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Latch Key Kids Families living on one income are a rarity making it almost unperceivable to think of a parent being home on a daily basis to greet their child when he or she comes home from school The birth of the two-income household was the beginning of the latch key kids Dr Heins 1999 Today about one third of all school-age kids an estimated five million adolescents so are so called latch key children Many parents are forced into this situation due to various reasons One of the most common reasons is when the child feels too old for a babysitter usually around the age of thirteen Other circumstances such as the lack of good day care services and prohibitive costs may drive the issue even further There are conflicting opinions about the effects of leaving teens on their own Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro compared a group of forty eight latch key kids with a control group of forty eight kids who were cared for by adults after school They found little difference between the two groups and discovered the latch key kids are as well adapted as the other kids Meer 1985 Other experts advise against leaving young teens on their own Bundi Poppen 1989 children and teens are curious creatures and will test their limits if the opportunity arises Although latch key kids are told the Dos and Donts of being home alone there are many hidden dangers parents should look out for Adolescents are far more susceptible to peer pressure and to enter into risk-taking behavior during the unsupervised hours Recent studies have shown that up to twenty two million adolescents are left unsupervised during three and six pm Long 1986 This equals somewhere between fifty and ninety five percent of all school age kids Moreover teens in self care situations are at least three times more likely than those supervised by
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