Friday, August 28, 2009

Walking a Fine Line

As my regular readers may know, my #1 son is heading off for his 1st year of college later this week. He spent the bulk of the summer since graduating from high school working across the state at a YMCA Camp as a Counselor. This meant he wasn't home to take care of business associated with his upcoming college matriculation. I've been sort of orchestrating things from home in his absence.
I am the Mother.
I organize and oversee things.
That's my job.

#1 son is about to be "on his own" for real, for the 1st time. I find I walk a fine line between doing things for him(thus they get done the right way, the first time) and letting him find his own way to do things(and suffer the consequences from making possibly wrong choices).
Life runs much smoother when the people with experience and who are good at their jobs run things, don't they? It's hard to step back and let your newly minted Adult child take the reins and be in charge.

Of course, you anguish if they fail at their new task. But since you are still there in the background to pick up the pieces when they need it, you have the added stress on YOUR life to handle any crises of their making.
Letting them make the decisions and having the potential for failure makes the parent's life MORE stressful, not less. It's not a situation any parent wants to be in but it's necessary at least for awhile unless you abandon your child totally and walk out of their life.

SonyaAnn over at A Mom Money and More has been dealing with this same issue. You can read about her experience with her teenage daughter HERE.

Hubby & I had a blow-out earlier this week over our differing approach to this topic.

In an effort to keep the costs of this year of schooling down, I want #1 son to buy his books as cheaply as possible. Of course, the school he will be attending, "highly suggests" that incoming freshman wait until they arrive on campus and buy their textbooks at the school's bookstore. Do you think they have a financial incentive to suggest this?lolol

Textbooks were also available online from the bookstore to buy ahead since Aug. 3rd, when the course/instructor/book requirements were announced for the school. As long as the instructors won't change the textbooks used, student isn't waffling about taking a course or thinks they may likely drop a course, why not buy the books ahead? Especially if it saves money!
You may know that the Used Textbooks tend to sell out quickly, leaving only the shiny, expen$ive New Textbooks for the students who wait to buy once they arrive on campus.
New College Textbooks are INSANELY EXPEN$IVE!!!

So instead of waiting on laid-back, #1 son, with the Scarlett O-Hara "I'll think about that tomorrow" mentality, to take it upon himself to arrange to buy his books, I went online and with some information from another member of the Compact Yahoo List I'm on, I RENTED some of his Textbooks. Renting textbooks is about Half the cost of buying Used!

By doing so, we'll be paying $250 for a mix of rented or buying used books(once #1 son gets to school), versus paying $600 buying new books! Plus we won't have to worry about whether the bookstore will take the books back during the bookstore "buy back" either or be stuck with useless, heavy, expensive doorstops.

When I told Hubby about having already bought the bulk of the books, he was Not pleased. His feeling was, "It's HIS life....let him buy the books." He seems to think that we should drive #1 son to college, unload his stuff and wave goodbye. From that point anything he needs or decisions he needs to make are up to him.
After all, he said, "That is how our parents did us when we went off to college."

Hubby's parents style was very "hands off" for as long as I knew them. But they were there(for some cash, advise or moral support) if hubby ever had a really bad problem when he was just starting out as an adult.

My parents....even MORE hands off in a way.
Basically, my parents were not even around from the time I was 15. Physically, they floated in & mostly out of my life through my teen years and beyond. Except for my mostly absentee father who was a bigtime control freak. That made for an interesting
So my parents weren't "there" for me physcially or in any other way. When I got dropped off at college, it was basically "See ya in the next life kid!" I was out there alone at 18.

So, even though we try to be "hands off" in our parenting style, hubby now understands why I try to pad the way sometimes.
I didn't rent ALL this books. He will still have the responsiblity of buying a few of the books he needs once he gets to school. And he'll have to make sure the rented ones get shipped back in time or he'll be paying any fees associated with keeping them beyond his rental period.
And he's going to have to deal with alot of other things at finding a job, getting his scholarship money released(dealing with financial aid...oh joy!lol), etc.

t least he knows how to do laundry already. ;-)


1 comment:

  1. it IS a scary thing, letting them go and getting some of those phone calls :) The first year, we went the buy-on-campus route for books (ouch!), but now, as soon as DS knows what he's taking, I'm online using a site like to find the cheapest price. I love the idea of renting, but DS is SO bad about returning things (we've spent a fortune over the years in library fines) that he would just incur the fees, which means we would ultimately incur the fees :) So we buy, then he is at least motivated to sell them back at semester's end for a little extra pocket change. Anyway I know exactly what you're going through, and it's tough!!!!


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