adult kids won't move out

Failure to Launch: When Adult Kids Won’t Move Out

Dear Mr. Dad: Our 28-year-old daughter lost her job a while back, and after burning through her savings, moved back in with me and my husband. That was nearly nine months ago. In the beginning, I enjoyed having her around, but at this point, she’s definitely overstayed her welcome. Not only is she giving no indication that she’ll be moving out, she’s also leaving messes all over the house and rarely if ever offers to help in any way. The biggest problem though, is my husband. I found out that he’s been giving our daughter money and is even paying her credit card bills. Now I find myself fighting with both of them. Is there some way to resolve this?

A: You’re in a real pickle. But unlike most pickles, this one has three ends. On one, your chronologically adult daughter is freeloading instead of owning her own home or at least paying rent. On another, she’s abusing your hospitality and acting like an inconsiderate teenager. On the third, your husband is making things worse by giving your daughter money.

The good news is that there is a way out. The bad news is that it won’t be easy.

Let’s start with the third end: your husband. In my view, our main role as parents is to prepare our children to be self-sufficient, which means that at some point, they should have a job that brings in enough to pay rent, buy groceries, buy a car, and put gas in it. Your husband undoubtedly has good intentions, but they’re backfiring. By paying your daughter’s bills and giving her money, he’s essentially removing any incentive she might otherwise have to grow up and move out, and he’s making her more dependent on the two of you instead of less. He’s also subtly telling her that doesn’t believe that she’ll be able to get back on her feet. Right now, your daughter is probably feeling very discouraged, which may make it even harder for her to change her situation.

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Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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