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Why are kids so hard to fathom?


Lisa O`Brien
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A few of you here know of my 17 year old son,Sean. His alcoholic father died when he was 10. I have mental health problems, and it can`t always have been easy for him. His aunt and uncle ,when his father died set up a Trust Fund for him. We were offered ,completely out of the blue ,when he was 12 [the age children in the Republic of Ireland start Secondary school and where his father`s relatives all are] the opportunity to attend a private boarding school in Dublin,all to be paid for by them. It was the chance of a lifetime,and like an idiot I listened to what Sean wanted,which was to stay at the local High School,when this boarding school environment would have changed his life. Then I offered ,with some savings I had due to compensation received for a broken ankle [i was thrown from a taxi by a dangling aerial wire; the owner of the company said I must have thrown myself out of the taxi deliberately.Like you do,breaking and dislocating your ankle.Not.!] Anyway I wanted to use some of this money to pay for Sean to go on one of these work abroad experience holidays,working with elephants in Africa or just touring across America. I let him look at all the info all the different companies had. Not interested in any of them. Just now I received an email from Liverpool John Moores University.I am still on their mailing list from when I ordered a prospectus from them a few months back. They are offering a GREAT offer for students from Northern Ireland. All you have to do is email them writing why you would like to study at LJM Uni,and a bit about yourself.The best ones selected will be given free return flights,Belfast to Liverpool,University accommodation,meals,excursions and a trip around the uni,all FREE OF CHARGE. I said,Sean,look at this.This would be something interesting to do in the summer and it wouldn`t cost us a penny. Plus you would be able to meet up with your Aunty Sue [my sister]and Uncle Colin in Manchester who haven`t seen him for 7 years. He is absolutely not interested at all. Why would someone not jump at the chance for a few days away somewhere if it wasn`t going to cost a penny? OK I know Liverpool is not exactly the Seychelles. [sorry Janet,i`m sure you love the place !!]  But he also had the opportunity of seeing the world and me paying for it. He doesn`t seem to even want to travel as far away as Belfast .I couldn`t wait to leave school,leave Manchester and go to live in London when I was 16. Then I was in Paris,Hong Kong,Japan,Manila,Athens. I feel so happy that I have seen some of the world and experienced different cultures. It has enriched me as a person and given me the kind of education which was far better than anything taught to me at school. I know everybody is different and he has a mind of his own.But why is he just content to go to the local college and the rest of the time stay in his room? I feel so frustrated.!!!!!

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Well Quays, I have read your post several times and forgive me if I speak out of turn. I am just trying to apply my experiences to your own.

Firstly, your son is only 17, he has plenty of time to make his own mind up about what he wants to do with his life. You may have been desperate to leave school etc when you were 16 ( I was the same! ), but as you say, everybody is different and he has a mind of his own.

I take it he has academic qualifications or expectation of them, or you would not be talking about university? I think you were right to let him make the decision about not going to boarding school at such a crucial age, when he had lost his father and sounds as though he - Sean - wanted stability and to remain on familiar ground and near friends. Not to be 'sent away' even if it was a great opportunity that could have changed his life. It may have resulted in his resenting you for forcing him to go and that would have been no basis for a good education and a well adjusted young man deciding what to do with his life.

 If he is not interested in seeing his Aunty Sue or any of your suggestions - exciting though they sound - I don't really blame him. He sounds keen to stay near you. He is only 17 which can be very young in many ways, especially if I dare say it, for boys. I can certainly remember being uninterested in everything my mother suggested I might like to do and I had a lot more opportunities than she did - according to her! The more she suggested, the more it seemed she was telling me what to do and as you know, the more you push even if you feel you are doing it for the best reasons, the more resistance you will encounter. The fact that some suggestions won't cost a penny probably doesn't register with him, if he just doesn't want to do it. I can think of a number of things I still wouldn't want to do, even if they were free.

