Nov 9, 2017

Be The Parachute That Helps Your Kid Land Safely In Adulthood

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As a mom, you kinda have to get used to wearing a bunch of different caps every single day because the role of ‘mom’ kind of transcends any one role. You’re a chef, a secretary, a taxi driver, appointment maker, cleaner, housemaid, alarm clock, homework helper, master of the iron, packed lunch connoisseur, a best friend and above all a teacher.

Yeah. That last point is definitely the most important.

We know that school is there for a reason - to educate your not-so-little one - but there is a ton of things they ignore in their curriculums, many of which are going to set your kid up for a successful entry into the world of adulthood and, as you know, this is not an easy feat.


Adulthood sucks. I mean, it’s great. You get all that freedom to enjoy the world in the way that you want to. But it also sucks. One minute you have your mom (that’s you) catering to your every whim, and the next minute you get gut-checked by the real world. You go from not knowing how to work the toaster to trying to navigate the complexities of life. Wow.

That is where you step in. It’s your job as the parent to play real-world teacher and prepare your kid(s) for that very steep learning curve, and here are some tips on how:

They Will Be Overwhelmed By Paperwork
Before they hit the real world, about as challenging as it gets is doing the puzzles on the back of a cereal box (yes, the ones designed for toddlers). However, they are about to graduate to healthcare insurance, 401Ks, credit reports, mortgages and taxes, which is a pretty big leap. Why school doesn’t educate them on this is beyond our comprehension, especially when you consider how unnecessary algebra and trigonometry is to most people. It’s as if society expects kids to suddenly become wizards of paperwork. The truth, however, is you need to teach them the way. Now we don’t have all the answers, but we do have some, starting with the healthcare insurance thing, in which their first stop should be gomedigap.com so they can see what packages are on offer. As for the other things, you need to explain how credit rating is important, a mortgage is about the only good loan there is, paying taxes is required by law, and paying into a 401k earlier sooner than later is in their best interest.

They Will Struggle To Make & Keep Friends
This is an adjustment that we all have to get used to because it just becomes so much harder to make new friends and stay in touch with your old ones. This will be breaking news to them. They are young. Making friends is easy because they are all hurled into a class together, which means they get to see their friends each and every day without really having to try. When they leave college, however, and head into the workplace, a lot more effort is required. It should be easier for them because of Facebook and whatnot, but this poses a lie. Instead, they will lose touch with their school friends and be forced to hang out with the coworkers in the cubicles either side of them simply because it is more convenient. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this except warn them and let them know that having that one best friend they will never lose touch with is better than having a hundred that don’t know them properly.

Being An Adult Doesn’t Come With Career Answers
This is one of the most daunting things a new adult will ever come across. When they were growing up, all they knew about careers was that adults had one and, to them, the adults made it look so easy. They are offspring of a teacher and lawyer, and your friends also had similar careers, which gives off the false hope that one becomes an adult, picks a career and then sticks with it. But that’s not how it works, is it? That is what you need to tell your kid. You need to tell them just how rare it is for someone to know what they want to do after college. In fact, most people leave college, apply for a bunch of different jobs in their local city, take the first one to offer them a position and then toil away in it for longer than they thought they would. You need to tell your kid they will find their calling, but it probably won’t be for years and years. This may sound like a horrendous thing to tell them but, trust us, they will feel lost, alone and like they are failing if you don’t. It is what will help them navigate this, the toughest of challenges.

Love Is Not Like It Is In The Movies
For a mom with a daughter, telling them about how vast the spectrum of love is may not be too tricky. For a mom with a son, expect some squirming and awkwardness. In any case, it is up to you to let them know what love is like. You need to explain how much of a commitment it is, how it means sticking with someone during their worst times and not just the good ones, and how it is a compromise like no other. You need to explain how love needs to be about more than just then. It is a joint effort that is geared toward both of them finding happiness. You also need to explain how being in love can also mean letting go. It is a massively broad spectrum, and it is up to them to explore and define what it means. It could well be that they find a Hollywood-style happy ending, but they need to know the odds are stacked against them.

Parenting is so many things. Being a mom is so many things. But being the parachute that helps them land in adulthood is probably the most important.