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This week: Time to fly the nest?
It is our job as parents to prepare our kids for life. But some I know look at their offspring as pets that you keep for life (that said, unlike dogs, kids are just for a few Christmases) before setting them free.
At the age of sixteen, my daughter has expressed an interest in travelling the world and says she can’t wait to get a place of her own. I was truly happy with the announcement and more than a little proud that we as parents had obviously done a good job in giving her the confidence to believe she can get by on her own and that she wants to finally become independent of her parents.
In reality, she would be financially unlikely to fulfil her dream, but at least she’s ready to fly the nest and this at least is reassuring. Some offspring look like being permanent residents at their parents’ house - with mum still doing the washing and ironing and cooking whenever you want why would you want to move out?
My wife and I aren’t forcing our daughter out of the door by making things uncomfortable but by encouraging her to want to take her life in the direction she wants and not living under our roof and by our rules for many more years to come.
Some parents say this is awful and how horrible it must be that she says she wants to move out. So at what age are they supposed to be ready? At 18 you are classed as an adult in this country and if you are financially able to make it on your own then you should. My daughter is welcome to stay under our roof for as many years as she wants to, but I would be disappointed at her lack of independent spirit if she was still with us in her twenties - although she’d not be slung out.
I’m not at the stage yet where my daughter is thinking about leaving home as she is only 8 years old. But when she does reach the age when she can legally move out of the family home I hope that she won’t use the phrase, ‘I can’t wait to move out.’ This would absolutely mortify me and would make me feel like I had been a bad mother and that she couldn’t wait to escape.
Whilst on one hand I want my daughter to grow up being independent and full of confidence, I also want her to feel as though she can stay with me in our home for as long as she needs or feels she wants to.
It would be great if she wanted to travel or if she went off to college or university, all the things girls and boys want to do in their late teens, but I don’t want her to feel like she has to find herself a flat and move out as soon as she can. If she did feel that way I would feel like a failure and a bad mother.
The only people you hear about who have moved out at 16 or as soon as they can are the people who had a really bad relationship with a parent or parents. I don’t think that will be me and my daughter Lily. I hope not but who knows what might happen in the next 8 years - but I will try my very best to have a relationship with her that means she doesn’t want to get out as soon as possible.
Wanting to leave home is as quickly as possible is not a sign that parents have taught their kids to be independent, it’s a sign that they want to get away from you as soon as possible!