Ask Parent Coaching: When Is It Time for Your Child to Leave Home?


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If you listen to the news or read the paper, you know that more and more kids are living at home for longer periods of time. We often hear from parents of adult children who want to know how they can set guidelines down with their older kids, and when they should ask them to leave.

If you’re the parent of an adult child who is living at home you are probably trying to figure out what your role is and what rules your child needs to adhere to while living in your home — because after all, your kid is grown up now and that changes things. You may be wondering when or if you should ask them to leave.

I can’t help but think about my father as I write this. He grew up in Italy, and around the age of 17 he came home one day to find his bags packed.  He was told by his parents that he needed to leave and that a train ticket had been purchased for him. He would arrive, he was told, at a destination where he could find employment.

For me, it is sobering to discover that the reality for him was that those decisions were made for him by his parents.  Back in those days, the whole affair transpired more like a business transaction than a sending off.  I gather that my grandparents held the belief that their job was finished, and that it was time for my father to lead his own life. That was the way it had to be — no discussion.  I also think it’s fair to say that in no way did it make them uncomfortable to approach my dad’s coming of age that way.  Their view was that life was tough for them and now it was going to be tough for my dad — and they didn’t feel compelled to soften or lessen that message. I hope I can have half as much resolve and strength when it comes time for my kids to make that transition.  I definitely would like to deliver that same message of “Hey, it’s time to make it on your own,” although certainly in a different way!

Most of the parents I talk to in this situation are extremely afraid for their kids.  As a result, some of them accept abuse and other inappropriate behaviors in exchange for the relief they experience as a result of knowing that their kids are safe and have a roof over their heads.  Just remember, there is no excuse for abuse — from younger or older kids. And in the end it won’t help your child take on life and all of its challenges.  In addition, the longer parents are trapped in that situation, the more hostility mounts between the parents and the child — until everybody may be feeling like they never want to see or talk to one another ever again!  I say “trapped” because many parents feel compelled by obligation to get their child on their own two feet, even in the face of destructive and abusive behavior.  Yet, most parents in that situation are tired of living that way.  And the child may desperately want to be independent, but probably doesn’t have the skills to live on his or her own.

It’s especially hard for the parents of acting out teens because they  lack the security of feeling confident about their child’s ability to thrive in the world.  Sometimes these parents will ask the question “How do I save my child?” followed by “Or do I even save them?”  James Lehman’s article series on living with an adult child offers such great insight on how to make the situation work for everyone. James encourages parents to view their adult child as a guest in their home and to express that openly with your child.  When you do that, you send this message: “You’ve had 18 years to learn how to make it on your own. Now’s the time to put it into practice.”

Please share your experiences about what it was like when your teenager or young adult left home or what it’s like trying to get your child to leave home.  Does anybody have words of encouragement for parents that are struggling with their own fears and concerns?  If you’ve asked your child to leave home, what helped you to decide that it was time?


As a parent coach, Tina Wakefield coached parents on techniques from the Total Transformation, as well as Empowering Parents' other programs, for over 8 years. Tina is also a mother and stepmother.

Comments (65)
  • Michelle
    Thank you everyone
  • Felicity

    PT 1 - FED UP

    I'm in a different situation; I WANT my son to leave! He is nearly 18 and I feel 80% ready for him to leave. I've raised him mostly alone and commmited to it even though it meant sacrificing a lot. It was worth it, but that stage of nurturing has passed and he's a pre-young adult.

    I've had to grieve the loss of the dependent child and being together a lot. I accept he doesn't need me to the level he once did, though he does still need my help at times and it means we're both preparing to do our own thing which is strange at first, but normal!

    This past year he's gotten more independent, working and driving, it helps with maturity plus gives me more time and energy and kind of have parts of my old life back!

    We discussed him wanting more freedom and I gave it, but I gave a bit too much, lol! I had to pull back control as I realised I was getting so resentful and hating his behaviour; it was abysmal.

    Once I could admit it was largely my parenting style; I tried to tweak the errors on my part. It was hard putting in boundaries, but I did it and it calmed things down, as he was slacking off in things like basic house care and self care.

    BUT now I am just plain tired. Tired of setting boundaries and asking for completion of things or home help. He's capable of doing more but isn't proactive; not without a big reward or a big threat to motivate him. It's so draining.

    I know I'm only ever talking about chores and shouldn't need to ask for simple things to be done 5 times! I have to change my attitude and expectations in dealing with it. But also there are his choices and his consequences.

    I'm at the point I'm not prepared to take his attitude or demeanour. I'm tired of him blaming me, not taking respsonsibility and acting like his life is so hard.

    As you can probably tell by the tone of this message I'm over it. I don't often enjoy our time together and I don't bother initiating much, as he moans so much. I don't have the energy to keep adjusting myself, trying to be positive or encouraging, when he doesn't deserve it OR I simply don't mean it.

    It can be hard to relax when he's home and there are other things I want to do without having someone in my space. Especially who doesn't respect the house is a SHARED home. He is so resistant to helping out that I can't be bothered asking anymore.

    It's time for both of us to have space, lots of it.

  • Felicity

    PT 2

    I'm not worried at all about him in the 'real world'; I've prepared him where I can, with regular life skills - like cooking, laundry, banking, car maintenance, job advice.

    But the rest he will be learning the hard way; he even said that himself recently - that I don't need to hold his hand, for that very reason. He knows enough to earn income and lots of friends he can lean on. Not many family members but enough.

    I told him I'm tired of the resistant reluctance... and I really really am. I don't need to put up with it and it's not helping him mature.

    I feel it's almost time for him to go and it will suit us both. I spent enough years living with people I don't like and trying to fit what they need and want, so my tolerance level is very low.

    It may sound harsh but I'm not prepared to do that again from here on, even if he's my son, we're also people. And he soon reaches the age where he's technically an adult.

    This certainly doesn't apply to every situation or family, but I think it will be best for ours. I'm exhausted and unhappy. He's unhappy too. My ability has run out!

  • Jimbo
    My son got into a living together relationship and it ended poorly, with debt and emotional abuse. Eventually, I allowed him to return home for 6-8 months and he now has a job but isn't living up to our agreed on situation and is being abusive to me when IMore speak about expectation. He has all the normal 20 somthinglisted complaints and guilts me out regularly. He lived with my ex after our divorce for years and has adapted well to HER style, but I am the Tough Love guy, not the pushover mom. I get mad at him occasionally, but he really needs to stop pushing my buttons toander me then claim he is the victim. His mom's normal approach. He refuses to behave by the verbal agreement we made over the phone before he came back. I need an acceptable consequence that the police will accept. Asking him to leave is a farce. Police will make me let him right back in while he laughes in my face. What is a legal consequence that can be enforced?
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Welcome to Empowering Parents. I can understand your frustration and concern. The transition from minor child to adult can be a challenging one for both parents and older teens. We hear from many parents of adult children experiencing similar issues. We have a few articles (including a free living agreement) that you may find helpful here:

      We are not able to answer questions regarding legal matters. I encourage you to speak with a legal professional about what your options are as they would be more familiar with the laws in your area.

      We appreciate you reaching out. Take care.

  • Rip Washington

    Sought out this article because I feel guilty. In 2 weeks my (new) wife and I are moving to an apartment, leaving my twin daughters (20) to fend for themselves in the home of my late wife.

    My wife of 25 years died of cancer in 2013. It wasn't a particularly loving marriage; my wife ran the house and raised our daughters. Having little say so in the relationship, I maintained a low profile in the basement. I would emerge only to work or perform whatever task kept me out of hot water. Most of those tasks consisted of chauffeuring the girls to and from their various appointments.

    The minute I was informed of my wife passing I immediately knew I had a problem on my hands. I understood that my years of "going along to get along" rendered me ineffective as a parent. To make matters worse I developed sciatica just prior to my wife passing.

    To make matters worse still, my eldest daughter committed suicide several months after my wife died. So I'm left with 2 17 yr. olds and a 13 yr old. At first it wasn't so bad. The twins took the money they received from insurance (approximately $60,000 each) and went away to college. I got a therapist for the youngest daughter, put her money away in a trust fund, and proceeded to raise her as best I could. Fortunately, physical therapy got rid of the sciatica. I thought things were going well.

