Helping kid launch? (Update)

Hacking employment, improving work, professional development
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Re: Helping kid launch?

Post by 1taskaday »

Hi Laura,

You could be describing my DS...I read the description you gave out to my DH and we both smiled knowingly.

He flunked out of his first year of college...lived on campus partied all the time and never went to a lecture.

Kind of broke my heart as I am a real academic and I know he is super smart.
The one and only time I will allow him to affect me like this.
I pulled him out in January of his first year as I was able to look at his Christmas results (unknown to him). Otherwise he would have stayed for full year costing us and not attending any lectures.
Seemingly lots of students do this and even pretend to do a second year while they have flunked out in year one...the life is so enjoyable!

Anyway he sat at home bored out of his mind for a few months,only doing home gym growing "designer " muscles.
He then got a summer job and saved for his new college accommodation repeat first we were not paying for it again.

He has scraped through his first year exams...I really don't know how???
He says he loves it at the new college,much smaller classes like high school and wants to get his degree...only 3 more years???

Since the Covid lock down he is working in a supermarket and funding his own accommodation and lifestyle.

My DH worries about him a lot more than me.
I refuse to.
He is like a stick of dynamite to try and guide so I have accepted what will be will be ...
It's tough if you are a worrier as you will suffer loads...what a waste of life.

My overriding principal in life is :
Women who are mothers and wives deserve a FULL life outside of all our caring roles.
I try to live by this...I wasn't put on this earth to waste my time and energy worrying over a kid that will "probably" get it together by 30 in which time I will have wasted a decade of my life fretting over him.
I think the most influence we can have on our kids is up to age 10/11.
If we have put the groundwork in during these years that's as much as we can do...and then hope that some of it has stuck.
Best of luck.
Parenting is one of the toughest roles a human being can take on...lucky it's such a strong evolutionary urge (as the population would be dwindling now) But I always greatly admire the people that are able to resist this urge.

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Location: England

Re: Helping kid launch?

Post by BookLoverL »

I'm still only 26 myself, so I don't have that much life experience yet. But I think there is a balance to be struck here. While obviously it's not ideal that your son likes to blow his money on weed and other stuff like that, if he already doesn't usually do what you want, it's unlikely that you telling him not to blow his money will have much effect. Going to university is often the first time a young person really gets to see what their life can be like away from their parents and that's a good thing - it allows them to start to see how they might act when they're not under their parents' roof and rules. It's a natural part of healthy life development, and trying to control your adult children's lives too much will end up pushing them away from you emotionally.

If you provide too much money then you will probably be funding his weed habit. But if you provide no support at all, that might cause issues too, since students don't really need the stress of whether they can cover their bills in addition to the stress of studying. So I think the suggestion of providing just enough to bridge the gap is probably good, because then he'll have enough to avoid having to spend all of his degree working if he does it right, but if he wants to buy weed in addition to necessities, he'll have to get a part time job to fund his own weed.

Laura Ingalls
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Re: Helping kid launch?

Post by Laura Ingalls »

I am finding the diversity of opinions useful. I also don’t remember similar topics being discussed this elaborately before.

Nothing passive about his hostility towards school. He would tell anyone that would listen.

I think you answer to the financial piece is very common sensical. We also realize today that we have one (maybe two?) of the most expensive tools already. At the ended of the day the money is rounding error. I just don’t want him to view the money he earns as “for fun” any longer.

@saving 10 years
I do have some concerns about COVID centric issues. His one possible roommate is planning on full time remote liberal arts load at a public university in another state. The other is planning on working full time. His program is not well suited to distance learning. The lease part does seem a bit troubling. DH has been encouraging that they stay in our camper til either 9-1 or 10-1 just to buy a little time and avoid committing. The two roommates should be good counterpoint. One has been set off with little parental support of any kind. The other young man’s momma pays for everything.

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Re: Helping kid launch?

Post by ZAFCorrection »

1taskaday has reached the heart of it. Short of some major epiphany, the kid is probably going to spend a good amount of time (possibly forever) being kind of shiftless. In addition to what is in your tax-advanted accounts, your mental energy is also a finite resource.

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Re: Helping kid launch?

