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|Written by Miss Smartypants|
|Monday, 28 June 2010 00:00|
Dear Miss Smartypants,
My wife and I recently received an invitation to an out-of-town wedding. It's adults-only. At sixteen, my daughter's not exactly an adult, but she's not exactly a screaming kid that someone wouldn't want at their wedding (assuming that "wedding" isn't code for "ritual human sacrifice"). My wife and I are currently debating leaving my daughter at home by herself instead of dragging her to the wedding. It's a short enough distance that we could reasonably drive there but long enough that it would necessitate staying the night. We've never left our daughter alone before. She's the classic good kid: good grades, good friends, never really gotten into trouble, etc. I think it will be alright. At the very least, I doubt she'll throw some raging party and burn down the house. My wife is scared that something might happen to our girl. I just don't see the point of making her go to a wedding if she's just going to sulk. Is sixteen old enough to spend the night on her own?
It's time to bring your daughter in on this conversation. Telling her that you are thinking about -- just thinking about -- going to an out of town wedding this summer (specify the dates with her) and are considering (make that part very clear) letting her stay behind. Let her make the case for why she should get to stay home alone. She may suggest staying at a friend's or relative's (after all, your wife lets her go to slumber parties, right?). It may become clear over the course of the conversation that she's not comfortable staying at home by herself. Heck, she might really want to go to the wedding. Do not agree to anything over the course of this initial conversation. Tell her that she's given you a lot to think about and that you and her mom will let her know what you decide. A clearer picture of your daughter's own interests and comfort level may make it easier for you to decide. And bear in mind, even if you elect to let her stay, nothing's ever perfect. The first time the Smartypants rents left yours truly alone for the weekend, I ate a bad strawberry and lost a good chunk of my Saturday to vomiting. Brother Smartypants was not impressed.