    The thought the youngest daughter and I got on quite well. I knew she had difficulties coping with losing her mother and big sister, but she seemed to be in relatively good spirits. She was even invited to accompany a group of students on a week long trip to Europe. It was even nicer to receive occasional visits from the twins, though I later learned those visits weren't particularly helpful.

    Fast forward 2 years and the twins money is gone. It's my fault because I didn't sign paperwork authorizing student loans. So the twins return home bitter, angry and verbal. They complain about me not supporting them in college. They complain that the youngest daughter's needs aren't being met. They begin cursing me and trying to provoke me to hit them. In short, the nightmare I anticipated had arrived. I think worst of all, for them, was bringing another woman into their mother's house. I began dating again in 2014 and remarried in 2016.

    So, now I have company in the basement while my daughters take control of the rest of the house. Making far less than my late wife, I couldn't afford the house we shared for over 25 years, but I sought to hold onto it as long as I could for my daughters. I was delaying the inevitable.

    When I got a call from the high school that the youngest had verbalized committing suicide I knew my household was not a healthy environment for her. As she had already expressed not wanting to move with me anywhere, I began making arrangements to have my wife's neice assume custody... a whole different nightmare. But the twins, now 20, seem quite content to remain here to frequently remind me of what a terrible father I am. After one particularly nasty episode of doors slamming and tongue lashing, my wife and I decided it best to leave.

    Despite all this, I feel guilty because I have doubts about how the twins will survive. Sure, they have close relatives from their mom's side of the family but I don't know what assistance will be available to them. I told them last year I intended to move and reminded them several weeks ago. They've made no effort to find suitable living arrangements. I know I've done the best I could, but I can't help feeling bad about leaving them.

  • robin getsi
    I would like to get some advise on how to talk to and respond to my two sons. one is a father at 18. the 17 year old has informed me that he is gay and lives accordingly. I also have a12 year old girl.which im very concerned about beingMore exposed to some of the lifestyle choices that are being made by yhe older two . I have made my concerns very well known. only to be met with refusal to stop certain behaviors. neither of the older ones work and I am disabled. I pay all of the bills buy all of tge food do the house work etc . I have dicussed the impact of their inactivity in depthn without much improvement. I see the situation rapidly getting worse. they are my grandchildren .I have had custody of them since the oldest was 9 months old. ive never received any child support. the parents dont work and the dad lives in a tent in the woods in the county where we liven I am terrified that the future may hold a simular lifestyle if changes are not made now. im considering moving out with tge 12 year old. I worry about the effects that all of this had on her. she helps around the house. she has began to mimick them in ways such as being disrespectful to me and I kniw that it will have a lasting effect on her. any constructive advice
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear how concerned you are about your grandsons, and the choices they are making, as well as how that might be influencing your granddaughter. Since your oldest grandson is legally an adult, anything you choose to provide to him at this point is considered a privilege, including aMore place to live. If you do not want him to continue living in your home, you can set that limit with him. Since your other grandson is still underage, this might not be an option for him since you are legally responsible for providing for him. If you were to tell him to leave or refuse to support him, you might face legal consequences as a result. I also encourage you to keep in mind that while your grandsons might be influencing your granddaughter, she is the one ultimately responsible for her own behavior. You might find some helpful information on how to move forward in No Such Thing as a “Bad Apple”: Fix the Behavior, Not the Kid. I recognize what a tough situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
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  • Mybelovedismine
    My evangelical pastor parents decided they were done parenting when we finished high school at 17yo too. They deny we were kicked out but we were told it was time to move out and that we were on our own now. Each of us was led to believe the olderMore sibling/s had left voluntarily so it was a huge shock to be kicked out without warning. We had no good relationship between siblings as our parents are severely abusive, textbook malignant narcs. The front they present to the world is a masquerade. Unfortunately for me I became deathly ill and making a very slow recovery when my time was up but this made no difference, I was also made to leave. They "generously" helped me go on disability and find a place to rent and then left me to it. We had moved to a new city and I knew no one and couldn't yet drive and could barely walk. I also became the victim of sexual assaults from a person within our church circles who followed me to the new place and continued to abuse me as I lived there on my own completely vulnerable. I will never ever do this to my children, but then, I love them and act like it. I will never put them out on their own without means. I will certainly prepare them to live in the world and become independent and confident and foster a hunger for their own lives and families but they will always find love and a safe place with me.
    • Felicity
      That sounds very painful! Sorry you had to go through that family and sexual abuse. I hope you are doing better now... as horrible as some people are, I can partly relate to your experience, but am learning there are good people too. Hope you have found some or will.More :)
  • Clare

    My son is 27, this past september. He carried on with an online sexual relationship for almost 8 months, on our home. We asked him to move out or stop...he moved out, found out she was still married, after months, returned home...he had started drinking, she was doing pain meds legally, smoking, and drinking. She was 48. .. months later they move in together again, as we refused disrepect, and online relationship in our home. He was paying 100$ a month towards utilities. My son at 17 went through the system for a burglary charge at 17...his friend left him Adderall when leaving for the army ..key was moved so my son broke in the window,.the rest is .history.(Drug related friendship)

    So by 1 year on parole, my son cleaned up....4 years doing well..then this...she is unstable. We did not agree with the skyping....the age differences, he is respecting the boundaries. Why is he with a basically 50 year old woman?..she has 2 sons in their early 20 s. We have told him it is unnatural. She had 5 online sexual relationships before my son. He says we all make mistakes and loves her. She wants to marry him. He is our only child...granted adult child.. ï am sad for him, I sense fully she is immature, both have extreme sexual abuse in childhood..what can you say to help me...with acceptance, boundaries, ..I am angry, but have it under control. I feel she is a full force predator. My son went through 7 rehabs by 20 years old, addictions, as well as going through the final rehab...treatment, D.O.C

  • Old Grandpops
    jela001  You are not alone. Let your child develop their muscles to live on their own. We did. What I find amazing is when I back off they find a way to live on their terms. Sometimes it can take awhile, but each must find their own path. Yes,More love them. But don't do it for them. They need to learn how to do it themselves. And yes, in time they might even thank us.
  • Normaltown

    My youngest daughter is 17 but turns 18 in Dec. Her Mom and I are going thru a divorce and is working out great for all. As the Dad I was told I was the problem in our marriage from my daughter. It's been a year of separation and found out the problems are between my wife and my daughter.

    Since Christmas this has occurred with daughter:

    - pot found in dau car on school grounds

    - spended for rest of year but able to finish 11th grade thru on-line courses

    - she is so far being with the online classes she may be doing summer school

    - gone from home, no one knew, sheriff office called in. Next day made joke about her phone not charging

    - Her Mom took her car away until she gets caught up with classes

    - today I found out she is at a friends house but hasn't returned txt or calls

    Right or wrong, I'm wanting to prepare her move out of the house when she is 18. I will drop her txt and Internet abilities on her phone. I will ensure she has the ability to call especially for emergency.

    I've always told my kids if going to school u are welcome at home but it can be a party pad. I offer to help with their first month rent and deposit (1 time) only if they are leaving on a happy note. If not, they are on their own.

    I know there's no magic parenting book. I'm open for any suggestions, complaints, ideas. This is my first post..bare with me. Thanks for taking time to read my post.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You’re right. Kids don’t come with instruction books. Things

      would be so much easier if they did. As it is, it can be challenging to know

      what steps to take when you have a child who acts out and doesn’t meet even

      basic expectations like completing school work or coming home when she’s

      supposed to. From what you have written, it sounds like your daughter has been

      trying to blame you and/or her mother for the choices she has been making.

      Truth be told, your daughter really is the only one responsible for her

      choices. As parents, you can help her develop necessary skills and give her the

      tools and opportunities to be successful. What she does with those things

      really are up to her. It seems as though you have clear rules and boundaries

      around what your children need to do to continue receiving support from you

      once they turn 18. That will definitely be a benefit when your daughter does

      finally become an adult. Until that time, I would encourage you and her mom to

      have well defined parameters for expected behavior with specific consequences

      if those parameters are not respected. You might even consider developing a

      written living agreement, as discussed in the article Ground Rules for Living with an Adult Child (plus Free Living Agreement). Even though your daughter is not yet an adult, this may give

      you an idea of what types of rules you would like to put in place while she is

      still living in your home. We appreciate you writing in and sharing your story.

      Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • FLYCAL123
    AnotherMother Thank you for posting this. This is actually almost verbatim what I'm dealing with right now, but with my 18 year old son. Before reading this I had just had the conversation with my son about leaving the house after he graduates HS in May. I do have muchMore guilt, and know I will worry sick about him when he goes, but I have to have peace in my home! I'm tired, my husband's tired and the siblings are tired.We have gone above and beyond to help him make his way, only to be verbally disrespected, stolen from, he's destroyed property, abused drugs and like you, caused a trip to the emergency room, among a whole host of other infractions. I'm sad he's made the choices he has made, but I truly feel I've done everything to support him and given him the tools to make better choices. Thanks again for sharing, the timing was perfect!
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Parenting adult children does offer some unique challenges. This is
    especially true when there are mental health issues present. One thing I think
    is important to keep in mind is how our role changes when our children become
    adults. All of your children are adults and allowing them to continue living in
    yourMore home is a choice you make. Once your child turns 18, any support you offer
    is a privilege.  This is true regardless of any underlying issue that may
    be present. It may be of benefit to look into available community supports, such
    as assisted living placements, job coaches, or family support groups. Many
    communities have housing and job support for people with physical disabilities
    or mental health disorders. The 211 Helpline, a nationwide health and human
    services referral resource, would be able to give you information on available
    community services. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling
    1-800-273-6222 or by logging onto
    They may also be able to offer information on financial services that may be
    able to help you figure out what steps you can take regarding the car payment
    and your credit. I appreciate you reaching out to Empowering Parents for what
    sounds like a truly challenging situation. Good luck to you and your family
    moving forward. Take care.

  • Fed up mom


    I want to print out  your post as's like you are writing down everything I have been going through and thinking. I have a 19 year old son that has become very disrespectful not mention selfish with 2 babies that have been in my place for months.  I am the bad person but yet he will not leave.  Not trying hard enough to find a job just completely stopped doing that and does not have a high school diploma.  Reading your post AnotherMother along with this article has really opened my eyes to what I need to do and that is live my own life.  Thank you so much for posting.

  • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

    To desperate mom: It’s very difficult as a parent to watch your child make destructive decisions with his life when you know that you have raised him with different values. It is completely understandable that you would feel overwhelmed and exhausted after dealing with this escalating behavior over the last 6 years. James Lehman reminds us that anything we give our kids once they become adults is a privilege, including living at home. We support you in asking him to leave your home since he is engaging in destructive and illegal activities, and we understand that this is a highly emotional decision for many parents. We recommend trying to look at this situation with your son in an objective way, and what we find can help is imagining how you would handle this if it were someone other than your son doing these things. How would you handle another employee who did not come in to work on time, if at all? What would your response be if a neighbor came into your home and stole cash or personal checks? We encourage you to let your son experience the natural consequences of his actions, because ultimately these are his choices. You cannot control what your son does; you can control how you respond. I am including links to some other articles you might find helpful as you continue to work through this difficult situation. We wish you the best; we know this isn’t easy. My Child Is Using Drugs or Drinking Alcohol—What Should I Do?

    Is It Time to Call the Police on Your Child? Assaultive Behavior, Verbal or Physical Abuse, Drugs and Crime

  • desperate mom
    I came across this tonight as I'm desperately seeking answers and options to our situation. My son is 20 yrs old and we have had issues with him for the last 6 yrs in and out of detention, drugs, stealing from us etc. We entered him into aMore church program a year and a half ago for 6 months as a last ditch effort to keep him out of trouble. When he came home things were good for a while. 1st goal was to get a drivers license, he still does not have one b/c he doesn't want to do the 2 week course. We gave him a job at our business to earn a paycheck. The last 6 months things have been going down hill fast. He doesn't come into work unless he feels like it,x maybe two or four hours at the most. Sometimes non at all. We found out that he heavily into prescription drugs. He has become very distant and avoids us if possible. I cant keep any cash in the house. Now I'm finding out that he is stealing personal checks and cashing them. I want him out of the house. I feel like ive done everything I can for him but I'm tired. How do I go about this. I need to fire and get him to leave home. I feel like a terrible parent Bc I don't think he will make it on his own.
  • gorgeous
    Just read my post, sorry it is so rambling and the spelling is terrible! Just wrote as it came to me. Anyway I hope it helps someone. I love her to bits and she loves me. (actually having a facebook conversation with her as I write this). We are veryMore alike, which doesnt help! I also have a calm logical fella to help me. We were too soft on her when she was little that is our conclusion. By the time we realised it was toooo late!!
  • gorgeous

    Hi Our daughter is almost 26. She was a handful from 14. Handful is a polite way of describing her. Foul mouthed, answer for everything, trouble at school, drinking, all the things you associate with acting up teens. We went to a counseller to see if that would help. In the end she turned 18 we found a room in a persons house who were short of cash and we paid the rent on a room for her. It was painful to do but a relief too. After that she got a job and her own bedsit. Lived like a slob but that was up to her. Our relationship was better. She could do what she liked and then deal with the consequences. When she was 19 she moved in with her boyfriend. They also did a bit of travelling in Europe and worked and played hard in the summer at different music festivals. We live in uk.

    The boyfriend was finishing his degree. When they split up she was heartbroken and came home for a few months. Not very enjoyable to be honest! She has had quite a few jobs over the years in fashion retail and at 21 decided to do a degree in london. She got onto the best degree in the world for her subject,Fashion management we were sooo proud of her. We have no money so she was given a government loan and bursary but we still helped out with the cost of transport and the deopsit on a room in a flat. Anyway to cut a long story short she has now jacked in the degree four years later! Should only have taken 3 years but she has had to redo two years because the lecturers and course were crap, not her on no always someone elses fault as usual !!(£30.000 in debt government loan not a lot to show for it) However this summer we again had to practice tough love even though she is 25!.....

    She decided to give up the room in London for the summer and basically travel, go to festivals and sleep at friends houses.(we didnt know at this point that uni was over!) We didnt think this was a good idea but its her life! We are festival caterers so the summer is totally full on for us. She did a few shifts with us and a few barshifts to tide her over, just. In September she was at ours and had been for a couple of weeks. She was getting mouthy and taking things for granted, not doing her dishes, loosing her key... we pointed out that she was 25 and we didnt expect her to act like that her reply was that she was only 25!!! Any way in the end we said if you dont like living here why are you? Then we went a step further and said she could stay for 3 weeks to sort out her return to london (not to take advantage and party) then in future we would love to see her but for no longer than a week at a time because we couldnt get on for longer.

    Well she didnt stay for 3 weeks to sort out her return to london! She didnt talk to us for about a month but we are friends on facebook so I always know where she is! She stayed in her grannys vacant house for 10 days and i saw her briefly, she said she needed some time to get over the situation! I wish i had said "YOU need time what about US!!" but |I wasnt quick enough. She is in love and has decided to move in with her boyfriend in Leeds (city up north from us).She came around the other day to collect some bits and peaces and we got a hug - she had a stinking cold and was feeling sorry for herself! plus which we are off to Asia for 3 months over xmas and shant see her so maybe it was a genuine hug! she is still abit frosty but she is happy to get a house and move in with her fella. If shes happy than what more can i ask!?

    She has always had a chip on her shoulder about us moving her out back at the beginning and that she no longer had a bedroom at home. She has been gone for almost 8 years Im sure shell get over it but time will sort it and i think until she has her own family she wont understand. Hope that helps!

  • Thelighthasgoneout


    I do not like my 23 year old son's girlfriend. He has been with her for 6 years. Although they both work and make good money, they both live at home. In my heart I feel she is not the right person for my son, he has gone from a fun loving individual to dull and boring, just like her. She's stiff and moody and not many people like her. I just can't see why he stays with her. He was always popular and a great athlete, everyone likes him. He deserves better, but can't seem to see it. He knows the way his dad, his older sister and I feel, but doesn't seem to value our opinion. I can't believe that this girl will probably some day be the mother of my grandchildren. Ugh.......Help, I am making myself sick over this.

