Between the ages of 16 and 25, people go through several life transitions. The first is becoming a legally licensed driver. After that, it’s college and marriage. While not everyone attends college or gets married, even in the 2020s, the vast majority of young adults attend at least a few years of college or trade school, and more than half go on to marry. As a parent, what can you do to help your children face these significant milestones? There are many ways of helping, but all of them entail taking an active role in a young person’s life, being attentive to their needs, and knowing how much assistance to offer. Here are the three major transition points for young adults, along with some of the different parenting styles that accompany them.
If your teen wants a car, consider helping them with part of the purchase price and insurance. Most vehicle policies allow moms and dads to add young drivers without raising rates significantly. It’s also a much less costly option than the new driver obtaining coverage all on their own. When teens get their drivers’ licenses, your parenting skills will be put to the test. In addition to the financial issues, there are questions of safety and responsibility that need to be addresses. Enroll those new license holders into safe driving courses and have several long talks about responsible, non-impaired driving, and what parts of town are off limits for kids with cars.
When it’s time for older teens to head off to college, parents have lots of options. Some choose to pay for tuition and related expenses from designated savings accounts they’ve maintained for 20 or so years. Others turn to student loans. One of the most efficient, low-rate ways to cover college costs is the Private Parent Loan, which is a non-federal form of borrowing for undergraduate schooling that only obligates parents, not the child. These offer radical flexibility in interest rates, repayment periods, and other features. They also represent a very good way to let youngsters focus on their coursework and not the prospect of a major financial burden as soon as they receive their diplomas.
In some families, parents pay for some or all of the cost of a wedding, particularly is the newlyweds are still in school or just starting their careers. There are no legal obligations in this regard, but there does seem to be a human urge to help newlyweds with what can be the high cost of a wedding. If your son or daughter decides to marry, have a frank discussion about probable expenses and who will be covering what. Find your own comforts with this area of parenthood. For example, maybe you want to help find the perfect wedding photographer, and pay for that expense, but are not able to contribute to the DJ or band. Enjoy that flexibility because there are no hard and fast rules anymore.
In today’s non-structured society, families often come up with unique ways of sharing the financial burden that a large wedding can put on a couple. Don’t be surprised if you enter a new stage of life soon after your son or daughter ties the knot. It’s called grand-parenthood, and you’ll probably be surprised by how transformative it can be. For some, it’s like being a new parent all over again, but with fewer responsibilities and much more fun.