Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Indiana, 28 December 2006, Tweens in transition
Being a tween (ages 9-12) or early teenager is a lot trickier than it used to be. By the time children reach high school, many already have begun dabbling in high-risk behavior.
About 21 percent of eighth-graders have used illicit drugs at least once, according to the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy. Some 6.2 percent of young people have had sex before turning 13, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most juvenile crime occurs in the late afternoon — after-school hours when many tweens and teenagers are home alone.
Janet Panoch, 41, Zionsville, says she didn’t decide to home-school her two youngest children for the purpose of keeping them out of trouble, but that’s a side benefit for her daughter, 11, and son, 8. “I see other kids in the neighborhood walking home from the bus and letting themselves in, so they’re home alone after school,” she said. “I guess that’s OK for some kids, depending on the child.”
Panoch’s children, on the other hand, are always under her watchful gaze, and she’s able to control who they see and what they watch on television.
“I can see the difference between the ones who are at home and my oldest daughter, who went to a private school,” she said. “She was much more peer-oriented and peer-driven. The younger ones aren’t as exposed to peer pressure and all that mass media stuff.”
posted by Valerie