Failure to Launch

How To Get Your Adult Child To Move Out: Failure To Launch

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Are you dealing with Failure to Launch with adult children still living in your home who refuse to move out? Do you long for the day when you can downsize your home to a condo in Florida, maybe become an Ex-Pat, or travel the world? Failure to Launch is on the rise, and you need a real plan if your child is too comfortable at home.

A rising number of young adults struggle to find their way in the world and leave the nest. Some parents enjoy having their adult children home while others are looking to start their next journey … alone. Failure to launch, or entitled dependency syndrome, has become a real problem for parents. Setting boundaries and taking responsibility for your situation will be the first steps to getting your children to leave.

What Is Entitled Dependence Syndrome?

This is a term coined in 2008 by Haim Omer. It essentially refers to adult children who are unwilling to separate from their parents and remain dependent, even though they are physically and emotionally capable of working and surviving independently. They are typically underemployed and would prefer to keep it that way. Their parents enable this behavior by maintaining a lifestyle for the child that is better than what they are willing to do for themselves.

Some kids living this way may drive much nicer cars or live a party lifestyle because they do not have to pay rent and the other bills that their independent peers do. Some do nothing at all. Whatever the payoff, it is increasing here in the US, and many parents are at a loss as to what to do about it.

When Should Your Adult Child Move Out?

For most families, children are told that as long as they are in school, they do not have to pay rent or receive some support from their parents. If they are working, then many parents accept a contribution from their adult children, even if it is not needed, to give a sense of accountability to a young adult.

In other words, 18, or when your child graduates from high school, is a good starting point. Many parents will allow their children to stay if they attend college to help ease financial burdens.


Reasons To Ask Your Child To Move Out

Three are many reasons you may want to ask your adult child to move out that are both beneficial to you and your child.

Benefits to you:

  • Lower your food costs
  • Lower your utilities
  • Freedom to downsize
  • Enter into the Empty Nest or Retirement phase of life
  • Rent out their room for extra income

Benefits to the child:

  • A sense of accomplishment
  • Encouraging financial independence
  • Learn to live within their means
  • A little bit of sacrifice never hurt anyone. The struggle can actually build character.

Young adults who live with their parents tend to fare worse in the labor market and have lower incomes. According to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the unemployment rate of young adults aged 25-34 who live with their parents was 10 percent, nearly double the 5.1 percent unemployment rate of all young adults aged 25-34.

The median personal income of young adults living with their parents—$20,000 in 2018—was 33 percent lower than the median personal income among all young adults and 41 percent lower than that of all adults aged 25-64.

According to a study by Porch, parents who allow their children to live at home will feel a difference in their income of about $459 per month.

Porch Survey on the cost of Adult Children living at home.

When Is It Okay For Your Child to Live With You

This is really an individual choice for many. Many parents truly do not mind helping their kids get on their feet while working internships and entry-level positions that may not pay enough to afford rent in higher cost of living areas.

Parents will often make this concession for their children to ensure that they are closer to home and not going into great debt amounts. That really is not the same as Failure to Launch.

If they are still living with you after the age of 25, you should be concerned.

If you find you are putting off your plans for the future to make things easier on your child, it may be time to have a conversation about how children can make a living on their own be a priority for them.

Getting Your Children To Move On and Out!

Setting goals is a great way to get an entitled adult child to prepare themselves emotionally for the move. It is not really fair when you have been enabling them, to kick them out immediately, with no plan in place.

It will always start with an initial conversation. I was reminiscing with my daughter about this the other day. She had no problem moving into one of my rental properties then getting a reduced rent when a roommate situation had not worked out.

I had actually asked her to move back in with us to get fair market value for the apartment. And she could pay what she was paying and rent a room from us. She declared she needed to stay in our rental property to be independent. I would retort, but you are not independent because I am not getting all of the rent!

She is now married, with a great career, and a homeowner. But this is an example of someone who was not feeling the pain or pressure of being financially independent at 21. She might have looked independent to an outsider, but it was on our dime.

Eventually, she got a roommate, and I eventually started getting all of the rent, but the struggle was real, and it took several conversations. Today, she is better off for it. She worked harder and got there faster because the pressure was on.

The important thing to remember is that it is your right to have your child be financially independent and out of your home by 18. Hopefully, you told them that this is the way of the world before they were 18, at least here in the US. It could be younger if they live somewhere else.


10 Steps To Freedom

  1. Have a formal conversationAdress the need for your child to move on.
  2. Make a list of your reasons that you need the child to move.
  3. Evaluate the situation – Work on a budget. Know where your adult child stands financially. Come up with a plan together.
  4. Document any verbal agreements, so there are no misunderstandings.
  5. Make sure you are not making excuses for your child.
  6. Have weekly progress check-ins to make sure the child is staying on track.
  7. Set firm deadlines of 15, 30, and 60 days – Job, second job, find an apartment or room to rent.
  8. Start visualizing and talking about your child moving out and living on their own.
  9. Enforce those deadlines – If they do not move, they pay the agreed-upon amount to stay. Move forward with your plans.
  10. If you do not want them to stay, you will have to be prepared to evict them if they refuse to leave.

Some parents will opt to split or to pay the first month’s rent and deposit for their child to get a solid head start. It can take more time for people to come up with that much cash in one lump sum.

Eviction may sound harsh to some, but if your child refuses to leave, it will be your only option if you are okay with making your child move, no matter the situation. Under the law, you are required to formally evict them, even if they are your child.

Eviction Notice for adult children living at home.

What If You Can Not Kick Them Out?

This is a difficult decision for any parent. Many will cave at the thought of their child living on the street. But, I can tell you what they do not need while living in your home rent-free.

  • Video Games
  • Cable and Internet
  • Meals cooked
  • Free laundry
  • Bedroom and bathroom cleaned
  • Food, snacks, and alcohol
  • Coming home at all hours of the night
  • Borrowing a car

The End Result

Once the parent’s wallet is closed, it is amazing what the adult child is capable of. It will be your child’s responsibility to get on public assistance if necessary and find the resources they need to survive.

They are basically calling your bluff, and if you do nothing, they will never leave. This may cause tension between you and your child. But you have to remember this is truly what is best for them.

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