even lent me the book of about more than 300 pages. And some of her friends said “You read that book?” then no further comments made.

I am questioning whether this is the result of being a latchkey child? As you know the effects of being one is : loneliness, hyperactivity, boredom, depression, behavioral problems, lower levels of self-esteem, trauma.My basic is not psychology, thus I do not dare say this is psychologically wrong. But to me, this is just strange.

Where is my stand in this case? I do think there is nothing wrong with being a career woman, but leaving children (now I am questioning the ages?? well let’s just say, aged 7-12 years old) alone for quite longer hours without any supervision is not something I will do. I think being a part-timer is quite wise to do when children are still at the ages of critical periods until early teenage ; the time where they are most likely influenced by environment to find their identities.
Over the Hedge

Children have their own basic needs that we adults don’t, and vice versa. And parents are their candles in the dark; to guide them to a healthy life instead of empty one.

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2 responses to “Latchkey Children: I need my candles, please!

    • Yes,you should grab it, It’s full of inspirations;it makes you happy, sad, cry, and laugh sometimes at the same time.

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