Are you frustrated because your children are old and old enough to become independent, but they still live with you? Does your house seem to be turning into a free hotel? If the time has come for one or more of your children to take flight but refuse to spread their wings, here's what you can do.
Part 1 of 3: Recognize if your child is taking advantage of you
Step 1. Evaluate the situation as objectively as you can
As a parent, you may have mixed feelings about forcing your child to move. On the one hand, you may enjoy his company, you don't want him to have a hard time, or you don't want to feel like you've "fired" him. On the other hand, you may feel that your child is not fulfilling his obligations and, if you do not intervene, he may never gain independence. It is very important that you analyze all these feelings before talking to your child.
Step 2. Make a list of the reasons you want your child to move
Be honest. Confront all the ways it makes you feel uncomfortable having your child living with you, and don't let guilt stop you from saying it. Some reasons are obvious, such as the fact that he does not respect your privacy or your belongings. Some reasons are subtle, personal, and embarrassing, like listening to your child with their lover (s) or the fact that you end up doing their laundry.
Determine if there is a real reason why your child cannot live alone. Sometimes parents refuse to evict a child if they believe that they simply do not have the resources to live independently. However, in most cases, you will have enough capacity to be independent, but you will have to downgrade a bit as you may have to move into a basic apartment with roommates. If you think this is the case, acknowledge that you allow your child to stay because you are concerned about their comfort and not an actual circumstance
Step 3. Don't stick your nose in their stuff
It's bad enough that your child doesn't feel capable of living alone that his parents show they don't trust him. Do not invade their privacy by going through their belongings. They are all adults, so ask what you want to know.
Part 2 of 3: Addressing the need to move
Step 1. Present a unified front
It is common that one parent wants a child to move and the other does not like the idea. However, before you encourage your child to become independent, both of you must agree. See the article How to compromise with your partner.
Step 2. Ask your child if he wants to move
It's a simple question, but it will reveal a lot of information about why you are still living at home. Typically, your response will be a phrase like "Yes, sure, but …" accompanied by a number of reasons why you simply cannot leave for now. Analyze their reasons in an objective way, taking into account that there are likely other (real) reasons that your child has not expressed, such as the fact that he likes you to wash his clothes or use your car without having to pay fees or insurance, etc. You must compare one by one the reasons expressed (which, in many cases, not all, are excuses) with the facts:
- "I am looking for a job". That's true? How often do you check job sites and classifieds? In the meantime, have you volunteered to network and fill in the blanks on your resume? Looking for "a" job or "the" perfect job? Not willing to receive minimum wage until you find something better?
- "I can't afford a place to live." Can't afford a place or can't afford a place as comfortable as your home? You may not be able to afford a place to live in your neighborhood, and there is a reason: living in a nice neighborhood is one of the rewards of success in a career. Look around you and ask yourself: Where do the other young adults live? Does your child think they "don't deserve" to live there? Do you think that your child "does not deserve" to live there?
- "I want to save to buy a house, a car, go to graduate school, etc." This is probably the most valid reason for staying at home, but only if you are responsible for it. How much have you actually saved? What is your end goal? Do you save constantly or only when there are no good movies or video games in the week? If you can see that saving is one of your priorities, no problem, but don't get carried away by what he says. If that is the reason you live at home and receive free rides, you have the right to see your pay stubs and bank account statements, in the same way that financial support offices should see tax forms before provide financial aid. Therefore, you should use some strategies to establish a new relationship between adults.
Part 3 of 3: Set a Deadline
Step 1. If you decide your child is ready to move in, set a deadline
Let them know that when the date comes, they will have to start paying rent, in addition to the related requirements: paying part of the water, the electricity bill, the heating costs, the utility costs, etc. If you are forced to collaborate, the idea of becoming independent may seem more feasible.
- Ask your child to create a plan. For example, get a job, save paychecks, find an apartment, etc.
- Bring some boxes and get a calendar. It begins to mark the days in a very visible way.
Step 2. When the date approaches, begin to review what your child will not take
For example, furniture, bedding, etc.
Step 3. If you miss the deadline, get serious
Demand partial payments from him and give him the invoices. If you don't make your payments, it starts disconnecting your services, cable, phone, etc.
Step 4. If you make another excuse not to move, collect the rent for your room
You may not be very comfortable with having to pay for a room. This will be a hassle and you will want to move quickly.
- As soon as your child graduates from college, consider asking him to “help a little” with the move. You will need a roommate and will be assisted with the rent gradually until no further assistance is provided after the first few months. In this way, you will feel that you need money and will work a little more. You will not feel so overwhelmed, and you will learn to organize and maintain yourself. In short, you will say "get out of here, but with love."
- A more extreme measure is to move. Some parents retire to a more relaxed and distant place where their adult children don't have much fun or where people who have not retired are not allowed in. You could also reduce the size of the house, and explain to your child that you need to save money for retirement and that there is not enough space for him in the small house or apartment.
- On the other hand, you must remember that you bought your house with your effort and money. You do not have to "work out" something with your adult children. If you simply want to enjoy your home without your children, you have the right to do so. It is simply recommended that everyone show a little compassion towards others to maintain a good family relationship.
- Before deciding to put your adult children on the street, listen to their points of view and let them know the reasons for your opinion. Real adults are willing to listen to other adults to solve problems. It is possible that together with your children you can find the solution.
- You can imitate something very good that some parents do: they receive a rent payment from their adult children, they take a part to cover the expenses of the house, but they deposit most of it in a special account. When the son decides to move voluntarily or the parents ask him to move, they give him the reserved money. In this way, they help you with your down payment or move-in fees, such as paying the first and last month's rent, etc. Generally, this works best if the child has no idea of their parents' plans, until they give them the cash gift. It is best if you believe that it is your obligation to pay the rent and that you expect the money on time each month; after all, all owners expect the same.
- Make sure your child does not suffer from a mental illness, such as depression, because this could weaken him. If so, you may need to seek help from him. Although when a child reaches the age of majority (he is no longer a minor), your obligations to him end, denying that there is a disease in this situation would be irresponsible and perhaps harmful for your child.
- Before you get to change the locks, remove their belongings, etc., you should know the laws on eviction of tenants in the region where you live. Even if they are family members and do not pay rent, in many places there are eviction laws that may apply and must be followed.
- Do not forget that the economic situation is very difficult these days. Jobs may be scarce and poorly paid, but housing and living costs are very high. Have reasonable expectations.