As a parent, it can be difficult to balance your apprehension about your child leaving home for the first time. While mothers do lots of research and planning to keep their aching hearts occupied, fathers tend to hide their emotions under the veneer of being excited to have Mom all to himself for the first time in twenty-or-so years… Before the actual big day, the kid will be very excited, which might make parents feel somewhat rejected. But don’t take it personally. Soon enough, he or she will remember the conveniences of home, and start planning a visit to the oldies.
If you think back to when you first flew the coop, you’ll remember the things you had to learn, and realize just how far you’ve come. Your child has to go through the same growth, and yes, it will mean sacrificing luxuries, learning to budget, and keeping your living space in order. Then there’s the issue of trying to maintain a balanced diet…
As a parent, there are things you can continue to do for your child while teaching them independence. Some of the important lessons to teach them, would include:
Budgeting – It’s often a great idea to let your child find a part-time job while living in your home. This gives you an opportunity to help them to budget. Involve them in grocery shopping and paying bills to learn how much things cost. It may be an idea to make your kid responsible for paying a bill on time every month. This will go a long way towards explaining the importance of keeping commitments.
Routine – Teenagers love to stay up all night, especially if they don’t have any responsibilities. However, when they live on their own, they will need to be able to get up without a parent yelling and shaking them. Let your child take responsibility for his own routine by using alarms and facing the consequences of being late a few times.
To do list – Even if you have a flowing structure at home, create a whiteboard with a list of things that need to be done daily to get your teen into the routine of making lists and sticking to the tasks and activities. Include some regular cleaning chores on the list, such as weekly laundry.
Basic cooking – Take out and Ramen noodles do not constitute a healthy, balanced meal plan. Before your kid moves out, teach him some basic cooking skills and how to make simple but nutritious meals. It’s easy to do, even with basic equipment such as a microwave, induction cooker, instant pot, and bar fridge.
Basic first aid – Cuts and burns happen all the time. Help your child compile a first aid kit and learn basic wound care and first aid.
Decision making – One of the biggest overarching skill sets to teach your child, is decision making. During this transition phase, involve your teen in different things, such as choosing colleges, buying a car, deciding on living arrangements, and so on. Discuss your reasoning behind different decisions so that he can think about some of the aspects that kids don’t usually consider.
Your support as a parent will go a long way towards helping your child adjust to the idea of living on their own and manage life as an adult. Of course, there will be a few things for you to do as well:
- Discuss finances with your child, so that she knows what you will pay for, and whatnot.
- Discuss how you will connect via phone or with visits.
- Consider vehicle shipping if the college is far away so you don’t have to worry about an inexperienced driver covering a vast distance alone.
- Keep busy so that you can adjust to daily life without being a full-time parent.
- Connect with your spouse by doing things you used to do when you first got together.
While this is a difficult period for parents, the truth is that it is part of the circle of life. At some point, you have to let them spread their wings and move out on their own. You’ll get through it!
This content is sponsored by Kristina Bijelic.