How to get your grown kid to leave home

October 8, 2015

grown-kids-at-homeOk, parents, this one’s for you.  Well, it’s for you if any of these questions resonate:

Is your grown child over age 21 still living at home, even though he or she has a job?

Is your grown kid unemployed and still trying to find himself, while crashing in his or her old bedroom at the family homestead?

Do you and your spouse argue over what to do about the situation?

Do you feel helpless and unable to find a way to actually get to the proverbial empty nest?

The challenge of so many grown kids at home (when their parents are ready for them to launch)  is unique to the 21st century. I know many parents in this boat, and so do psychologists Phyllis Goldberg and Rosemary Lichtman.  In fact, so many of their clients were struggling with how to help motivate their children out of the nest that the two wrote a great resource book. And, they set up a consulting practice to help parents in the sandwich generation.

Hear what they have to say about the issue during my interview with them over at Boomeon and, if you need further coping skills,  consider their book,  “Whose Couch Is it, Anyway? Moving Your Millennial.”  It’s a quick read and a great resource for parents facing these kids of challenges. You might also check out their mentoring services, which could be a big help if you’re beyond frustrated.

Read about it here.

15 comments on “How to get your grown kid to leave home
  1. penpen says:

    For parents, there’s a lot of frustration when the grown kids don’t move up and out of their house. The increasing numbers of kids who’ve moved back home after graduating from college is a 21st century phenom. But there are reasons–and not just I’m Okay/You’re Okay–kinds of reasons. Goldman Sachs (of all places) took a look at some of the financial pressures–some of them very 21st century. I wrote a blog post summing up their take on the refilled nest. It might add a further layer of understanding to the resources in the book you mentioned.

    • Well, that’s true. On the other hand, my husband always points out that after college he and three buddies shared an apartment, making it way affordable. I think some kids do get used to the comfy lifestyle at home. Others are just plain lost. There are myriad reasons but it’s so 21st century.

    • Penny, You are certainly right that the economy has played a significant role in the growing numbers of boomerang kids. With Millennials carrying over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt and many underemployed or even unemployed, they haven’t been able to achieve financial independence at the same age other generations have. Even with our slowly improving economy, the figures are still high. In our book we use family stories to highlight the five typical reasons kids have returned home – and lack of funds is one of the top ones.

  2. The whole concept of “empty nest” as a sad thing never made sense to me. If you are a successful parent, your kids leave home and only return for vacations and holidays! I might just zip on over to Boomeon and check this one out. And I promise, I won’t gloat!

    • Thanks, Nancy. Of course, I have no kids of my own so my nest is always empty!

    • In the past adult children not returning home after college was a measure of success. But today, well over 25% of the 80 million Millennial generation are living with their parents. It’s a cultural shift and the reasons are varied – financial, social, emotional. Most families want their boomerang kids to get back on track, and setting goals for moving out are high on the agenda.

  3. Katy Kozee says:

    Read your interview – wow! One-third still living at home is a really high number. I do feel to a certain extent it’s because our kids (I include my own) grew up with certain expectations that I definitely didn’t have when I was growing up. We lived in a pretty wealthy area during my kids’ formative years and I sometimes had a hard time explaining to them things like “a suite where everyone has their own bedroom and bathroom is not really a college dorm room and you’re not ‘roughing it’ because I’m making you do less than that.” They seem to get it now, fingers crossed!

    • I can imagine the culture shock when they entered the big world!

    • Millennials reflect a broad spectrum of characteristics. Although they’ve been described as over advantaged with a strong sense of entitlement, they’re also appreciated for their idealism and social consciousness. It sounds like you’re optimistic about the future of your adult kids, Katy!

  4. Brooke says:

    Our kids are 3 and 6 right now, and it breaks my heart at THIS age to think that someday they won’t be under my roof. Buuut, I know from others’ experience that when the time comes, I’ll be ready 😀 I have noticed a lot of the 20-somethings I know are still living at home, almost like it’s a trend.

    • Boomeranging home is a trend but, as the economy continues to grow, the pendulum will likely swing back.

      You’re the center of your kids’ universe now, Brooke, as it should be. With the passage of each developmental stage, they’ll build the skills and confidence to individuate. And part of your encouraging their autonomy is preparing yourself to eventually let go. It’s an organic process for all of you.

  5. I haven’t gone over yet, but I’m headed there next. The problem in my opinion is with the parents, not with the kids. Hell their pretty smart to my way of thinking. Most of us started out in rinky dink apartments living on ramon noodles. Kids today have wifi, air conditioning, room service, atms! Why the hell would they move out? The closer my kids got to 18 the more uncomfortable I made it at home. If they wanted to drive they bought their own cars, paid their own insurance AND cell phone bills. They kept jobs and had to maintain grades. They both went out on their own as soon as they hit 18 and haven’t ever needed to come home. They have their own finances, their own homes and they NEVER ask me for money.

    • I appreciate your observations, Rena. I saw that you made a similar comment on the Boomeon site and I responded there.

      Times have changed, and this is a complicated subject. Today more than 20 million Millennials have boomeranged back home.

      Some families are ambivalent about having an “adultolescent” move back, others are eager for a second chance. These parents are helping support emotionally, and sometimes financially, their emerging adults as they develop the skills, financial base and confidence to move forward on their own. It sounds like your kids are doing well and you must be very proud.

  6. Kids need to learn to be independent and support themselves. I really don’t think any grown kid wants to live at home but we’ve enabled them to a point where this has become the easiest option for too many of them.

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