Jessica turns 18

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Jessica turned 18 today.  There is something life changing about saying “I have an 18 year old daughter”.  Haven’t figured out exactly how that is life changing yet but I know there is something there.

She is now an adult, although she doesn’t get to drink legally, she does get to vote.  She also should be able to make her own decisions about how she leads her life. 

When we were at school one night this past autumn, one of her teachers gave us really great advice.  I can’t remember what we were discussing and how he came to say this but what he said stuck.  He basically said, there is nothing you can do now, you have done your job, the rest is up to her.  He is exactly right.  At 18, she will ask our advice, she will listen to what we have to say, but she will make her own decision on whatever it maybe.  This is what you want for your kid, that they have learned to be an adult.

So, in celebration of adulthood, we gave Jessica a budget.  In 9th grade ( Josh is not there yet ), we gave the girls each a debit card with an amount that was deposited in to it the first day of each month.  That money is for their day to day needs as well as weekend entertainment.  It is up to them to make it last the month, if they don’t, they are out of luck because no more money until the 1st of the next month.  Both Emily and Jessica have always made it work.  It has taught them how to budget. 

When I was their age, I had 3 jobs.  That is what fed my livelihood but the jobs they have had are community service oriented or internships ( no pay ) and that is ok.  Different times, different kids, different family. 

Jessica is now getting a monthly budget which will allow her to pay for everything.  Clothes, fixing her broken camera, going out, new winter coat, Metrocard, etc.  We still provide the roof over her head and dinner if she eats at home but everything else is on her.  She is starting to work again, at an internship, but eventually she will make money and then her budget will go down based on the cash she is bringing in. 

She is excited because it makes her even more independent.  I don’t have to be the one to say you don’t need that because she can decide that by herself.  Learning the value of money, understanding how to balance a budget, realizing what things cost, setting priorities for what she needs, etc. 

18 and you know what you want but first you have to be sure is it what you need.