  • Trollman

    Hello Everyone!

    Read through all the coments made, found some parents are more aware of the problems of adult children failing to launch. Some of You start to address this matter from children age 17.

    We have a 35 year old who just wont budge. When I first met my wife she had bothe kids living with her age 27 daughter and 29 year old son.

    Unfortunately what was presented to me was a lie, I was told they lived with her but were self suficient (paid their own expenses) the truth was her ex husband still gave her support money for the kids even though he had left home 10 years ago. Six years have gone by and sure enough the daughter found a job, went to live with the boyfriend, married for one year then boomeranged back home. Again out of the house and earning well. The son, however, never left and is now 35. Refuses to get a menial job because he has a degree in journalism. Doesn't write

  • D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor
    To "Help from Indiana": We appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us. It's understandable you would be upset about the situation. I'm glad to hear that you recognize how difficult this is for you and that you're taking care of yourself by reaching out for support.More You want your son to be happy and successful and it sounds like you have given him many opportunities possible to do so. Unfortunately, he has not chosen to avail himself of those opportunities. As difficult as I am sure this decision was for you, it really is the right decision. Your son is an adult now and, as such, is responsible for his choices. At this point, it's up to your son to decide where he's going to go from here. It’s normal that you’re finding this to be painful even though you have decided it’s the best decision and have the support of others. Good luck to you and your family as you continue to work through this challenging situation. Take care.
  • Help from Indiana
    We have given our 27 year old son 7 weeks to move out of our home! It is now 3 weeks away until the date and he hasn't taken any steps that I see to make that happen. He has not worked for 3 years and he stole over $3,000More from us(A little at a time) in the last 6 months. Stealing our credit cards, checks, pawning my husbands wedding rings and coins! We have tried to help him before all this lending him money, he has been on probation for 2 years(and has not offended) for smoking pot, now he smokes"spice". He only leaves the house to take a friend to work and his friend gives him money for gas and cigarettes!His room looks like a cycolone has come through it. We barely have enough money now to make it week to week. He has drained us physically and emotionally! I have tried to help him get counseling but I don't even know if he attends his sessions!I told him if he doesn't leave peacefully we will get help to make him leave!I have got counseling for myself through a paster and he supports what we're doing. I plan on giving him a gas card when he leaves.We have been told were doing the right thing but I'm just sick about it.I would welcome any comments, positive or negative on what were doing. I love my son but he's taken me to a place that I can't help anymore! Thanks for listening, my heart is broken!
  • D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor
    To "ecs3871": Thank you for sharing your story with us. I can hear how difficult this situation is for you. We talk with a lot of parents of adult children on the Parental Support Line who are in similar situations. It sounds like you have set some clear limits andMore firm boundaries with your daughter, which is exactly what we would suggest. It also sounds like you have given your daughter many opportunities to make a better choice and turn her behavior around. As difficult as it may be to have your daughter leave your home, keep in mind it is due to the choices she has made. The rules and expectations you have for her are not unusual or excessive. As you stated in your comment, your daughter is now an adult and, as such, is a guest in your home. You are not asking anymore of your daughter than you would a guest in your home. As James Lehman outlines in his article Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part I, an adult child should only remain a guest in your home by following those rules and expectations. You may also find the other two articles in this series helpful as well: Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part II: In Response to Questions about Older Children Living at Home and < a href=""> Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III: Is It Ever Too Late to Set up a Living Agreement? I hope this has been helpful. Take care.
  • ecs3871

    I am the stressed parent of a 19 year old young woman. Living with her has been a lot like riding a roller coaster for the past two years. She is attending a local university as a commuter student. Her grades are excellent, and she holds down a job to cover her gas costs.

    Our issues are strictly related to the home environment. When she opted to live at home, we told her that she was no longer a child, but was an adult guest in our home. While we would help her with school, we expected her to assist with responsibilities at home and to abide by certain behavior guidelines that reflected our family values with respect to the fact that there are younger children living in the home.

    We agreed on certain chores in return for room and board, and we told her that we expected the respect of knowing her plans and what time she expected to be home at night. We expressed that there would be times that we expected an earlier return due to our work schedules and need for sleep, and that if her plans changed she needed to advise us so that we would not worry. We did not want underage drinking. We did not want overnight guests without our okay, and we did not want overnight guests of the opposite sex unless we were hosting a late night party for several young people with prior approval.

    Our daughter follows our requests for a period of time. Then she backslides, and we revisit the guidelines. There is always tremendous drama and the proverbial "I am an adult and I should be able to do what I want when I want. I am trapped here by you, and you shouldn't be controlling me. I am a good student and I deserve to make my own decisions and come home or not come home as I want." We fight about this for a few days, it settles down for a few weeks, then it starts again.

    In May we had a huge explosion, and she left home. She called about 48 hours later wanting to return, and we sat down and told her she could come back with conditions. No more ranting and raving at us. Same guidelines apply. She was to see a physician for evaluation and take steps to get counseling. (We have a history of mental health issues, and many of her arguments/demands seemed irrational.) She agreed to our terms, and we welcomed her home.

    Things went well for a month. For the past two weeks, she has been backsliding again. Last evening she refused to tell us when she would be home, and we told her to not be too late. She came home around 2am. We confronted her, and got the same response as previously noted. We told her it was time to leave. We let her stay the night, and she is supposed to leave this morning. I don't know where she will go or how she will manage, and it scares me to death. But we can't keep doing this over and over again either. It's not good for anyone. I guess my biggest struggle has been with setting these guidelines for a young adult. Are we expecting too much? It is very hard to be in this situation.

  • jace
    I have 2 daughters 20,23. The 23yr old is great to have around the house. She helps when she can. She understands that she is an Adult and needs to be on her own; but cannot afford it because of College. That's totally fine with us! The youngerMore daughter,age 20, still thinks she is the "princess of the house". She rather thinks the world revolves around her. She goes to college; but stays out until midnight or 1am with friends or Boyfriend. When she is @ home she is most always in her room on her Laptop "doing homwork" [if you can call facbooking homwork]. She does get the homework done; but, at a snailpace. Her room is a pigsty. She refuses to clean it because she states she has no time to [her studies and friends and little babysetting job has taken all her time and she is just too exhasted]. We've allowed her to attend camps (over the summer) that she has promised to pay some monies back now that she has a babysetting job -- we've seen nothing. All of her monies go to her new boyfriends baby & her friends. She once again has promised us to have her room cleaned by this weekend in return for allowing her to go on another week summer trip. This promise was not kept. She treats our family like we are her "Subjects". She is nice when she wants money or clothing. Anyother time we "walk on egg shells around her" anything or word will set her off and she will blow her top again (very colorfully). so when she gets back from her trip we (My husband and I) have decided enough is enough! She may be too old to be restricted to the house; but the car she drives is still ours! This is totally in our control. We are taken control of when and where she drives it! If additudes show their colors, then her car goes bye, bye and she's on the bus. This is until she learns to clean her room and show the family some respect.
  • D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor
    To “Nawnie": This is a really tough situation. It sounds like you're really trying to support your son but are having a very difficult time with your current living situation. Focusing on what you can control instead of trying to convince your son to leave his wife is probably goingMore to be most effective in this situation. As Debbie Pincus would suggest in her article Adult Children Living at Home? How to Manage without Going Crazy, ask yourself, what are you ultimately responsible for? Ultimately, it's your house; you get to decide what the rules and expectations are. You might consider establishing what James Lehman calls a living agreement. This is a contract that would be developed between the three of you that outlines what everyone's responsibilities are and what will happen if these responsibilities aren't met. You may have to decide whether or not your son and his wife can continue to live in your house if they don't keep up their end of the bargain. Only you can decide if that is something you're willing to follow through with. There is a three part article by James Lehman that may give you some ideas on the best way to address this situation. You can find them by following these links:
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part I
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part II: In Response to Questions about Older Children Living at Home
    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III: Is It Ever Too Late to Set up a Living Agreement?
    I hope this helps. Good luck as you work through this difficult issue. Take care.
  • Nawnie
    Help! My son and his wife moved in over a year ago. He is in the air force and she doesn't work or anything. It is very getting more difficult to live in my own home. My son is a hard worker and often works very long hours.More His wife just sits on the computer and eats all day. Seriously, she has gained a good 75 pounds since moving in. She won't clean up after herself, leaves the bread open, leaves empty containers on the counters and in the refridgerator. She doesn't cook, not even for my son. He does his own laundry and when she does hers, she leaves them in the dryer. I tried to talk to my son about the situation but he won't say anything to her because it always starts them arguing. I am absolutely astounded that a person can live like this. The don't sleep together...he sleeps on the couch due to her hygiene. How can I get through to him to send her packing. This is his second wife. The first wife, unfortunately cheated on him while he was in Korea and he thinks if this marriage doesn't work, then he's a failure. Please help!
  • helpwanted

