Millennials Having Trouble Leaving the Nest?

Here’s yet another story about the current crop of young people and their inability to live on their own. The lousy economy is surely a factor, but you have to wonder how much helicopter parenting has contributed to this problem. So many modern parents are unwilling to help their teens achieve independence by transferring responsibilities to them as they approach 18 (which used to be the age of independence).

We didn’t raise our kids that way. Once they finished homeschooling, they could either go to college or go to work, but if they chose work, they also had to start paying rent. We didn’t charge that much, though I do recall one of them accusing us of wanting to get rich off of them, LOL. But today they’re all self-supporting, independent, hard-working adults despite being part of the millennial generation.

I can’t help but worry that many of the young folks featured in the article will never successfully make it on their own. I sure hope I’m wrong.

Should You Co-sign Your Teen’s Student Loans?

These days, most people don’t have enough money saved up for a college education for their child because college has become so ridiculously expensive. Instead, they encourage their offspring to apply for financial aid, which includes grants and loans.

Grants are great, but generally hard to obtain in more than a nominal amount; hence the popularity of loans. But since young people just out of high school (or home school) rarely have a financial track record, their parents are often asked to co-sign loans, especially if the total annual cost of the chosen college is more than several thousand dollars a year.

Should you co-sign your teen’s student loans? If you’re a Christian, you need to be aware that the Bible, while not specifically prohibiting co-signing loans, makes it clear that it is foolish to do so.

Check out Proverbs 17:18 (KJV):

A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

Surety, in case you’re wondering, is pledging to repay a loan without any sure way to pay it back. Co-signing means you’re taking on that obligation for someone else in case they can’t pay it back. The reason the bank requires them to have a co-signer is because it considers them a bad risk.

It’s possible to borrow money but avoid surety. For instance, if you get a car loan and use the car as collateral, you can sell it and repay the loan if you have to. If you obtain a mortgage and use the house you’re buying as collateral, you can sell it and use the proceeds to pay off the mortgage.

But if you pledge to pay your child’s student loans back if they can’t, what do you have to use as collateral? Nothing. Now you’ve plunged yourself into surety, and according to the verse above, have become “void of understanding,” or lacking in good sense, according to other Biblical translations.

To make matters worse, by co-signing a loan for your own child, you have also obligated him or her to extensive debt for which they have no collateral.

Why would this displease God? Larry Burkett explained this in his book, Using Your Money Wisely:

Obviously, surety is not a biblical law— it is a principle. A principle is a biblical guide to keep you on God’s path and out of the world’s traps. You don’t get punished for violating a principle unknowingly; you suffer the consequences. The consequences of violating the principle of surety is that you presume upon the future. In other words, when you sign surety for a debt, you pledge your future. If you have omniscient insights into the future, then there is really no danger. But, since only God has omniscient insight, when you sign surety, you presume upon God’s will.

So if you’re a Christian, you should not co-sign college loans for your teen. Trust me, refusing to do so will not make you popular with your teen or possibly others in your family or social circle. But as Christians, we know that obedience to God trumps the approval of man.

How can you help prepare your teen for the future without co-signing student loans? Well, you could have saved up over the years so you could just give them the money. If that didn’t happen, you can help them research scholarships and grants.

Another option: seriously consider whether your teen even needs to go to college. In homeschooling circles, sending kids off to college has been a way to prove that homeschooling works, so there’s always been a lot of pressure to do so. But the U.S. already has an overabundance of college grads who can’t find work in their field. Do you want your teen to end up in that boat?

In the updated and expanded third edition of Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers, available for purchase at all online and brick-and-mortar book sellers and from Cardamom Publishers on June 1, you can learn how to determine if your teen is college material and whether it’s worth sending him or her to college in the first place. Stay tuned for more information!

Sibling Rivalry in Photos

I was lucky; I never saw any signs of anger in our kids when a new little one came on the scene. Of course it helped that two of the kids were still babies when their new sibling arrived. Also, our older kids were 6 and 8 when their sister was born, and they’d been praying for a baby sibling for a few years.

But being the oldest of four myself, I must admit that I wasn’t always thrilled when another sister showed up (I really wanted a baby brother). Maybe that’s why I got a kick out of these photos of children dealing with the reality of a new baby in the family. (Warning: #7 is a shocker.)

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow to all you moms and grandmas out there. As we all learn, you’ve got to develop a sense of humor when it comes to your children, or you’ll go crazy. This list of funny things moms have done is ranked by votes; not all of them are funny. But several are cute, and my favorites are #15 and #16. In any case, you’ll find some laughs there, and you may even relate to a few of the things other moms have done.