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Latchkey Home Alone

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kissylou
Words 997
Pages 4
Kristie Tolle
Mr. Burton
July 23, 2014
Generation Home Alone I remembered the rules –go straight home, have a snack, if somebody comes to the door, tell them we are busy; never tell them we are not home, do not go outside, do your homework, and do not call me at work. Besides chasing my sister back into the house when she escaped, we followed the rules and waited until our parents to get home. Merriam-Webster defines a Latchkey child as a school-aged child of working parents who must spend part of the day unsupervised (as at home) —called also latchkey kid Generation X,—born between 1965 and 1980— became a generation that was pushed into adulthood at an early age. It was an era of new technology. We watched the evolution of computers the size of a room become the norm as a desktop appliance. By interacting with computers at an early age, Gen Xers have a greater understanding of its concept. We spent less time with our parents then earlier generations. It was common for Boomer mothers to stay at home and raise their children, while the fathers went off to work. Unlike Boomers, Gen Xers were the first generation to be recognized as latchkey kids. Our generation found ourselves at home taking care of our younger siblings and ourselves while our parents worked. I never considered myself a Latchkey kid. I was like all the other fifth graders with working parents and younger siblings. I babysat all the time when my parents ran to the grocery store, or when they needed a date night. Babysitting was nothing new to me. I knew that my parents needed to work, so that we could have a good life. There have been many studies showing that unsupervised children tend to have academic and social problems; they tend to hang out with the wrong crowds, and turn to alcohol and drug abuse. An article written by Debra Bohn, “Gen X as Parents” states the slacker image that Generation X earned in the early 90s is gone. No longer seen as lazy and directionless, the 30- and 40-somethings of today are regarded as driven enterprising people. Extreme and maniacally focused on everything they do from sports (X games), to work (Silicon Valley pioneers staying up all night to launch new tech products), to parenting. That is right; GenX is turning out to be some of the most conservative, protective, proactive parents in history. They enact legislation for smaller class sizes, volunteer at school; leave their fast-paced jobs to stay home with their children, and homeschool their kids in record numbers. The workforce was not as flexible for the Boomer generation, as it was for the Gen X generation. Boomers work for companies that did not think about childcare or their employee’s family life. Our generation ops out for the perfect job that includes daycare on the job site, office hours that are custom to our children’s school schedule, or working from home. There were many times when my parent’s hours would last well into the night, and they would try to occupy our time by sending us to after school programs at the local community center. Those places were a nightmare. With little funding, these programs were understaffed. Most of the time children were getting hurt, facing off with the local bully, or contracting the flu. There was not anyone there to help with homework, so it was a mad rush to get it done when we got home. After my sister and I both came home with head lice, and someone stole our backpacks. My parents decided that staying home would not only be safer, but healthier too. Life was good. Until the day, my parents got a divorce. According to Susan Gregory Thomas, of the Wall Street Journal, Divorce rates, which peaked around 1980, are now at their lowest level since 1970. In fact, the often-cited statistics that half of all marriages end in divorce was true only in the 1970s—in other words, our parents' marriages. My mom took a second job, however, when that did not pay the rent; we had to move away from all of my friends. Now, not only was I taking care of myself; I was cleaning, cooking, and helping my sister with homework until it was time put her to bed. It became very overwhelming. I never seen my mother, and when I did, we fought. I became very isolated. I did not want to go outside. When I did go outside, I ended up in trouble. I started getting bad grades and back talking my mother. Sometimes, I just did not come home at all, which would make her miss work. Shortly after, I experimented with drugs and alcohol and left home at a very young age. I needed my Mother. I needed her there for me. I was too young to care for my sister. Our generation is determined not repeat the errors of our parents. Growing up with divorce as the norm, we have to work harder at our relationship to keep balance in our children’s lives. Generation X parents emphasize that it takes a parent to raise a child. We are choosing one parent to stay at home or work part-time, so someone is there when our children get home. I do not know if my actions were because I did not have enough supervision, or if I was rebelling because of my parents’ divorce. I do know that the statists are right. No matter what your intentions are as a parent, if you are not there to teach your child right from wrong. Someone else will. Today, the number of Latchkey kids has declined. More Generation X parents are working with their schools to help fund afterschool programs and outreach centers. We understand the effects one generation has on another, and we want better for our children.

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