Friday, September 21, 2007

Living at Home After School -- a Blessing or a Curse?

I can tell you from experience that living with parents after graduating from high school is not as easy as some people might think. Sure, either all or most bills are paid, but the issue is about so much more than just money—it’s really about control. In my eyes, I’ve graduated high school and have a job, so I think I should be able to do what I want, when I want to do it. My parents, on the other hand, think I should follow their rules out of respect for them. What my parents see as respect, I see as being treated like a child with them trying to control my life.

I realize this isn’t the case—parents are generally just trying to make the new graduate more responsible and independent, because high school does not teach everything that is needed to survive the real world. Most parents are not trying to control their children, but rather trying to teach them the lessons they need to know before they really are out on their own.

It seems like the minute we leave high school with a diploma in hand, we walk from the playing field to the battlefield—enduring endless fights with our parents. That’s sometimes the cue for the graduate to spread her wings and fly away. After all, the graduate reasons, “I’m an adult now. I don’t have to put up with this.” So then where will the graduate end up? At a minimum wage job that could never support their newfound rent and bills, and the frustrating realization, “I should have stayed with my parents a little while longer—until I was sure I could make it on my own.”

My parents and I are working on a mutually beneficial solution. We live in the country and have a large piece of land. They have agreed to put a trailer house on their property and let me pay rent to live there. I’ll be near enough to have the advantages of home while learning to pay bills. They will have the security of knowing I’m near by, but I won’t have to answer to them regarding where I’m going and when. How have you handled the precarious balance of being a near-adult but still living at home with mom and dad?

A new graduate in Lovelady, TX

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