At my wits end with oldest ds - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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Haven't read the last 4 pages...but my first and only solution is an ultimatum.
He either stops smoking in the house, or he finds a different house to live in.
It's a major health concern to all involved and it's disrespectful.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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#92 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 08:37 PM
 
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I haven't read the replies, but I'd kick him out. He can get an apartment and light up all he wants.
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#93 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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I can't imagine living with a smoker. My parents were heavy smokers and I can't believe I lived with it for 18 years. The minute I turned 18, I was out of there and still can't stand the smell of smoke. I would never date, much less marry a smoker, so maybe I am a lot less tolerant than some of the other posters. I have grown children and can't imagine them disrespecting me in this way. I would have no problem suggesting they move out if they wouldn't stop smoking in the house. I don't think you are doing him any favors by letting him walk all over you. I think most people have their breaking points, and this would be it for me no matter how much I loved my child. I understand your defensiveness, because after all, he is your son first and foremost. I agree with the others, a great relationship without respect isn't a great relationship.
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#94 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 09:04 PM
 
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Ok. Well I just now read all the replies, so I guess mine wasn't helpfull at all. FWIW, my DH has been a smoker since I've known him (he doesn't really smoke anymore-just occasionally). As soon as I told him (pre kids) that I didn't want him smoking in the house, he respected that and started smoking outside.

I wasn't suggesting that you kick him to the curb, but I agree with others giving him the choice. He can either smoke outside and continue to live in your house or he can move out.

I don't see how that can be considered "hard-ass" or alienating.
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#95 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 09:13 PM
 
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My 14yo is not doing very well in school and we're parenting him lovingy and allowing him to make mistakes no matter how hard that is -- this could affect his entire life and we're terrified. But this affects HIS life. It does not affect property, the family's health, etc..
My feelings are exactly the following two:
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Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
It sounds like your experience was one extreme, and, in response, you are going to the opposite extreme. There is a healthy middle ground. Boundaries are good, as is growing up and realizing you need to get your own place if you want to smoke in the house.

Please know that setting a boundary--even one that leads to a 20 yo moving out--does not result in lifelong alienation in healthy relationships.
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Well, there are a number of things going on here. This is damaging to the house. If you try to sell you might have a difficult time. I would never buy a house from a smoker for health reasons. It takes an ENORMOUS amount of time and money to clean that up. There is also the health issue for you and any other members of the family.

Have you asked him why he continues to do it even though you have asked him repeatedly to stop? Is he depressed? I don't abide smoking at all. For personal and health reasons it is not allowed in my house, car, yard, what have you. To me, my son smoking would be "end of the world" stuff around here.

I would sit him down and have a very open discussion and listen to his reasons. If he couldn't respect the rules of the house, in this instance, I would ask him to leave.

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#96 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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I respect my mother. I don't always get along with her but I do respect her.

With that said, at 31 years old, married for 10 years and a third child on the way, I would NOT EVER even consider smoking in front of my mother (I don't smoke, so this is hypothetical) because I know she would hate it and be disappointed. So to think that not only would I smoke but do so in her house when she has repeatedly asked me not to is the epitome of disrespectful.

He is 20, he is choosing to smoke, he clearly has disposable income to spend on very expensive cigs. There is no reason in the world why you cannot tell him that if he chooses to not abide by household rules then he cannot live in the house you are paying for. If you want him to grow up and be a responsible adult you must demand that he face consequences (positive or negative) depending on behaviors that he chooses. He chooses to smoke inside, he can control that choice very easily. It seems obvious to me that all you are asking him to do is get up and outside when he wants to smoke. That is an easy enough request to follow and if he can't manage it then I cannot see how asking him to not live in your house is somehow being mean, overbearing, authoritative and "kicking him to the curb". It is giving him a reasonable, clear and easy choice!

It is your house, for goodness sake.

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#97 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 09:44 PM
 
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Maybe my way of thinking is not in line with MDC standards, but....he's 20, right? Old enough to find his own apartment if he wants to smoke indoors.

