A law does not exist that demands parents to discard their children and toss all of their belongings out the door when they turn 18. The law does, however, deem an 18 year-old mature enough to live on their own. Actually, they may still be somewhat reliant upon their parents for college tuition assistance, guidance, transportation, storage of their belongings, a shoulder to cry on and a home to return to in between semesters.
For high school graduates, the beginning of autonomy usually occurs after they enroll in college. If the student decides to live on campus, as opposed to commuting to school, they may become independent quicker. While the student is away, the parents begin to take advantage of their new-found free time by engaging in fun recreational activities, hobbies and more intimate encounters with their significant other. They may start to sleep in on their days off, join a gym and they may find it easier to keep the house clean longer as their child isn’t present to mess it up.
After living like this for a few months, the thought of their child graduating from college and beginning a life on their own may seem quite comforting. At this point they begin to feel proud that they’ve been able to raise a child who has a promising future and provide them with a college education. After looking forward to seeing their child obtain a college degree, have a promising career and buy their own home, many parents would feel they’ve done something wrong if their child never leaves home.
So, let me expound upon the good, the bad and the ugly when a child fails to leave their parents’ home.
Having your adult child at home does have its advantages. You need not worry where your child is all of the time or wait anxiously for them to call you during the week. They will be able to save money to buy their first home, a car and may have money to spare to help pay your mortgage or rent. They may be able to help cook, mow the lawn, take out the trash, watch the house when you’re away, run errands for you, shovel snow, help host your parties, care for you when you’re ill, fix things, be present to let contractors in when you’re not home, pay your bills, wash clothes and dishes, pick up your prescriptions, keep you company, and answer the door when you don’t want anyone to know you’re home.
You’ll have another adult in the home. This can sometimes spell war since they’ll consider themselves a chief instead of an Indian. Everyone wants things their way. Yet, as a parent you’ll still have the tendency to usurp your authority over your adult child since that is what you’re used to. They won’t want to be treated like a child anymore and, therefore, everyone may butt heads.
You’re likely to have more traffic in your home as their friends and lovers may visit. You may feel uncomfortable if your son or daughter has a lover behind closed doors. Do you allow this behavior and realize that he/she is capable of deciding whether or not to sleep with someone? Or do you pull the reigns on such activity and insist that certain rules be obeyed under your roof, risking resentment from them? Much conflict can arise if this becomes an issue.
Another disadvantage may not present itself immediately. The bad part about this potential behavior is that it’s insidious. Your child may get too comfortable and lose their sense of duty by not working. A certain comfort level may emerge whereby they’ll take for granted that mom or dad will be there to bail them out of every jam. He or she may decide to quit any job that doesn’t satisfy their needs, even if this means forfeiting their next paycheck.
On the other hand, you may grow accustomed to relying on that extra check to pay bills but that reliance can prove to be a false sense of security. A major setback for everyone can take place when a new baby is a part of the picture. You could end up at square one again when your help is suddenly needed to get up early and stay up late to care for a grandchild. Your newfound freedom won’t be there anymore. Also, if your child loses or quits a job you may have to foot the bill for their car note, auto insurance, food and credit card bills until they secure another gig.
A worst case scenario that can happen when your child moves back home is that you may never see eye to eye. This could be as minor as a petty disagreements and the silent treatment to regular blow-ups (such as heated arguments or yelling matches), and domestic violence. No one wins when this happens. As a result, anger, hatred, resentment and alienation may become a part of your daily lives. Hurtful words, which aren’t easily forgiven, tend to be spoken when everyone’s adrenaline is pumping.
A male who remains in his parents’ home could be stereotyped as being a mama’s boy. According to the vocal group ‘TLC’, he is looked down upon and dubbed a “scrub” (a man who doesn’t have money). In order to attract a quality woman, he may have to prove to her that he can make it on his own outside of his parents’ home. Females aren’t exactly expected to fly the coup until she gets married. Others will see this situation as completely acceptable.
With all of this said, I believe that parents shouldn’t rush their children to move out. Unless they don’t contribute their time, money or energy towards the household, they should be welcome to remain there indefinitely. I feel that they should only leave when they’ve completed their education, saved a good amount of money, established good credit and have a stable career. I don’t see any harm in a 30 year-old being a viable part of the household. I personally plan to allow my child to stay in my home until he is ready to fly solo. After all folks, being a loving and supportive parent doesn’t end when our chicks become chickens.