    I have a 20 year old son who went off to college this fall on a full athletic scholarship. Got arrested thrown off the team and is now home. He has been verbally threatening to me has stolen small amounts of money and is engaged in off and on drug use. He was recently diagnosed with depression and an attachment disorder(he was adopted as an older child) Hes bright and talented was a star in both in high school but the son I had seems to have gotten lost someplace. We have had to start to treat him as if he were 12 refuse to pay for his cell phone ect. Lately he has just been taking off at various hours and then showing up 12 - 18 hours later just wasted. He has threatened to punch me in the face one to many times. We feel like we have to ask him to go but its also clear he has some severe mental health issues. He refuses to get treatment .

    Time to let him go? We are so scared as to what will happen to him

  • Menumorut

    You people are obviously NOT into history. You see, history tends to REPEAT itself. It used to be that way back in the Stone Age, families stuck together in order to SURVIVE. A son would marry a girl and bring her to live with his parents. The dwelling was enlarged, and things were added on to. This type of co-habitation lasted for THOUSANDS of years, beginning to decline in the later half of the 17th century. That is NOT to say that certain individuals never left home, many did, but the norm was to take over your parents home once they passed away.

    In Roman times, housing became very expensive and children tended to live with their parents out of sheer necessity. This trend is RETURNING now, despite the fact that people these days prefer a quiet, personal space type of house to live in. If you own your home, I am not encouraging you to keep an adult child that quite clearly sponges and mooches off of your kindness, but do keep in mind that in times gone by, living at home was the NORM.

  • Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor
    Hi Holly. Thanks for sharing your story. It can be so hard to support your spouse when it feels like you aren’t even in the same book. I just wanted to share some other articles that might be helpful in giving you more information and ideas. We wish you andMore your family luck as you work through this. Take care.
    “My Blended Family Won’t Blend—Help!” Part I
    “My Blended Family Won’t Blend!” Part II
    Differences in Parenting? How Your Child May Be Using it Against You
  • Holly

    My husband and I married in May last year. When we married it was just us and my 13 year old son living together, and while we had our “moments” for the most part we were doing great as a blended family. My husband is on a disability pension and I work.

    In October last year my husband’s 20 year old son and his wife moved in with us “to get on their feet”, and I was an advocate of this. His son (who was raised by his mother) had not finished high school, had been in and out of jobs – either because he got mad about something and quit, or because he was fired – and he and his new wife were couch surfing from house to house with no place of their own. I wanted to help give them a chance at life.

    The plan was that his son would get his GED, find work, and that they would save money to establish their own place. It has nearly been six months, and he finally got his GED done last week. The whole time they have lived with us, his son has worked 6 days, at the end of which he quit because he got mad at a co-worker.

    In addition to not working outside of the home, they have also not worked inside the home. Sure, there is the very odd time where they have cooked a dinner (usually because they don’t like the healthy meals I prepare), and the odd occasion they have done dishes, cleaned their room etc, but really in the overall scheme of things, they do nothing. They stay up all night playing games, sleep all day, hole up in their room from the time I come home til the time I go to bed, we barely speak to each other when we do see each other (partly my fault because I have nothing to say to them that they are going to like), when they have had food stamps, or some small amounts of money come through their hands, they use it to take off to friend’s places for the weekend rather than contribute to the house.

    Now I am all for tough love – I also have a 19 year old daughter and had to apply a lot of tough love principles with her when she was 17, and as a result she moved out, and has become a very independent, responsible young lady – I’m proud of her! So, it is no skin off my nose to lay down my rules in my house with my step-kids. It doesn’t bother me one bit whether they leave the house today or not just because they don’t like it. In fact, I want them to move out, because I don’t believe that it is going to get any better.

    My problem is that my husband does not agree with the tough love principle when it comes to his kids. He has all kinds of excuses and guilty reasoning for their behavior. While he does not like what they do, and actually gets depression about it all, he believes that they are adults and that we cannot tell them what to do. He also is afraid of them leaving home. This has caused terrible strain on our marriage as my husband now believes that I am the one with the problem because I get angry with the status quo and want it dealt with. On the other hand, he does apply the “tough love” principle to my own son with the reasoning that he is 13 years old and not an adult. When I try and broach the issue of double standards and not being consistent with the rules and display of respect required, then I’m told that I’m comparing “apples with oranges”. It has gotten so bad between my husband and I that he has mentioned divorce on a number of occasions – rather than dealing with the problem of his children.

    I never wanted to be the wicked step-mother, but it looks like I am going to have to stand up against the WHOLE house, including my husband on this issue even to the point of losing my marriage, a prospect I find quite daunting. But for me, I rather not feel like a stranger with no voice, or control, in my own home, than live like this. I also don’t want my son raised with double standards.

    I’d love to hear if anyone else has dealt with a similar “step” situation, and how you handled it.

