While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On children who are anxious about being home alone: Children have different personalities: Some are ready to take on responsibility at an early age, and some are not. The Alexandria Police Department frequently gets questions about what age children can be left home alone and for how long. We always say, "It depends on your child." There are general age guidelines, but well-prepared 10-year-olds could be fine on their own, while anxious 13-year-olds may need a lot of supervision.
Parents could also consider playing a "what-if" game with their children on a regular basis as they go through normal, everyday moments that don't induce stress. "We are at the store. What if you couldn't find me anywhere. What would you do?" "What if Grandpa started feeling sick, and there wasn't an adult around. What are some options?"
The main thing we tell parents is that their child needs to have a plan of how to handle events while they are home alone. These types of everyday conversations and "planning" can lead to a more well-prepared and confident child, one who feels prepared to make the right decision if something goes wrong, or at least knows her options.
On youthful, pre-deployment marriages: Forty-two years ago, I was the bride (20), he was the groom (19) going into the Army during the Vietnam War. Now, two children later, careers later, locations later, education later, (remodeling later!), we are still thriving.
What I remember about our wedding day was the disapproval from our parents. How I wish they could have just trusted us. Even if our marriage had not lasted 42 years, would trust have been so awful?