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do you leave your kids behind? what age is too young?

do you leave your kids behind? what age is too young?

Old Nov 10th, 2004, 06:26 PM
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do you leave your kids behind? what age is too young?

this is purely hypothetical and research only, but i have two sisters in law who have each taken 1 week plus vacations 5 hours flight away without their kids.

ages: 6 and 3
ages: 3 and 2

in both cases the kids were left with nannys or familar (though not everyday) relatives.

in both cases the trips were leisure only not work related.

i am just wondering, is there a rule about when it's appropriate, age wise, or development wise to leave your kids behind?

is there a rule of thumb, like a day for every year (i invented that! it sounds reasonable).

thanks. just curious what you all think.
kerikeri is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2004, 08:16 PM
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I think it's called self-induced selfish entitlement.
pepper131 is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2004, 08:41 PM
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i have never done this. i would take my kids with me or i would not go. my kids rarely had a sitter. i have never felt like escaping from my kids. but, i also have a sister-in-law that loves to escape from her young kids. she left her 4 and 5 year olds with a sitter so she could visit her sister for 4 days a thousand miles away. she did this on mother's day!
carla1967 is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2004, 09:39 PM
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Depends on how nice the parents are. Kids might be happy to get rid of some crabby mother for a week and have some fun with a nice person.

There are a lot of lousy parents, and kids deserve breaks.

There are lots of nice parents, too, who have raised kids with a sense of adventure and who are not overly dependent. They're happy to have a change, even if mom and dad are nice.

Tiny little kids don't even notice.

Kids who go out every day to good day care facilities and who are used to lots of adults are fine with someone they like for a while, although it's nice if mom or dad or both phone them a couple of times.

Kids who go away from home are genrally willing to have other family members go away, too, as long as someone acceptable is looking after them. My son went away with a grownup friend for a week when he was 8. He'd be happy staying at her house for a week if we went away, too.

So, there's no rule. It depends on the kid and the mother and the father, and who is available for the looking after part. Nice aunt? Fine. Nasty grandmother? Forget it.

Come to think of it, I left my family every late spring and early fall weekend for about six years, from four years old to 10 years old.

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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 09:42 PM
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Looks like KeriKeri is gearing up for the annual Thanksgiving Day In-Law Fight. Go get 'em, sister!!
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 10:05 PM
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It depends on the family, I think. I certainly prefer to travel with my whole family, and usually did when they were really young.

Several years ago, though, dh and I attended a couple of conferences for state home school leaders in Schroon Lake and Boston. The conferences were designed for families (a blend of workshops and lots of free time), but only our expenses were covered by our board and we couldn't afford to take our kids, who were 13, 9, and 2.

We left them with trusted friends and had a wonderful week away - the longest time we'd had to ourselves since we started having kids. We came back refreshed and the kids had a great time as well.

Lee Ann
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 10:16 PM
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I think it depends on the destination. My parents took me with them on all trips to the continental U.S. from the time I was 4. But, they left me home with my grandmother when they took international trips. OK OK here I am 30 years later, still a little resentful I didn't do Asia with them when I was 8, but I know they had more of a "vacation" without me!
MelissaHI is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2004, 10:32 PM
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I think it is all about how comfortable u are with the sitter who will be with the kids. If the kids are used to the sitter, it should be fine. I want to add that I think kids who are young (between like 2-5) and have both parents that leave daily for work tend to dislike their parents taking off on trips for long periods in general more than those kids who have one or both parents around on a daily basis....just my observations over the years.,..
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 04:08 AM
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Although we never did this when ours kids were growing up, looking back, I wish we had. While family vacations are wonderful, I think it's important for spouses to get away and reconnect without the labels of "mom and dad." It might actually them better parents during those family trips!
IMO, it's all a question of balance.
Old Nov 11th, 2004, 04:27 AM
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I frequently left my children with relatives and only took them on trips that they could tolerate for their age group. 2-3 is too young for a lot of traveling, my opinion only especially if on tours- that have no way out. I find it interesting that people often claim what "excellent" travelers their young children are- I find this is clearly their preception- and not always factual to an outsider. I travel on vacation on average every other month- almost 8 paid weeks off per year, so I certainly may be jaded. For other's with little vacation time- going as a family can be wonderful at the right destination.
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 04:31 AM
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The rule of thumb is that the parents of these kids get to decide. No opinion from well-meaning (or not so well meaning) sister-in-law are appropriate. My suggestion is to stay out of it - here and with the family.
gail is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2004, 04:41 AM
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I agree with gail -- leave this decision up to the parents. Good parenting does NOT require that you be available to your kids 24/7 for 18 years, or even for 3.
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 04:53 AM
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bunchargum, is that you?
Old Nov 11th, 2004, 05:11 AM
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I take it back, it's not bunchargum this time. But Kerikeri, this question can be a very hot topic and has been the focus of some flaming back and forth within the last couple of months -- such that the thread got pulled.

