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What went wrong?

Your child is in their 30’s or 40’s and they won’t move out.

If you haven’t stopped reading yet then you might be one of those that understand this is not a healthy way to raise productive children. We hear people complain all the time that our children are the “entitled generation”. It is true and we made them that way. Read my first two blogs about this subject and you will see what I mean. So if we can see this is an issue, we have to take the steps to ensure we give them what they need to become more self-reliant, productive adults.

I have had people say they think I am cruel and hurtful because I give my children a timeline of when I expect them to be out on their own. I don’t see it as kicking my kids out but rather helping them live a full and productive life. I didn’t give birth to have them sit in my home and do nothing most of their lives. If you are like me you have accomplished things in your life and mostly by jumping out there and doing them. Yes we made mistakes, yes there might have been an easier way, but we learned from our mistakes and we got better. We worked harder, learned what was important. When we only have so much money to last a week we learned that food and or transportation is more important than the next new and improved electronic gadget.

Because we have wanted our children to have better than we had, we have deprived them of the simple fact that you have to work and work hard to get anywhere in life. We have to teach them when they are in their late teens, early twenties, that the free ride ends. How you go about this is totally up to you and something you should give a lot of thought to now, even if your children are very young. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, such as handicapped children, but for the majority of children, they should be able to have a full, productive life if we teach them how. Here is what we came up with for our family and I throw it out there as a possible suggestion that might work for you as well.

We told our children that they would have to be out on their own by the time they were 25 unless they were still in school. We did stipulate that there would be a cutoff point to even that exception that would be discussed when and if needed. We have not needed to do that so far. My husband and I didn’t pay for my children’s college or university education, but we told them we would help with extra’s. They could live at home, take advantage of the free room and board, we would pay for any necessary clothing, as well as for their school books and any unexpected little extra things that came up throughout the year. So my children paid for their courses and would have had to pay room and board if they picked a school away from our area. We would pay for transportation for them to come home as often as they wished. There were 2 reasons why we picked these options. The first reason was so that they would take their schooling seriously. If they had to pay for it then they wouldn’t be partying away the hours when they should be doing homework. Secondly to teach them that nothing in life is free. If you want something you have to pay and/or work hard to get it. They were going to have to get jobs to help pay for all of this and learn to work that in and around their schooling. There are many different variations that you could work out that might suit your family better, but the point is you have to set some kind of guideline of what you expect them to do to learn responsibility and stick to it.

My one son didn’t go to college or university and decided to take advantage of our rule and stayed with us for as long as he could. He had a full-time job but due to cutbacks had been laid off and so he took the time he had left at home to work on writing a book. I give him credit though because he really did write the book. In fact, he has written 2 since and is working on his fourth. But then when the time drew near and he knew he had to get out he found a full-time waiter job that more than paid for a good apartment and the extras.

Having said all of this, don’t for one minute think we sent our children out for the wolves to come and devour. We have always been there to help our children when they hit a tough time. It happens to all of us and so they know we will help but there are two things that they have to do to get that help. First, they have to come and ask and second have to be willing to share all the facts as to what has happened for them to get in this trouble. The reason for expecting both of these things from them is to teach them. We know it is hard to ask, but if we make them ask then we know they really do need it.  And if we are willing to help them out then they have now become accountable to us for helping them out and therefore need to share what happened so if there is a lesson to be learned in it, we can teach them how not to get into this kind of situation again. If we saw they were unwise with what they had and what they did with it, we would give them a loan. If it was really a tough situation that they had very little or no control over we would just give them what they needed in money to get them back on their feet again. To my way of thinking, helping them out when needed is a healthier way of helping them be all they can be than allowing them to sit in our house and not providing for themselves in any way, with no responsibilities, and no need to make something more of themselves.

The harsh reality is that we all become a product of what we are taught. So teach your children to be all they can be, healthy, productive adults. Check Out these other articles on this subject as well.

If your older children don’t think they need to clean their room or help around the house, click here. 

If your younger children expect more toys than you can afford, or constantly want things, click here