Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Kids > Childhood Safety > Home Safety > Teens Home Alone
|

Teens Home Alone

If the thought of leaving your teens home alone makes you uneasy, you're not alone. As a father who has had to make the decision twice, and a family therapist who deals with the fallout from "self-care" gone awry, I can attest that the issue is one of the most difficult -- and wrenching -- you'll make as a parent. The media have only made the decision more difficult, shamelessly fueling fear and guilt by pointing out worst case scenarios and using the "home alone" theme as a horror movie motif.

Yes, be concerned and prudent. But don't be so scared off that you miss an opportunity that can help your son or daughter become a more confident, responsible, and mature young adult. Eventually, your teen will have to learn what to do when he or she is home alone. Prepare by creating the safest possible environment, and helping your child learn how to exercise good judgment and handle emergencies. Remember, to make self-care a successful experience, both you and your child must be emotionally ready.

In any case, gut feel is what counts. If your teen isn't comfortable being home alone, don't force the situation. Teens are typically struggling for and demanding their independence. So it might be hard for them, despite their anxieties, to turn down a "golden opportunity" to briefly rule the roost. You'll probably want to have many heart-to-heart talks before you reach a mutual decision.

If your teen is ready to stay home alone, start gradually, and have regular conversations to ensure that everyone is comfortable. One caveat: if your family is undergoing an upheaval like a divorce, death, or major career change, hold off unless it's absolutely necessary.

As with so many family issues, timing is everything.

|


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!