Mom isn’t home. . .again.

Plenty of kids are being left home alone every day, but how harmful can it be?

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Mom isn’t home. . .again.

Art by Kaylee Verdugo

Art by Kaylee Verdugo

Art by Kaylee Verdugo

American families are continuously growing apart as increased need for parents to work full-time job leaves children alone regularly, which can affect social and mental development.

61.8% of American families have both parents working full-time jobs. This can be extremely detrimental to the development of children and teenagers. Fundamental social skills are supposed to be developed at home and continue to grow at home. Growing needs for financial stability sets the precedent that the everyday teenager must care for themselves, which can be harmful to social needs.

Prolonging loneliness is diagnosed by mental health professionals as developmental loneliness. Symptoms are among the lines of inability to keep close friends, negative feelings of self-worth, overwhelming feelings of isolation, and exhaustion/burnout. Chronic loneliness occurs by having these prolonged feelings of loneliness, which can manifest as a child from parents being gone consistently. Sophomore Sara Gundestrup’s parents are gone consistently and it deeply impacts her mental state.

“When my parents are gone all of the time, it makes me feel like I’m shut off from the world because I’m just stuck at home alone.” Gundestrup said.

Dealing with such loneliness is extremely difficult, and can lead to physical symptoms as well. Those of which are high blood pressure, higher susceptibility to heart disease, sleep disorders, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s later on in life. The reasons for this dwindle down to poor diet and lack of exercise. A person’s diet while home alone is typically unhealthy, as people are reliant on things that are quick and easy, not necessarily healthy.

Another potential problem caused by loneliness is the evident effect on school performance. One study conducted by Usak University said that the feeling of isolation can accompany lack of aspirations which can lead to the downfall of one’s success in school. Students who find themselves feeling isolated may find it difficult to engage in social situations and may crumble under academic environments. Though senior Miranda Cross performs very well in school, she says it’s a struggle.

“I’m able to keep my grades up but it can sometimes be a challenge if I need [my mom’s] help or if I just want her to be around.” Cross said. “My mom is one of the people closest to me so just in general it can take a toll on me when she’s gone for so long.”