This month has been a challenge in our Raising Teens life. We actually have two “official” teens and two that are 12 and 21 – the almost and just past teens.
It’s the two older ones that we are learning from this month. They are both totally broke. That wouldn't be so much an issue if they lived at home; however, both have opted to live outside the home.
One, the nineteen year old, is moving back home in June. He’s experienced highs and lows in his eight months on his own. For eight weeks he was without a job making paying the rent a challenge. He’s now on the downhill run and is gainfully employed and has gleaned the reality that living on your own isn’t quite the excitement it first presented itself to be. Empty pantry, no time for fun, no money to have fun with, and bills coming at you right and left.
My oldest, who is twenty one, decided to move out against our suggestion and head back to college. Yes, college is a good thing, but it’s been a long haul. Despite mom’s nagging ad infiniteum that living on her own required a 25 – 40 hour a week job, she’s had a job with much fewer hours this first semester. Thus, broke. Scrambling to get that job now, she’s hoping to be back on top of the finances, but the issue then becomes handling a college load and a full-time job.
If you’re like me – you always want to “save” your kids. My kids know this and take advantage quite often. I’ve learned through this past year that sometimes letting them sink is the right answer. If they are never given the opportunity to learn that life requires a lot of effort and money as young adults, then how can they grow up to be functioning older adults?If they are so broke they can’t buy food, we offer gift cards for food. If they need gas, we offer gift cards for gas. However, they MUST pay their own bills.
I’ve co-signed on leases in the past. My son’s lease is over in June, and that’s the last time I do that. You can’t go down with a sinking ship. It’s a tough balance – supporting and teaching.
Our plan right now is to provide a home base, to make sure they have food and gas, and to “nag” ad nauseum when it’s appropriate to help steer them in the right direction. Beyond that, we have to sit back and let them learn. Otherwise, we are enabling not teaching. That’s been a hard lesson for all of us!
BTW - don't think the two younger ones aren't paying attention. They see not only what mom and dad offer, but the struggles of their sibilings. We use these teaching moments as well.
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