  • momneedsabreak
    I have allowed my son who is 23 to move back home a year ago. I even gave up my bedroom. He had just started another job and didn't have the income to move on his own. I didn't mind helping him get on his feet, but now he isMore making a livable wage from what I have seen on his check stubs and I have asked him to find his own place. He is actually making more then I do. I do not feel like I should be expected to allow him to stay until he pays off his student loans and buys a new car. I did all these things while I had him and his brother living with me. I am almost 50 and I would like to have my own room. I think I deserve it. But yet people make you feel obligated to keep your kids home until you finally have to move out your self. Which will happen eventually if he doesn't go..and I'm taking my 56 inch plasma with me.
  • christian1971
    Times sure have changed. I was telling several kids in their early 20's that back in the 70's and 80's some children moved out on their own at age 14. In fact, it wasn't unusual for a parent to lay a suitcase on a child's bed upon their 18th birthday.More I am 40 now and when my father and I had a fight in 1993, I felt embarrassed that I was moving out at the late age of 21 though I had the money to leave as early as 16. However, I just couldn't find a way to tell my father that I wanted to be independent. It was nothing against him, it is just that I enjoy my freedom. Ironically, there was a television series called Get a Life that portrayed a 30 year old named Chris who had a paper route and still lived at home. It was comical in the late 80's because it was almost unheard of to have someone at age 30 stil living with their parents. Now, it's no big deal. In the end, everyone has to leave the nest; it's better if it is sooner rather than later.
  • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor
    To 'Garandma full of love': It is a tough situation when an adult child moves in with you, and that is increased even more when grandchildren are involved. Kim Abraham & Marney Studaker-Cordner, authors on this site, talk a lot about the parental ATM, which is the emotional buttonsMore kids know how to push in order to get what they want. It sounds like your daughter knows which buttons to push in order to get what she wants. We recommend looking at your own boundaries, and what you are (or aren’t) willing to live with when it comes to your daughter in your home. You do have the right to set some limits around things like childcare, housework, and/or contributing financially to the household. It will be up to you to determine where to set those boundaries. It will be uncomfortable for your daughter when you start to set those boundaries, as you will be changing your usual response. This is OK-people don’t change when they feel comfortable and things are working well for them. I am including a link to a recent article series Kim and Marney wrote about adult children living at home that I think you might find helpful:
    Failure to Launch, Part 1: Why So Many Adult Kids Still Live with Their Parents
    Failure to Launch, Part 2: How Adult Children Work the "Parent System"
    Failure to Launch, Part 3: Six Steps to Help Your Adult Child Move Out
    Good luck to you and your daughter as you continue to work through this.
  • Garandma full of love
    My daughter is 26 and has a 3 year old son. She has always, even as a child and teen, been very self-absorbed, even entitled. I didn't want to believe that but everyone saw it. I am divorded and live alone. Since I have moved into this home, a locationMore she has always wanted to live in, she has hounded me to move in and I have always put her off due to her attitude toward me and her lack of caring about taking care of any responsibilities around the house at all. I also have taken care of my gransbaby at her beck and call, and if I say no she makes some comment about my inflexibility or my lack of helping her. Basically trying to make me feel selfish, not realizing that when she leaves, which is daily, she will say it's for an hour or two hours, and will not return for six or seven. When I try to play with my grandson when she is here, she rushes to the room and distracts him immediately, taking him out of the room to do something without me. When I speak to her she ignores me as if I said nothing. She"ll run to the store and ask if I need something, I'll tell her an item, and she comes back with her usual purchases and when I ask where my item is she replies she didn't get it because it isn't on her regular purchases so she didn;t look for it. If she does speak to me it is to ask me to watch my g-baby, or to order me around, even though I am not willing to participate in the orders, or to snap at me because she doesn't feel like hearing my voice. She was only suppose to stay until Jan. and her way in was to say she wanted to try to work on our relationship...she manipulated my emotions on a subject that means something deeply to me. Not once has she spent time trying to do anything near work on that. I have, but she shuts me down if she realizes I am talking at all. I do all of the housecleaning, laundry, and she doesn't even pick up after herself or her child because cleaning is not important to her. Help, what to do???
  • angie
    I have two adult children living at home son 26 next week and daughter 24 in April, I got them through college and university plus driving test. I though if they passed there driving test it would inspire them to find a better job and move on and out.More But no both happy to have me driving them to and from their part time jobs. I argue with them constantly, I put my food down and told the to sort themselves out once and for all, my husband won't stand by me, he thinks it ok for them to be still at home... He says there is no full time jobs....I would understand this if they had tried... I desk like giving up and walking out...I'm beginning to dislike them all :- (
  • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor
    To 'trybestmom': It is so hard when you try to provide for your son, only to be met with disrespect and blame. If your son is getting violent with you, we advise taking steps to ensure your own safety. This might include calling your local domestic violence helplineMore to devise a safety plan, or calling your local police. There’s no excuse for abuse, and you have the right to feel safe in your home. You can reach your local domestic violence line at 1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233), or through email at National Domestic Violence Hotline. When things are calm, we recommend talking with your son about what your expectations are for him, and what your limits are. For example, you might talk with him about getting a part-time job in order to help pay for some of his own living expenses, or help him to work out a budget and what he will be responsible for. If he is used to having everything handed to him, this might be a good beginning step. As for learning to appreciate what you have done for him, as James Lehman states, don’t hold your breath. Know that appreciation usually comes much later, and it’s pretty normal for 18 year olds not to acknowledge the sacrifices their parents have made for them. I am including links to some articles you might find helpful:
    Failure to Launch, Part 1: Why So Many Adult Kids Still Live with Their Parents
    Failure to Launch, Part 2: How Adult Children Work the "Parent System"
    Failure to Launch, Part 3: Six Steps to Help Your Adult Child Move Out
    A Message from Janet Lehman: Does Parenting Feel Like a Thankless Job? (Then Read This.)
    Good luck to you and your son as you continue to work through this.
  • trybestmom
    I have a 18-year-old son who is a college student and receiving full scholarship, but I still need to support him partially for living and food. He is a very negative kid, introvert, lack of self esteem( socially) although he has done great in his high school. I haveMore been working very hard to try to help him through his life, I am a single mom, his dad rarely see him. He blame me and disrespect me on every possible chance. but expect me to give him what ever he ask for financially, treating me as a " bank". some times, he even get violence. I came to U.S. from Asia when I was in my late 20's, study and work very hard, able to provide him very good life. However, at this point, I think is time for him to stand completely on his own feet and learn to appreciate what I have done for him, any suggestions? thanks
  • sad mom
    I am a mother of a 19 year old son who I love with all my heart. At 18 he got sick of me yelling at him to go to school and help around the house so he decided to leave and live with my Best Friend. HisMore entire life my ex tried to tell me to make him be more responsible by holding him accountable for his actions and I just took up for my son until it ened my 10 year relationship. He lived with my best friend for a few months and my brother gave him a car and I got him a job where I run the company. One day he sends me a text telling me hes sorry he just does not want to work there any more and walks out at lunch. He has been living from friend to friend house. he sent me a text on the phone that I still pay for and told me that he needed a place to live and told me that i threw him out and this is all my fault. I told him he could come stay with me but we were going to the Marines and signing up the next day. He has refused to do that and now has had his car towed. He is making horrible decisions and making me feel like this is all my fault. I am sticking to my guns and I am not letting him come home but everyday he sends me hurtful text telling me he is never going to speak to me again and he cannot believe that I would just throw him out in the cold. I cry everyday and night and I am sick about the entire situation. He is lazy but very smart and I can only pray everyday that this will make him see that the world does not hand everything to you and make him a productive adult. I love my son more then anything in this world and pray this does not end our relationship forever. I hope I am making the right decision for him :(
  • Grandparent Interference
    My 19 yr old just moved out of the house tonight. I feel guilty about feeling relieved from all the stress and drama she was causing me and her 10 yr old brother. Ever since she was getting closer to 18, all I've heard is how she isMore independent and has no privacy and can do what she wants and I can make no expectations on her--yet the expecation from both she and her grandparents (my parents) are that I'm to put up with her disrespect, abuse toward me and her brother, and continue to provide support to her. I am not allowed to make expectations of her for paying bills or helping out around the house. My parents always expected me to take care of myself and I did, yet they undermine my parenting in expecting my daughter to get out of the nest. I appreciate all of the comments shared on here. I have been very stressed out, walking on eggshells, and unhappy with the living situation for a while now. It finally became unbearable today when my father called me up to yell at me for failing to place my daughter's insurance card in her vehicle and placing her at risk for being arrested when she was stopped by the cop recently. I am constantly accused of trying to control and hang on to her when that is far from the truth. I put her cell phone, car and insurance in her name as soon as she turned 18. I have tried to get her to go away to college or move into an apartment and she refused. I finally had to ask her to leave today and go live with her grandfather. I feel like a weight has been lifted in my home yet I feel guilty for asking my own child to leave. Your posts have made me realize that this needs to happen for her to take the next step in growing up. Before I die someday, I need to know that she is making it on her own. Keeping her at home wasn't helping her.
  • KarenDee
    I sympathize with all that everyone is going through, as I have two young adults ages 19 and 21. My 19 year old daughter has been a challenge since she was 11, she is very headstrong and stubborn, defiant, inconsiderate, selfish, and has a bad attitude towards her familyMore most of the time. I understand that she has some issues with self esteem and the fact that her dad has never really been in her life, but I have done my best to love her and raise her right, albeit I have not been correct in doing so all the time. My child esteems others outside of her family more and chooses to spend time with them instead of us. I can't advise her or tell her anything, for when I do, she protests it and blatantly does the contrary. She went to jail last year for bank fraud (according to her she didn't know she was committing a crime). Of course, I bailed her out, paid for an attorney, and SHE still owes the City money as part of the deal made between the prosecutor and her attorney. In high school she complained about having a 12am curfew, but I stuck to it,now her curfew is 2am and she tries to push that sometimes. All I require from her is a phone call to let me know what's going on, or a quick text if she might be late (but I don't even stay out that late!). I am Christian and she has gone out and joined a false religion/belief and came home mad at me for having her baptized and taking her to church when she was younger, disrespects the bible, says it's worthless and won't even read it because her "cult" teaches her to read their "true gospel" only, for the bible is "corrupt". So now I'm dealing with a mind controlled, seriously irresponsible young lady who listens to the voices of others who mean her no good, who has recently moved out. I gave her the option of staying but abiding by the house rules of respect, courtesy, cleanliness, contribution, OR find one of your friends to squat with. She chose the latter and has been gone going on two weeks, from house to house, surviving on donations of money from friends. She doesn't want to talk to me or call me, only thing she will talk to me about is if her financial aid has come, or if I am ready for the cult to come sit down and talk to me. She even tried to make "bargains" in my home saying "If you listen to the M------ (the cult), then I will listen to you". I know it's hard for you all, because it's hard for me, but I think when your adult child gets so besides themselves that it keeps your nerves on end and you can't sleep at night, and they think they are YOUR's time to go! My oldest who is 21 but still in college like my youngest, only lives with me because he helps around the house, knows when to hold em and fold em, is looking for work, and has absolutely NOWHERE to go, unlike his sister. He's almost finished with J.C. and hopefully he can find work, I don't mind if either them stay as long as they show respect, courtesy, kindness, clean up, and contribute to the bills in the house. But that's asking for too much, right? Lol...children.
  • Cafetom

    Hey there,

    I am living with a 17 year old daughter who reminds me that in 3 months 1 week and 1 day she'll be 18 and she can do whatever she wants.

