This excerpt from Yvonne Godfrey’s new book Making It on My Own – 52 Smart Ways to Smash It in the Real World is well worth showing your teens (of all ages), to impress upon them the importance of starting to “act like an adult” to help them make it in the world. This will be a gradual process, but hopefully something they become well schooled at by the time they leave the safety net of home.
Lucy was 21 years old and life wasn’t going too well. She was living in a flat in an expensive suburb but only earning the minimum wage. She had fallen out with her childhood friend. A guy she had broken up with was harassing her and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She was eating badly and she was drinking way too much.
Even though she was living away from home, Lucy still had one hand in her dad’s pocket so that she could bridge her financial shortfall. She was miserable, confused about life, and stuck in the twilight zone between childhood and adulthood.
After I was asked to help her out, I saw her each week and equipped her with a wide range of skills and attitudes so that she could make it on her own. Together we talked about goal achievement, time, space and energy management, budgeting and other money issues, relationship building, and flatting skills.
After 10 weeks, Lucy was in a totally different space. She was now a great flatmate and was managing her health and her relationships. She had made up with her friend and had finally given the guy the boot!
But she was still earning too little to properly pay her bills. I told her that she needed to increase her income – either by getting a new job or asking for a pay rise. She loved her job so I set her up to get a pay rise. She called a meeting with her boss and the interview went like this:
Lucy: “I believe I bring great value to the business.”
Boss: “Yes, we think you are amazing – a great worker.”
Once the boss had finished talking about how wonderful Lucy was, Lucy replied,
“Thank you – and I’d like to be paid accordingly.”
Lucy got a 70% pay increase as a result of that one 15-minute meeting. Her life changed dramatically and she has never looked back. But, why did she get such a big pay rise?
When Lucy came to me, she was thinking, speaking, and acting like a child. It’s harsh but true! Everything about her oozed immaturity. After learning how the real world works and gaining confidence, she changed her perception of herself. She now realised that her future was dependent on taking responsibility for her own life and becoming someone who brings value to others.
She was now thinking, speaking and acting as a young adult. It’s a fact that the world will see you and treat you as you see yourself.
Lucy was the youngest of three girls and as their “baby”, her parents had given her an easy road. But it didn’t help her and had only made her lack the confidence she needed to make it in the “real world”. A parent’s job is to equip their children for their increasing responsibilities towards adulthood. Remember that your “helping” may actually be hurting your emerging adult, causing them to be unable to compete or to cope in life.
Yvonne Godfrey, is the founder of MIOMO (making it on my own), youth independence programme. She is also the author of ‘Parenting Yadults’ – How to Set Up Your Young Adult for Independence and Success in Life! and ‘Making it on my Own’ – 52 Smart Ways to Smash it in the Real World. Yvonne and her husband Simon have 2 adult daughters, and 2 grandchildren. For more information MIOMO.com.