My oldest daughter, Baby, who I took to her first year of college this past August was home for the Thanksgiving weekend. I was so thrilled to have her here because I've never been separated from her for more than a week her entire life. Now I had only seen her 1x in the three and a half LONG months she'd been at school.
Now you might think, "Well, she's at college, it's far away, etc etc etc". Yah, she's only an hour and 15 minutes away. There are 2 other girls at the same college who come home pretty frequently. Hello, Baby, are we chopped liver? Actually, she works a lot and has tons of school work, so I understand.
I was very disappointed that I didn't get to spend much time with her. I had to work all 3 days after Thanksgiving. :( I felt even sadder that she didn't get to see many of her friends and the few she did she only saw for a couple of hours. I hope it's different when she comes home for Christmas.
On to the reason for my post. I have NO idea how to "parent" an adult child. Seriously, 3 months ago I had some say in her life as a parent. Of course it wasn't the same as when she was a 5 year old. And it's not that I had to do a lot of parenting while she was here. She's always been a responsible kid so I never had to do much with her.
Unfortunately, a money issue came up and I didn't know how to respond. I just responded like I normally would as if she were still living under my roof. Baby had worked for a retail store that she loved shopping at. Not so much the working though, so she found a new job that she loves. It sounds like she's not getting paid really until she's done with the training. The training seems to last a couple of months.
Well, she had never picked up 2 of her checks from her retail job and hadn't gotten a small check from the new company. On the other hand, she'd be spending all kinds of money. The first night she was home, Wednesday before Thanksgiving, she opened a letter from the bank and found out she had at least 5 overdraft fees. She forgot about getting her checks. I asked her about balancing her check book and she told me, "I'm not good at it." WHAT??? I nearly fell off my rocker.
I was stunned to say the least. When she lived at home she worked at the local grocery store for 2 yrs and was amazing with her $. It seemed as if the Lord multiplied it while she slept!! She also did everything with cash, not using a checking acct. She had a consumer class in high school where balancing a checkbook was part of the course. Honestly, she did well.
Friday, after Thanksgiving, we got another letter from the bank. She had another set of overdraft fees!!! This was adding up fast. I had no idea how she would recover in the 30 day period they give to pay these fees. On top of that, Christmas presents purchased by her wouldn't be an option now. I was frustrated with her and feeling terrible for her all at the same time. How was I to help?
Friday when we got home from my aunts house I called the bank to see if they would reduce the charges. Thankfully they agreed, but she still has a lot to pay back. When she comes home for Christmas break, I'm going to have her sit down with a friend of mine to go over a budget. I did see some of the purchases she had been making over the last couple weeks and was floored. That girl is well dressed and well fed!!
Yes, it's her money, but that doesn't mean she can blow it however she wants. I understand that she wants to stay up-to-date on the latest fashions, but she has car mainenance, gas, school loans, phone bill, and car insurance that she needs to be taking care of, and she has so far. I just want her to be more aware of how she's spending her money and start looking at what budgeting is all about. I should be her blazing sign as to why she should have a budget!! We have done so poorly financially all her life that I should be her reason for having a budget and saving plan in place.
Now, since she is 18 and living at college, I can't force her to do anything. In fact, she hasn't responded to my email or txt message about talking to her employer about having her checks automatically deposited or if she's going to live on a cash basis, or the fact I suggested she get together with a friend for budgeting info. Kind of frustrating, but I have to somehow let it go.
Any parents out there with older kids who you've had to let go and let live? How do you know that without getting frustrated? Do you ever tell them what to do? Do you just give suggestions? How do you not get annoyed when the don't do what you say when you know it's sound wisdom? Grrr we don't want our kids to get hurt, but we have to let them learn from their mistakes. This is not an easy task by any means!!