Normally the teen flies home for the school holidays, but as he is in his final term of school and needed to be UK based to attend interviews and sit exams, so I flew to him over the Easter break.
We also took a decision last year to purchase a 'lock and leave' one bed flat on the second floor in a purpose built block of 6 flats. Completion was back in October, but due to family and friends visiting, Easter was the first opportunity we had to actually use the flat and it was completely empty of furniture.
I spent the first few nights at my mums then roped my Nephew in law to come over and assemble the bed and then waited for the teen to break up from school to help me put the sofa (my bed) chest of drawers, table, chairs etc together.
Firstly engaging the teen was easy a) we had no wifi b) I was off to Hong Kong for a week and the teen wanted to stay in the flat while I was away and c) unless he helped me, he was sleeping on the floor.
Now considering this was mostly Ikea furniture and that Peter and I had a few issues back in Dubai with deciding on what we wanted and placing an order online for the UK, it arrived on time, but we were unable to book anyone to assemble it for us, unless we ordered in store.
We didn't have a single argument, even though we lost a few bits and pieces, used the wrong bits at one part on the chest of drawers and had to undo the past 45 minutes of work, we had fun, we talked, I cooked us lunch, the teen washed up. There were a few distractions when a phone pinged into action as the signal was temporally restored and the need for me to nip to the pub where there was wifi to Skype home with Peter (have a beer).
The cardboard loomed in the corner for 2 days until the teen finally had enough and cut it all down to take out to the car for the tip.
The teen returned to school and I had 3 nights in the flat, on my own as it should be without computers, screens, trailing wires and cables, with everything neat and tidy and put away, before I returned to Dubai.
Child 4 and 4a are staying there at the end of May for a week and I'm back the end of June, the teen finishes school 6th July and he is moving back in with me, complete with all his gear after 4 years in boarding school. At this moment in time I have no idea how long he is staying for, we're still waiting to hear about the apprenticeship route.
The teen won't actually be living in this flat, he will most likely be in a house share, where he may or may not have to pay monthly bills, share housework with others and generally fend for himself. If he does need furniture and bits and bobs for the kitchen/bathroom etc, it won't be anywhere near the budget we spent on the flat.
He did learn an awful lot in regards to setting up bills, the cost of things such as a TV licence, council tax, he set the timer on the water heater to conserve energy and reduce costs, investigated water and electricity supply companies for price, he set up a recycling system in line with the councils requirements and collection days, he budgeted for a weeks food shop and planned his meals while I was away.
Only child 3 & 5 have left home/school and gone to live independently, as children 2 & 4 joined the British Army and child 1 is in a residential care home. Peter left home and went to University, back in the days when it was free and I left school and went straight into work.
Just such an important aspect of raising teens is to give them independence, or the skills to be independent. I'm aware I need to do more of this with mine for sure. I'm going to see if they'll do the weekly shop for me next week - it's a start! #TweensTeensBeyondReplyDelete
good luck with the shop, i always added a certain value that could be spent of treats of their choice each weekDelete
The school my two daughters go to, have enrichment sessions. They come home with so many interesting questions, which makes me think the school is getting it right. Nothing beats going through the process for real and I'm sure your son is well on the road. Smiling at you taking the cardboard on a day trip. #TweensTeensBeyondReplyDelete
oh the cardboard had a lovely day out, my friends thought it very amusing. Enrichment lessons sound good, we had citizenship and life skills lessons for our kids in their schoolsDelete
All good stuff Suzanne, getting their hand in with a few practical skills does no harm at all. They may not leave home until much later than we did but it's handy to have a few things tucked up theirs sleeves when they do. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyondReplyDelete
yeah i left home at 17, all my kids have left soon after their 18th, not sues when this last one will and where finally goDelete
A little bit of motivation goes a long way doesn't it? You look like you were very busy and what a great result, sure he will love it and the independence that goes with it of course. Look forward to hearing how he gets on. #TweensTeensBeyondReplyDelete
staying with me in the flat and having to help set it up from scratch has made him realise just how much things cost, even doing a food shop from scratch amazed himDelete
Lots of important lessons learnt here. Well done on assembling the furniture, I m not sure I would have managed and, wow, what a lot of cardboard. I left home at 18 too to go to university and my eldest has just done the same. Thanks so much for joining us at #TweensTeensBeyondReplyDelete
it did takes us a few days to get it all assembled, the tidying up was the worst bit of itDelete
I did laugh out loud that you took your cardboard on a day trip to the Forest of Dean! Well done for getting all that sorted, your life is a bit complicated and it must be good for your son to grasp how to get all these things organised. #TeensTweensBeyondReplyDelete
it has been a great experience for us both, just the mere fact of spending so much time togetherDelete