Children Who Just Won't Leave, Part I
What? Your Son/Daughter Is Still Living With You- He/She Is How Old!!!!!
There is a time in every parents' lives when there an announcement, " Mom and dad, I am moving into my own apartment." Such joyous and wonderful words. The anticipation of such an event is both happy and sad but it is inevitable. Yes, the hatchlings must eventually fly one day!
Of course, there will be an empty nest. You, as parents, wave goodbye to your now adult children. You look longingly in your children's rooms and miss them. You feel a twinge, thinking where have my babies gone. Your children are now grown up and are establishing their own lives.
You look at your spouse. You have the house to yourselves. You have the unmitigated freedom to be and do what you really want to do without any interruptions. You can wonder around the house nude if you want. You can be abashedly wild and be as freaky as you want to be. You are finally free. You and your spouse feel quite giddy at this moment. You feel as if you are newlyweds now and rejoice in that.
Your primary parental role is finished. You and your adult children have evolved from parent-child to friend-friend. You are now quite comfortable with the realization that your adult children are quite different than they were when they were children and adolescence. Instead of being a parent, you are now a semiadvisor who gives out advice only when asked and no more. You have done your job as a parent which was to make your children independent of you.
Now.........yes, there is always a now. Then there are parents whose adult child cannot and/or will not leave the parental home. You, as parents, look at your adult child and wonder what gives. You ask yourself where have you gone wrong. You look at other parents who have adult children who have independently and successfully launched their own lives. These parents seem so content while you are.........well, filled with total angst.
You feel as a complete and utter failure as parents. Your lives are on hold. Empty nest? Boy, you wish. Your house is under occupation.......by your adult children. While you are quite unhappy regarding this precarious situation, your adult children are deliriously content. You want them out of the house.........or do you.
You somewhat enjoy your adult children at home despite your venting to friends otherwise. You as parents are used to your children being around that you are actually loathe for them to establish their own independent lives. You wonder how empty the house will be without them. Although you want them to have their own living arrangements, you are seemingly happy that they are living with you. You want your children to be independent .............oh, really.
Of course, there are situations which cause adult children to live with their parents such as being either being unemployed or underemployed. Hopefully, such situations are temporary. The unemployed adult is either volunteering, interning, and/or looking for work in the interim of the two aforementioned factors. If he/she is underemployed, he/she is looking for a better job. Let us pray that he/she is using his/her temporary status to not just meander. He/she is using that temporary status as an impetus for better things in the foreseeable future.
Then there are adult children who are quite happy being unemployed and/or underemployed. They figure that their parents have monies to coast them over. They do not have to worry about struggling and budgeting as their parents will always financially rescue them. They are also happy because in addition to their bills being paid, they are provided with amenities and comforts. In fact they are so comfortable, they are not about to leave home soon, if ever.
Yes, there are adult children who are children in the strictest sense of the word. They portend that they have the right to live with their parents as long as necessary. No, let us put this more succinctly-as long as they can freely do so. Let us emphasize the word-freely! These "adult" children want the accoutrements of living without any of its responsibilities just like they were when they were children.
While their peers, who are on their own, are learning the rudiments of financial budgeting, timely paying their rent, and other responsibilities, these "adult" children are often not budgeting their monies and are not learning important life/survival skills. Many "adult" children are actually living rent free with their parents thus they are not learning the concept of money management. There are some "adult" children who claim that because they are living with their parents, they should not have to pay rent and/or make a financial contribution toward the household.
Some "adult" children have poor life skills as a result of living with their parents. Their food is supplied by their parents and their needs are taken care of by their parents. There was a segment on ABC 20/20 some time ago where are were men in their 30s who still lived with their parents. These "men" contended that they and their parents were quite happy with this arrangement. They further asserted that they saw no problem in living with their parents. Their parents, especially their mothers, cooked and did their laundry for them. In essence, they are not independent adult men but are boys developmentally.
Why do some adult children continue to live with their parents while their peers could not wait to live on their own? Yes, there are tangible reasons such as being unemployed and/or underemployed. These socioeconomic circumstances are often beyond the adult child's control. However, therer are some intangible factors which cause adult children to continue to live with their parents when it is high time for them to move out of their parents' domicile and live independently on their own.
Some "adult" children are actually quite fearful of living on their own. They view living with their parents as a buffer against the cold, harsh world of living on their own. Living independently on one's own involves lots of experimenting, trial, and error. These "adult" children want their lives to be smooth as it was when they were children. The idea of being independent is quite daunting for them to say the very least. Living on one's own represents unfamiliarity and they only want familiarity in their lives even at the cost of their growth.
Many "adult" children want to be in the perpetual parental womb. Living with one's parents provides them with being comfortable and being assured. They are afraid to get out of their comfort zone. They want to retain a symbiotic relationship with their parents as child-parent instead of having a more mature relationship with their parents. They view their parents as a source of comfort and security and if they live on their own, they would lose this comfort and security. In essence, they will be alone and they definitely do not want to be alone.
Then there are those "adult" children who believe that they cannot live as well as they do if they elect to live on their own. They portend that they cannot afford an apartment of their choice because their pay does not suffice it. They further contend that the only apartments they can afford are in often so-called undesirable neighborhoods. They also assert that if they live in their own, they would be in dire circumstances and struggling which they elect not to do.
In essence, they want to continue to live comfortably although their parents when they were starting out, struggled socioeconomically. When their parents were starting out, they often had to live in shoddy apartments and/or had to share an apartment with roommates. Their parents also had to struggle on entry and/or low level jobs. It took time for their parents to obtain the apartment, house, and/or career of their dreams. However they want instant comfort and affluence and if they live on their own, there is a delayed process into obtaining affluence and they do not want this at all!
There are many more "adult" children who want to avoid any type of adult responsibility. They contend that they are "not ready" to move into their own apartment. They believe that they have quite an idyllic situation living with their parents. Of course, they have everything provided for them by the parents with little or no reciprocation on their part. They are, in essence, living a quite childlike life, free of the responsibilities of that living on one's own entails. They are quite fearful of actual adult responsibility, preferring to perpetually living as a child and being taken care of.
On the part of the parents, there are parents who are clearly uncomfortable with the fact that their children are grown and no longer need them. These parents feel that their children are the crux of their lives and without them, their lives would be quite lonesome and meaningless. They have few interests outside of that of their children. If their children leave, they would feel quite empty so they dissuade their children from moving out either overtly or covertly. Such parents want their children to be always in their lives.
There are some parents, mainly overprotective ones, who inoculate their adult children that it is quite unsafe to be living alone. They constantly relay to their adult children that it is much safer for them to be living at home than to venture out into unknown territory and live alone. They further psychologically brainwash their adult children as to the negative effects of living independently. These parents portend that it it better for their adult children to be among family than to be alone in an unknown place where God know what will happen!
Others are just overcontrolling and consider their adult children as still their appendages, not individuals in their own right. They simply want to control where and how their children will be. They contend that if their adult children live on their own, they would no longer be under their control. These overcontrolling parents believe that as parents they have the right to guide their children as to their way of doing things. They further assert that their children, although they are adults, are still not capable of making major adult decisions.
Then there are still some parents who use their adult children as a buffer to prevent them from facing their less than adequate relationship. There are many parents in less than perfect marriages who stay together for the sake of the children. However, those children eventually reach adulthood, leave home, and establish their own lives. These parents refuse to acknowledge this, often preferring that their adult children continuously live with them in order as they do not wish to face their own marital issues. They prefer to be forever in the parental role than to evolve into the spousal role with their significant other. In essence, they would not know how to exist if they were not parents.