Parents begin their work from the day that their child is born into the world. They start planning and preparing their child for the man or woman that they will become in the future. Even when they are not aware of it, their actions are writing on the chalkboard of their child’s life. As the child continues to grow they pray daily that they’ve taught them how to be respectful, how to take care of themselves, how to play well with others, and how to conduct themselves in public.
Then finally that day comes when they graduate from high school. Parents suddenly realize they are no longer babies, but young adults that they must release into the jungle called life. As terror grips them, strength is found in the lessons taught. We know as they meet each challenge they will do well or will they? Now look ahead two years later; your young adults are still at home with no job and no ambition. What did we do wrong and where do we go from here? This is the time to be tough, how do we do it?
1. Off To Work We Go. No one should be allowed to still be sleeping when you are up at the light of day and on your way to work. Make your child set their alarm and rise when you rise. If they are not driving, drop them off at the nearest bus stop and tell them not to come back without a job. While many young adults will move forward, some need a little push. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down. Your raising years are technically over, so act like it.
2. Rent. Anyone living at home over the age of 18 should be paying rent. This is in preparation for meeting the demands of the real world where paying for shelter is not an option. Have a set date each month for the rental payment. If your child is late, charge extra just like a landlord would. This will instill in them the discipline to be financially responsible.
3. Time Line to Send Off. Give your young adult a deadline to transition from your home to his or her own place. Every child needs independence; the sooner the better. Give a child 6 months to a year to save money and move on. This helps your child to set goals and make a plan to accomplish them. Sit down with your child if you’re concerned that they cannot manage alone and help them formulate the plan, but stick to the deadline. This will make all the difference in their maturity.
4. ATM is Down. Stop giving money to your young adults. Let them know that as adults it is their duty to earn a living for themselves. Hopefully, before the end of their senior school year, they have already found a job. If no job has been offered yet, they should earn money by taking on additional chores around the house. Earned money means so much more to the receiver than unearned money ever will.
5. The Military Option. If nothing else has worked to motivate your young adult to action, then pull out the big guns. Give your offspring the military option. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp and Coast Guard are excellent first steps to independence. In any of these organizations, you learn a trade, get into shape and are paid for your efforts. You also get great benefits such as: medical, dental and life insurance. This should make most parents happy because it frees you from these responsibilities.
Through the steps discussed above we can push our young adults out of the nest and on to independence. We have done our part and should be able to enjoy our lives at this point. This will not be the case if we are still trying to raise adults. Get tough, raise the bar and let them grow up and out.