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Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Dec 30, 2006
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12,578
I am really upset and I know its probably silly but I can''t help it. My 17 year old son just came and told me he wants to go away to university instead of going to the one where we live. (we are in the UK so they go to uni at 18 here).

He is really hopeless at looking after himself. He doesn''t know how to use the washing machine (even though I have shown him a million times) and he can barely make a hot drink never mind a hot meal. He once lit the oven and then slammed the door and blew the flame out - I came home an hour later and could hardly breathe with the gas escape.... he didn''t even smell it!

He isn''t very street smart and I will worry that he won''t be safe when he is away. He will be able to drive so I suppose that will make him a bit safer but there are so many things that can go wrong. He is also hopeless with money - it burns a hole in his pocket. I think he will probably run out of money and expect me to bail him out all the time.

His girlfriend is going to London for Uni and I think thats his main reason for wanting to go away. To be honest they might not even stay together that long and he would have committed to a Uni miles away for nothing.

Am I over reacting? Should I just step back and let him make his own decisions? Gosh its so hard to let go.


Maisie
 

mrchips

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 5, 2007
Messages
55
i guess this will be the test.

it makes someone grow up really fast that''s for sure.

admittedly, i am a mama''s boy. 100% italian and parents are fresh off the boat. but i''m far from the days before I went away to University. i live in Canada, and packed my bags solo, and went to Australia. i had no choice but to grow up. i knew going there, how to do laundry, cook and stuff. but i really needed to grow up there.

manage my money. my washing habits. when i did laundry. clean the shower. toliet.

its a great experience.

my advice from you is this. do you really want to hold your kid back from a lifetime experience because you''re simply afraid he can''t make it on his own?

I am so thankful my parents supported me. and i will forever owe it to thme.
 

Maisie

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12,578
No I don''t want to hold him back. I know this will be the making of him. Its all too easy for him to rely on me to do everything for him.

Its just hard - I know I have to let go.......I just worry a lot - its my nature to panic over things. He was really badly bullied a few years ago and I suppose I feel that I can''t protect him if he goes away. I know I am being silly but I can''t help myself.

Mind you the house will be a lot quieter, no more loud music and electric guitar. I will also be glad of the tidiness - he is extremely messy. His bad moods and grumping won''t be missed either!
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
haha you sound like my mother in talking about my younger sisters. parents can be so overprotective!!

there's nothing like actual experience to make someone learn to take care of themselves. and if he doesn't know how to do that yet (at 17?) he will surely learn once he goes to college. i was pretty sheltered in general when i went to college but i learned!! i also learned how to manage money once out on my own (actually i learned how to spend money then realized i had to learn to manage it!!).

i am a total fan of kids learning on their own away from the parental units and in their own space and environment. i tell my mom this all the time when she calls me worried about one of my sisters. i am like you know what, you teach them the basics. and then you have to let them do what feels right. they may have some hard knocks but it's better than overprotecting them. my 2nd sister is very over protected and my parents are still taking care of her, cleaning up her messes, helping her out when she loses a job, whatever. i was never like that, i wanted to be out on my own and learn it for myself. i wouldn't trade any experience where i had to learn a lesson the hard way because it helped make me who i am today and i learned i COULD take care of myself.

i think that the best thing you can do is tell him you will be there for him and you guys will help him any way possible, but that he is surely free to go and do his own thing and you guys totally support him emotionally and mentally. honestly i hate when my mom freaks out about my sister and how she can't make it on her own or whatever. i keep saying well if you would stop being there to support her if the smallest thing happens, maybe she would actually learn how to care for herself. maybe he will have a few hard lessons but it had to happen someday right.

my youngest sister is looking at university in SF but i encourage her to go farther away if she wants, and not listen to the shrieks from my mother.
i think that the best thing for kids to do most of the time IS go away and far enough away so you have to be on your own. obviously not out there TOTALLY on your own with no assistance but how will they learn unless they try?
 

Maisie

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When I was 17 I was pregnant with Tom (who is the son who wants to go away). I was happy to leave home and make a life for myself and my child. I feel that this generation of young people just don''t seem as grown up as we were at that age. Tom especially is not good at taking care of himself.

I know you are right Mara. He does need to go and find his own way. Gary and I will 100% support him - but from a distance. I just wish I wasn''t so overly emotional about it. I want him to be able to function independently from us and if he was more ''mature'' I wouldn''t have a problem.

I think I am guilty of being like your mum - I haven''t really let him fly the nest at all - and now its on me all of a sudden and I don''t like it!! I have four other kids so its not like I just don''t want to be without my motherly duties. I do worry but I would never stop him going.

