Raise a Teen Who Won’t Move Back Home as an Adult

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April 11, 2016 by middleearthnj

Smiling Family Posing in FieldAlmost every parent has the same goal: raise their child to become a successful adult. And generally, their definition of a successful adult does not mean that they all still live together under one roof. The situation of children who move out of their parents’ home at 18, only to return a few years later, has become so common, the media has dubbed them “boomerang kids.”

Over the last few decades, there has been a steady rise in young adults moving back in with their parents. According to a Pew Research Center survey, a whopping 36% of young adults, age 18 to 31, were living in their parents’ homes in 2012. The increase has occurred among both high-school and college graduates, and has continued even though the economy has improved and young adults are earning more and experiencing a lower unemployment rate than they did a few years ago.

Experts believe the reasons for this increase are:

  1. Many of these young adults have gotten themselves over their heads in debt, whether it’s student loans or credit cards.
  2. Many of these young adults were never taught to take care of themselves. It has become more common for parents to try to “do everything” for their children, which has created a generation of students who don’t have the basic independent living skills and/or motivation to be on their own.
  3. More of the young adult population is not getting married, and it’s much easier to move in with your parents as a single person, than as a married couple.

Regardless of the reason, if you are a parent who doesn’t want your adult child to come back to live under your roof, then our blog will offer you a few ideas for decreasing the chances.

Teach Money Management

One of the best ways to ensure your teen’s future independence is to instill the skills of managing money. Giving your teen the opportunity to earn their own money, create a budget, and practice buying their own clothing and entertainment will help them to understand the concepts and learn from mistakes that are minor at this young age. You might even want to try giving your teen the opportunity to plan the next family vacation with a budget limit. The biggest reason teens move back home is due to financial problems, so teach them how to avoid those.

For more information on teaching money management skills to your teen, read our previous blogs: Money Management for Teens and Common Money Mistakes Teens Make and How to Avoid Them.

Educate About Debt

So many young adults do not understand debt and how it impacts their finances. The media and “gotta have it now” culture in America encourages young people to ‘buy now and pay later.’ It can be a very appealing message to young people who don’t have the money to pay off the bills. Combat this culture by explaining the dangers of debt to your teen now. They should have a full understanding of what interest rates and credit scores are, how high interest rates can ruin their finances and the impact of a bad credit rating on their future.

Since student loan debt is an issue pushing kids back home, be sure to read our previous blog that discusses this issue: Is College Worth the Money?

Guide Your Teen’s Future

Your teen needs your guidance as they consider their future. First of all, they need to know that you see them as a successful adult – your encouragement has a major impact on how they view their future. Second, you should help them brainstorm possible careers, research those careers (what education is needed, how much can they expect to earn, what is the demand for that role, etc.), and consider the pros and cons of each option. This will help them to make a wise decision.

If you need more information on how to prepare your teen for a successful future, review our previous blogs: Talking About a Teen’s Future and Preparing Teens for the Workforce.

Allow Mistakes

Sometimes, we can be so eager for our children to succeed that we make a couple of common errors when raising our adolescent child: (1) we try to prevent our teen’s mistakes, or (2) we try to rescue them from the consequences when they make a mistake. Unfortunately, humans tend to learn better through making our own mistakes than any other way. Now is the time for teens to make mistakes – when the mistakes are small and under your roof versus making mistakes as an adult, when the consequences are bigger, and they have to handle it on their own.

Read our previous blogs on this topic: Turning Mistakes Into Life Lessons and 5 Mistakes You SHOULD Let Your Teen Make.

Instill Problem-Solving Skills

One of the best indicators of a young adult’s success is their ability to problem solve. This is a critical skill important in every area of a person’s life and highly coveted by employers. Good problem-solving skills can help your child create strategies for handling conflict, finding housing, successfully budgeting, and maintaining employment.

To learn how to teach this valuable skill, read our previous blog: Teaching Problem-Solving Skills.

Discuss Healthy Relationships

Relationships are an important part of our lives and have a huge impact on our quality of life. Take the time to help your teen learn to recognize the warning signs of a bad relationship. If they can learn what to look for in a friend and/or date, they can avoid a lot of potential turmoil in life. Plus, if they are able to establish a support network of friends, they will likely be able to weather difficulties in adult life without returning to live with you.

To learn more about how to talk to your teen about healthy relationships, visit our previous blogs: Healthy Relationships: Avoiding Teen Dating Violence and Positive Teen Friendships.

Provide Life Skills

There are certain life skills that every adult must have to be independent, but those skills are not something that people just know as they mature. The skills must be learned. Parents may forget that, at one time, they did not know how to fill out a job application, get a driver’s license, read a map, clean a bathroom, cook a meal, pay a bill, or do the laundry. These skills are necessary for young adults to navigate the larger world. If they enter adulthood without these skills, they are likely to quickly lose their confidence, and then move back home.

You can learn more about teaching life skills to your teen in our previous blog: Developing Life Skills in Teens.

Final Thoughts…

Our expectations have a huge impact on our satisfaction, our motivation, and our future actions. If from an early age, you communicate to your child that you expect him/her to become independent, you are much more likely to see those dreams become reality. If your teen thinks it’s normal to take out huge students loans, go deeply in credit card debt, float between jobs, and miss payments on bills, you are setting yourself up to have a roommate in your later years.

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