I'm with Hillymum. Except I don't think it sounds harsh at all.
YEP. You yourself said it. He's an adult. What happens to adults who don't follow rules? Yep.

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#98 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Apricot View Post
Perhaps you can just set a dollar amount for the privilege of smoking indoors. Perhaps $5 a ciggarette. Then he can decide if it's worth it.
Now that I'm thinking about it, why not brainstorm with him -
You can present your view and what your top 4 points are - perhaps, smell, property value, younger kids health, disrespect
He can give his own 4 - perhaps, smell not bad, cold outside, in his own space, takes too long

Possible solutions - the ones you come up with together will be way more powerful than just giving my list:
Smoke only morning cig inside, all others outside
Only smoke by window
Use electronic cigs or chaw when indoors
Smoke eating ashtray
Fee to smoke inside
Charge rent and then he can smoke if he wants
He moves out to do what he wants
He will exchange some chore you don't like for smoking rights, like yard work or cooking
Thank you - these are some excellent ideas that I hadn't thought of!
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#99 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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I grew up in a house of smokers. My Mom smoked the entire time she was pregnant with me.

I support indoor clean air for anyone under 18. In fact, I think it should be illegal to expose children to second hand smoke. That being said, I would not allow him to smoke in your home with other children there.

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#100 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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So, BedHead, how do your other two children feel about living in a house that smells like smoke?
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#101 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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I very much agree with some of the PP. If an adult child who lived in my home insisted on doing something that put the life of my other children and of DH and myself at risk, he would get to choose between stopping the risky activity and finding other living arrangements. It is just not fair to you, and especially to your younger children who do not have the power to do anything to protect themselves from your DS's potentially lethal activities. Between the very real dangers of secondhand smoke and house fires, smoking in my home is not something I will ever permit. My children's lives and health are too valuable.
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#102 of 143 Old 12-18-2009, 11:22 PM
 
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This isn't about smoking, you can't make him quit if he doesn't want to. Throwing out a 20yo's smokes/lighter/not talking to him because of it is rather quite childish.

The problem is he's disrespecting you & the rules of your house. You mentioned you don't want him walking all over you but you need to face the reality that he already is. You are passively allowing him to do this even though you hate it.

Ignore the smoking part of it. What would you(the op) do if it was a different rule of the house that he was constantly breaking?

Quote:
How do I punish an adult who simply ignores the rules like that???
He stays & smokes outside or he moves out. Even though this isn't what you want to hear it is as simple as that. Sitting him down & discussing this as his 2 options should be enough for him to start following the rule.

He does all these other adult things(having a job, cooking for himself, his own laundry, etc) why can't he follow this other very simple rule??? I'd guess he isn't allowed to smoke in the building where he works but does he disrespect his bosses by smoking in it anyhow?

If he spends all his free time playing WOW, that could be a big factor(and a completely seperate issue). Buying him a laptop(as suggested) so he can take the game with him isn't solving anything.

As another seperate issue as a pp mentioned I WOULD increase his rent because he smokes in the house. You don't have the spend that $, put it in a savings account or something but allowing him to continue doing this in the house is going to cost you down the road.
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#103 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 12:09 AM
 
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.

Edited to add: I am outta here - unless I think of something that might help the OP in which case I will post. I do think posters are being quite hard-a$$ (to quote the OP) and a bit holier than thou. "People who cannot abide by my rules should leave, I would never marry a smoker, would divorce a smoker, smokers should never be SAHM (although I guess they can smoke when they get home? right? cuz smoke in the evening does not count?)." Geesh. I think a certain amount of tolerance and compassion of human foilbles is totally missing from this thread, as is any discussion or even tolerance of discussion of a middle zone. The only conclusion I can come to is : smoking and boundaries are polarising topics, and b) long threads get messy and polarising.
I don't have a lot of tolerance and compassion when I'm in the ER for respiratory distress which is what smoking does to me. I'm not a hardass. I'm just trying to breathe over here and I would like to avoid lung cancer.

