We have a new generation of adult children remaining in the family home. We ask – why won’t my adult child leave home?

There are a few reasons this could be occurring and reasons parents need to consider if they want their older children to move out and become independent. Parents can consider the reasons why their adult child may remain at home:

  1. I do everything for my child so they don’t want to have to put in any effort to look after themselves
  2. It is far cheaper to live at home as rent is expensive or they can save for a house deposit
  3. I did like them here as I didn’t want to be alone after they left but now I am reconsidering that position
  4. I don’t think they will cope on their own, they have not developed those independent skills
  5. This is their home, they can live here forever and I would be mean to ask them to leave

So many things a parent needs to consider. What then is the role of a parent? It is to raise your child in a safe environment, to ensure they are educated and well prepared for their independent adult life ahead of them. We have a problem that many parents are just not preparing their adult child to live a full adult life and this is not the fault of the child. We however blame the child because they are not prepared.

We blame the child for being lazy, blame the child they have not landed that job or can’t manage their money, or continue to move from appalling relationship to appalling relationship. Have we actually thought about it from the adult child’s perspective? I speak to many parents and adult children in this position as their life progresses and their adversarial position escalates. They start blaming, accusing, becoming angry at each other, all of which serves no real purpose and does not provide any positive solution. Why then would an adult child remain at home? There are a variety of reasons including:

  1. fear of independence
  2. fear of being unable to cope as an adult
  3. loneliness
  4. lack of capability managing money or responsibilities
  5. can’t cook appropriately as mum always did it
  6. unsure of how to run a home and all the related jobs needed

So how does any child manage these feelings? The older we become the more fear we often develop; the second-guessing of ourselves grows. The best way for any older adult child to start making steps to leave is by being educated and prepared as best as possible. The adult child needs to:

  • Sit down with a parent or financial counsellor and learn how to manage money
  • Learn to cook either by learning from the parent or by attending a cooking class
  • Learn how to clean the home and how we can do that which is very important as many children have it all done for them in their parents home and believe it or not, never actually had the opportunity to learn how to vacuum, mop, iron, wash, etc. because mum always did it. This is great when a child is little but it is not responsible parenting once they become older or in high school, let alone for an adult.

Many adult children are developing anxiety issues because they are caught between the adult and child self. They become confused, upset and scared. It is so overwhelming and frightening when for the first time, regardless of age, you need to sign a lease, apply for a loan, do your own taxation return, pay your own accounts, manage your own finances, decide on shopping items to purchase and meals to prepare every night. This is frightening and without support, many young adults collapse disappointed before running back to the safety of home and petrified to try again. Best way to maturely discuss this issue is:

  • Have an adult discussion with your child and discover the reasons they remain at home or won’t leave again.
  • Concentrate on a solution and not just from the parent, but pre-empt the conversation by asking the adult child when you have this scheduled conversation they have one or two solutions to discuss with you also.
  • Find their best solution where can support them. This may include helping them sort out their financial budget, teach them to cook, pay part of their rent until they can manage it independently (for a set time).
  • Help the child develop independence as an adult and find a way for them to step into this scary adult independent world.

This is the job of a parent, help them – don’t be angry, just help them, as perhaps you are part of the reason they remain. www.drkarenphillip.com

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