The past couple of weeks, we have been engrossed in appreciating the need to allow children live financially independent lives. The topic seems to have generated a lot of interest because I have been getting many e-mails. I wish to pick on one e-mail from another ardent reader who asked: when is the right time to cut off ties?
The answer is simple: you cut ties when you decide to leave your parentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (or guardiansÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ house) to be on your own.
You see, when you are within your parentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s house even after you have got a job, you are still drawing on your parentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resources. Yes, you have a roof above you that you are not paying for Ã¢â‚¬â€œ even if you are driving the latest Mercedes model while your dad is driving a 1991 Mazda saloon model.
Many parents tend to wait longer than necessary to cut financial ties to their children out of a sense of obligationÃ¢â‚¬â€Ã¢â‚¬ËœAyi mwana wanga sanakhazikike ngakhale akukhala mÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nyumba yake.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
The truth is that by paying allegiance to this imagined obligation, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re actually damaging their personal growth by supplying them with financial support.
To those of us who are parents, think back to that period when your parents cut financial ties with you and ask yourself whether that was the right timeÃ¢â‚¬â€and whether you learned important things from that separation. This is the best example you have in your life of how to cut the ties, so use it as a frame of reference to decide what is right for you in effecting the same on your childrenÃ¢â‚¬â€of course, first appreciating the context in which your ties were cut.
Again, if your children are using the money to buy many frivolous things with or without your support, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time to cut off ties. If you see that your children are buying brand new cars and other flashy items that are clearly beyond their means without your support, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time to consider cutting the support because theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re beginning to use your support as part of their expected salaries.
When your adult child begins to expect and demand what you give them, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time to cut off ties. When support of an adult begins to transform from assistance to entitlement, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time to stop giving and let them start living.
However, make it clear as a parent why youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re cutting off the ties. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just call them up and say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“In six months, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re done,Ã¢â‚¬Â because that will just cause resentment. Instead, call them up and reinforce the fact that you feel they are ready to be on their own. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let it be about money, let it be about independence and respect for a maturing individual. Do also give plenty of forewarning. Do not just cut ties without warning, because they may have made financial commitments relying on your support. You might also want to start slowly reducing the support not doing it abruptly.
Finally, always remember to offer adult children advice and non-financial support as a parent. Offer as much advice as they want, but donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t thrust it upon them. While doing this, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be too pushy about it, but make it possible for them to come to you.
In short, you should frame the conversation about independence and respect, not around money. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to destroy your important bond because words can hurt if spoken harshly Ã¢â‚¬â€remember, they are first and foremost your children and money comes second.
Have a blessed week-end.