    I say that is absolutely true, she can do whatever she wants, but not in my house. I share with her that while she has this idea that her 18th birthday is her independence day, it is also mine!

    While she hasn't broken any of the house rules, she seems to think that when she is 18, there is nothing more I can say about anything. On the contrary, I share with her, the rules will suddenly change. When you are 17 and break the rules, I can ground you and take things away. BUT...when you are 18 and decide to be free, I can pack up your stuff and set it outside. Now...while I really don't want to do this and want compliance, I have to be ready to follow through. THAT is the tough part.

  • Mick

    I find this article extremely interesting. At 17, I bought my first place just a few weeks after graduating from high school. Notice I said "I"? My parents co-signed the note, but I did it on my own. I never returned to my parent's home no matter how tough it was.

    I married at 21 and started my own family at 24.

    Now I'm a single father of 3. My oldest is 18 and although she has not been in a whole lot of trouble outside the home (apart from extremely poor performance in school), she has been rotten at home for years. I've had enough. IF she is still living in my home at high school graduation in May 2012, it will be a miracle for her.

    I look around and watch in horror at how my friends coddle their kids (some until they are well into their 20s) and I cannot understand what these parents think they are doing to help their kids. Do they seriously think their kids are ever going to learn how to stand on their own two feet if they "keep" them?

    That's how I see it. Children today are "kept" not raised. As a society each generation has gotten progressively more focused on instant gratification and thus, spoiled the next generation. Kids are being taught that "as long as I feel good, we're 'tight'". So they learn to buy themselves happy. Wake up America!

  • EZonYOself...

    Dear Lola, My heart breaks when I read that you are housing not one, but two grown adults that are mutually disrespecting not to mention taking complete advantage of what appears to be persons whom love and care very much.

    And not to add to your feeling less productive in your rearing of "adult kids", I will say , "YES" "Enabling", you are. I'm terribly sorry! But, I feel you really already know this, otherwise you would not have not included it in your statement.

    My son is 28 and living with me all the while attending a Methadone clinic every AM and I might add he's very punctual at a early AM of 0430-0630 AM. "BUT, it's helping him to get off the other stuff!" OK! What!? Whatever!

    My 24 year old son is in jail as we speak. He was in a intensive program to improve his life through rehab. NOPE! Didn't work! Not the programs fault. NOT MY FAULT! Although, we are so clever at finding ways to conjoin what's happening to them is some how connected to us?

    Somewhere...along the way..we found a way to become guilty in our actions and what we do or what we did with our children.

    The bottom line is..That time has passed and we are done raising them. Grizzly bears will bite and rip away at the young bears trying to get food from thier mother. They CHASE them off! Young birds learn to fly and fetch for themselves and leave the nest. Wild nature is sooo much kinder. I feel we have allowed a toxic society of BRAT KIDS to prevail.

    After the heart break of my kids and questioning whether I was a good enough parent?I raised my two boys by myself. Held down two jobs and went to school. Became a Firefighter/Paramedic and YES..My kids at times raised themselves. I'm not proud. BUT...I'm now 51 and YA know....If they want to hold a grudge...they hadfood on the table and the BEST of everything. I LOVE THEM. But...I have my own life and they NEED THEIRS!!!! LOVE TO ALL!

  • Lola

    Hello. Your site is very helpful. Thanks.

    We have an adult son (32)who has made some bad choices. Late high school and college, he began drinking excessively. When he completed college, he had a difficult time holding jobs, drank more, and ended up in alcohol rehab (which we paid for.)

    When he left rehab, he moved back home (has a written behavioral contract) and we helped him with some of his bills. He was able to land a great job.

    He is now sliding somwhat again. We had imposed a curfew of 1:00 to keep him off the streets. Gradually, he began coming home later and later. Now, he spends some weekend nights out and comes and goes as he pleases during those times.

    Are we being unreasonable? We are trying to get him on his feet again. But he now seems to be taking advantage of the situation. Incidentally, he pays no rent.

    Our 30 year old daughter also lives with us, works, and pays no rent. She is anticipating an engagement.

    As I write this, I feel that we have really enabled our adult children! My abusive dad kicked me out of the home so early! As I look back, it probably was for the best. Though, at the time, it was so hurtful!



  • Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor
    To ‘momofmany’: Thank you for your question. It sounds like you are feeling pretty torn about this. Here’s the first thought that comes to mind for me: your daughter seems to currently have no financial responsibilities-- you say that you pay her living expenses and her income is hers toMore “play” with. My concern here would be that she may not have the skills to make it on her own once you get her started, and that you would end up more financially burdened than expected (i.e. bailing her out when she is short on her rent payment). Of course, I may be wrong; she could be very responsible with money and may even have some money in the bank. Regardless, what you do here is completely up to you, a personal decision to be made by you and your husband. What would be helpful is for you and dad to think about what your goal is here. What do you want your daughter to learn? If you can agree on a common goal, you will be in a much better position to come to a solution together, though some compromise may be necessary on both sides. Here is an article James Lehman wrote about parents not being on the same page: Differences in Parenting? How Your Child May Be Using it Against You. We wish you luck as you work through this.
  • momofmany
    My 19 year old daughter wants to move out and does not have the means to do so. She is attending community college, has excellent grades and works part time. We pay for her living and college expenses, her earned money is hers to play with. Yesterday she approachedMore me to ask if we would be willing to support her financially while she gets a new job that can cover her living expenses. I have not even discussed this with my husband. The past year has been difficult, her behavior is questionable at best. Part of me wants to have her out of the house just so that I do not witness her lifestyle choices but part of me is afraid of what her future choices may be. I am inclined to help her move out, I am certain my husband will not be. Comments or suggestions?
  • Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

    Dear MimitoBrendan:

    If you want your son to live with you, it is reasonable that he should be allowed to come home as long as he is following the house rules and contributing to the household. Your family has gone through a lot of hardships lately and there must have been a lot of demands made on everyone. It can be really hard to give both your kids attention when there is one child that is very ill and needy. There’s nothing wrong with asking your son to help out but it’s probably too hard for a 17 year old to think only of others and not his own needs. And if he has been “the baby” as you say, he may not be used to a leadership role in the household and has felt overwhelmed or resentful. That doesn’t mean he should not be helping the family. Just acknowledge that it is stressful and can be difficult for him—just as it is for everyone in the family. We wish your family the best.

  • MimitoBrendan

    I have a 17 year old son. He decided two weeks ago that he wanted to move out. This was after I confronted him about something serious (I won't go into details). he got upset, walked out and I didn't see him again until a week ago. He texted me when he got to his girlfriend's house & said "I know you're going to be mad at me, but I am (girfriend's name) house. He said he's been wanting to leave for a while anyway. We had some family issues in the Spring of this year. My daughter (who is his older sister) was diagnosed with fungal meningitis and we almost lost her. He missed the last 2 months of school because of that, he took it very hard, they were best friends. She came home from the hospital at the end of Sept. She has no use of her legs, limited use of her arms. I know this has some to do with it, and she has an 18 mo. old son who he helped take care of while my husband & I worked. This is all we asked him to do, since he isn't in school nor does he have a job.

