There’s one question I’m often asked that I don’t really like to answer: How do I kick my adult kids out of the house. I don’t like to answer this question because my approach is about making the situation for families with adult children living at home work — not giving up and kicking the kids out. That said, I know sometimes it gets to a point where you really need to take action. So, in this video, I finally address this question. But keep in mind that the best course of action is to avoid getting to the point where you feel like you need to kick the kids out, which you can do by planning their stay well, being open in your communication, and signing a contract with each other that lays out the rules of there stay. With all that said, here’s the answer to how to get your adult children to leave home.
Margaret Wente, a columnist for the Globe and Mail, a national newspaper in Canada, today published an opinion piece about the “entitlement generation,” and how their expectations for life are rather out of whack with the realities of today’s economy, and today’s world. Among her points? A recent survey showed that new university graduates expected an average starting salary of $53,000 per year. The realities of the job market, of course, will not bear these expectations out. The question is, will these young people accept jobs they think are below them, or hold out for a job they feel is worthy? And if they do accept what they feel to be sub-par jobs, will they approach them with the openness, willingness to learn, and positive attitude needed to advance in a company, and in a career?
With these questions having no obvious answer, it’s not surprising that so many young people are now living with — and financially relying upon — their parents. Wente argues parents are to blame for the lack of ambition and reality-consciousness of their children, having told them since birth that they were successful always, even when they weren’t. It may seem unfair to let reality in to the parent-child relationship at this stage, but it truly is better late than never. If boomerang kids feel entitled to live at home until the perfect, $50K+ job comes along, they will be at home for a very, very long time.
During my post-college stay with Mom and Dad, I worked for slightly more than minimum wage at a bookstore. It was a long way from the lofty career I’d pictured, but I was, after all, 21 years old with only retail and service job experience. The high-level career job offers were not pouring in. But, I did earn some money — enough to get out of the house after eight months — and I threw myself at every opportunity that little job offered. I started a community book club. I asked to become the liaison with community newspaper ad reps, then started writing some of the copy for newspaper ads. I launched a very basic store website. I never made more than $9 an hour, but I left that job with real, relevant experience to convert into a first “Real Job,” which turned into a career. That member of the “entitlement generation” living in your basement needs to take a similar approach. And, even if you’ve coddled them all along, it’s up to you to help them see that no dream job offer is coming. To make it on their own, they’ve got to make their own opportunities. It starts by looking for a job, even if it’s not a career.
Mintel, a leading market research company, has released a report jam-packed with interesting statistics about adult children living at home in the UK. The report itself is worth a read, and you can find it here.
Here are some of the highlights:
- 27% of new university graduates will be living with their parents
- 3 million adults are living with their parents in the UK
- 196,000 adults over age 36 are living with their parents in the UK
- 45% of parents say they have less money while their adult kids are living with them
- 18% of parents say it’s more stressful with adult children living at home
What’s most interesting, though, is that while most adult children move home either because of financial uncertainty or the end of a relationship, some move home just because they want to be pampered!
According to Ina Mitskavets, Consumer and Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel:
“While millions of boomerang children return home because of financial reasons – our research reveals this is not a clear cut case, many return simply to experience TLC, home comforts or simply because they have had enough of rented accommodation – and stick around because of this.”
If your adult children are moving back home, it’s important to have conversations about expectations beforehand. if you’re expecting them to be reasonably independent while they’re moving home to soak up your tender loving care, resentment and bad feelings will be sure to follow.
Recently, I posted a video with tips on how to help adult children living at home find a job. Since this is a hot topic, I’ve just posted an article with some more details and tips on helping your adult children in the job hunt, and I wanted to share it with you. You can find the full article on my website here.
If you just want the quick ‘n dirty version, here are the key tips:
1. Help your adult child create a resume (but do NOT write it for them).
2. Offer job-searching advice (since your kid may not know how to look for a job beyond searching the Web).
3. Work your network (but get your adult child to make contact on their own).
4. The most important tip: Do not submit your child’s resume to employers, or follow up with employers on your adult child’s behalf.
Again, you can read the whole article by clicking here.
Recent statistics show that 85% of college grads move home to live with their parents for at least a little while. In this video from NTTV Nightly News, University of North Texas students talk about their plans for and experience living with their parents, and UNT’s economics department head offers some advice.
One question many parents with adult children living at home have is how they can help their adult children find a job. The key here is that while you can be a helpful resource for your adult children, you need to be careful not to do too much. You can work your network and offer job-hunting advice, for example, but you should never call a potential employer on behalf of your adult child, or actually write their resume for them. Here’s a video that offer some great tips on how to help your adult children living at home find a job:
In a recent article published by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Start-Tribune about adult children boomeranging home after college,Barbara Risman, head of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an executive officer of the Council on Contemporary Families said, “A high percentage of college freshmen say one of their parents is their best friend.”
On the surface, this may seem great — parents and kids getting along, nurturing and supporting each other. But we are not supposed to be our children’s best friends. Parents are parents, and a parent’s role is to help their children become independent. How can they achieve independence from their parents if they view their parents as best friends? And if these students do return home to live after graduating, how can the parents possibly offer the tough love that can sometimes be required to help a new grad get on their feet?
It’s great to get along with your adult kids, and offer emotional support when you can. But remember — ideally, you want your child to get to a stage where they don’t need you anymore. Make sure you encourage them to establish meaningful relationships with their peers.
A recent New York Times article featured the story of a 24-year-old unemployed college graduate who’s living at home and being supported by his parents. He was offered a job at $40,000 per year, but turned it down because he felt it was “dead end work.”
What?! This is crazy. When I graduated from college, I moved home with my parents for a few months as I regained my footing and tried to figure out what was next (I draw on this experience in my book). With an English degree, the job opportunities were certainly not falling in my lap. So what did I do? I went to work in a bookstore for $8 an hour. Sure, it was a lower-level job than I thought I’d get with a college degree, but at least it brought in some money that allowed me to contribute to the grocery bill and start saving to move out. It also allowed me to create some opportunities for myself, as I volunteered to create the store’s website, and started doing some promotional and marketing work that became the earliest pieces in my writing portfolio.
If your adult children are living at home and struggling with their job search, make sure they understand that they need to earn some money — even if that means they take a job that is not exactly their ideal position. Those ideal positions are rarely first jobs. And any job offers opportunities to build your resume, as long as you’re willing to seek out tasks that are beyond your job description.
Hey, it’s summer. If your adult child is living at home and unemployed, send them out to start mowing neighbors’ lawns! Sure, it’s manual labor, but making a few dollars is good for anyone’s self esteem. And if they come to you asking for advice about what to say to a $40K job offer that’s not exactly in their chosen field, tell them to jump on it. In this economy, we have to take opportunities when they are presented to us, and create our own luck.