Staying in his room is very common. A friend of mine has a son of Sean's age who spends hours in his room, friends come and go, music goes on and off and so on. The curtains can stay closed for days. But he goes to college and is not interested in drugs or getting drunk.

Your boy will do what he wants in his own time. As you say, it can't have been easy for him but he has stayed with you and not been off at the first opportunity. You have clearly been there for him when he has needed you. Now, frustrating though it is, unless you have real concerns for his well being, you should let him live his own life. He will thank you for it in the end.

Once again, hope I haven't spoken out of turn!

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thequays, I think that he is lacking the confidence to do the things which you have suggested or to spread his wings a bit. Some teenagers, particularly boys I think, are real home birds. It's hard to know how much to 'push' them to do things outside their comfort zone. Some boys (mine is one and I don't think that it's all down to me as I have a daughter who is very different) are pretty clueless about practical things, getting themselves about and organising themselves generally and I think that that can affect their confidence to try new things (and make their parents anxious about them trying new things particularly if they are going to be away from home). It can be a vicious circle as the more clueless your child is the more likely you are to step in to help and fuss round him/her which is not good for his/her confidence. This summer, after GCSEs, I'm determined to teach my son some practical skills as he doesn't seem to have picked them up by osmosis like my daughter and actually has to be taught and shown things which my daughter, who is two years younger, just knows.

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Jacqueline and Aileen thank you. I suppose I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.Why won`t he do this or that,when his cousins are eager beavers and do EVERYTHING and go everywhere ??  I know he has plenty of time still,but yes,he is very close to me which is lovely. But I wish he wasn`t quite SO close to me.!! He got his GCSE`s and has almost finished the first year of his BTEC. There are a LOT of people near where we live who have hardly even travelled as far as Belfast [an hour north of us] or Dublin [an hour south of us]. Many people are even born , raised and will die in the exact same house. It`s probably a snobby attitude and I accept that but that ,to me,is so limiting,and blinkered. I read of most children on this forum who are desperate to head off to Vocational school at 11 or so,and their lives are filled with passion and ambition. When he was younger i sent him to the drama classes. Not interested.Swimming Classes .Not interested. I didn`t even DARE suggest dancing classes to him as according to him and his mates,that was for girls. He is  a lovely,polite,mild mannered boy who wouldn`t harm a fly and everyone i know says despite the difficult times we have both had,that he is a credit to me.To be honest,I don`t really know if i have done anything specific to make him so;it`s just the way he is. Because he is doing a Health and Social Care course,there are only 4 boys in the first year class,the rest are girls. From what I can gather they all fuss and fawn over him.! A girl invited HIM to the prom a few weeks ago,and keeps turning up at the house. Another one in one of his lessons likes to sit next to him and play with his hair.! I was told what to expect by his Primary School form teacher a few years ago,as it had started even back then. So,he is blessed.He is clever,handsome,tall, kind,thoughtful, and has the world at this feet. He really is all those things,i`m not just saying that because i`m his mother.!  I know all this. I`m just so afraid he isn`t going to fulfil his potential. It also sort of upsets me and makes me,dare I say ,a little bit angry ,when there are children desperate to go to boarding school whose parents sadly cannot afford it.  I`m talking about people whose children are on this forum who get a place at Vocational School,then the heartbreak that they cannot go. What some of you reading this must give if your child had a rich aunt and uncle who were going to pay your child`s fees for you,but sadly the reality for most of you is probably very different. He had that once in a lifetime opportunity,but didn`t want to know,and didn`t even seem remotely grateful that they had suggested it,if anything he saw it potentially as some sort of punishment. I guess i need to let go a bit more,and accept that it is his life, not mine. But,understandably,I want the very best that life has to offer for him,and I can`t see how that is going to happen if he doesn`t want it for himself.

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I think that there's a big difference between going away to a vocational school because you want to pursue a dream which may be more difficult or impossible to fulfil if you stay at home and going away to a 'normal' boarding school where the advantages are not so clear cut. I think that you need to let go of the idea that he had a once in a lifetime opportunity which he turned down and that he will never have any other opportunities or will never embrace the ones which he has in future.

