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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Home alone

So many of us are parents of teens so I'm going to pose something for you to think about...

You and your spouse have 18 year old twins, a boy and a girl. They are about ready to go off to college in a few months but still live at home, under your roof, on your dime. They've essentially been able to take care of themselves now for at least a couple of years, maybe more. You think they're adult enough to stay at home by themselves for a long weekend while you and your spouse go to take care of some out-of-town family business. From previous experience of being left for a day or two at a time, they seem to be responsible and listen to your requests to keep the house in good shape, so you think 3 days alone should be OK. After all, you're not going to be that far away - about a 2 hour drive.

I'd think that most of you would tell your kids to take care of the place while you're gone. You've left enough food in the fridge to last a week, and some money in the desk drawer just in case. You tell them that they can have a couple of friends over but no big parties. Both kids drive and will be able to get around on their own. Both kids also have summer jobs so should be busy for all of the 3 days you'll be gone. You have some pets - a dog, two cats, and a couple of parakeets. The kids have been taking care of all of the pets for several years on their own so you're not worried about the animals.

You leave - you know this is a big test for your children but you trust them to do what you've asked since they have been responsible in the past.

Sunday afternoon you come home to find the house almost completely trashed. Furniture destroyed, floors dirty and worn, all of the food gone, refrigerator standing open, no food to be seen, kitchen cabinets smashed in, bathrooms are a mess, garbage all over the house, the pool in the backyard is filthy and smelly with about 1/2 of the water gone. What's worse is that the parakeets are dead, the dog is very ill, and the cats nowhere to be found.

You've left your grown kids in charge of the house for 3 days and they've almost completely trashed the place!

How do you react? Are you angry, disappointed, or something else? What are you going to say to your kids?

"What happened? We left you in charge for 3 days and you've almost destroyed our home?"

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