OP--Of course I would try to work with my partner, but I need to be able to breathe too and there is little room in my life for people who don't respect me or care about my health. How fortunate you are not to have respiratory problems.

My thought for you is to examine why it is the possibility of DS leaving is such an extreme issue for you. You said you don't want to do to your DS what was done to you. That's fine. I get it. But sometimes we are parenting ourselves instead of the children actually in front of us and I would encourage you to spend some time thinking and talking to your DS about what his perceptions/wants/needs are--they may be quite different than the internal dialogue you have for this situation.

A healthy adult should be able to accept that a roommate situation isn't working out.

A healthy adult should come up with solutions that work and adhere to them consistently.

This is not happening for you or your DS. I think there is a lot more going on here than just smoking.

V

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#104 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 12:28 AM
 
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My thought for you is to examine why it is the possibility of DS leaving is such an extreme issue for you.

I am not the Op, but here is my take:

A child flying the nest because they are ready to is very different than being pushed out. I fully expect and want my children to move out as adults when they are ready - but I would be really sad if I had to push them out - particularly if I had not tried everything in my power to change the circumstances which necessitated their leaving.




A healthy adult should be able to accept that a roommate situation isn't working out.

He is not her roomate. He is her son. This is a long term, loving relationship a deserves more care than one would show a roomate.


V
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#105 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 12:52 AM
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I've been thinking about this more... I think when I first replied, I was really hung up because it's *smoking*, which is a dealbreaker for me because I have moderate asthma and hate the smell of cigarettes and hate having my clothes and walls all discolored by smoke. OTOH, that's me, and clearly for other people smoking is not that big of a deal - more on the level of minor annoyance than dealbreaker.

So, I was thinking, what if the issue was something like "He leaves his shoes all over the living room floor all the time and I hate tripping over them" rather than smoking? To me, that's a minor annoyance, and I would be much more willing to try to search for solutions and just put up with it sometimes, especially since her son is generally helpful and polite.

That doesn't address the entire issue, because I can see someone forgetting and accidentally leaving shoes in the living room but I have a harder time imagining someone forgetting that he'd said he wouldn't light up and accidentally doing it... but perhaps if the OP has created a power struggle around this issue with him in the past then he's being sort of being passive-aggressive and trying to regain some power in this situation.

I guess it all comes down to how big a deal smoking really is for you... for me, it's about on par with my kid deciding to crap in the middle of the floor... in other words, a Very Big Deal.

 
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#106 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle
He is not her roomate. He is her son. This is a long term, loving relationship a deserves more care than one would show a roomate.
She is not his roommate. She is his mother. This is a long term, loving relationship and deserves more care than one would show a roommate.

Relationships are two-way streets.
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#107 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 02:16 AM
 
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So, BedHead, how do your other two children feel about living in a house that smells like smoke?
Excellent question that deserves to be repeated!

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#108 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 10:26 AM
 
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Re: the suggestions, as a former smoker who grew up w/ 2 chain smokers I can attest that no filter, ash tray or air purifier will take the stink out of your clothes, furniture, or carpets. My father's ceilings are permanently discolored, as are his walls. And for me it was a tactile and oral experience, "chaw" (blechhhhh!), fake cigarettes or a nicotine patch wouldn't have been an option. I smoked disgusting stinky cigs b/c I wanted to do it.

Have to agree w/ those who say this is a respect issue. Your son's respect for you and your respect for yourself. I say the latter because why are you willing to put yourself in an unhealthy situation, one that clearly bothers you? Why are you letting someone lie to you and do whatever they want to your family's home and health?

I'm a former heavy smoker and there were plenty of places I didn't smoke, even though I wanted to because it would have been more convenient to me. Sorry, but it isn't that hard. Quitting, yes (!!!) that's hard, choosing where you smoke, no.
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#109 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 10:30 AM
 
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Excellent question that deserves to be repeated!


