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My two cents on an age-old problem


Ruede
30 Growing Up Quotes
30 Growing Up Quotes

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* If you're still living with your parents while at the legal age (18+), then you have to abide by their rules.

* If you're unhappy with how your parents are treating you as a young adult, you should move out.

 

I've heard this kind of advice here many times, in various forms... and I think there is an enormous problem with both of these statements. I've EVEN seen these pieces of "advice" given to people who have posted here, who evidently have SERIOUS issues with their parents, as a result of their parents being overbearing and/or cruel. They're just told, "Deal with it, or move out."

 

Parents who believe they have specific control and authority over their children's lives because they help them financially after they reach legal age are NOT model parents. To deride a young adult -- and I'm also referring to young adults even in their early twenties -- for not moving out if they're unhappy and treated unfairly is, in my opinion, extremely unhelpful. There are parents who are traditional to the point that they will physically harm a child who is going against the grain of their beliefs (we hear it on the news all the time)... and there are plenty of families who are extremely adverse to their children moving out before marriage.

 

Moreover, young adults still in school usually barely scrape by if they move out at an early age... and even if they move out RIGHT after they finish their undergraduate degree, they're still not in any way financially secure. I've heard many times from people who have moved out at an early age that it was an extremely financially exhausting process, and often emotionally as well. Most young adults hope to move out without much drama; but this is not a reality for a lot of them.

 

Either parents want their children to become mature adults and aid them in the process (and accept that one day they WILL be), or they don't. If they don't, their children shouldn't be told by people ouside their situation to "fix themselves" or somehow "become more confident or independent" while in a crippling home situation... or, "move out," or some version of the three. Yes, there are things a young adult can do to improve their situation in an overbearing home -- but for most, it's an uphill battle that's emotionally taxing.

 

EVERYONE KNOWS that you'll be able to exercize more control over your life once you've moved out... that's a given. But as far as "having the right" to exercize control over their own decisions while living with the parents... I think that young adults SHOULD have the "right." Yes, the young adult need "prove" to their parents that they are capable... but it's also the parent's responsibility to nurture their young adult by allowing them opportunities to exercize freedom. If parents don't give their children opportunities, then the child will never be able to "prove" anything.

 

I'm NOT saying that parents should not have a say in the lives of the children they are taking care of -- far from it. But I hope we can all agree that there are some situations where parental control (and manipulation!) is unacceptable... and it's not the fault of the young adult for feeling grossly frustrated and troubled with their family situation.

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The operative words here are child vs. adult. Someone over 18 is no longer a child, and legally can make their own choices. The parent is also no longer obligated to take care of them financially or otherwise.

 

And the truth is that after 18, the child has no 'rights' whatsoever in reference to their parents or living in their parents home. In an ideal world parents are loving and have plenty of money to support adult children, but that just isn't the case. They don't have to nurture an adult anymore because they are no longer a child.

 

The parents gave the children support and opportunities for 18 years, and any time after that is optional for the parent, NOT the child.

 

The young adult may feel frustrated that the parent doesn't want to let them do whatever they please, but your logic is on the one hand to say they have the 'rights' of a child to be nurtured and cared for, while you want them to still retain the 'rights' of an adult to do whatever they please in their parents home. They can't have it both ways.

 

They can try to negotiate something they are both happy with, but if that negotiation fails, the rights belong to the parent because they don't have to support an adult child and let that adult do anything they want in their home unless they want to. That's just one of life's realities.

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I'm not talking about "rights" a child has after 18 years of age with regard to the parents... I'm talking about "rights" in general. What about keeping an 18+-year-old in the home by threatening to renounce them / whatever else if they leave? What about coercing one's children into an arranged marriage? When abuse extends to keeping the child in place... and it's no longer an issue of the child simply "wanting to do what they want to do," and becomes far more serious... then, the simple "move out" solution is less and less applicable.

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Even the most horrible parents are doing what they think is right. Isn't it wonderful that an 18 year old has total freedom to disagree and go live their life as they so choose? I think so.

 

I agree whole-heartedly. I just think that this logic also seems to encourage the idea that "if things are bad enough, the child will move out... and if they haven't moved out, obviously things aren't bad enough and/or the child is spoiled and is too afraid to go out on their own at the expense of losing financial security"... when in more than a few cases, young adults choose not to move out because they are afraid.

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I agree whole-heartedly. I just think that this logic also seems to encourage the idea that "if things are bad enough, the child will move out... and if they haven't moved out, obviously things aren't bad enough and/or the child is spoiled and is too afraid to go out on their own at the expense of losing financial security"... when in more than a few cases, young adults choose not to move out because they are afraid.

 

Unfortunately, not all parents do a good job of preparing their kids for the world outside the family home and bank account. However, no matter how poorly they've been prepared doing is a much better teacher than thinking about doing.

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I can appreciate your position, and I'm curious about what advice, exactly, you'd prefer to see offered to someone who's living at home with parents but hasn't yet developed either 1) the funds to move out, 2) the ability or willingness to negotiate new ground rules for making life easier on everyone in the household, or 3) the ability to outsmart their parents with the appearance of being reasonable?

 

It's one thing to flag bad advice, and it's another to demonstrate good problem solving skills with an even better alternative.

 

I'm all ears, and my best,

Cat

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