I have been talking to young adults about making adult decisions their parents don’t like. In part 1 of this post, I talked about what adulthood is and the concept of “preparing the child for the path” and asked young adult readers to consider whether they have been prepared for it or not. Here are 3 more points to consider in part 2.
3. Your financial status.
This is the primary way that parents have neglected to prepare their children for the path. Credit cards are a major problem for young people. Children and teens need to be ready to deal with money and must be trained well how to use it, not trained to swipe a card without any clue on how commerce works. You need to be realistic about your financial status. If you don’t know what financial status means, then you are already in critical condition. Basically, if you don’t have any money of your own, then you can’t pay for all of the things you need and want. Which means you can’t do whatever you want. This is a FACT. Take some time to write down everything that you need money for and find out who is currently paying for all of these things. This might blow your mind. And make you very nervous. But do it anyway! Here are the basics:
- Cell Phone Bill
- Rent and Bills (water, internet, electricity)
- Car (Or Car Payment)
- Gas for your car
- Insurance for your car
- Health insurance for yourself
- School or Debt from School
Yikes! Some of you are not paying most of these or any of these. And these are the BASICS. If this is true, you need to figure out how you will do it asap. This also means that you have allowed yourself to step into adulthood on your parents dime, which means you are allowing them to have a huge say in your life’s decisions whether you like it or not. If your parents are paying for most of the things in your life and you are over 18, they have moved into the role of a type of employer. They pay you. It would then make sense that they want you to do the things they want you to do. Think about that for a second. If you want to continue taking their money, then you should probably quit arguing with them about where you want to spend your summer. Would you argue with your employer about where you want to spend your summer? I didn’t think so.
If you are over 18 and in this situation, and you want more autonomy (freedom to make your own decisions), I advise that you get a plan in place to pay your own way asap. But you must realize that if your plan involves your parents paying for things that you need and want, then you might not be able to do whatever you want with your next summer. In fact, this might mean that you spend your summer working to make more money somewhere else!
Some of your parents simply want to help with money after you are 18. If your parents want to give you money to help you out, that is great, but that doesn’t mean it can be used as a manipulator or a control tactic. Either way, respect your parents for how much they have paid, or are still paying. Don’t pop off to them in ignorance of what they have done for you. Also, showing them your awareness of finances and a desire to take them on yourself goes a long way.
4. Honoring vs. Convincing
Some parents just won’t understand why you want to do certain things. Some don’t share the same belief system. You may be a Christian and they may be Muslim. Or vice a versa. I have seen over the years that young adults don’t like it when their parents don’t agree with them. When young adults want to do something, and their parents don’t agree with that decision, young adults (especially those who are Christians) think that they are dishonoring their parents. I have even seen this happen when the young adult is making a right decision.
It is important to remember that there will always be people who disagree. Sometimes they are friends. Sometimes they are parents or other family members. It reminds me of 1 Samuel when David wants to fight Goliath, but his eldest brother Eliab calls out David for wanting to fight Goliath and flat out thinks he shouldn’t do it. What if Eliab had been right? Did that scare David enough to keep him from going to fight Goliath? No. Did David need to convince his oldest brother to agree? No. He went anyway. He believed that what he was doing was right and he did it. Paul did the same thing in Acts when he went to Jerusalem, even though trusted advisors said that he should not go.
Honoring someone does not mean you do what they want or even that they understand. Especially when you reach adulthood, you do not need to justify what you are doing to the people in your life in order to honor them. Yes, even the influential ones. It is great to have people you look up to agree with you, but you don’t need to win them over in order to give them honor.
Here is an example conversation: (It will be short and direct to get the point across)
You: “Mom and dad, I really want to work at camp next summer.”
Mom and Dad: “We think that is a foolish decision, and we do not support that.”
You: “Why? This is a good thing! An internship can wait!”
Mom and Dad: “What about your future? What about the internship that you need to get a real job?”
You: “Who cares about the internship! Listen! You don’t understand.” Ok stop. There you go. Convincing. Trying to win the argument. How about this…
You: “Mom, dad, I am sorry you feel that way, thank you for all you have given me up until now. I wish you could see it from my perspective, but this is what I have decided to do. If you want to stop supporting me financially, I understand. I am doing the best I can to figure out all that I need to pay for and earn in order to do so. I will continue to love and respect you but can’t force you to agree with me. As a legal adult now, I want to try to navigate life on my own and make my own decisions. I realize that I must face the consequences of my actions and that this is my responsibility. I am prepared to face the blessings and the curses that come from learning as I go. I still want to be able to talk to you and listen as best as I can. But that still might mean I make decisions that you don’t agree with.”
That is being an adult. That is honoring your parents. Disagreement does not equal dishonor. It is HOW you disagree that will determine your level of honor. And honestly, the best thing you can do to honor your parents as an adult is to be an adult. You do not need to argue or prove that you are right. You should be respectful and also don’t be afraid to listen to them. This bring me to the last point.
5. Advice vs. Control
Be careful with wanting to make your own decisions. That means that YOU are now responsible for the consequences of them, both good and bad. But this is the great part of adulthood! Learning and growing! So you should seek advice! Making your own decisions doesn’t mean you go around telling everyone what you are going to do. You should seek advice but be careful of parents or influencers in your life who want to control you. You need to start making your own decisions and you need to fail and succeed because of the decisions YOU MADE. Don’t put this on others. And don’t put it on God. (I’ll write about that later.) Responsibility is a great thing! Be prepared to fail. It is ok to fail. No-one can go through life without failing. But the chances are that you will succeed too! Seek advice, and be careful to not always assume that advice from your parents is control. It might just be good advice. Chill out! They might just surprise you and want to help you! Hear them out. Be slow to speak, not argue. Ask them questions that focus less on what you should do but how they feel. What are they scared of? What have they been through that they don’t want you to go through? You still might need to make a decision they don’t agree with and that is ok. At least you will have shown honor and respect by listening, asking questions and being responsible.
It is hard when your parents don’t agree with you. But it is a fact of life. And just because your parents don’t agree with you doesn’t mean that you are on the wrong path. Be confident in who you are becoming and the decisions you are making! A friend shared on my last post that it is important to pursue God’s UNIQUE plan for your life. Not someone else’s. Not your friend’s. Not your parent’s.
I couldn’t agree more.