I think it's so unfair to the other children in the house. My mom smoked in the house(still does) throughout my entire childhood. It was gross and I hated having to breathe that. She doesn't smoke in her own house now when we're there out of respect for her grandchildren. Your son should be able to do the same. Period.
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#110 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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I guess it all comes down to how big a deal smoking really is for you... for me, it's about on par with my kid deciding to crap in the middle of the floor... in other words, a Very Big Deal.
lol, yes, that is an apt comparison, imo

Definitely a dealbreaker for me. Messiness, loud music, pets, etc I would happily negotiate with a grown child. But smoking in the house is non-negotiable--esp when there are younger kids in the home who can't move out.
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#111 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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But most people haven't answered my question
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Originally Posted by BedHead View Post
He's 20 and will NOT quit smoking in the house and it it making me want to really really smack him.
<snip>
How do I punish an adult who simply ignores the rules like that???

I think everyone has answered your question and you haven't liked the answer. You CAN'T punish a 20 year old child. If he's reached that age, it should be a relationship of mutual respect... and one where he would be just as protective and loving of YOU as you would be for HIM. The answer is that there is no mutual respect if at 20 years old, your child is not doing as you ask for the overall health of, not just you, but his siblings as well. He is your child, but he is also an adult.

In your OP you said that you feel like smacking him. Obviously, if it has come to this, you feel strongly about this. Wanting to smack a child is *not* a normal Gentle Discipline response. Yet, you don't want people to tell you that if he can't respect your REASONABLE rules, and that you should gently and gradually help him move to his own place. However, that *is* a normal Gentle Discipline response. You see it as "my way or the highway" ultimatum, but the truth is, he's walking all over you and you're letting him do that if you don't put your foot down more harshly.

Do you really think that if you say, "You have to pay me $200 extra/ month" for smoking in the house that he is actually going to pay? He won't because if he can't respect the first rule, he's not going to respect a new rule that takes more from his cigarette money. Besides, ultimately, what is happening is that you and your son are both disrespecting your younger children because there is nobody protecting their health. Don't they deserve clean air?

My mother smoked my entire life until she moved in with me to take care of her 4 years ago. She finally quit after 50 years. I now have several allergy and lung issues due to second-hand smoke. I feel so sorry for your other children.
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#112 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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I think everyone has answered your question and you haven't liked the answer.

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#113 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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Goodness, this is a silly discussion.

If the man is capable of refraining from smoking in other places where it is prohibited (work, stores, movie theaters) he is certainly capable of obeying the prohibition in your home.

If he deliberately flaunts the rules in other places, he will be asked to leave, and he knows it. Thus, he obeys the rules.

OF COURSE he should be asked to leave should he continue to flaunt the rules in your home. That's how rules WORK.

I think you are being a doormat here. Buying him a special ashtray is going to do nothing other than letting him know that it's okay to flaunt your rules. If you don't want him to smoke in the house, give him an ultimatum -- no smoking indoors, or leave. Period.
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#114 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 01:20 PM
 
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I think everyone has answered your question and you haven't liked the answer.


I honestly have no idea what you thought people were going to suggest to you, that you would find to be more helpful.

Did you want us to tell you to go ahead and smack him? That certainly won't work.

I did suggest family therapy to you earlier, but you don't seem to think that's worthwhile. It would take one session for the counselor to tell him in no uncertain terms, that what he is doing is completely ridiculous and then if he chose to continue regardless, you'd have your answer. Easy peasy.

If he is such a WoW addict that he can't time his cigarettes around playing, then that's his problem, not yours, nor his siblings. He's the one who should have to deal with the problem, not the rest of you.
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#115 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 01:40 PM
 
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[QUOTE=newbymom05;14819521]......why are you willing to put yourself in an unhealthy situation, one that clearly bothers you? Why are you letting someone lie to you and do whatever they want to your family's home and health?


