Returning to the Nest
My youngest son moved home after two months of flying from the coop. He realized his mama isn’t so bad to live with. Actually, he moved home because it took two months of living away to find a direction. This is my frugal son that is studying finance to become a Certified Financial Planner. He took his first two years of classes at a community college while living at home because the tuition was a third of that of a state school. The apartment opportunity wasn’t what he had envisioned. I think in his mind, college was the never-ending party, lots of friends, no parental supervision, and making your own grown-up decisions. When in reality, it’s hard to meet people when all of your classes are online, you don’t like to party, most of your friends live in the town you just left, your parents aren’t there to guide you and discuss your future, and groceries and electric bills are EXPENSIVE. And on top of all that, YOU MISS YOUR DOGS!!
Of course, this mama was joyful on the inside, while on the outside I tried to keep my mouth shut and give him the space to choose his path. As our children become adults, it’s important to let your relationship mature as well.
Give space to fly
Our goal as parents is to give our young adult kids the space to make choices for their lives, whether we think they are the right choice or wrong, it’s important for them to figure things out on their own. I have found when we do that, our boys tend to come to my husband and me more for advice and counsel. We have instilled in them 19 years of training, wisdom, decision-making, prayers, and self-discipline that they have the tools they need to succeed. Now is the time to put it all into practice.
Have a safe landing pad
When one of our kid’s choices doesn’t work out, we have always let them know that they can come home to figure out a new plan. Mistakes are not failures, they are life lessons that can help direct their path. We give them the opportunity to readjust their course. They will always have a room, home-cooked meal, love, and support. As long as our boys are working towards a plan; school, work, internships, etc, we don’t charge rent, but there MUST be a plan. There will be no laziness or lack of direction. They still have responsibilities at home such as keeping their rooms and bathrooms clean, doing their own laundry, helping out with the lawn, dishes, trash, etc. We all live in the home together, and we pitch in together. But as parents, we try not to tell them what they should do in regards to their future but allow them the freedom and space to figure it out on their own. My husband helps me in my own growth in allowing this to happen. This is a hard one!!
Help to relaunch
When my son moved back home after two months, we had many discussions on his next steps. The move away helped him realize that the college campus he was living on, wasn’t the school he wants to attend when community college is finished. He has applied to another school and is interested in an apprenticeship program for a financial advising company since that is his desired field. It’s a plan that he is comfortable with moving forward. If that doesn’t work out, he knows he has a safe place to readjust his goals.
Not all kid’s college experiences look the same. We have decided, as parents, to allow our boys to chart their own course. It is important to both of our boys to achieve their degrees, as long as they have that piece of paper at the end, we are okay with how they got there. Not all kids have a desire to attend college. There are many other options for success. It is our job as parents to help our children navigate the path that is best for them, and not compare their choices to those of other kids their age. After all, God made each of them unique and so their path toward adulthood will be created just for them.