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It Is The Parents Fault When Your Child Won’t Leave The Nest – Guest Post

This is a guest post from Hank who blogs about money at Own The Dollar.

You are doing your children a disservice by supporting them into their adulthood. When they are 18 years-old, you do not owe them anything anymore. Cut the strings as soon as you can or you will have immature, financially needy children that are not ready for the challenges of the real world for decades to come.

Too Much Stress On You. These are supposed to be your golden years. You have earned the right to relax in retirement. Too many older Americans are putting off retirement to support their adult children who are not financially fit to stand on their own or who do not want to stand for that matter. Many Baby Boomers have found themselves continuing to work in jobs that they do not like anymore in order to help their kids and grandchildren.

Do not get me wrong. I am not opposed to a little help when times are tough and the unforeseen emergency strikes the family. Your kids are family after all. But, I am appalled by the lack of respect and consideration many young adult children are showing the parents that raised them by overstaying their welcome at home and/or milking them for everything they can while living the high lifestyle.

You Won’t Be There Forever. Eventually you are going to die. I’m sorry to say that. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but it is an unavoidable fact. You are going to die. And, then what are your dependent, grown, adult children going to do then? They will not be ready to operate as a fully functional member of society. Even grown children need to make a few small mistakes on their own before they are ready to step out on their own.

A Need To Be Strict. Many children take advantage of the generosity of their parents. And, it is the parents fault for letting it go on so long as well. When my mother graduated from high school in the 1960’s, my grandfather gave her two options. They were to either get a job or go to college.

If she went to college, my grandparents would pay for four years of education, no more, no less. If she choose to go to work, my grandfather knew the foreman of several local factories in their hometown, and he would have her a job ready for the day after her high school graduation. These were strict options, but these were fair options too. And, the children knew the options well in advance of graduation day.

The Third Option. There was always a third option for my mother as well. She could have said no thank you and moved out on graduation day to fend for herself. Those first two options were contingent on her being welcome to live for a little amount of time in my grandparents’ home until she could save enough for a place of her own. There is always a third option of standing on your own.

Fallback Position. Like an army about to be overrun, many young adults view moving back in with their parents as their fallback position. Today’s parents need to take a play out of General George S. Patton’s playbook. There is no fallback position…not one that drastic at least. Maybe there is an alternate position of staying for a few weeks until you can find an apartment paid for by your own job. But, parents are not doing their children a favor by letting them move back home indefinitely or by subsidizing their lifestyle.

No Subsidies. Parents are not the federal government. There is nothing written when you receive your child’s birth certificate that says that they deserve for you to pay their electric bill, car insurance, or rent after they graduate from college and get their own job. Our children are not learning how to budget their money and spend less than they make because they are used to living a higher quality of life than they deserve thanks to parental subsidies. Many college graduates earn their degree and think that the world should be handed to them on a silver platter. They forget that their parents spent decades saving, investing, earning raises, etc. to live the lifestyle that sent their children to college in the first place.

Parents try so hard to raise honest, hard working, and decent children. And, then the parents fail the children in the prime years of their young adult lives by not cutting the umbilical cord. Young adults will continue to have financial problems until they can stand on their own two feet with financial independence. After college, our children need a little more tough love and discipline instead of parental subsidies and free handouts.

This is a guest post from Hank who writes about personal finance and investing on his blog, Own The Dollar. You can also check out his RSS feed to see his latest posts or follow him on Twitter.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Financial Samurai December 2, 2009 at 8:50 am

This is an interesting topic that dove-tails with “The Bank of Mom & Dad” topic.

I heard that 30% of young adults up to age 25 still live at home with their parents. Yes, there are a lot of deadbeat leeches, but the economy certainly isn’t helping. What say you?
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Domain Name Investing 101: Online Real Estate as an Asset Class =-.

Jenna December 2, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I have three children. The oldest is in grad school been on her own for awhile now constantly asks for hand outs and help to get her thru graduate school and wonders what her fall back will be if she can not find work after graduation. I understand her point of view, but I also understand this article all so well. I have been working since I was 11 years old. (she has worked since she was 14 but lives way to high of standard and is unwilling to compromise on it) She will be 24 2oon.Whenever she runs short she runs to her biological father and he pays.
The middle child has worked very little about one year part-time and that is all he is constantly being subsidised by his real mom he is 23 thinks life owes him a ton and is only willing to work part time sometimes.
The youngest is 22 he is finishing undegrad and planing on going on to grad school he got married and her family takes care of everything they live way above their income, he works and goes to school she does nothing but her family does pay. All three of these kids live way above their means , they will never move back home due to the fact that if they lived with me it would me a massive step down for them. None of them know how they will make it next month but then they always seem to pull through. Blended families add to the problem when you have done the tough love and taught them well they often work on others to get the cash they need to continue the lifestyle.

dawn December 2, 2009 at 10:19 pm

I agree with your piece 100%.
I think too many parents have created young people that totally have an “entitlement” attitude, lack of life skills, and poor money management skills.
I did the same as your grandfather did with your mom.
Four years of college … no more.
In fact my youngest graduates this May and we have already gave him notice he needs to move-out June 1st.
I believe in helping as best as we can when a true emergency arises. ( But without tidying up all the loose ends for them either.)
And I have always stressed that it is my and my husbands responsibility to prepare for our retirement … not subsidize their 20’s.
Good piece!!!
.-= dawn´s last blog ..It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? =-.

Lauren December 3, 2009 at 1:54 am

I guess I am one of the young ones. I am extremely thankful that my parents encouraged me to consider my options before I had even fnished high school. They gave me a one year limit to stay at home. During that year I worked, discovered I hated retail, and then applied for university. The following year, I moved to the capital city, got a scholarship and worked hard for 4 years on my degree. I have just finished, I will be graduating in 2 weeks, and am about to start a job as a social worker (my dream).

Many of my fellow students who are also graduating, are still living with their parents, and are absolutely freaking out at the idea of having to look after themselves. Many don’t know how to even go to a bank, or make themselves a doctor’s apointment. I find myself giving advice to them about basic things that I had to learn years ago. I feel very secure with my life, and I am very thankful my parents didn’t let me have the easy way out. I doubt I would have even gone to university if they had let me stay living at home.

Don@Moneyreasons December 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Times are tough in the midwestern region I’m from. Many students are having a hard time finding a job.

I know of a lot of parents that are supplementing they kids independence by paying them anywhere from $100 to $500 a month. That’s a costly way to get them out of the house 🙁

These will definitely be good techniques to use next year, when the economy is roaring again (keeping my fingers cross)…

Hey FinancialSamurai, nice Stats!!!
.-= Don@Moneyreasons´s last blog ..The Power of Spot Budgeting =-.

James December 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Hey All,

I’m with FS on this one. Economic conditions have a lot to do with this.
.-= James ´s last blog ..Things You Really Don’t Need =-.

Financial Samurai December 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Jenna – Time to cut your kids off! 🙂
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Tuition Hike For The Poor Is Like A Tax Hike For The Rich =-.

Hank December 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

I think that Dawn hit the nail on the head. It is an entitlement mentality problem more so than the economy. The recession has a little to do with the problem but not much. Parents use the recession as an excuse or a crutch.
.-= Hank´s last blog ..Cutting the Fat from Your Food and Grocery Bill to Save Money =-.

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