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10 Things Your Children Must Know Before They Leave Home

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A wise person once said, “The simple goal of being a family, of parenting our children, doesn’t really look any more complicated than this: Raise them well equipped to leave home and to establish faithful lives that are both fulfilling and self-sufficient.” [Tweet This]

Bottom line: We’re raising them to leave. Go. Goodbye. We all know that’s what we’re doing, but sometimes we forget to equip them for the journey. Maybe we secretly don’t want them to go. Maybe we’re fearful. Maybe we haven’t learned to trust.

Whatever the reason, the kids—young adults—are going to leave, so we need to do what we can to guarantee their success. We suggest these 10 things (among thousands) that your children really must know before leaving home.

1. Know how much you love them.

Many men have a hard time saying, “I love you” out loud. Is that you? If so, deal with it. The people who lose are the ones you say you love. So if that is you, quit hiding behind a false manhood and love out loud. Is that clear enough?

2. Know that you believe in them.

Too many parents sabotage independence by hovering, offering help when it’s not asked for, assuming their children lack the skills to survive. That posture easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

3. Know how to take care of themselves.

Boys and girls alike need to know how to cook, clean, do laundry, sew on a button, and balance a checkbook.

4. Know the meaning of financial freedom.

Do your children understand that when they buy something they can’t afford it ends up limiting their ability to do things in the future? When they go into debt, they will answer to that debtor for as long as that debt exists.

5. Know how to use a credit card.

We’ve listed this separately because credit has the potential to literally ruin young lives before they get started. Begin when the kids are old enough to have a prepaid debit card, and train from there. By the time your child leaves home, they MUST understand the relationship between credit and the real money that’s necessary to back it up. Failure here will lead to more heartache and financial ruin than any other area of independent life.

6. Know how to assess their own medical needs.

Have they learned to read their own bodies, take their own temperature, treat a cold or the flu? Do they know when to go to the walk-in clinic and when to stay in bed?

7. Know where their moral compass is located.

Do they know how to make hard choices? Do they have a grounded sense of right and wrong? Have they had experience in making tough calls by themselves? Do they know what they believe?

8. Know where to turn to for help.

Mom and Dad might not always be there. Are your kids confident in finding or building community? What kind of support system do they already have in place other than home?

9. Know the ins and outs of official documents.

Can they file their own taxes? Get a driver’s license? Apply for a passport? Buy an airplane ticket? Look for a job? If your child is 16 and still needs your help in these areas, then it’s time to take an active interest.

10. Know how to locate your papers, your Will and carry out what arrangements you have made.

None of us are immortal, and our children need to have the confidence to act in the event of our untimely demise. Have you talked about it? Do they understand your wishes? Has anything important been left unsaid?

Sound Off

What other things do you think your kids should know before leaving home?

  • Roosevelt Jackson

    If they don’t use a credit card they would not need to worry about credit card debt. Save and pay for what you need and stop worshipping at the great altar of the fico score. You don’t need a credit score to succeed but that’s the great lie this country has been presenting as fact for decades. Teach them to budget every penny if you don’t have the money to pay for something I’m sorry but you don’t get to have at and you definitely don’t deserve it if you can’t pay cash for it. Stop leading these kids down the wrong path. God says you are a slave to debt and a fool if you go into debt. There is not one positive thing said about debt from God. Teach them that.

    • Brett Hutchinson

      We use a credit card for EVERYTHING we can. We get 1% to 3% cash back and always pay the card off every month. This amounts to $30 to $80 a month depending on how much we spend. We don’t spend extra money just to get 1% to 3% cash back either. Only things we would buy otherwise. If you like carrying around a ton of cash that is your prerogative, but I don’t like carrying a lot of cash. Also, I don’t know that many people who can buy their car or better yet, their house without going into debt. Congratulations if you can. If you want to get the best rates possible for said house and car, you will need a good FICO score, and revolving credit card debt that is continually paid off gives you a high credit score. There is nothing wrong about teaching your children smart credit card management. I agree that we shouldn’t live beyond our means, but I’m going to stick with this strategy and be happy with my extra $600 per year.

  • Roosevelt Jackson

    Yes, you may play the game and do well with it, however don’t be fooled into thinking the credit card companies like you so much that their giving you anything for free. You may pay off your card every month but the last time I checked U.S citizens are carrying over $900 billion in credit card debt. What that means sir is this; the couple down the street from you that has $13,000 in credit card debt and are paying the minimum payment, they are the ones that make it possible for people like you to play the game to your advantage. Always remember those skyscrapers in downtown’s around the country are not built for free. Secondly, I don’t know how old you are but there is a thing that has become forgotten about but still exists and that’s manual underwriting of a mortgage loan. If you have been on a job for at least 2 years have paid your rent and utilities on time and have a zero credit score meaning you haven’t played kissy face with the banks; anyone that meets those criterion can get a mortgage loan with an interest rate the same as if they had an 800 credit score. This also will surprise you, but if you take the money you would have paid for a car payment and save it for a year you can go buy one with cash a $5000-$6000 car. Save that for another year and sell the car you bought a year ago you can buy a $10000-$12000 car with cash and will not have paid one dime of interest. By the way what would stop you from doing that the rest of your life. College also can be paid for without loans by applying for every scholarship out there, working while you’re in school it wont kill them and also choosing a school or education path you can afford. Every persons household budget needs to dictate their decisions not their wants. If you can’t pay cash for whatever it is you want you don’t need it. Math is Math.

  • Paul_Sp

    Dang, I’m over 50 and not sure I could do #10 well, handling another’s estate. Never had to yet.

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Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What things do you think you should know before you leave here?”

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