In the days following my “break up” with my eldest daughter, I have spent time perusing the Internet for other people who have issues and problems with their adult children. I just wanted to know that I wasn’t alone and that there are others having the same types of problems. Well, I’ve discovered an entire sub-culture of parents with “kids” still living at home, working or not, doing drugs or not, hanging out until all hours, and being downright disrespectful. Now, some of the stories I read will make your hair even greyer —- 20-somethings not working or going to school, doing hardcore drugs, spending time in jail, having kids and not taking care of them …. I’ve kinda got it made in light of those kind of problems.
Just reading these stories and seeing what the author had to say in response was life-changing. Adult Children—When to Help and When to Let Them Learn is the name of the article written by MD Jackson. She is a college psychology professor, family counselor, and a mother of nine adult children (!!!), and is the paragon of “tough love,” in my opinion. Basically, anyone over 18 that lives with their parents but doesn’t work, do chores, and is disrespectful (and many times downright abusive), needs to be kicked out. Now, if they can be adult enough to sign a contract with their parents specifying rent (not just a token $100, but something more like $500), outlining what chores are expected of them, a timetable for getting a full-time job and saving money for their own car and apartment, and showing what the backlash will be if any part of the contract is broken, then maybe it could work for the adult child to stay with the parents. If the adult child refuses to change behaviors, they are out. Period. Not to come back to live. Ever. Now, the “ever” may change if something catastrophic happens, such as a major illness. But basically, if your adult child cannot or will not live in YOUR house under YOUR rules, they gotta go. I don’t feel badly anymore about cutting my daughter off of my insurance. There are programs in Illinois for people who don’t have health insurance through work. It’s time she started making some phone calls. We all have to figure it out at some point – her time is now.