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Latchkey Children: Being Left Without Adult Supervision

2539 words - 10 pages

All countries develop their own unique cultures to live by and many countries have similar cultural characteristics that vary from country to country. More often than not, different cultures around the world may share similar ideations but they are shaped into their own version to fit the culture of that certain society. In China, there is a high population of “Left Behind” children. In Chinese culture it is morally acceptable for the heads of households to leave their children behind to raise and care for themselves and their family members. The parents of these families move to more urban parts of the country in order to make more money to give the family a better life. There is a similar cultural idea occurring in the United States and these children are being referred as the “Latchkey Children.”
Latchkey Children are children that come home after school and are left alone without parental supervision until their parents come home from work. This phenomenon became common during WWII, when one parent would be drafted to war and the other parent was forced to get a job to support the family. Today it is fairly common for both parents to have a job and the prices of after-school child care continue to rise. One in twenty-five kindergartners through fifth-graders care for themselves after school according to America After 3PM. Parents feel guilty leaving their children at home for a few hours a day but many times that is the only option.
Latchkey Children in History
It is difficult to imagine children as young as five making their own way home from school and letting themselves into an empty home. That was the reality for many children during the war. The term “latchkey children” came into existence during World War II. During that period, most Americans were involved in the war effort. Many fathers were in the military and many mothers went to work outside the home to support their families and to help our country win the war. As a result, there were fewer adults available to supervise young children. For 20 years after the end of World War II, America experienced a period of strong economic growth and prosperity. Jobs were plentiful and wages were good. Fathers could financially support their families, and mothers could stay at home to raise their children. The term “latchkey children” was hardly used during those years. For the past 35 years, however, the term “latchkey children” has slowly made its way back. The number of children left without direct adult supervision continues to grow each year. Family instability, single-parent homes and two working parent households are commonplace. More children today have less adult supervision than ever before in American history.
There are plenty conflicts about the issue of leaving behind children. It can cause serious issues to a child to have to fend for themselves at such a young age. Some Latchkey Children show more signs of emotional conflict and stress than other children...

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