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#116 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 02:02 PM
 
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An attitude like 'My home, my rules' was the whole reason I left home at 16. I vowed I would never drive my kids out of the house as they got older.
Just wanted to gently caution and remind you (as I remind myself) that the same issues that we vow never to repeat from our childhood sometimes cause us to go overboard in the other direction to our kids detriment. Search your soul and make sure that you aren't enabling your child to disrespect you because it makes you feel like a good mother (or at least keeps you from feeling like a guilty mother). In the end, this could limit your childs potential and growth as a mature and respectful human being.
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#117 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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I just have to hop in again and say how impressed I am with 99% of the advice on this thread. Y'all RAWK! \^^/


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#118 of 143 Old 12-19-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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"Son, as of January 1st this is a non-smoking home. Smoking is permitted in the garage and outside but no longer inside for health reasons, just like in restaurants. You are welcome in my home because I love you, but the cigarettes stay outside. This is a non-negotiable rule for people who live and visit here."

Short, firm and caring.
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#119 of 143 Old 12-20-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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I feel that anyone who is suggesting such things as special ashtrays and laptop computers and the like are ignoring the larger (and more important) issue that this son is being very disrespectful regarding this issue.

It's kinda frustrating...what is that saying..."can't see the forest for the trees"??? The one that means that you can get hung up on the details, but you need to see the bigger issue.

Anyway...the respect/passive-aggressive thing is much more important to me than the it being just a smoking issue (although as many have stated, that is a real and valid issue, too, of course).
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#120 of 143 Old 12-21-2009, 08:04 AM
 
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I feel that anyone who is suggesting such things as special ashtrays and laptop computers and the like are ignoring the larger (and more important) issue that this son is being very disrespectful regarding this issue.

It's kinda frustrating...what is that saying..."can't see the forest for the trees"??? The one that means that you can get hung up on the details, but you need to see the bigger issue.

Anyway...the respect/passive-aggressive thing is much more important to me than the it being just a smoking issue (although as many have stated, that is a real and valid issue, too, of course).
Disrespect can go both ways. Anyone who asks how to "punish" their 20 year old child is ignoring the fact their kid is no longer a kid. Unless he is going to college, paying rent, or has some kind of disability, it really is time for him to find his own home—if not for the sake of his relationship with his parents then for the sake of his own independence. Even then, you can always work on ways together on how he can get out on his own.

I've known few adult children who grow up to be happy and well adjusted. The ones I've met who continuously live completely rent-free without consequence or contribution in their parents' homes usually end up to be very miserable later in life. We're talking about 30 and 40 year olds who have never had adult relationships with other people. 30 and 40 year olds who finally move out on their own—only to move into poverty—despite receiving good educations (and the student loans that go with them), because they've never been motivated (or had the self esteem) to have good careers. It's not just the fact they live at home that causes it, but the way they are continually treated as children by their parents.

I've seen this happen to a few acquaintances and two close friends (one from high school and the other college). It was very heart-breaking to see it happen to my friends. They both had so much talent and potential to be successful and happy, but never could get past seeing themselves as nothing more than children. Neither of them moved out until their parents got divorced (possibly from the strain of having an adult child under their roof)—and this was a very traumatic way to move out.

They lived in poverty alone, and to this day (10 years later) are still very lonely sad people. I'd never wish this on anyone, and it is why when my DD is an adult, we'll be gently encouraging her to stay in a dorm or get an apartment as soon as she can unless she is going to school or paying rent at our house. It got to be hard for me (and others) to stay friends with these folks. While we were growing up and moving on, they were staying in a time capsule. While, I haven't been in contact with either of these people for a couple of years (it got to be too frustrating), I know through mutual acquaintances that they are pretty much the same, and that makes me very sad for them.

Anyhow, there are ways you can help an adult child move out that is not "throwing them out." You can help them look for a place to stay, help them pack, tell them they can call you if they need help and even help them out a little financially until they are completely able to stand on their feet...but there's got to be very firm boundaries—and this does include some conditions. This is what keeps your relationship with them healthy and it helps them grow up so they can be happy, healthy adults.


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