I will probably hate it when he comes home during the holidays! The mess and noise will come back!
 

Ellen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
24,426
Oh Maise, you''re not being silly at all, you''re just being a mom.


It doesn''t matter how young or old our children are, we never stop worrying. But I do think the first one''s definitely the hardest when leaving home. My oldest just turned 23, he''s been out of the house for 4 years. I won''t go into details, but we kicked him out, this was the third time, and for good. I was a basket case at first. Then with time, things got better. I still worry sometimes, but you know what? He seems to be eating and thriving, he does his laundry (although I did teach him that early on), he''s making it. They really can survive without us, much as we both hate and love to hear that.

I think this could be a prime opportunity to do a little growing, and I think going away to school in general is a great life experience. It teaches kids SO many things, that they''ll never learn in a classroom.

If this is what he wants to do, let him go. Just tell him how much you love him, and that you are always there, whenever he needs you. Which may lead to a frantic midnight call about how he really didn''t think washing the red shirt with his undies would hurt, and now they''re all pink...


{{{HUGS}}}
 

poptart

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Joined
May 23, 2006
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1,899
I think it''s natural for you to worry, but he''ll be just fine. He''ll learn to do stuff on his own and maybe even clean up after himself! Maybe going away to the university isn''t just for the girlfriend but also to get out of the house... he is 17 after all. And perhaps they will stay together (DH and I did), or maybe they won''t, but either way he''ll grow into a man instead of staying a little boy. When I moved out to Virginia I had not street smarts, but now we have our own apartment and are doing just fine by ourselves. Your son will be fine, too. Stressing out too much will just make it harder on the both of you.

*M*
 

eks6426

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
2,011
Going to the uni far away will be the best thing that could happen to him. He will be forced to grow up and become a man. He will appreciate you all the more and your future daughter in-law (whoever she may be) will be eternally grateful to have man who can 1. cook 2. do his own laundry 3. manage money etc......

Don''t cry....you''re just being a mom. Be happy that you have done your job well enough that he feels secure enough to try out his wings.
 

katebar

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
1,566
Maisibellee I'm sorry you are feeling these pangs for your son and I completely understand where you coming from. i might share with you my story that may be helpful.
In November last year my 17 year old went to Canada for 2 months to learn to be a ski instructor. He had never lived away from home had never been on a plane on his own had never fended for himself had never really 'done' much of anything and certainly had no street smarts.
My DHand I were nervous but supportive but it was something my son had saved for and wanted to do for ever. And so off he went nervous as hell all the way to Canada from Australia.
He had an absolute blast
Gave us heart failure on many occasions (like not calling for days) or recounting drunken escapades in the snow at 5 am
and basicly grew up.
He came home 2 months later a different boy. No wait a man with his own ideas thoughts and opnions.
Now he is about to leave home again to study in city not too far away and i have no qualms that he won't be ok.
Sure he shrunk all his clothes by washing them at 90 degrees and putting them in the dryer. Lost weight needed a hair cut looked rather unkempt but he gave me such pride to get a glimpse of the man I know he will be. My DH and I think its rather cool that this new independant boy is someone we really like and who appears to enjoy our company too and is so much more appreciative of us.
Take care and let us know how you go
 

Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
12,578
Ellen - thank you yet again for supporting me. Where would I be without you? And thank you for making me giggle too


Poptart - you are right, he probably is ready to get away from me and do his own thing. I just hope he does stay with Jess, she is lovely and although she is as hopeless as him (she went to college with no packed lunch as her mum forgot to make it and she didn''t know how to make one!) there is genuine love there.

Island dreams - you made a really great point in your post. I must have taught him to be confident. If he was a true mummys boy he wouldn''t feel able to go. Thank you!

Katebar - you must have been sick with worry when your son went away! This is how I feel and he hasn''t even gone yet. Its encouraging to know that it was a great experience for your boy and he came home a lot more mature. It gives me great hope.

Thank you everyone for supporting me and letting me know its ok for him to go........ no doubt I will be here crying on the day he goes though!!

xxx
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
i love your story kate!!
 

JCJD

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Messages
1,977
At my wedding, my dad''s toast went something like this:

They say you are supposed to give your children 2 things, roots and wings. The first time I knew that JC had wings was when I dropped her off for her first year of college 2 states away. We''d moved her in and I was just walking from her new dorm to my car parked on the street feeling very strange indeed. And then I realized, hey! this is what you''ve been working for, she''s going to make it! So here I was, a very strange sight, this grown man walking down the streets of Anytown, Anystate, tears streaming down his face and (punching his fist into the air repeatedly) yelling "Yes! Yes!"

