/**/
9/21/2009

Buxton Wallets

When children turn 18, it's supposed to mark their launch into adulthood. It's supposed to be the time when they start taking responsibility for their own 'stuff'. Beyond 18, parents are limited in their ability to dictate the terms of existence for a child. Parents can't tell them "No, you can't move out" anymore. You can't say "I don't think that person is someone you should be hanging around with" and expect anything more than respect for your opinion. But respect doesn't necessarily mean action.

Unless, of course, your child is going to college. Then things get a little fuzzy around the edges. The parent/child relationship, instead of being severed, still hangs on by a number of slender threads. And tough little threads they are.

And yes, your relationship with your child and the rules governing that relationship have changed and they are no longer clearly defined. But with that lack of clarity, with the 'fuzziness' that now permeates your relationship with the fruit of your loins, one thing becomes painfully clear: You have become ... a walking wallet.

I'm going to give all you young parents out there a piece of advice. Because we aren't related, you don't have to listen to me if you don't want to - just as my sons, all now over 18, don't have to listen to me, either. All I can do is hope.

As much as you need to plan for your retirement, you need to plan for college for your children. It's going to take money. Money for books, tuition, room and board, laundry, trips to the snack shop and many, many other things that just seem to 'come up' and they all require the expenditure of Bucks. Since Junior's access to resources is limited, at best, you can bet your bottom buck that they'll come to you when all other resources are exhausted. Or even before.

Because, whether you knew it or not, your middle name, with a child in college, became "Buxton".

Ndinombethe.

13 comments:

Ducks Mahal said...

I am from a different time and era. I worked since I was 14. My parents didn't shell out squat. I had to pay rent when I hit 18. My company paid for my education later in life. My parents where actually upper middle class and could afford it. The day after my mom died my dad and I stopped speaking to each other. That never changed, not once. Your a good dad.

Eric S. said...

With the cost of college education these days, I don't envy you one bit. All we can hope for is that some of the lessons we tried to teach our offspring took a thin hold somewhere in their thoughts.

Frugality is one of the hardest things to teach a youngster. It seems that experience is the best instructor for that.

Heather said...

You've got that right-- College is EXPENSIVE.

First time around, when I went, I went with a hefty amount of money due to a settlement.

This time around?

It's all me, all student loans & grants. I choked when I spent a little over $1200 on BOOKS this semester. Those medical books are EXPENSIVE.

Eve Grey said...

I know that is SOOO true. There are 4 of us, I'm 38 & my youngest sister is 23 so my parents have been reaching in their pockets for university expenses for 14 years!!! Ouch.

moneythoughts said...

It bothers me that kids graduate college and owe so much money before they even get started. I contrast this to the government paying subsidies to industries, and ask myself why? The most important resource a nation has are its people, and its children ARE its future. Education should be affordable and available to all who can gain from it.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I agree. Education shouldn't be so expensive. My kids are already being told the deal in this house: community college, online courses, etc. at home. THAT we will hopefully be able to help with. Going off to a "real" college? Probably isn't going to happen. I believe that online colleges are the way of the future, anyway. Give them 10 more years (just as my kids are at that stage) and see how different they will be. This recession is only going to push online colleges and community colleges' growths.

CaraBee said...

We started a college fund last year for our daughter (when she was 1) that we add to every month. It is an automatic withdrawal, and we can't pull from it, so it is relatively safe. I hope that we can save enough to give her a good shot at it. I was fortunate to have parents and grandparents that footed the bill for me, and I would like her to have that luxury, too.

ree said...

Today's delivery to campus? Body Wash. Apparently, he has to SMELL GOOD to go to class. ;-)

Sigh.

Joyce-Anne said...

A glimpse into my future. State schools here we come.

Shadow said...

you mean i'm gonna have to take the money i've been putting away for my masarati and give it to the bean?????????? nooooooooooooooooo

Indigo said...

Oh yeah, I don't know how many phone calls I got that started with, "I need...". No "Hi, mom - how are things, I miss you." Simply a quick call with a list of what she needed and when. And I still got to do her laundry when she came home for visits. (Hugs)Indigo

Hyphen Mama said...

Oh god, Lou. I am still trying to cope with the trauma of Kindergarten. I have so much to learn.

witchypoo said...

I neither expected, nor received spending money from the old folks. I got a scholarship and a job, else I wouldn't have gone.