I believe that our job as parents is to work ourselves out of a job. This means that it is wise to teach our children how to be independent.
Unfortunately, some people seem to think that they are responsible for the choices and behaviours of their offspring long after they have reached legal age. They let them live at home without jobs, schooling or purpose. They pay for not only the basic such as extra electricity, water and food but also finance luxuries. The parents go to work every day to earn money for the bills while the adult child sleeps in until noon, messes up the house and demonstrates disrespect. They want to be treated like an adult but don’t want to do the responsible things that adults do.
Frequently, the parents frantically reach out to professionals who they hope will provide diagnosis, medications or magic strategies to get their child motivated. They think that perhaps they are depressed or suicidal or unable to move forward without outside help.
Well, that might be true in some cases. But in others, unfortunately, the parent has disabled the child by not teaching life skills or having realistic expectations.
Then, all of a sudden, the adult child gets upset with something and immediately moves out. Perhaps they had been capable of doing that all along!
I always think about my grandfather who, as an orphan came to Canada from England alone at the age of eleven. He never saw any family members again and didn’t have the luxury of having his needs met by others when he felt sick or slothful. He worked at numerous jobs including stoking fires in commercial buildings, delivering mail, being a farm hand and doing section work for the railway. He lived until he was ninety-five and told me that he was most proud of the fact that he never took a day of relief (welfare). He was only eleven when he immigrated and started supporting himself!
I believe that one of the best medicines in the world is to work. It gives you a reason to get up in the morning, a purpose, social interaction and coins to jingle as a reward for service.
Another theme that I am hearing more often than in the past is that there isn’t work available. Perhaps the truth is that our adult children just don’t want to do. Or they want the supervisor job without having the appropriate experience.
You can always see signs in the community advertising job openings as well as internet postings. Just because the job isn’t exactly what you want or think that you should have, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t at least try. Taking a job will give you income and build your resume while you are looking for something better.
And when it comes to children moving back home after having “launched” I probably don’t have as much patience as one might expect. It just doesn’t make sense to me that an adult need to stay with parents for free while they save up for a house or a trip.
I love my children and grandchildren very, very much but all of them are self-sufficient and I would never expect any of them to ask me to house them or pay their bills.
If you are supporting your adult child maybe it is time to examine your motives and the consequences. Is it that you are dependent on your child? Are you teaching anything by paying their way when they are capable of doing this themselves? Is your investment and sacrifice going to benefit you and your child in the long run? Would you allow the same thing to happen if a neighbour or friend asked you to support them?
Time to recognize that your child is now an adult and needs to act like one. If you have an adult child living with you while not working or attending school, perhaps it is time to sit down and give them a date when they will need to live independently.