Maisie - you''re being a mom! Good luck and try not to worry too much!
 

Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
12,578
JC what a wonderful toast. I bet you were brought to tears by that. Thank you for sharing with me. These posts are really helping.
 

jadeleaves

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 24, 2004
Messages
1,464
JC - that''s a very touching toast!

Maisie I have nothing to add from the parents'' perspective, but moving away from home for school was awesome for me in that I learnt to be independant and fend for myself, and it made me appreciate my parents more.
 

katebar

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
1,566
Date: 2/13/2007 11:03:57 AM
Author: Mara
i love your story kate!!
Thanks Mara
. Something tells me he going to cause my DH and I a few more sleepless nights.
 

katebar

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
1,566
Date: 2/13/2007 10:56:05 AM
Author: Maisiebelle


Katebar - you must have been sick with worry when your son went away! This is how I feel and he hasn''t even gone yet. Its encouraging to know that it was a great experience for your boy and he came home a lot more mature. It gives me great hope.
I was initally and in the end I just had to have ''faith'' that he would be ok and whilst he did get into some scrapes like paralysing his arm for a day when he jumped of a balcony and popped out a rib
I just had to believe he would ''survive''.
Maybe we can ''meet'' here to debrief over our boys going. We are all going up to set him in his ''college'' house on Saturday. His meals and cleaning are provided but he will have to do his own washing and ironing and get to uni without mum to bang on his door to tell hime to GET UP
 

Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
12,578
I would love to hear how things go on Saturday. Tom won''t be leaving till next year so I have some time to get used to the idea of him going. I know people will probably think I am over-reacting since its a way off but up till yesterday he had insisted he wasn''t going away for University. I suppose this year will be taken up with me teaching him to shop, wash his clothes and pay his bills!!
 

Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
12,578
Date: 2/13/2007 4:34:27 PM
Author: JadeLeaves
JC - that''s a very touching toast!

Maisie I have nothing to add from the parents'' perspective, but moving away from home for school was awesome for me in that I learnt to be independant and fend for myself, and it made me appreciate my parents more.
I know that from his perspective its all really exciting. He had mentioned studying in Japan a few months ago but I was adamant that was just too far. Maybe he thinks this is some sort of compromise!

Its a natural progression and the way its supposed to be. I know he will love it - I was really happy when I moved away from home. I bet I will enjoy the peace - thats what I keep telling myself!
 

Skippy123

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Messages
24,299
Oh my that is so wonderful JC! Got teary eyed here!
 

drk

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2005
Messages
1,102
If he''s like I was, it''ll be the making of him.
I was ok managing my money, but I didn''t have to do much at home other than load/unload the dishwasher on occasion. My parents made me go to a university 5 hours away from home, and it was the best thing they could have done. I think I knew how to cook spaghetti sauce and chili by the time I moved there, though I didn''t really know how to do laundry. I learned fast. I was totally embarassed after 1st year when I moved in with some friends and they had to teach me how to clean the toilet/wash the floor etc. You learn that sort of thing pretty fast too when it counts.
The other great thing my Dad did was sit down with me before I went away and set up a reasonable budget. We worked out what I''d likely spend on books, food, housing, entertainment etc, and figured out where the money was going to come from (scholarship, summer job, Dad''s contribution). I knew that the budget was reasonable if not generous, and that was all I was getting. If I came in under budget, I got to keep the extra...
Why not have your son be responsible for his own laundry this year, and have to cook for the family one night a week? I''m sure he''ll learn quickly, especially if you tell him you''re letting him go away to school next year!
It''ll be hard for you to let go, but prepare him well, support him emotionally, and teach him how to stand on his own two feet. He''ll find his place at university for sure.
 

Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
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Date: 2/14/2007 2:37:29 AM
Author: drk
If he''s like I was, it''ll be the making of him.
I was ok managing my money, but I didn''t have to do much at home other than load/unload the dishwasher on occasion. My parents made me go to a university 5 hours away from home, and it was the best thing they could have done. I think I knew how to cook spaghetti sauce and chili by the time I moved there, though I didn''t really know how to do laundry. I learned fast. I was totally embarassed after 1st year when I moved in with some friends and they had to teach me how to clean the toilet/wash the floor etc. You learn that sort of thing pretty fast too when it counts.
The other great thing my Dad did was sit down with me before I went away and set up a reasonable budget. We worked out what I''d likely spend on books, food, housing, entertainment etc, and figured out where the money was going to come from (scholarship, summer job, Dad''s contribution). I knew that the budget was reasonable if not generous, and that was all I was getting. If I came in under budget, I got to keep the extra...
Why not have your son be responsible for his own laundry this year, and have to cook for the family one night a week? I''m sure he''ll learn quickly, especially if you tell him you''re letting him go away to school next year!
It''ll be hard for you to let go, but prepare him well, support him emotionally, and teach him how to stand on his own two feet. He''ll find his place at university for sure.
I smiled when you said about your only chore was occasionally loading/unloading the dishwasher. Thats about all Tom does now! He can''t cook or do his laundry. Its a really good idea to get him to start doing his stuff now. The budget plan is a great idea too. He will be getting student loans to support him so he will get a lump sum every three months and has to make that last. I can''t tell you how much that worries me! We will definitely sit him down and plan what he will spend.

Thank you for such fab ideas.
 

anchor31

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Messages
7,074
It wasn''t so long ago that I got my own "wings"... I left 300 miles away at 19, a little over two years ago. And gosh was it hard having to do those things by myself! But I adapted, and so will your son.

You sound like a very caring mother, your son is blessed. Good luck, I''ll be thinking about both of you.
 

littlelysser

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 8, 2005
Messages
1,862
First off JCJD - your dad''s toast made me teary too! So sweet!

Second Maisie - I''m not a parent, so I can''t totally understand what you going through...but I went away for school when I went to college. I was about 3 and 1/2 hours from home...and I must tell you, it was tough at first. The first long weekend, I called my parents crying and they came and picked me up so I could spend the weekend at home...so much for being a big bad college freshman.

That having been said, I got used to it, and it definitely signalled a change in my relationship between me and my parents. I had to learn to budget (I was very lucky that they paid for undergrad)and how to be an adult...and I most importantly, I really began to look forward to getting to spend time with my parents.

I loved going home. My mom would make my favorite foods. We spent quality time together. Which was just great.

And I can''t tell you that there won''t be tough times and yeah, you''ll probably have to bail him out once or twice. While I was in law school I BLEW through my money that was supposed to last two semesters in less than one semester...Mom and Dad had to help me out with that one!

But you''ve raised him. Trust that he can make the right decisions.
 

JCJD

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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Messages
1,977
Thanks guys.

I love my daddy. He''s got this great combination of humor and emotional awareness, and he''s a fantastic story-teller. I have to fast forward our wedding dvd during his speech if I''m in an emotional mood. But it still always makes me laugh too!

Sorry for the apparent thread-jack Maisie!
 

Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
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Date: 2/15/2007 7:18:39 PM
Author: JCJD
Thanks guys.

I love my daddy. He''s got this great combination of humor and emotional awareness, and he''s a fantastic story-teller. I have to fast forward our wedding dvd during his speech if I''m in an emotional mood. But it still always makes me laugh too!

Sorry for the apparent thread-jack Maisie!
Its fine! I loved to hear your story
 

Cehrabehra

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
11,071
Date: 2/12/2007 12:04:06 PM
Author: mrchips
i guess this will be the test.

it makes someone grow up really fast that''s for sure.

admittedly, i am a mama''s boy. 100% italian and parents are fresh off the boat. but i''m far from the days before I went away to University. i live in Canada, and packed my bags solo, and went to Australia. i had no choice but to grow up. i knew going there, how to do laundry, cook and stuff. but i really needed to grow up there.

manage my money. my washing habits. when i did laundry. clean the shower. toliet.

its a great experience.

my advice from you is this. do you really want to hold your kid back from a lifetime experience because you''re simply afraid he can''t make it on his own?

I am so thankful my parents supported me. and i will forever owe it to thme.
a girlfriend''s nightmare but a mother''s dream!!! Thank you for giving me hope lol!!!

Seriously - he probably doesn''t remember how to do the laundry because of the classic "If I don''t do it right you''ll do it for me" syndrome... betcha on his own all that stuff will come flooding back :) Same with the money - if you bail him out, he''ll continue to need bailing out. If you always let him bring home dirty clothes on weekends, he''ll never learn to wash them!! My mom did this with me and even after I moved out she would come to my house once a month and do all my laundry!! Eventually I had to figure it out LOL Needless to say my FIVE year old folds his own laundry. My 12 year old does all her own laundry... why not do a crash sink or swim course in laundry while he''s still safe at home? :D Let his pile up - he''ll figure it out :)
 
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