parenting styles

Why I Won’t Let My Kids Live With Me When They Are Adults

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kid at homeRecently, I have been having a lot of conversations with my six-year-old daughter about growing up. One big topic has been the idea that she will leave home one day. She has made me promise her that she can live with me forever and ever. I have sworn it over and over again. I am lying. There is no way either of my children is living under my roof after they turn 21.

Adults living at home with their parents is becoming more and more common these days. CNN Money just reported that the home ownership rate among 18-34-year-olds is an all-time low of 13.2%. Meanwhile, the number of adults 18-34 who live with their parents is at 31.1%. I honestly don’t know why the number of arrests for silent treatment and smart mouths hasn’t skyrocketed.

I have two sisters, and of the three of us I am the only one who never lived with our parents at any point in my adult life. Now, the reasons for my sisters living at home were good ones — namely, college and medical school in one of the most expensive cities in the world (New York City). And certainly, I can see lots of good reasons why there would be exceptions. For example, the economy tanks, as it did for young millennials. There’s also divorce, health issues…I mean, I’m not a monster. But barring anything catastrophic, they are out.

My children will not hang out at home while they find a job after college because that is something they are going to figure out before they are out of the dorms. There will be no wiling away the hours in my basement while they figure out what they want to do with their lives. Figure it out during your breaks at Applebees. My kids need to know that being an adult isn’t always fun. That you don’t necessarily get to have your dream job — at least, not right away. That living on your own and paying your bills is part of growing up. That compromises between what you want and what you need are an everyday thing. That often, life has to start before everything is perfect; before you have the job you want or an apartment that has everything on your wish list. Hopefully, those are lessons they will learn while I have them at home.

But I also want them to know about the positive sides of living on your own. First and foremost, living on your own means you aren’t living with your parents. Also, you get to do whatever you want! Finally! For the first time in your life, if you want pizza for breakfast no one is going to judge you. If you want to paint your entire apartment black, here’s your paintbrush. You get to find out who you are away from your family, which is a huge part of what it means to be a grown up. It can be a lot of more difficult, but it’s also a whole lot more fun.

I know that in not too long, my daughter will dream of being as far away from me as possible. As she should, because that’s good and healthy. But till then, I am going to revel in the fact that my munchkin never wants to leave me, and lie to her like a sonofabitch.

(Photo: Lakov Filiminov / Shutterstock)