Latchkey Kids

Young children need constant supervision and care. Unfortunately, many young kids don’t get this from their parents. Some young children are consistently left alone after school. This is often due to parents partaking in work, running errands, or attending social activities. When children are left alone at home to take care of themselves, even for a short time, they are called latchkey kids.

The Effects of Allowing Latchkey Kids

Origin of Latchkey Kids

The term “latchkey kid” refers to a child who carries keys to their home with them because a parent is not there to let them in after school. Due to increasing economic pressure, societal influences, and neglectful parents in many families, latchkey children are a generational phenomenon. There is still a significant percentage of kids in the same generation whose parents are rarely home.

Impact on a Child’s Development

Children need the presence and support of parents in order to grow up to be healthy adults. Every child needs to spend a significant amount of time with his or her parents to have the proper physical and psychological development. When this is not the case, children can develop depression, anxiety, behavioral disorders, obesity, aggression, and difficulty expressing emotions.

Legal Consequences for Parents

There are local, state, and federal laws that determine the minimum age a child can be left alone at home. Usually, the legal requirements get looser during adolescence. Parents also need to consider the child’s maturity, the ability to handle emergencies, and understanding rules. Any child custody attorney will say that every parent must understand the seriousness of leaving a young child home alone.

Avoiding Latchkey Kid Situations

It is the duty of every parent to be a responsible and caring father or mother. Children should never be left alone before they are knowledgeable, responsible, and old enough to care for themselves and the home. Parents can vow to put children first in every situation to prevent any harm from occurring to them.