As a parent, your main job is to give your children the best start in life as is humanly possible. It’s not easy, especially as they enter that mid-teen age, but giving up is not an option!
But once you have raised them, what do you have left to do? When they’re getting close to college age, or even mortgage age, is your job pretty much finished? Almost, but not quite! You’re not done just yet.
It’s important for you to have certain conversations with your kids, especially around this age. They’re young adults, but that doesn’t mean they’re fully self-independent. They still need you there to guide them.
You also need them, too, which is why it’s important to have that chat. So, from money to planning for your own old age, here are the essential topics that you must discuss with your kids.
Money, money, money…
It’s probably the biggest topic of them all, but a lot of children and teenagers simply aren’t taught well enough. It makes me wonder why schools don’t introduce a ‘life skills’ class for kids to learn about mortgages and loans, etc.
It’s important that, once your child hits those late teens/early twenties, you get them as financially ready as possible. A lot of kids think that to get a mortgage, you simply need a 10% deposit - but rarely is this the case.
You have to tell them to save for legal fees, repairs, furniture and even a structural survey. In reality, you need 20% of the cost of a house before you buy it. Make sure your child is aware of the savings they need to make, and they’ll thank you later.
Your own future
Eventually, there will come a time when you can’t look after yourself properly anymore. It’s now more than ever that you need your family, and your children. They’ll be able to guide you through this difficult age, and you’ll need them at every step.
So, as early as possible, be having these conversations. Discuss whether you want to stay living at home, or be placed in community care. Discuss what’s going to be in your will, and if your children have any inheritance to look forward to.
As life slips on, you’ll find yourself putting this one off, so make sure it’s done when your kids are mature enough to handle it.
Want a second child?
A lot of parents will simply go ahead and have one, without consulting the already-existing child. But, you’re all part of one big family - it should be a group decision. So before any action is taken, be sure to include the whole family in that dialogue.
Anyone who comes from a family of multiple children knows how hard it can be to get parental attention. Kids crave it, but sometimes they’re starved. Let your child give their opinion, and really consider the impact a new baby would have on the family home.
If your first-born is going to college, or getting a mortgage, this may not be an issue. But if they’re living at home to study and are going to be around a while, you must reach a unanimous call.
Besides the obvious conversations, like the birds and the bees, these three should be your priority. Not all will be easy, but it’s your responsibility as a parent.