It was a pleasure to appear this morning on the Global BC Morning News to talk about how to deal with adult children living at home. You can watch the entire segment below.
Here’s a video from The Wall Street Journal that summarizes an article the WSJ ran about parental involvement in their millennial children’s careers. I have to say, it makes me cringe. I just can’t imagine how being involved in your child’s job interviews, performance reviews, or salary negotiations can possibly cast a positive light on your child’s ability to perform a job independently.
I often say that although the current economic situation is one main reason why adult children move back home, the changed relationship between the generations is another important factor. Young adults today simply view their parents as more rightly involved in their lives than young adults did a generation or two ago. At age twenty, those born two generations ago were having forming new nuclear families with their children, not holding on to their parents. Their offices might have had “bring your child to work day” but never “bring your parents to work day.” It’s a huge cultural shift, and it will be interesting to see how it progresses. Will the millennials continue this trend or swing back the other way when they have their own children?
Here’s the video:
In 2011, I appeared in the documentary Generation Boomerang about, well, the boomerang generation. Tonight, the makers of that film are premiering their new documentary — Generation Jobless — on CBC’s DocZone at 9 p.m. PT/ET. I know I’ll be watching, and if you’re in Canada, I’d suggest you watch, too, especially if your adult kids are struggling with unemployment or underemployment. Here’s some information about the new documentary from the filmmakers’ press release.
UPDATE: Generation Jobless is now viewable online within Canada at http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/ID/2330990900/
Today, the unemployment rate for Canada’s twenty-somethings hovers just under 15%, which is nearly double the national average. Why are so many of today’s college and university graduates unable to forge their way into the job market? The new CBC documentary Generation Jobless takes a critical look at the growing problem and the serious ramifications it will have on the lives of every Canadian regardless of age, gender, education or income. Can we fix a broken system or are we destined to betray an entire generation?
Generation Jobless explores the harsh realities Canada’s twenty-somethings face when they try to gain a toehold in the workplace: unprecedented competition from their parents’ generation, and an economy that is being transformed by globalization and automation. Generation Jobless also looks to Switzerland for a solution, where youth unemployment is 2.8% — the lowest in the developed world. In this country, a strategic alliance between government, educators and employers ensures that almost all young people find their place in the job market. If Switzerland can achieve this, why can’t Canada?
Several experts weigh in on what many are calling the most important social issue of our time.
You can watch the trailer for Generation Jobless below.
Tide has a new commercial showing the parents of adult triplets — who have all moved back home — doing those triplets’ laundry. I understand that Tide thought this was a cute play on their previous commercial that showed parents of baby triplets struggling to keep up with all the laundry they produced. But yikes! I have heard far too many times about parents (usually mothers, if we’re being honest) who start doing their children’s laundry when the kids move back in as adults. This is such a bad idea. Adult children living at home are adults and need to deal with basic adult functions like doing their own laundry. So, go ahead, watch the commercial below and chuckle (or cringe). But whatever you do, don’t take it as parenting advice!
Because the trend is so visible, we often end up focusing on boomerang kids — adult children who have moved away from their parents’ home and moved back in as adults, often after college, the loss of a job, or the end of a marriage or live-in relationship. But there’s another group of adult children living at home, of course — those who never left. Maybe they went to a local college, or lived at home while going through an apprenticeship or training program. Or maybe they’ve just become a bit stuck because they don’t quite know what to do with their lives, and they have a comfortable nest in which to linger. How do parents help these adult kids get on the path to independence?
In some ways this is harder that dealing with boomerang kids, since there is no clear moment at which to have a family meeting that sets out the rules/expectations for the adult child and develop a timeline for their stay at home. But in some ways it’s easier, since the relationship will have evolved slowly rather than been faced with the shock of an adult child returning home who has developed habits and become used to the patterns and behaviors associated with living independently.
Ideally the family should still have this kind of meeting — the challenge is figuring out when it is appropriate. For some families it may be as soon as the child graduates from high school, while for others it may be after college graduation. But other than the timing of the meeting, all the strategies stay the same: Figure out the adult child’s financial impact on the household, figure out ways to mitigate that, assign the child a financial responsibility, discuss acceptable behaviors and expectations, and determine an acceptable length of time for the adult child to stay at home. Then, work on developing a reasonable timeline with some meaningful goals and milestones along the way to help the adult child
achieve independence by that timeline.
Remember: The parents’ main job in parenting any adult child is to help the adult child get to the point where he or she doesn’t need to depend on the parents any more and can live
The video below talks about dealing with adult kids moving home after college, but I’ve set it to start part-way through so you can get straight to some tips that also apply to setting expectations for adult kids who have never left the nest.
If you’ve got new college grads moving back home this summer, you might want to check out the quick tips in this video to make sure you’re prepared for this new living arrangement.
Last year, I was pleased to be featured in DreamFilm’s documentary Generation Boomerang. It’s an interesting, in-depth look at the trend of boomerang kids. Tonight I settled in to watch DreamFilm’s precursor doc: Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids. It’s a look at the lengths to which parents are managing their children’s lives and setting the standards for their achievement. The experts seem to agree that this micro-management of children’s lives deprives them of the opportunity to develop the decision-making skills and confidence they need to succeed as independent young adults, while at the same time giving them a strange kind of over-confidence that doesn’t fly well as they try to enter the workplace as young adults… and even well into adulthood, leading, of course, to boomerang kids.
I have to say, I knew many of the statistics mentioned in this documentary, but it still blew my mind to see the pattern playing out in real families. Some of the real shockers:
– A family spending $4,000 on a one-year-old’s birthday party — because turning one is a “milestone achievement.”
– Teachers talking about parents being upset when a child brings home a 98% grade.
– Parents being hugely involved in students’ university careers, including logging in to their student accounts to monitor their grades, and threatening university management when their kids don’t like profs.
– Parents trying to attend their kids’ job interviews, negotiate salary, and the apparently common trend of parents going with kids on their first day at a new job to set up their cubicle!
– A 27-year-old quitting a $90,000 job that wasn’t a “good fit” to try to start a business with no clear business model, ending up declaring bankruptcy and living on friends’ couches, but still refusing to give up “wine, coffee, and pedicures.”
You can watch the trailer for Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids below, and watch the whole doc online at http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/Doc_Zone/1242299559/ID=1405930535.
I tend to get asked the same questions over and over by both parents and reporters, so this week, I’m posting answers to these common questions here on the blog. I hope you find these Q&As helpful. If you have your own question you’d like to see answered on the blog, please leave it in the comments or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s question: Should adult children living at home pay rent?
Answer: Every family will need to work out a budget to determine how much the child should pay, but I definitely encourage parents to charge rent of some sort. It will not likely be market rent, as the adult child is probably living at home to save money. But there should be some sort of financial contribution for a couple of reasons. First, it realistically costs money to have the adult child live at home in terms of added heat, electricity, food, and so on. Second, it helps the adult child get into the pattern of having a monthly bill to pay, which they will when they eventually manage to move out. And third, it’s actually helpful to the child’s self-esteem to make a financial contribution to the household. Make sure to put a budget together so the adult child can understand their financial impact on the household, or they may end up under the mistaken impression that it’s free for the parents to have them live there.
Here’s a video of me discussing this topic.
Want to learn more about this question? Download my free report from the right column of this page, or check out my book, The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home.
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.