You want to help, but...
10 Reasons to Kick Your Adult Children Out of the Home
by Shaunna Privratsky
Adult Children Returning to the Nest
Loaning Money to Adult Children
You love your kids, but at a certain point you start to wonder if they are ever going to leave home. Or maybe they left, but circumstances caused them to boomerang back home. According to the Office for National Statistics, as many as 3.3 million 20 to 34 year olds lived with their parents in 2013, a big jump since the last big recession.
There are many reasons your adult children might be still at home. Maybe they can't afford a place of their own or they are going to college. Perhaps they are overwhelmed with student loans or got themselves into a financial bind. Maybe they experienced a break-up or a divorce.
It could be financially savvy for your son or daughter to move back. They have a specific goal like buying a house or even saving up for a new car. They can save money on rent and utilities while building a good foundation for a better future.
Whatever the reason, it is time to sit down together and come up with a plan to move forward. First, try to set an agreed upon timeframe. Leaving it open-ended may lead to resentments down the road. Even a vague idea is better than nothing. At the very least, set a definite time to re-evaluate like six months or a year.
Next, decide together what is expected from the child. Different circumstances will dictate the details, but it is better to have set expectations, so the parents don't feel used and the child doesn't become that person living in their parents' basement when they are 40.
Along with the expectations, set consequences if they aren't met. You probably don't want to punish your grown child, but losing certain privileges or having to pay for more would be a reasonable consequence. Hold each other accountable.
Decide together how the combined household will deal with finances. This will vary from family to family and depend on circumstances, but as long as everyone is on the same page, it will be easier if it is decided upon right away. Even if your child can't contribute financially, he or she can help out with household chores or ease the burden of yardwork or running errands.
Write everything down. Really! Make a copy for each of you, so everything is spelled out. That way, if one of you breaks the rules, the other can hold them accountable. Just letting things slide can lead to major resentments and hurt feelings. Even if you don't want to be strict or seem "mean" it will help your relationship in the future.
Leaving everything unspoken or not confronting issues can cause a major rift in families. You were only trying to help, but just letting your child mooch off of you indefinitely will only lead to resentment. Even your son or daughter will be hurt in the long run if they don't learn how to be responsible for themselves.
Now let's get to those 10 reasons to kick your adult children out of the house!
- Your energy bill will go way down. There will be no more 24-hour marathon sessions of X-box.
- Your water bill will go way down. How many times does one person need to shower in one day, anyways?
- Your food bill will go way, way down. Those chips and salsa really add up!
- Seriously, though, you will be doing your child a favor by encouraging them to become financially responsible.
- Letting them stay too long can lead to resentment.
- Your child may become too dependent and never learn how to take care of himself.
- Enabling them means no incentive to get a better job or better themselves with education.
- Teach them how to set and keep financial goals.
- Encourage them to save money for a goal and also an emergency fund.
- Allow them to become the fully mature adults they are meant to be.
For most parents, it feels pretty good to be able to help your grown children in a time of crisis. Letting them move back home may seem natural, and by setting firm guidelines from the beginning, you can reconnect and grow closer until it is time to kick them out of the house again.
Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Please sign up for the free newsletters at The Discount Diva. You can also visit Shaunna on Google+.
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