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You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink! :(

 

I know how frustrated you are with him having this wonderful opportunity and refusing to grasp it with both hands... but he is his own person and has to make his own way in life. Hard though it is, there's not a lot you can do - if you keep on at him he will only dig his heels in even more :wacko: 

 

If you need to scream and shout, wait till he is out of the house, find an empty cardboard box, yell loudly and jump up and down on it.

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I think that there's a big difference between going away to a vocational school because you want to pursue a dream which may be more difficult or impossible to fulfil if you stay at home and going away to a 'normal' boarding school where the advantages are not so clear cut. I think that you need to let go of the idea that he had a once in a lifetime opportunity which he turned down and that he will never have any other opportunities or will never embrace the ones which he has in future.

I think this is absolutely right as well. 

Sean sounds a lovely, well balanced young man with lots of friends and studying a specific field, so he must have some idea what he wants to do. I don't think there is any such thing as a once in a lifetime opportunity. If it is not right for that person, then it is not an opportunity for them.

We can all say we wish we had done this or that, or hear about someone else's perceived missed chances. 

I wish I had tried harder at various things in my life but I didn't at the time and there is a reason for that. I was lazy!! I still am.

I was also forever being held up for comparison with my - surprisingly - best friend and found wanting. She worked hard at school, went to the best girl's school in Sussex, went to university etc etc. I didn't do any of those things and left college with no idea what I wanted to do. My mother only seemed to take interest in my existence when I transgressed the unwritten law. Her obvious disappointment in me was partly a result of her own mother's apparently negative attitude towards her. We should always be careful what we pass on!

When I was about 19, I decided to travel and had some adventures. I have done various jobs, the longest as a driving instructor and been married rather a long time. I now live in an area where most of the population was born and bred and think London is a foreign country. I also find that attitude blinkered but it is a sort of safety valve as well.

The point is people will be what they will be. We can't mold them into what we want or think they should be and we make a big mistake trying. One of these days, Sean will be off to begin life as an independent adult and although I don't know him, I hope he is happy and successful in whatever he decides to do. I wonder if rather than saying no to your suggestions, he has ever made some himself as to where his interests may lie? Indeed, what are your own interests, apart from Oasis!!! Be less focused on what he is doing and more on yourself, the pressure will lift from both of you!  

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My son grew up with the knowledge that upon graduating from high school (17 yrs old) one of the following would happen:

 

 

He could enroll in a uniiversity in a meaningful course of study that leads to some prospect of  career employment. We would pay all expenses and he could live at home if he chose.

 

He could seek full time employment, live at home, and contribute to household expenses.  (we didn't need his contribution but it is a good life lesson)

 

He could enlist in the military.

 

What he could not do:  live at home and do nothing.  Live at home without contributing.

 

One can present opportunities - it's up to the fish to bite.  It's difficult to see a bright young person let opportunity pass by - but then sometimes it is who is presenting the opportunity as much as the opportunity itself.  And what is seen as opportunity to one person is not to another.

 

The thing I tried never to do was compare him to someone else:  "your cousin did this - your father did that"  

 

Somehow it all does work out.

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Sean sounds like a well balanced and quite frankly normal 17 year old boy.  Take heart from the fact that he knows his own mind and is a credit to you.  You obviously have a healthy relationship where you can communicate with each other and I am sure when he is ready and wants to do something he will talk to you about it.  I have a son only a few years older than yours.  We have relatives he rarely sees and if I suggested looking them up when  he was on a visit somewhere I know he would be very reluctant to do so.  close family friends (from my husbands side) live in the city where he attends university and he has avoided the offer of a free sunday lunch with them for nearly two years now.  before he went to university he too spent most time out at school or home in his room - quite normal teenage behaviour - downtime mine call it.  But his attitudes started changing at about the age your son is now and instead of being reluctant to do anything we suggested he started coming out with requests for things he wanted to do.  I think it is all part of growing up and finding your way into an adult world - each at their own pace.  So enjoy his company while you have it - in the not too distance future you might be looking back and wishing he had more time for you in his busy schedule.

