The average age that children move out of their parents’ homes is getting older and older by the year and currently it’s nestled shockingly at around the age of 30. The property ladder is getting more and more difficult to move on to, and the economic climate at the moment has only made this more of a problem. At the same time people are living longer, there are fewer opportunities in the work place and education/training lasts much longer. The view of many young adults is that there is no need to move out of their parents’ homes when they could just as easily live comfortably at home while doing the same job and put aside a huge amount of money each month because they’re not paying council tax, much rent at all, bills or anything else. That puts a lot of parents meanwhile in a difficult position.
Why Your Children Need to Move Out
When your child tells you they want to stay living at home because it will save them hundreds of dollars a month, it can be a difficult case to argue against. Why would you kick your children out to live on their own when you could help them to set themselves up financially for the rest of their life? Before you can get your children to move out then, you need to understand why it’s so important.
The first reason is of course that it will give you more of a life yourself. If you’ve spent your whole life paying for your children to live at home then this will have cost you an awful lot of money as you have extra mouths to feed, higher bills to pay and generally much higher costs of living. As your children get older then, they will likely contribute towards this by paying rent, but you will still be losing money at the end of the day.
More importantly though, you will be losing your freedom. Harsh though it sounds, when you have children you compromise a huge amount of your freedom and your own youth. Gone are the days when you can host house parties, go out all night drinking, go on holiday at the drop of a hat or move to another country for a while. Of course the experience of having children and becoming a parent is more than worth the sacrifices you make, but the idea is that eventually you will be able to start living for yourself again. If your children live at home for 35 years, then you would likely be close to retirement, if not retired by the time they leave and you’ll have the aches and pains that will leave you unable to enjoy life in the same way. You need to live for you again at some point and to make the most of what’s left of your own youth.
But more importantly your children also need to be able to do all those things – and however liberal and laid back you are about them living in your home you will be stifling them. When they bring romantic partners back they’ll have to tiptoe around you, when they stay out late they’ll have to come in quietly, and when they have friends around to stay they’ll need to plan it in advance. They’ll be expected to do chores around the house and those chores will have to fit in with what you’re doing and when you’re eating etc. They might feel happy with this if they don’t know any different, but it’s really not the same as the freedom that comes from living at home. If they stay at home until they meet their romantic partner then move in together, they will have missed out on such a great time in their youth when they should have had the freedom to do what they want and to experience lots of different things – living with friends, living in new areas, and being single and free. If they don’t, then they will likely look back later in life and regret not making the most of their youth.
And finally they need the experience in order to help them make the most of the rest of their lives – so that when they do move in with someone else they’ll know about budgeting, about setting up bills and repairing their roof, and they’ll be more mature, independent and confident as a result. Otherwise their friends who have moved out already will likely be talking about them behind their back and saying how they have no experience of life, and even employers might see it as a sign of immaturity or lack of ambition and might stop them doing certain jobs as a result.
How to Convince Them
So now you know how important it is that your children move out; the difficult part unfortunately is getting them to recognise this too. The first thing to do is of course to explain all these things and why you think it’s time for them to move out – explain that you’re not casting them out and that they are always welcome to visit and that you will always be there to offer financial help or a spare room should they need it but that it’s better for them and their life experience if they go.
Unfortunately they do lack the foresight that you have – partly for the very fact that they don’t have that life experience yet. As such you might need to push them a little in the right direction by making the restrictions and the drawbacks of living at home more apparent. Of course you could do this by walking around in your underwear when they have friends round singing, or by vacuuming in front of them while they watch their favourite television programmes, but there are also some slightly more subtle methods…
• Increase the rent to something similar to what they might pay in the ‘real world’ (if you feel guilty about this then you can put that money into a savings account for them and give it to them when they rent/buy their first place).
• Restrict the number of people they can have round and the times they can come and go.
• Point out how they are now more like ‘house-mates’ and need to do their share of the chores. Enforce this point.
• Talk about the fun you had when you had moved out in your youth.
• Set the rules in the main rooms of the house – such as what television is watched in the living room.
• Give them reminders that moving out is for their own good.
• Move them into a smaller room/take away the double bed.
• Send them to university when they are young, or on holidays with friends where they can see the perks of living away.
• Help them to look for nice places and take them there just to show them.
• Help them to budget and give them financial aid if necessary.
• Buy them nice furniture etc for their future home.