It always seems to me that the ones most critical of leaving kids behind are those who don't have kids, followed by a certain kind of piety from those who work and don't see enough of their kids, followed after that by those who actually seem to enjoy their kids' company. The ones most critical of taking kids on trips are again those without kids, followed by those who are annoyed by having other people's kids around, followed by those who understand how exhausting it is to raise children.

Parents are considered selfish and/or irresponsible in both cases -- either because they've left the kids behind or because they've inflicted them on or trusted other people.

Here are some considerations, but what works for some families doesn't work for others:

1. I notice you refer only to mothers here. That may simply have been your shorthand to identify the relatives you know, but people do seem to get much more bent out of shape about mothers vacationing away from kids than fathers.

2. If a mother is burning out and/or the marriage is burning out, it can be a very healthy thing for the kids to have a restored parent and/or a restored marriage between parents. It can also be a very healthy thing to understand that parents are people and that there are perks to being a grown-up. (However, that's probably a more important thing for slightly older kids than the ones you mention.)

3. If kids are being raised by a nanny most of the time and parents are away frequently on business, it does seem excessive to also be away on pleasure for the short part of life when the kids are still under their roof. Even if the nanny is a more consistent, loving, and competent parent than either mom or dad, which I've certainly seen, it still is a matter of what message is being sent to the children about the relative importance of kids and family versus -- sadly -- "grownup" leisure.

Since I will probably draw some flame, esp. from the people who think it unconscionable to leave kids ever, I'll note that I was one of the ones who prefered kids'(more so as they got older) company on most vacations, but we still managed a few days here and there to ourselves -- which I was always nervous about taking (less so as they got older) but always came back from in much better shape to be a mother.
Old Nov 11th, 2004, 05:15 AM
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I was never that comfortable leaving the kids, but my husband had some wonderful business trips that he had to go and I was invited. So, I went! This started when the kids were about 4 and 5. They were always left with grandparents that they love. We only went for 4 to 5 days each time. Then Sept 11th happened and I haven't left them since. I guess I feel we had some good trips(and they were fun!)but now, I am more apprehensive about leaving them behind (they are 10 and 12 now). So, we take a ton of family trips! My husband hasn't had any fun trips since anyway...I do not believe that couples that leave their children are selfish. I think all parents (especially moms) need a break once in a while. Go away to a nice inn nearby for one night. Try that. I would only leave them with someone who you trust and they are extrememly comfortable with. If you go away, away, then make it a long weekend. My daughter that was four when we first went was okay for three nights, but on the fourth was upset that we were still gone. We were coming home on the fifth day anyway. Next time I only went three nights till she was older.
girlonthego is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2004, 05:59 AM
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I grew up in a single parent family and my mom always took two vacations each summer. One with us and one alone or with a friend.

Although I have always felt it important for there to be family vacation time, I also think it can be important for parents to get some quality time alone without the children. I think that it ultimately depends on the parent's particular views and there is no rule of thumb. Everyone feels differently about the issue and has different comfort levels about leaving their children with others for a length of time.

IMO, as long as you are leaving your children with someone who you fully trust and are comfortable with, I have never seen anything wrong with leaving them from an early age in order to enjoy a vacation alone. I also think, however, that children should be included in a family vacation, as well. If you do one, you should do the other so the kids aren't totally left out.
Statia is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2004, 06:03 AM
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Just for a different perspective...Our oldest just went off to college several states away. Right about now that 19 years that she was home is seeming like a very short time to me. I know that some parents feel the need to get away and that's understandable. But your kids are with you such a relatively short part of your life. Once they're gone, you'll have plenty of time for trips alone. Yes, there's the theory that leaving your kids with sitters, going on trips without them, etc. makes them more independent. There's also the theory that knowing that their parents see them as people whose company they enjoy makes them more secure, confident, independent people.
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 06:09 AM
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IMO, Parent only trips are an excellent way to forge the child/grandparent bond, another important developmental mark. Just make sure to leave signed medical release forms to ensure any emergency care can be obtained.
wsoxrebel is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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Good for them!

If mom and dad don't get mom and dad time, it could ruin their relationship.

My mom and dad took vacations without us all the time when we were little and it didn't bother us at all.

Why would this be a problem?
Old Nov 11th, 2004, 06:14 AM
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Cassandra has an excellent point.

Why is it the SISTERS are getting questioned and no BROTHERS-IN-LAW?


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