Thursday, November 4, 2010

Latchkey children...a growing trend

Today's generation of children grow up much faster than past generations.  Children experience life quicker than ever before and are "forced" out of their childhood.  At our school we have several 9 year old children who go home to an empty house.  These children are labeled a "latchkey child".
What's a latchkey child?
Latchkey child was a term coined to describe children who wore or carried house keys to school so that they could let themselves into their home when they returned from school. Those children were at home without adult supervision until their parents returned from work, school, or other occupations away from home. Ohio, like many other states, does not specify an age at which neglect begins when a child is left alone at home.
What are the effects?
 Many children do not have the emotional development to understand what they are feeling but the emotion is abandonment. Some types of behavior problems can result from this feeling of abandonment include the following:
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • anger
  • social withdrawal
  • jealousy of kids who have a mom waiting for them
  • resentment
  • poor academic performance in school
  • below average ability to adapt
  • poor social relationships at school
  • maltreatment of pets
  • fighting at school or neighbor children
  • low appetite
  • abnormal consumption of sweets
  • addiction to video games
  • behavior problems with brothers or sisters
  • above average amount of bodily injuries for a child in his or her age group
  • poor personal hygiene
  • destroying their own toys
  • failure or inability to integrate with peers on age expected basis
  • the appearance of emotional starvation and vacancy
  • problems with concentration
 Latchkey Kid Statistics
In the United States, a 2002 Census survey reported 5.8 million (15%) of all children between the ages of five and fourteen years living with a mother, care for themselves an average of 6.3 hours per week and 65% of those children spent between 2–9 hours home alone (Source: Wikipedia