In the 2006 romantic comedy Failure to Launch, the parents of an attractive young man are very comfortable to hire a beautiful woman to give him the confidence and skills to finally move out of their home. The movie is funny, and of course has a happy ending (he eventually moves out); in real life though, there is nothing funny about your adult child living in your home because he’s unable to “make it” on his own.
Are you one of the frustrated, financially exhausted parents whose graduate child have returned home to live with – or off – you? Truth is, 13% of adult kids between ages 18 – 29 return home after a rough patch in the adult world.
The so called “boomerang kids” fly south to experience “summer” but then returns home for “winter”! Could the boomerang generation be a result of the recession, affirmative action, or maybe the diminishing advantage of having a degree?
Mmm … here’s the thing. As we’ve become more comfortable with technology, our society has shifted to the extreme of simply not wanting to be uncomfortable at all. And, we’ve passed that on to our children. Yes, we do want our kids to have “better lives than what we had”, even if we had it pretty good! BUT, this is where we go from caring to caretaking – sadly, this is what leads to young adults struggling to find their way; emotionally as well as financially.
Yeah, the primary coping skill many kids have learned is to simply go to their parents when there’s a problem; and so the cycle goes on into adulthood.
The key to breaking this cycle is to help your child with internal coping skills, foster a sense of self-confidence and let them experience for themselves that they can (although unthinkable!) be uncomfortable and still survive.
So, if junior is suddenly back on your couch with his size 12s on your coffee table, or your daughter is planning another night out instead of a way out of your house; here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Your home is a “no-freeloading zone”. They should contribute financially, however small the contribution may be. Call it room and board. Let them get into the habit of responsibility.
- Consider your own needs. State clearly what you can, or can’t live with. Don’t let them get too comfortable. E.g. “I expect the house to be kept clean and if you come home late I expect the courtesy to call otherwise I’ll stay up all night.”
- You are not an ATM machine. Don’t put yourself in financial difficulty to help your adult child. Do not cover all of their living expenses; this will only cause more financial dependency.
- Be supportive. Let them know that you’re there for them and want to help them to find their way to independence.
- Set a deadline. Don’t assume your child will leave when the time is right. Make it clear that it is a short-term living solution.
- Have an exit clause in place. Too many parents tiptoe around their kids. Make it clear that if at any time they don’t agree with the rules, they’ll have to leave.
So, if you’re adult child is to have the gift of moving back home; do what you can to facilitate independence and responsibility. That’s what parenting is about!
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.