All birds leave the nest eventually… well, that’s what you’re hoping for right? Everyone needs some independence in their lives, including the parents. In today’s day and age, life seems to be extremely challenging for our young adults, more so than when we were young adults.
But, at some point, as responsible parents, you can’t keep going through the motions and hoping that things will change on their own. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. You need to keep your eyes open to what your adult-child is doing and decide, for their own good, when it’s time to put the big-parent-pants on and make some changes.
If your child starts growing some new and disturbing bad habits that are disruptive to other members of the house, something’s got to give. Sleeping into the afternoons, giving out food and drink orders, inappropriate dress and language, general disrespect, leaving their bedrooms (and the house for that matter) in a mess and expecting you to clean up after them and the like. These are all bad habits that won’t make for a great husband or wife one day in the future.
Some bad habits can only be broken and life lessons learned, in an environment outside of the family home. Where responsibility and accountability fall on one person and that person has to deal with it.
Being responsible and accountable, as previously mentioned, builds confidence in independence. If your adult-child cannot take care of themselves at their age, and still rely on the parent-bank you (now regrettably) allowed them to dip into once or twice, they’ll never learn or earn their independence.
And as long as they’re under your roof, it’s easy to get away with the “I have a headache”, “I’m busy” or the “five more minutes” excuses. Until they’re forced into a situation where they have no other choice than to do the dishes to save their kitchen from turning into a new ecosystem, or be responsible with their money so that they can pay off their debit orders and still survive for the month, they won’t have any independence. Save for maybe having their drivers licence.
Won’t find work
If you haven’t heard the “but I’m looking for a job” line at least three times in the space of a month, then prepare yourselves for it. Young adults use this line a lot. Mostly because us parents are on their case about getting a job, a lot.
But the moment they give up and stop actually looking and actively doing something to get a job or even just fill the gaps in the CV, you need to get serious with them and talk about cutting the ties between them and your bank account. Money is a great motivator to get their butt’s into gear.
Helping starts hurting
If you take on all your child’s financial responsibilities because you want to help them, eventually it’s going to end up hurting you as much as it hurts them not being able to have the skills do it for themselves.
Little bits here and there throughout the month tallies up to quite a handsome figure. One that you would probably have preferred to stay in your bank account. It’s in our nature to want to help our kids, but there’ll come a time when you cannot actually afford it and you need to start thinking about you and your spouse’s future in retirement one day. You shouldn’t have to compromise your future wellbeing and care, for the monthly allowance your more-than-capable-of-getting-a-job child spends on going out and unnecessary luxuries.
How to do it
Look, you’re still their parent at the end of the day and you don’t want to kick your child out. And it’s not about kicking them out (even on those really hard, character-challenging days). It’s about helping them get on their feet out in the real world and start to truly live their lives. And here’s how you go about doing that:
- Why: Before you directly address anything, think about your “why”. What is it that is bothering you and why do you want the behaviour to change? You generally want this because you know it’s what’s best for your child.
- Finances: take a look at your own financial status and figure out if you are actually financially able to continue being your child’s financial-dependence-aid at the current rate.
- Conversation: Then it’s time to sit them down and have a conversation. Not an argument – a conversation. Before you have this conversation, know what you want to address and prepare for possible defence lines. For example, if you’re happy to keep them in the house for a little while longer have the condition that they need to get a job. And if they retort by saying they have no skills to get a job, send them for a business administration services course that will be able to get them a job for almost any company with an admin position available.
- Timeline: Lay it all out on when you will no longer be the bank and by when certain changes need to be made. It will be overwhelming for your child to go from one extreme to the next, so give them enough time to prepare.
- Listen: And, finally, listen. Listen to what your son or daughter is telling you. Understand their reasons why and respect their first-attempt efforts, even if they’re unsuccessful. It is a scary world out there and everyone has to start somewhere.