    It breaks my heart my baby isn't living with us & his sister misses him terribly, but what do I do? He says he's going to come back, but I don't know if I should let him. Should I use tough love & tell him, you made your decision so stay? Or should I give him one more chance & consider this his "break" from all the stress we've been through this year? He's a pretty good kid for the most part, it's just that we have enough on us right now taking care of our daughter who is bedridden to taking care of her son & both working full-time.

  • domba

    My partner (Bob) and I (we are a gay couple) have lived together 12 years, and his 32-year old married daughter (and her large dog) moved in several months ago. She is going through a divorce, and we offered her a place to stay until she gets back onto her feet. She is employed (actually has a well-paid job).

    We are trying to navigate the difficult path of taking care of ourselves and our relationship, and at the same time providing support for her. At one point we tried to make her comfortable by saying that our home was her home (Not a good idea!)

    We soon ended up walking her dog, taking the dog to the vet etc, tidying up fafter her, moving her car out of the driveway so we could get our cars out, etc. Now we have decided to change tack. We are treating her as a guest in our house (rather than saying it is her home).

    We are also trying to bring up the awkward topic of when it is she plans on leaving. We brought it up for the first time yesterday, and there has been a lot of tension in the house since. Can a 32 year old become a teenager? I told her, in as kind a way as I could, that we needed to know this.

    I suggested that she might consider February or March as a deadline (she has been here two months). She can certainly find her own place between now and then. Hopefully I can set a more specific deadline (say end of Feb), and stick to it.

    This is a great web site. Thanks you.

  • Pellegrm
    I am a single Dad and my son is twenty now and still living at home with ne with no real income as well. He is in and out of college but does not seem to have the desire to stay in school. Can't seem to find a decent jobMore and I'm not sure what to do right now. Do I continue to throw tuition money out the window or stop dragging out the inevitable that he is not going to finish school? And what about getting a real job? How can he do that in todays economy? Any advice?
  • Carole Banks

    Dear Atwhatage:

    You ask a great question, but there really isn’t a specific age that a child should move out of your house. It’s up to your family to decide what’s best for your child and you. Some families choose to continue to live together because the child respects the rights of the parent to set standards in the home--and follows those standards--the parent respects the child’s right to live as an independent adult, and the child shares in the cost and work of maintaining the home.

    If you feel it’s time to discuss with your child his plans for moving toward becoming more self-sufficient and independent, there is some help on this web site. James Lehman has written a set of three articles on how to talk to older kids who are still living at home. These articles can be found by searching under ‘older children’ in the ‘Global Search’ box on Empowering Parents. They are entitled: ‘Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part I’; ‘Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part II: In Response to Questions about Older Children Living at Home’; and ‘Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III: Is It Ever Too Late to Set up a Living Agreement?’

    We wish your family the best. Let us know if we can answer any other questions.

  • Atwhatage
    At what age is the age to tell your adult child that he/she should move out? My son is 22. Has a job and goes to school on and off. He seems undecided about it, and now thinks he wants to go into the service. He needsMore to lose a few pounds to do so but just doesnt seem serious enough to either go into the service or focus on going back to school. I've told him that before too long he will be older and if doesnt do something about school/work now he will just be older and in the same position he is now. At what age do I tell him that he needs to move out on his own and figure it out from there??
  • Tina Wakefield


    We see many parents welcoming back adult children to live at home with them temporarily. It can turn out to be a very stressful arrangement for everyone involved. You sound hesitant to voice your concerns or to talk about how the situation is affecting you. It sounds like it's important to you to support your partner in helping his son, yet you are finding it to be a source of conflict. You have to determine whether or not you are comfortable sharing with your partner what your experience has been with this issue. Those kinds of conversations can certainly be difficult! It might be helpful to know what you are trying to accomplish by having the conversation. Would it be to get support from your partner or would it be to see what might be helpful to your partner in dealing with his son, for instance. Ultimately, it is a personal decision. I will include some articles about older children who are living at home. They may give you some ideas about what the discussion could center around. I wish you well in figuring out what makes the most sense for you in approaching this dilemma.

  • sunbeam79

    I am 48 with two children who have graduated from college, however; my daughter has moved back in with me in order to find a job. I am dating a man, whose 25 year old son lives with him. The son does not work, sleeps all day and is not living a productive lifestyle. He has not gone to college and does not know what to do with his life. This is a source of stress for me in this dating relationship. What should I do? I dare not comment on anything unless to offer support.


  • reblica
    My son turned 20 in July and just asked me today, "what if I never moved out and just lived here?" He was told last month that his daddy and I would give him ONE year to get his ducks in a row. He works, is almost done w/hisMore associate degree, but has a pending DWI, some social anxiety and little ambition. He's done some street drugs in the past to help him "cope", but refuses to be on RX meds for anxiety. He doesn't date, but would if he had the courage. He's not abusive, just stubborn, procrastinates and spends most of his time on the computer, gaming, down-loading music, etc...just not growing up. I want him to move out for HIS sake, but I do fear his safety due to his anxiety and the occasional depression. His friends are in the service, married, off to college or have moved away from our small town. I don't want to further "handicap" him. Is there anyone else that HAD an anxious, sometimes depressed adult son that FINALLY moved out and made it?
  • Mary
    I have a tough time with this one. My daughter 19 has bipolar and has definite issues. But she does have a job, is abusive, refuses therapy or school. She also hangs out with drug users and is irresponsible with money. My inclination is for her to go. ThatMore is what seems best for our family. I have given her a deadline. Tough love is tough. When she wants help, I will be there for her.
  • Tina Wakefield


    There is no question that when you have an adult child who also has a child, that can really complicate the whole situation—especially emotionally for you. I talk to a lot of grandparents who would do anything to ensure that their grandchild is being cared for properly. I don’t know how long you’ve been dealing with your daughter coming and going, but it sounds like you are ready to take this huge step of allowing her to take on more responsibility. You can still offer her support; it will just look different than your prior arrangement. Please let us know how it goes.

  • Tina Wakefield

    Tough Love:

    I think this is such a great illustration of taking the risk as a parent that your child will be okay on their own. I would say that it’s probably extremely uncomfortable for both sides at first, but it sounds like in your situation it really paid off!! Perhaps your son was forced to make better choices because he wasn’t in the comfort of your home. I think it’s also important to note here that you still have a relationship with your son -- and it sounds like he enjoys sharing what success he’s having. Thanks for your comment.

  • laomelai
    Just want to say that this article really hit home. I have a 23 year old twin daughter who has moved in and out and now back threatening to leave again. She has a 2 year old son (he is the reason I have let her do this). The secondMore time she returned she said she was going to help me financially since I help her with the baby. She does work and take classes on line. It has been the hardest thing I have done. Lately she has taken to verbally abuse my son (16) and myself. I am drained because she has not helped financially or physically. She about to recieve a lump sum of money towards the end of August and now is threatening to leave. After reading this article I think I need to embrace the fact that she is leaving. Thank You
  • Tough Love
    My son was 17 yrs old at the time. He was failing in every subject in school. He was always getting taken off the schedule at work because he and his manager were always getting into it, he was disrespectful to me, smoking weed, drinking liquor, smoking cigarettes, and stayingMore out as late as he wanted to. I wrote him a letter one day and told him how much i love him and how talented he is but i told him that when he turned 18 which was in a month's time that he would have to move out or go to Job Corps. I attached all the info he needed to get started with Job Corps and I told him that I would help him thru the process. I would check back with him periodically to see if he had contacted Job Corps and I would also let him know that I wasn't changing my mind about him moving out. At first he said he was going to move out but then he realized that the people he was hanging out with did not want him to come and live with them. He decided to go to the Job Corps interview and I went with him. At Job Corps they told him they didn't want him to come to Job Corps unless it is something he wants to do and he said he wanted to do it. He continued acting out until it was time for him to leave but I pretty much laid off of him because I knew he was leaving soon. However during this time, his bad behavior created an opportunity for me to make it plain to him that after he went to Job Corps he could come home to visit but he could not come home to live with me again. Now he is at Job Corps getting his GED and learning a trade. When he comes home to visit he seems more focused and more calm and he is respectable. Last night he called me and he said someone recommended him to be in charge of making sure that the guys do their dorm chores/clean up. I am sooooo proud of him and he is much better off than he was when he was in the comforts of my home. Be encouraged. Trouble don't lasts always.
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