How Old Is Old Enough?

My husband and I rarely disagree with how to raise our children. Mostly because he is smarter than that. He has some sixth sense that tells him since I was the one who carried our rabid badgers in my uterus only to have them climb angrily out of my soft pink parts, he would be wise to acquiesce to my wisdom and accept the majority of my decisions.

It's never really an issue with the two of us, however, because we think very alike when it comes to the welfare of our children. Our goals are the same (to keep them alive to adulthood, keep them out of the clink and not to raise their babies. Add in a dash of happiness, success and productivity and that basically sums up our goals,) so we have little to argue about.

But every now and then there is a parental hiccup. Like the time I taught our then two-year-old daughter how to say "penis" and "vagina." Or when I told my then three-year-old son to tell every one that the only bad things in life were "smoking, drugs and premarital sex." (Frac, however, pronounced it 'pwee-mammal sex.' I still giggle.)

I wasn't fond of the time my husband decided my toddler child was old enough to handle a spray paint can and when Frac ripped off his pull-up and spray painted his genitals bright red, I was victorious. If victory included trying to scrub red paint off a wee boy's penis, that is.

We've both made questionable parenting decisions in the past and I am certain we will continue to do so until all of our children are out of the house and on their own. We may be parents but we are first and foremost fallible humans. Who have twisted senses of humour.


Our latest hiccup involves my husband's past. Apparently, his parents left him alone, over night, left to his own devices starting at the tender age of 14. Our oldest is just shy of 14 herself and as such, he thinks it will be acceptable to start leaving her on her own when she finally hits that magical age.

My parents never left any of us alone until I was 17. My brother was 18. And the only reason they left us alone was they were visiting a rodeo in a town three hours away and ingested a few too many beers to make the drive home safely.

I still remember the panic I felt when I realized they weren't coming home. Of course, if I had known they were having a drunken good time at a rodeo I wouldn't have been worried. But my parents neglected to inform us they weren't coming home. Until the next morning. I may still be scarred from the worry.

I just think fourteen, regardless of how responsible the child is, (and she's very responsible) is too young. My husband thinks I need to chill out. I think he's full of beans and needs to stop arguing with me on who is right.

Because obviously, I am never wrong.

But after talking with another family member, it was pointed out that maybe I am wrong. After all, my children have their first aid courses, we have cell phones, they are surrounded by family members who live near by and they have been through the wringer. Maybe the problem isn't that my daughter isn't old enough to be left alone over night, but I'm not mature enough to leave them.

I find this hard to believe, as I am the picture of maturity. See my blog archives to prove this.

See? I'm mature.

So I'm taking to the internets to settle the argument? How old is old enough? How old were you when your parents left you alone for the first time? Did a pack of wolves come in and rape you in the middle of the night after a gang of ninjas broke in and robbed you blind?

Could my husband possibly be wrong? Or *gasp* am I being a teesny weensie overprotective over here?

Settle the argument will ya?