Coaching our Adult Children, when do we stop Parenting?
When do we stop parenting, is the question of the decade with so many boomerang children? As a mother, do we or can we still coach our adult children?
I am a 24-year-old woman and, I will admit, I am not completely independent from my parents. I’ll be on their insurance until I turn 26 at the end of next year and they also still pay for my phone and my car insurance, which is something they agreed to do while I finish up my business degree. With that being said, I moved out of their house when I was 21. I lived in Milwaukee for a year and then my boyfriend and I moved to Dallas and have lived here ever since. We split the cost of our rent, bills, and groceries fifty-fifty. I definitely feel a lot more independent from my parents since I have been living a thousand miles away from them for the past two years. It has allowed me to grow as an individual and as a partner.
I think that living so far away from my parents now has given me the opportunity to appreciate them even more. It has allowed me to reflect on some of the life lessons they’ve taught me over the years and put them into practice. One thing that I think my parents taught me very well from an early age is the importance of personal finance. Growing up, my mom and I always went to garage sales and thrift stores and shopped around for secondhand clothing and other items. I have always loved thrifting long before it was a trendy thing to do like it is now.
My dad taught me to prioritize what to spend money on and to not waste it. I would get an allowance for doing chores around the house until I got my first job in high school when I was 15. I definitely have spent money on useless things, but doing this allowed me to make the mistake and learn from it. I have always had a strong relationship with my parents and that is something I’m very grateful for. As far as “coaching” adult children and wondering when to “stop” parenting, I can’t speak from parenting experience, but I can speak from the receiving end of it.
Personally, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with getting help from your parents when you need it and they will offer it, but there definitely comes a time where a line needs to be drawn. I discovered something rather interesting while doing research. According to a CNN article from September 4, 2020, 52% of young adults in the U.S. are living with their parents, which is the highest percentage since the Great Depression. The pandemic is more than likely what is to blame for this. With so many people losing their jobs last year in 2020, moving back home may have seemed like the financially responsible thing to do. In this article, Pew Research Center defines young adults as ranging from 18 to 29 years old. There has also been a staggering increase in young adults living with their parents from the months of February to July of last year. In July, the number grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February, according to Pew. That is such a massive jump in just five months and was surprising, to me, to read.
I feel that after the tough year that everyone had last year; it has become a lot more acceptable for people in their twenties to live with their parents. Now, as I stated above, I do not believe there is anything wrong with having some cushion from your parents while you’re trying to get back on your feet. For example, say you were laid off from your job. In order to cut back on living expenses, you move back in with your parents after your lease is up. They welcome you back in with open arms. You are actively seeking a new job and spend hours per day scouring the internet and applying for jobs that you are qualified for. Or maybe you move back home after college and are working and saving up money in order to move out. Your parents are understanding and want you to be completely financially stable before being on your own
Both scenarios are acceptable. I believe as long as a young adult is actively working or actively seeking work while living with their parents, that is perfectly fine. However, if you’re being lazy and mooching off of your parents, of course they have every right to put their foot down and show a little tough love. Sometimes some people get way too comfortable being fed by a silver spoon and will take advantage of whatever they can get. This makes me think of the scene in the movie Step Brothers where Brennan and Dale were given one month to find jobs or else they’ll be kicked out of the house. Sometimes it seems as if the parents are the ones who let this happen. They allow their kids to get too comfortable having things handed to them and then are surprised when they continue to stick around. There needs to be a healthy balance between being a friend and being a parent.
Our parents are supposed to be the main adults in our lives that teach us the lessons we need to spread our wings and become our own individual self. Some lessons we learn might be tough ones, but they are necessary for our personal growth. Leaving the nest can be scary at first, but it doesn’t mean your parents are going to stop being there for you. They are going to watch you live your life as an adult with great admiration and are going to be proud of the person who they raised. My parents tell me how proud they are of me all the time and that makes me thrilled to hear. The guidance that they’ve given me means a lot and I will continue to use all they’ve taught me as I navigate through adulthood.