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Some people are much more interested in travelling and adventure and new experiences than others. For me, the offer of a year abroad would have been horrifying. Everyone on my father's side of the family is addicted to travel, and my dad would get very irritable if he hadn't been on foreign travel for a while, so we always had to go to some other bloody country for summer holidays. Apparently I didn't inherit that gene. For me, travelling is utter torture and I hated being away from home (I still have nightmarish memories of being dragged round Europe on summer holidays by my travel-addicted parents and hating every minute of it). Still do - I've lived in the USA for 35 years and have been homesick the whole time (but visiting the UK requires travelling - such a dilemma!). I just wanted to be left alone to do my thing in familiar surroundings. I can honestly say that for me there's nowhere in the world (with the possible exception of Yellowstone) that was worth the trouble of travelling to get to and I feel more enriched by the reading I've done than the travelling. I guess people are different, and the thing is to make the most of the way they are, not try to make them into something they aren't. Unless there's some sort of pathology to Sean's behavior, which there doesn't seem to be, I wouldn't worry. 

Edited by Melody
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Sounds like he is a lovely young man doing a worthwhile course.

And with all that female attention who can blame him for wanting to stay put?

And he chose to stay put, with you, his lovely mum. If he had gone all those years ago you could very well now be writing about regrets over that too.

 

He really does sound very normal to me and you are to be congratulated for not pushing him into life changes he is not ready for yet.

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If he was still wanting to be in his room and at home with mum at 27 then I might be a bit worried but at 17 I think as others have said he is quite normal very few go off travelling before the age of 18/19 anyway.

 

Only the other day I was at Batemans in Sussex with a friend and she was bemoaning the fact that she never had the house to herself anymore!! Her daughter is 17 too just about to take A levels but she is disappointed because she was hoping she might go off travelling with friends in the summer but she doesn't want to!! Also she has chosen not to go to UNI which really upset my friend and wants to do an Arts Foundation course at a local college so she can be at home!!!

We were both saying how at 18 we couldn't wait to get away from home and travel etc so she is not sure why her daughter is such a home bird (though dad left when she was 8......though she still sees him) so this could have a bearing maybe.

 

But I did say well what if she meets a young man from Australia suddenly and decided to go off there with him!! Then she'd be bemoaning the fact that she rarely saw her!!

So I guess everyone is different even if puzzling at times but might as well enjoy them at home whilst it lasts.

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Read your post Quays sorry sounds like you have had a really rough ride.

 

Do you mind me saying something? It kind of sounds like he's worried about you. You describe your husband and his dad's horrible death, your mental health problems and also your ankle injury and your worries the impression I get from your posts is that you've had a tough time and need looking out for more than Sean. Is that maybe the message you're sending him and he's afraid that he can't leave you even for a little time?

 

Have you actually asked him how he feels and what he wants to do and if he feels that he has to look out for you?

 

Maybe instead of asking a bunch of people on a board who don't know Sean about Sean ask Sean himself?

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Hello BD19,yes I can see where you`re coming from. We do talk about things,not that he opens up very much to me now he`s older. But he spends a lot of time at friend`s houses, and sleeps over sometimes. I always say to him ,if there is ever anything bothering him ,upsetting or worrying him then he can tell me. Then i add,if he doesn`t want to talk to me, then he could talk to someone he is more comfortable discussing things with. I suppose this is where his best mate comes in handy. I remember his late father [we were not married and didn`t live together for years] saying to me when I was worried if Sean might potentially become an alcoholic like him. His dad used to say to me, that if he does he will never be able to use the excuse for his drinking that he wasn`t loved and didn`t receive a loving childhood. Thank goodness,I know he will never touch alcohol though.That`s one thing I need never worry about.

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Read through this thread with interest, as it always amazes me that there are children that want to stay at home and not go travelling.

