I touched on the delicate subject of when it’s socially acceptable to kick your kids out of home in a recent ranty post, (here) when I was describing the carnage caused by my kids out and about on the town a couple of weekends ago.
Unfortunately for them, (because they both still live at home and under our duty of care), they had to account for their public foolishness in a full debriefing session afterwards, and the relevant consequences were initiated.
Not so much for NC, who at twenty-one this year is responsible for her own bad choices these days.
Sometimes the hooligan behaviour of our kids does add a few more grey hairs but I suppose it’s all part of growing up, as they learn about and accept their limitations and society’s limitations, which may be as good a reason as any for kids to leave the nest sooner rather than later, if it’s financially viable.
But it’s terrifying to watch the antics of more and more Generation Y kids making such crazy choices under the influence of drugs and alcohol these days, so perhaps the responsible thing for us parents to do is to allow our kids more time to strengthen their wings in the safety zone of the nest, before we eject them onto the unforgiving streets and harsh reality of independence?
As renters, our family may well be on the move again once our lease expires towards the end of this year and this time we are considering another option to our living arrangements – to contribute to NC’s rent in a share house while she finishes her studies, and lease something smaller for our needs at less cost.
Or we stay as we are – a dysfunctional unit of four.
There are inevitably positives and negatives to both options.
One of the positives, is that judging by the permanent hell-hole of mess our daughter is capable of residing in, (a.k.a her bedroom), some responsibility on the self-sufficiency front certainly wouldn’t go amiss. And although student houses have a reputation for being more heinously grubby than the worst houses belonging to hoarders on reality tv, I worry that NC’s flat mates might worry about a potential Armageddon when they enter her room and not cope well with the level of physical chaos my daughter could inflict on them.
This is about as far from what I imagine NC’s student room to look like as possible…
The downside to the student house idea is that I will miss her, her collection of nail varnish, her hidden stash of chocolate and that way she laughs out loud during the most unfunny comedy shows.
Another positive for her, though, and one that the old man and I are sensitive to as her parents, is her current over-exposure to the antics (sometimes serious) of her wild-child brother; because as I am sure some of you will have worked out reading between the lines of this little blog, Kurt is not sunshine and light with a few tricky issues thrown in for balance.
And I know that on occasion, my daughter has found it claustrophobic to live in such close proximity to an example of their shared gene pool at its most self-destructive.
Fortunately, she doesn’t appear to have inherited the familial anxiety gene but if anxiety is nourished by nurture, she will be lucky to avoid its deadly tendrils completely.
So by liberating her, we would be protecting her from the full impact of sibling madness.
But I would miss her…and her chocolate and her straighteners and my eyebrows would grow all furry because she wouldn’t be there to pluck them for me.
Although the avocados would last longer than two hours after the food shop…
And OBVIOUSLY, we don’t want her to think we want her to go, because we don’t.
Although the thought of a spare bedroom is sometimes quite appealing…