More and more adult kids are coming back home—or never leaving in the first place. In fact, if you are in this situation, you are not alone. A recent study says that nearly 53 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. reside with their parents. Whether your child is contributing his fair share or driving you up the wall with irresponsibility and attitude, you’re bound to lock horns from time to time. Find out how you can manage your adult children living at home effectively—and how you’ll know when it’s time for them to leave.
Older children end up at home with their parents for many different reasons. Sometimes they want to get their nest built financially, so they come home to save money and secure their future. Other kids are coming home—or have never left in the first place—because they really can’t make it out there on their own. For one reason or another, they haven’t developed the maturity to launch successfully.
If your adult child lives at home with you and has made no move to save up for a place of his own, you’ve probably asked yourself, “Is he planning to stay here forever?’ And the truth is, sometimes older kids do get comfortable back home. It takes a lot of pressure off their shoulders because Mom and Dad are there to cook and clean and pay the bills. So when is it appropriate to ask your child to leave? Should you wait until they get a job or get married? Is there a plan, or are you just moving forward blindly, hoping they’ll get up on their feet and find their way eventually?
Are You an “Over–Functioner’?
Some adult children are slower to mature than others. Developmentally, they’re just not “there’ yet—they’re not ready to take care of themselves, so they end up at home. When this happens, many times I find the parents have been over–functioning for their kids.
There’s an important difference between helping and over–functioning. Helping your older child means doing something for him he can’t do himself, such as driving him somewhere when he has a broken leg. Over–functioning means you’re taking responsibility for things he can do for himself, like doing his laundry and cleaning up his messes after he’s had friends over. Perhaps that pattern started years ago or maybe it began when he moved back home. The bad news is that when you over–function you’re allowing the negative behaviors to continue; the good news is that it’s in your control to change the situation.
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