This generation of parents has a difficult task all around. One in every five discovers they are caring for an elderly relative while one in three also lives with their adult children. Times have certainly changed. Historically, they moved out soon after graduating from high school. They went to college and continued on with lives away from their parents’ house. Now they are graduating from high school and either attending college and moving back home or not going on to higher education at all. How do we live with our adult children in a healthy relationship?
Our mothers and fathers did not have the same way of life we face today. Many of us would like our offspring to move on to bigger and better things, but it seems as if they are unable to do that. The same drive and determination we have they cannot seem to find. Is this our fault? Unfortunately, it could very well be to some extent.
Who fault is it?
We wanted to give them things we never had. Giving material things was one thing, but we also gave them a crutch they didn’t need. They know they are able to count on us for everything. This means they do not use us as a safety net, but rather as the source of their existence. If they do not want to do it or cannot do it, they know we will.
Most people leave their parents’ home because they require more. They need more privacy, more material things as well as the feeling of accomplishment found with providing these on your own to name only a few. These feelings of satisfaction when you carry out these goals are missing in this particular generation. They do not have it. They know mother and father will provide whatever they need or ask for and this will eventually be a downfall. This contributes to unhealthy living with adult children.
This era of young men and women have the resources and technology to do so much more than what we could accomplish if they set their minds to it. Providing the drive and desire to do so simply isn’t occurring. How do we do it?
Things have changed
The order of living has changed. Historically after getting a higher education the next step was a family. This was marriage and children, both or separately. This meant sharing a life with others outside of parents. This structure has altered. Marriage and/or children are not an immediate move in the next direction after education. This accounts for adult kids living with mom and dad.
They do not have the responsibility that comes along with sharing their life with a spouse or child right after getting a degree or vocation. They can wait which puts a void in how they live where these things once were.
This option of waiting for a family of your own cannot be adjusted. People who choose to wait for the right time is a good thing. Though, this void is filled with living with your parents which is not okay.
The economy has also affected the ability to move out as an adult. Losing jobs or unable to get a job certainly means financially obstacles which constructs barriers to living alone or a forced move back home.
Give more responsibility
More responsibility is certainly the answer. Begin with small stumbling blocks like doing laundry and cooking. These are tasks they can do for themselves. Even cleaning up behind the 23-year-old son is doing too much. He is able to do it and he should. Do not make it easy to stay home. The same tasks they would face living alone should be used at your house.
If your daughter has a car, she should pay the loan payment and insurance. If not, no car. If she needs a ride public transportation is available. If she doesn’t enjoy it, this will force her to find a source of income to see her dream come true. This source should not be her mom and dad.
There are also other methods of responsible behavior to give. Remember, these will help them live on their own. This is not a form of punishment, but lending a helping hand.
Choices are also a stumbling block. Choices were limited for generations that came before. Having options for what jobs to take, what schools to go to and where to live were not as large for those that went before them. Eliminate their possibilities and preferences to what they can afford and provide on their own.
If you are unable to afford college this will compel a person find another option. A trade or vocational school as well as student loans could be the route they take. Force them to choose based on their own resources and options.
For those that will not move out because they want an enormous apartment they cannot afford to pay rent for, push them to move out anyway. Their choice will be to take a place to live they can afford to pay rent for.
If they crave a nice car to drive, they will choose a job that pays the insurance and car payment for their standards. Take away choices to press them to move on with their lives.
Being too close to your kids
There is something to be said for being too close to your kids. You are the parent and they are the child. This means you are not friends or associates. Your job is to teach your children to be healthy and productive members of society and move on with their lives as they become adults.
You can certainly help out when they need it, but they need to find the resources you provided to go on with their lives without you. The morals, teachings and education they received while growing up with you should adequately carry any person this age to the next phase of their lives.
An adult child living with their parents is a phenomenon we were not ready for. Of course the economy has some effect for the number of them still at home. However, a majority are simply unable to move on with their lives as adults. It is healthy for both parents and their offspring to find the roles of living separate lives.
Adult children are not kids. They are adults that should lead their own productive and healthy lives. Helping them meet this goal is part of providing good parenting. This needs to happen for both of your sakes. They will thank you for it one day. There is no need to feel guilty about being a good parent.