Once back home, they tend to grow roots. So tell them there must be 50 ways to leave their mother.
Why are we surprised that we boomers, the generation that never wanted to grow old, spawned a generation that never wants to grow up? And who can blame them?
Once society removed the stigma of moving back in with the ’rents, droves of new grads who couldn’t find meaningful work simply unpacked their bags in the same comfortably feathered nest they’d left four years earlier. Some kids are back home because they can’t find a job. Others have one but aren’t making enough to pay for their apartment.
At this time when we celebrate how our country gained independence from an older, established nation, it’s fitting that we look at ways to help those squatters in our own homes, aka our kids, liberate themselves.
Of course we love them, but we’d also be happy to remove them from the family payroll, turn their bedroom into an office or guest room or maybe even sell the house and set off on an adventure. In that spirit, we offer — with apologies to Paul Simon — 50 Ways to (Help Your Kids) Leave Their Mother.
Get Off My Grid, Kid
1. Don’t stock the refrigerator. At first, this will be annoying to you and him, but eventually he will either move out or go grocery shopping. Either way, you win.
2. When you know she’s going to borrow your car, leave the gas tank near empty. See above.
3. Offer non-monetary incentives. Start small — say, a week’s worth of groceries in exchange for him finding an apartment. You may have to agree to keep him on your cell plan, but it’s still worth it.
4. If that doesn’t work, offer cash — perhaps an amount equal to the first month’s rent on a new apartment.
5. If out-and-out bribery fails, offer a year’s worth of “consulting services” — advice about (but not money toward) some of the things that may be giving her adult anxiety, like insurance or starting an investment account.
6. You weaned him once, you can do it again. If you’ve been giving him money, steadily reduce the amount until you’ve completely cut him off.
7. Buy gift cards for the grocery and drugstore in your child’s name — and highlight the new address field.
8. Annoy the hell out of her with a barrage of questions (even if you don’t really care): Where are you going? When will you be home? Will there be drinking? Isn’t it a little late to be going out on a work night? Keep it up until she can’t stand it.
9. Analyze last month’s utilities bills (including Internet). Factor in housing and food costs and present your adult child a bill for his share.
10. If she has a car, refuse to pay her auto insurance. She may want to live in your home, but she certainly doesn’t want to be held hostage in it.