I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
Rarely do I delve into my personal life or struggles I am going through on an intimate level. I may gloss over ideas or experiences from past, yet today I am going to expose myself. I am going deep which may assist others with a touchdown or two of their own.
I have two daughters, ages 18 and 19. I have been a single parent since mid-2000 and have done a fairly decent job. Decent enough that I have one in college and the other accepted to various colleges for the fall semester as well. We have gotten through the high school years without serious problems and for that I am grateful.
Going back to the year 1998. I made the difficult decision to separate from my husband. It was not taken lightly yet I believed it was the best for all involved, especially my daughters. Guilt took hold and I resolved to ensure the least amount of pain and uncomfortable feelings regarding my girls. I did my very best to make them feel loved and wanted. Besides housework, not much else was expected regarding contributing financially or actually working for their “wants”. If one wanted to go shopping, I normally agreed if it was not an excessive amount. Movies, yes, dinner out, yes, trips to the mall, yes, yes, yes. If something broke, I fixed it because I didn’t want anyone to feel “bad” about having to take care of the repair.
Upon my divorce, a main priority was to ensure my transportation to and from work. I was fortunate enough to acquire two older used vehicles. Back in 2008, I allowed my oldest use of my 2nd vehicle. An accident occurred which put that particular vehicle out of commission. Fight mode took place and I didn’t think twice about replacing the vehicle. The stress of ensuring her transportation made me overlook instilling a consequence. Without thinking twice, I then allowed my daughter use of my replacement vehicle for her convenience.
While looking for colleges to attend, everyone insisted she be allowed to attend an institution in Pewaukee, close to her father’s home. I informed all involved that if one of my vehicles were to become out of commission, that I would then retain the working vehicle. This meant my daughter and her father would be responsible for her transportation to and from school.
Unfortunately, this has since happened. I am down to one vehicle. I thought the best answer would be to allow my daughter the use of my car while I either beg for rides or take the bus home from work. Yet, this weekend, with this support of friends, I decided to take possession of my only vehicle and my daughter has since ceased communication altogether.
This brings me the title of my article. I am guilty as charged. I have failed my children in more ways than one. I have had very little (if any) expectations regarding their independence regarding finances. Sure, I insisted my oldest work at the age of 16 to pay for her cell phone bill. Yet, my youngest, 18, has yet to work and I still care for all of her wants and needs. If my oldest is late on a bill, I usually take care of it. You get my point.
I allowed my divorce, ex-husband and children to control me. I have enabled my children to forgo taking care of even the basic of necessities. If they need or want anything, my answer is usually yes. Regardless of the fact I was laid off in 2007 from a job making $49,000 and hired into a new position at a mere $24,000, I still said yes. This has caused emotional, mental and financial stress more often than not.
Taking my vehicle back was one of the hardest decisions I have faced with my daughter. I don’t want to say no, I don’t want her to feel bad and more important; I don’t want her to suffer. Yet, without saying no, her future and life will suffer greatly.
Parents, listen up! The only way to give your child the key to success is to not only insist but allow them the opportunity to work, contribute and take care of your family home. If they are young and desire a toy, game or video, earning through chores is the way to go. Insist they put a portion of their earnings in the bank as a way to allow financial independence. It is not a requirement that you supply their every whim and desire. If you do so, you will find yourself with a grown “child” living in your basement, eating your food and begging for money. You may eventually feel responsible to raise your grandchildren or be asked to support a boyfriend, fiancé or spouse.
Now that I know better, I plan on doing much, much better. You should too!