Welcome to Monday’s Post from our favorite child psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen, with some timely advice on helping your teens make the transition from childhood to adulthood. Dr. Allen, take it away…
Dr. Valerie Allen
As teens approach adulthood there some basic aspects of independent living they must learn before heading out into the big world beyond family, friends, and high school. Responsibilities and expectations often go undiscussed. In regard to financial matters many teens seem to believe somehow the Good Fairy will provide. To prepare your teen for the risks and rewards he or she will be facing here are some talking points:
- Life at 18+: What are your expectations for your adult child? Do you plan to allow him/her to continue to live at home? What house rules will you have in place? If violated, what are the consequences? Will you be strong enough to enforce the stated consequences, if needed? If allowed to continue to live in your home, consideration should be given to rules, mutual respect, use of appliances, sharing food, noise control, curfews, smoking, drugs, alcohol, overnight visitors, household chores, and financial contribution to the household, to name a few.
- College, Training, Employment: What are your concerns about him or her continuing their education? Is college in the plans? Vocational/certificate programs? Peace Core/Military? Do you expect full time education after high school? Should they have a part time job while in school? How about a full time job combined with part time school? What is the consequence if he or she makes no real effort to attend classes or earn passing grades? What happens if they can’t find a job or get fired or quit unexpectedly? Do you have a deadline in place if your expectations are not met? Are you ready to help him or her on the big moving out day?
- Transportation and Insurance: Does your youngster have a driver’s license? Will you allow him or her to use your vehicle? If so, this needs to be reported to your insurance carrier. Will you provide a car and auto insurance? Who owns the car? Is it a gift or do you expect him or her to pay you back for the car? Will you charge interest? Will they have to pay for their own car insurance, even if it is added to your insurance plan? Will you allow use of the car other than for school or employment? Will you allow them to have passengers, either under or over 18 years of age? Do you expect them to run errands for you, perhaps take a sibling to school, sports, or other activities?
- Volunteering and Employment: Young adults should be up and out of the house, engaged in a worthy pursuit, whether in an educational program, as a volunteer, or as a paid employee. The benefits are similar, with the exception of remuneration. All require a level of commitment, to be on time, to be dressed appropriately, to complete tasks, and to meet quality control issues. Benefits include learning new skills, interacting with people of all ages and differing skill level, following directions, taking the initiative, being respectful, and showing support.
- Money and Financial Responsibilities: The important foundation of money management includes these tasks, spend wisely, avoid debt, and build savings. Their money is just that, theirs. You cannot legally have any say so in how much they earn, how much they spend, or what they can and cannot purchase. You can specify their financial responsibilities while living in your home. This might include their car payment and insurance, purchasing their own food, paying rent or a portion of the utility bills, paying for use of the washer and dryer, and so on. You can also disallow items in your home that you do not approve of even if they bought it with their own money.
These are a few of the important points to discuss with your young adult to assist them to adjust to their new role in life. Clear communication will put them on a positive forward track and avoid conflict with family members.
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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She has published a self-help book, ‘Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony,’ two children’s chapter books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends ” and a picture book for beginning readers, “The Sun and The Moon.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!
Thank you, Dr. Allen. These are important points to consider.
Thank you, everyone, for stopping by my blog today. As always, likes, shares, and comments are much appreciated.