 

I can only assume that he is happy there, loves you, has his friends and his studying, and is very happy doing what he is doing.  What a lovely position to be in.

 

If you are worried at all about him, you could always do what my friend did.  She had 3 boys, and she made it quite plain that their 21st birthday present would be a ladder, so that they could escape from home in the middle of the night and not disturb the rest of the family.  It was a standing joke with a more serious meaning - by that age you should be earning your own money and looking for a place of your own, where you will learn to stand on your own two feet.  None of them went to college, otherwise she might have made it 23.   She felt that they would learn more by renting and looking after themselves, which they all did.   

 

I think she was worried that she would end up like another friend who had 5 boys (gulp) and did not insist on this rule.  As a result her well paid offspring were still being waited on hand and foot by mummy when they were approaching 30.  They were paying a pittance in rent while they went on expensive holidays, bought new cars, had masses of clothes, and girlfriends who spent the night and were looked after as well.    The poor woman was exhausted!

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Hi The Quays

 

I was just thinking instead of making the questions negative ones, "what's worrying you" "what problems do you have" why not ask him positive ones "what do you want" and "how can I help you to do what you want".

 

A trip to Africa sounds great, I'd definitely take you up on that if you want to pay for me BUT if someone doesn't want to go to Africa in the first place it's kind of "meh" if it's offered. If Sean has no great desire to see Africa right now it's not a bad thing, it's not a sign of anything except he doesn't want to go to Africa.

 

What your partner said about Sean becoming an alcoholic, that's just a terrible thing to say and not anything to do with reality, it's sounds like a very screwed up man making a very screwed up statement and you have to just forget he ever said it. It's beneath you to think about it and beneath Sean.

 

I don't know you so I don't want to presume anything about you or your past health problems & your ex partners so correct me if I'm out of line, but it strikes me that conversation is equal to heaviness, problems, conflict and deep issues? He's 17 at college has friends isn't doing drugs, alcohol, crime or joined a splinter cell of Al Qaeda believe me you're ahead of the game, it sounds like he has an idea of who he is?

 

So why not try and make conversation and talking about fun, listening, avoiding heavy stuff and IF heavy stuff comes out it comes out because it's a natural part of conversation, because he wants to share?

 

You know I was thinking reading your post telling him that he has friends to talk to if he has problems. Maybe what he's thinking at that point is "I'm not the one with the problem" I don't mean that rudely at all.

 

Imagine if someone however much you loved them came up to you, demanded to know you plans, what you wanted and then told you what they thought you should do? It'd put your back right up and then you'd also feel guilt too, because you know you love that person and you know they're doing it because they love you so you'd just shut down. It's telling not listening.

 

Another thing you have a 17 year old son who loves you and who you obviously love too, why obsess about the future all the time and just take time in the now to enjoy him and the person he is right now? Have fun talking to him and listen to him when he wants to share.

 

Also I think it's time you gave yourself a break and stopped worrying and stop blaming yourself. You've done nothing wrong, if Sean doesn't fancy going to Africa or Liverpool it's because he doesn't fancy Africa or Liverpool, it's not sign of some awful shortcoming in your parenting or emotional problem in Sean.

 

I swear on a stack of bibles in three years time when he's at uni or wherever never calls, seldom emails you'll be here writing about how you never see him anymore.

 

Just chill out and enjoy your son.

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Do you know another thing that struck me this is going to be his last holiday as a kid. Before his final year of school starts and he has A levels, revising in holidays, deciding what college or uni to go to, what he's going to do for a career, exams, growing up, leaving home, leaving his friends, student debt, responsibility and everything that comes with not being a kid any more.

 

Is it really that surprising that he just wants to be in control of his last summer as kid and do what he wants to do with the people that he's grown up with?

