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Dangers Of Being Home Alone: Can Teens Handle Being Home Alone?

Home Alone, Part 3

I don’t mean to drag this home alone conversation on and on, but I still have some concerns. Your responses give a very positive picture of teens staying overnight by themselves, which is wonderful to hear.

However, local news reported just this past week that a high school girl was sexually assaulted at a party. Alcohol was involved and parents were not home. We all know stories – teens whose parents are out of town invite a few friends over, but word gets out and soon the house is full of kids and the party is out of control.

As a parent, I have a hard time understanding why any parent would take a chance that something like this could happen. Is leaving Ryan home alone worth the risk?

If you are so concerned about Ryan having a “rager,” then just set up backups to make sure you will know everything is okay. Ask the neighbors to watch the house and notice if there are a lot of cars, noise, etc. Make sure you tell Ryan you are informing the neighbors that he will be home alone. Once he knows that, I doubt he will do anything bad. Also, call him throughout the night to make sure he’s okay until he goes to sleep. This will add another deterrent to having a rager.

Remembering what I was like in high school, you wouldn’t have had a problem with me trashing the house with a major house party. You would have had a problem with me actually staying at the house by myself. I would have left and gone somewhere to have fun with my friends or sleep over someone’s house.

When it comes down to it, being home alone is all part of growing up. And hey, kids will be kids. Ragers happen. And like you said, usually the kids don’t mean for them to get out of hand, but they always do. If Ryan decides throwing a party is worth the risk of you finding out then he will have to deal with his punishment. When I was making decisions in high school that I knew my parents weren’t happy with it was all about balancing out in my head if the future punishment would be worth the night of fun in the long run. And I have to say most of the time when I was caught, the night was worth the punishment. But that doesn’t mean you should make it easy for them.

I agree with Devan. If you set up enough safety protocols, then Ryan will be strongly discouraged from having a party. It’s true that sometimes things can get out of hand and more kids arrive than expected, but there’s a simple solution to that. Just make sure that if Ryan invites a few friends, he doesn’t mention that his parents are out of town. That way twenty extra kids won’t unexpectedly appear on the front doorstep.

There are always risks involved with giving teens responsibility, but that’s a big part of their road to adulthood. The best way to minimize a chance for disaster is to set up precautionary measures and warn Ryan of what could happen.

I do think this is being dragged out actually. I’m a smart enough kid not to throw a huge party when my parents leave me alone. Like I said, it would be a normal night for me. I wouldn’t take advantage of the trust that I have with Mom and Dad. I stand by my statement that parents try to find reasons not to leave kids home alone. In my mind, parents drastically dramatize leaving kids alone.

I agree with Devan again….up to a point. We know Ryan and how responsible he is. Most parents have a sense of how trustworthy their kids are by the time they reach high school.

As Devan says, we can put plenty of backups and checks in place. But I’m not ok with “kids will be kids.” Teenagers do not have the same perspective, depth of experience and awareness of consequences that most adults have. Mom and I need to know how much we can trust Ryan, and, as a back-up, we definitely need to have a friend or family member keep an eye on the situation while we are gone.

Mindy Gallagher is the Social Media Manager for Your Teen Magazine. She is the assistant coach for the girls’ lacrosse team for Solon High School in Ohio.

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