Letting them go, letting them step out into the world and make their own choices, their own mistakes, their own triumphs and losses. Knowing full well they don’t have a clue what is coming. They have never had to pay rent, they have never had to pay utilities or buy their own groceries. All they can think about is getting away from mom and dad.
I remember being 18. I was getting ready for a wedding. I lived at home with my folks and my dad required me to pay him rent, I paid for my own wedding, and I covered my own expenses. I learned a ton from my dad about finances and how to handle them correctly and it has saved my husband and I from a ton of financial grief.
But there is a difference between me and my daughter. I knew my dad had a lot of wisdom to share with me and I took to heart what he said, even though sometimes I didn’t appreciate it. I learned in the safety of my fathers home how to keep a checkbook, how to pay my bills on time, how to budget and keep things under control. All my daugther can think about is getting out from under our thumb. She thinks that we don’t appreciate her or understand her. Big surprise there what teenager thinks their parents appreciate and understand them? But the fact is that I do appreciate and understand her. I also know her faults and her areas of maturity.
She is a strong young woman, so can she do this? Move out and make it on minimum wage? Sure she can do this. However, I know how frustrated she will become when after a few months she is barely able to pay the bills, her car needs service and she dosn’t have the money to take care of it because she is barely making ends meet as it is. She will become frustrated with her car because it is old and needs constant attention, she is already frustrated with her car for those very reasons, but she won’t be able to buy a new one making what she is making. Of course she could get a second job, if she can afford the gas to get to a second job.
Her father and I do not want her to make this choice, not because we don’t want her to move out and get on with her life, but because we don’t think she is prepared for this step. The fact of the matter is that she is listening to other voices and not to ours. She is listening to what she wants to hear, and we are going to step back and let her go. Sometimes the most effective teacher is experience, not the easiest way to go for sure, but if you learn from your mistakes it is worth the grief. At least that is what we have found to be true. I can tell you that we saved ourselves much grief when we listened to the counsel of our parents. And we had a high price to pay several times for ignoring what they had to say because “they just didn’t understand” imagine our surprise when we discovered that they did understand so much more than we thought!