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Many of us wanted to leave home for two reasons: we wanted to leave our dull home towns and we wanted to do what we wanted and not be bossed around by our parents any more. I did not live at home full time after I went to university at 18 and when I started work I moved to London and lived in a shared house, much to my father's disappointment; he assumed that I would live at home and commute. However, things are very different now. Sky high housing costs, unemployment, stagnant wages and little job security all conspire against young people leaving home. I was talking about this subject with friends the other night. As Londoners it's unlikely that our teenage children will leave home at the same age as we did. However, we thought that perhaps we had a distorted view of what young people of our generation used to do. It was only a minority that left home to live with friends or rent a flat. In earlier generations you only left home to get married (which happened much earlier than today) unless you were forced to leave home for work in which case you lived in digs, which is what my mother did in the 1950s. Specifically in relation to London, the gentrification of huge swathes of the city in the last couple of decades has removed a lot of the low cost (and, admittedly, often poor quality) housing which young people lived in when they first moved to London and were on a low wage. There was quite a lot of short life and hard to let social housing which has largely disappeared, and with greater regulation HMOs seem to be less prevalent than they were in the 1980s.

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As Londoners it's unlikely that our teenage children will leave home at the same age as we did. However, we thought that perhaps we had a distorted view of what young people of our generation used to do. It was only a minority that left home to live with friends or rent a flat.

 

Regarding the last part, Aileen, thinking back to my friends, you are right.  However, the reason it was a minority living with friends was because  most of them got married or moved in with their long term partner when they were in their early 20s. 

 

I am not sure whether it is rising house prices, or the fact that parenting styles have changed dramatically since I was a teenager.    It appears to me that parents are much more relaxed with their offspring, allowing them a considerable amount of freedom that my generation could only dream about.  Who would want to move out if they can have a place where all shopping is done, food is provided, fresh smelling clothes miraculously appear, and they have the benefit of a clean house and possibly a lovely garden, while paying very little for it?  Not to mention the relaxed attitude of modern parents towards having overnight girlfriends/boyfriends. 

 

The house next door to us is rented out, and we have had a succession of very nice student doctors, nurses, researchers and so on, sharing the place.  I know what they are paying per person, and, yes, it does seem expensive.  However, when I worked it out as a percentage of their overall income, I think they pay the same as I did at the same age, if not slightly less.  And there is no comparison between the awful places I lived in, and the places that renters expect now. 

 

They all said they would prefer to live at home if they could, partly because they would have more money to spend on themselves.  But the main reason was because it is hard work looking after themselves and much more comfortable at home!

Edited by Fonty
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Yes, most parents today are far more liberal than parents of previous generations, particularly when it comes to overnight boyfriends and girlfriends, and young people expect a higher standard of accommodation than we did. I *agree* that it's hard work looking after yourself and your home, on top of working or studying, and that's why young people need to move out - it's only then that they really appreciate their parents!

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It's interesting this idea of the overnight boyfriends/girlfriends being the norm now......this is one of the things my friend in my post above was getting a bit annoyed about as she felt she was ending up doing his washing providing endless meals etc and never really knew for exactly how long he would be there.....and then other friends would be invited over at the last minute.......hence the feeling of just wanting the house to herself once in a while!!

I must admit I would have hated the idea of sleeping with a boyfriend(which I didn't do until my 20's anyway) under the same roof as my parents.....a definite no-no for me!!

 

I do think in the late 60's though things were very different. It was a slightly more innocent time and a much more hopeful era in general ......the world......as a much less connected up place then......was there to be explored. I went abroad for the first time not till I was 15 and then only to France.......which felt an amazingly exciting thing to do!! I think I didn't actually go anywhere in a plane until I was in my early 30's!! Exploring the world then meant at best hitching then bussing then training in that order........planes were far too expensive form of travel!! My biggest achievement travelling was mostly hitching but a bit of bussing down to Southern Turkey. I did this with a friend and we thought we were intrepid explorers......we certainly roughed it......sleeping on campsites without a tent just in sleeping bags!! Another year we went all over the Greek Islands in similar fashion.

Nowadays children go abroad from quite a young age just a normal part of growing up and it's all that much easier......why rough it when air fares and accomodation can be so readily and cheaply available.

