Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sometimes - They have to Learn the Hard Way

Learning the hard way is something I’ve always been adverse to letting my kids experience.  This has been to their detriment, I’m afraid.  I’ve always wanted to pave the way for them making life easy and pleasant.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t teach them that things can go wrong and that self-reliance is a critical life skill.

My oldest son moved out two months ago.  A few years back, I would have stopped him, but this time we realized that he needed to learn for himself what it’s like to be on your own.  No manner of us telling him was going to have the same impact as learning it for himself.
Tonight, I had a wonderful conversation with him.  Yes, it’s tough being on your own.  Yes, it’s expensive.  Yes, he has to work 40 – 60 hours per week just to pay the bills with little left over for “fun”.  No, soda doesn’t materialize in the pantry or food in the fridge.  No, the heat, water, AC and electricity aren’t free.  Wi-Fi isn’t something that is magically present nor is cable.  He’s learning all that.  He’s learning about coupons and taxes and making choices between gas for the car and eating out.  Things I couldn’t just teach him by telling him.

Yes, we did try to tell him.  But, until he experienced it for himself, he didn’t really value the message.  I think the trick as our teens become young adults it so let them experience tough times while still knowing when it’s time to walk in and help out.  We’re playing this part by ear.
He thinks that at the end of his lease it might be nice to move back in and have a family around that loves him and food in the pantry and AC/Heat without worrying about the bill. I agree.  However, if he finds his groove and wants to stay independent and on his own, we’ll support that too.  I'm proud of him for choosing to take on adult responsibility and living up to the bills and pitfalls that come with it.  I’m also glad we’re a family where he’ll always have a home.

Boy it’s hard letting your kids become adults! 
Do you have kids who have moved out?  How did that go?  How much help did they need in the beginning?  When did you know to step in or to stay out?


  1. It must be hard being in that position. My children are still young and I don't look forward to that day! But it is healthy and good for your kids to move up and onward with their lives. This is the whole purpose of parenting--to raise self-sufficient children. Best, Ali from VB

  2. My daughter is only 12, so it's a ways off for me. But I applaud your decisions. In fact, I say encourage him to stay in his own place!


Thank you for commenting - I love to hear your thoughts!