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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Camp Fire Mom

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Sue Ellen

Dear Sue Ellen,

Summer is coming and I’m dreading it.  My two boys should be old enough to be left alone while I am at work but the thought of coming home to a couple of rowdy, messy boys makes me cringe.  Last year they decided to make a camp fire in the back yard and nearly burned the house down. They are too young to enlist in the military and I am too poor to send them to camp.  Any suggestions?

Camp Fire Mom

Dear Camp Fire Mom,

I have a magic word for you:  Grandparents!

Grandparents are under-rated.  There is a special connection between grandparents and their grandkids.  Most grandparents would love to spend time with them.  There are lots of creative ways that grandparents can help, even if they are physically unable to keep up with the boys.  Give them an interesting summer project and get their grandparents involved in it too.  Even if the grandparents live far away, they can still skype, text or phone the boys during the day.

My son used to love to take things apart when he was a boy.  I had limited financial resources so I would go to garage sales and buy old appliances for a quarter, cut the electrical cords off, then let him take them apart and create things.  It would last him for days.  Find a creative way to support your boys’ interests and keep them engaged.  It is probably time for you to give them chores.  Be sure to reward them for completing their assigned tasks.  Start with little things like take out the trash or make their beds.  Don’t overwhelm them.  Brag on them to their grandparents for being responsible.

The fact that they built a camp fire together indicates to me they like to play together.  Be thankful they don’t try to beat each other up when you are gone.

On a darker note, children left home alone are vulnerable.  Teach your boys not to answer the door to strangers or tell people on the phone that their mom isn’t home.  If you have good neighbors that you trust, ask them to keep an eye on the house while you are gone and to call you if something doesn’t look right.  Here again, it would be great if the boys have grandparents that can come for the summer, or if the boys could visit with their grandparents.  A last word of caution.  Over 90% of all children molested are the victim of someone related to them or known to the family.  Don’t let your boys become victims.

Please email your parenting questions to and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.


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