The World seems a much smaller place now but unfortunately has largely........in recent years.....become a much less safe place.

 

Also in the 60's jobs were not a problem......it was practically unheard of not to be able to find work then.......which may have made us more inclined to jump the home ship as well!!

So the attitude today to leaving home is different. It seems you stay as long as possible to save money and travelling quite a bit of the world in comparative comfort is something you may have already done by 18!!

 

I know this is not true for everybody but there is definitely a genuinely more stay at home feeling around today.

Having said that most do leave somewhere in their 20's ..........there comes a point where being looked after by mum and dad does wear a bit thin in the end.

 

Some of my friends 20somethings can afford to live in London under a housing scheme where you go and live in buildings about to be demolished for redevelopment. Rents are cheap and contracts can be a month or two down to a couple of years sometimes.

One girl and three friends are currently living in an old school nursery building. They are allowed to decorate anyway they want while they are there.

I was wondering whether this organisation is in any of the other large cities in UK. Could be useful for that first affordable step away from home.

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Lin, I think that your friend is a bit of a soft touch. Her children should ask permission before they invite guests to stay. I feel very strongly that there comes a point when children have to start behaving like adults when they are living at home or staying for short or long periods of time. That includes, at a minimum, doing their own washing and ironing and clearing up after themselves. Food shopping and cooking is perhaps more debatable as it is often more economical for people to eat the same thing. However, if an adult child does not want to be tied down to mealtimes s/he should prepare his own meals and clear up afterwards. If the adult child was living in a shared house s/he would not expect his/her housemates to cook and clean for him/her and clear up after him/her and so s/he should not expect his/her parents to do these things either. As adult children are increasingly living at home (or returning home for periods of time) well into their twenties and beyond it is, IMO, important that the parent-child relationship is re-negotiated which does not boil down to the child having all the 'benefits' of adulthood (sexual relationships, alcohol, the freedom to make choices about your life and lifestyle) and none of the responsibilities.

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Looking at house prices in the London area, which have skyrocketed over the last decade, I assume there's a knock-on effect on rents, as well as on house prices (and rents) in the commuter belt. It must make it impossible for young people to even think about getting a place of their own unless they're in one of the few very high-paying professions. This reminds me of when we were living in Silicon Valley, where the house prices have been insane since the 1970s, and friends of ours with children were worried because they knew their children were, with a very few exceptions, never going to be able to afford to live in that area.

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Hello TheQuays,

Can I just poke my nose in again? I was wondering, as a retired driving instructor and an expert  ;), whether your Sean is taking driving lessons. You don't mention it so I assume not. I used to teach a lot of people his age and it was a good age to learn. If you still have some money put aside that you would like to spend on him, this might be a good idea. It would set him up well to be mobile or at least have a licence and maybe you could buy him a little car. He has several months now of light evenings and the summer holidays and he wouldn't have to go far from home. If he isn't already doing this or doesn't want to at the moment, you could set the money aside for when he does. A very practical gift and no pressure! I expect some of his friends are learning to drive so maybe they could recommend an instructor. Anyway, just a thought.

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Hello Jacqueline.Yes,we are [sort of] in the process of applying for his Provisional licence.He really wants to learn to drive and a friend who is almost a year older than Sean just passed his test about 2 months ago. I`ve already bought him the Highway Code/Hazard Awareness DVD etc.He hasn`t bothered looking at them yet,but he knows also for the type of work he hopefully will eventually be going into[Health and Social Care] you HAVE to have a full,clean driving licence and access to a car. Most of his colleagues at college on his course are older than him and a lot already drive and have their own cars,so it`s only a matter of time,really. Plus I am very keen on him learning as I only ever took about 10 lessons and then stopped and never went back to them.That was over 10 years ago now and i just wouldn`t have the confidence to do it now. So I would like Sean to learn as I never did.Plus I said to him if all else fails he could always apply for his PSV in a few years and work as a taxi driver or courier.! 

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