Post by saving-10-years »

This paragraph may be irrelevant to US readers but recalled today some years back when we acted as rent guarantor for my nephew when he was a student. (This is what happens when you are the only solvent person in the family who is not retired on low income). He had a joint tenancy (common in the UK for shared house rentals). With no track record of renting he needed a guarantor. The tenancy was not a fixed term (my son's tenancies have all been individual and fixed term for that following reason). I was effectively guaranteeing the rent of the other tenants too, i.e. my nephew could have paid all his rent on time but if one of the other tenants (who I had never met) defaulted he (effectively we) were responsible for the shortfall. Same with damage to the property. Thinking COVID circs now, if he had ended up the only person still living at the property he would be responsible for 100% of the property rent. As a cherry on top I could die and my estate would still be liable. (As you can see I am someone who reads what they are signing). If they have such agreements in the US be very wary.

If you are in contact with other parents of children a bit older than your son's age you probably know that there are those who are coping wonderfully with independance and at worst you may know of someone that is now back home and effectively (for want of a better word) broken. The most important thing is making it clear to your son that while you are planning for and anticipating his success you can and will help if sh*t happens.
I think he picked something he has an aptitude for. I am less convinced he is organized enough and has his mental health ducks in a row well enough to get this to work out. He does tend to get easily overwhelmed and I would prefer him not to have too many balls in the air at once.
I suspect I can be quite helicoper-y, DS has some serious (anaphalaxia) health concerns that mean that the option to fail to organise could be pretty grim. He is also dyslexic so organisationally challenged to start with. Having worked for decades in HE DS needed to demonstrate that he was talented at this subject and it would lead to employment opportunities he would enjoy (on this basis we met his modest living costs so he could pay for fees only). He did this convincing job comprehensively. We also nudged him to take a gap year (some travel and voluntary work and study but the main purpose was to allow him to get ready to live away from home and grow up/transition from being a schoolkid). It worked but I would say that his 13 months as an intern has been even more important. So work experience is the charm in motivating and making for more independance, great that he is working already.

Hard question. Has DS chosen the course because he thinks this is one you would approve of or does he want to do it for himself? Will he be okay leaving home each day to go to college and doing coursework when his room-mate will perhaps appear to be staying home and having a much more relaxed time of things? (Having another roommate who is in work sounds like a good mix as does having someone who is totally responsible for their own costs). On the up side he will find out that his parents spent a lot of time on him and he will likely miss you and appreciate you more when he has to do the boring caring-for-self stuff that currently goes on around him automatically.

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Re: Helping kid launch?

Post by saving-10-years »

Wrote my previous message before reading @ZAFcorrection's comments.

I can definitely see the advantage of setting boundaries for the mental energy to expend on parenting older children, this is otherwise so much energy. But I've never been able to make boundaries work, I probably like solving problems too much. @1taskaday has spoken about this before - the importance of conserving something for yourself. She is definitely more hard line than I have been, however as our DS gets older we discuss/debate and we frequently learn from him, so time is spent differently. Its parenting still but enjoyable stuff. Its only when I end up helping him get a form completed at the last minute - when he should have done it eons ago - that I resent the time.

I am glad to hear that @1taskaday's DS is now earning, saving, progressing at Uni and determined to get his degree.
He seems to be set on making it now (perhaps to prove that he always could?)
Maybe cutting off funding after the first term so he had to withdraw was a needed reboot.
I'm sure @Laura's son will also make it.
I always want to save my own DS wasted time taking wrong turns and straying into cul de sacs, but its not possible to solve problems for someone else in advance. He will do things his way - they all do.

I loved the idea thet @Jacob mentioned of "fjumre aar" (trans. blooper year). In my time the local education authority would funded four years of higher education, allowing you to fail in first year and still get a 3 year degree (paid for by a grant not a loan). Nowadays the UK govt allows you to borrow for fees and accommodation for higher education at 3% over base rate (at max not far off £80k if you do the 4 year Masters or a foundation, or change courses). So you can still make bloopers but you will be required to pay (through the nose) for these from future earnings once above average income.

Laura Ingalls
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:13 am

Re: Helping kid launch? (Update)

Post by Laura Ingalls »

Posted a quick update on the original post

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