‘When you’re in a tug-of-war with a tiger, give him the rope before he gets to your arm. You can always buy a new rope!’ Max Gunther.
Leaving the nest should be a natural and positive step allowing both parents and their young adults (yadults) to embrace the next phase of their lives. Unfortunately, many parents get to breaking point and kick their kids out while many young people leave home angry and resentful with their middle finger held high in the air.
Yadults need to leave home so that they can take responsibility and call the shots – to be ‘me’ and to distance themselves from parents. This is where they understand and experience the joys and sorrows of flying solo. They find out what the world requires of them and that it won’t serve their every need like Mum and Dad may have.
Young people are hungry for intimacy in relationships. The solidarity of the home relationship and being released in a healthy way is important because this affects how yadults will seek and build further relationships. If they leave under a cloud and don’t feel emotionally connected to home, they will find other people (who may not be good choices) to form a substitute family.
Signs that it’s time to leave:
- Has the ability to finance flatting
- Can run a household
- Can look after him/herself emotionally
- Wants to ‘make it on my own’
- Entitlement mentality, parents should pay.
- Won’t help in the house
- Causes friction and division in family
- Has no plans for becoming independent
How to help your Yadult leave home positively
- Discuss the reasons for moving out.
If there is tension, focus on the fact that the current living arrangements are not working rather than anyone being considered a ‘bad’ person.
- Develop a workable plan taking into account:
- Can your yadult completely fund the move? If not – will you contribute? If so put the deal in writing so there is no misunderstanding if you expect to be reimbursed.
- Who will your young adult live with? Whilst you may not have any say in your yadult’s choice of flat mate (unless you are financially funding and then you most certainly can), you should definitely help your young adult assess how suitable their flat mates will be.
- Discuss what kind of lease or contract there is in place and who is signing it. Advise strongly against your yadult taking on the lease in their name. All members of the flat should be co-responsible.
- Set some boundaries that define what is now unacceptable. E.G. Letting themselves in and raiding your fridge because they have run out of money. Using your washing machine and dryer because they don’t have one is now a privilege (if you allow it). You can expect a small contribution to washing powder and power.
- Don’t cut all ties just yet. Growing up and living independently is nearly always a transition. Your place will still feel like home base for a while. Invite them home for dinner regularly and make it a special time to let them talk about their new life discoveries. Congratulate all progress!