Congratulations, you’ve come to the discovery that you really do want your adult children to move out of your house. Your reasons might be financial, emotional or practical; no matter. The fact is they’re still sitting at your dinner table night after night, wondering why you don’t shop more organically while pondering the benefits of becoming a raw vegan in your meat laden household.
You need to get them out but the more you push, the more they will dig their designer heels in (making for a fabulous Instagram shot), so you’ll need to develop a strategy which will ensure a tearful wave in the next few months. Here are my top 10 do’s and don’ts.
Things To Do:
1) If you have another child who has already moved out, go against all established parenting principles and tell the child(ren) still at home how much more you love and admire the child who has moved out. Nothing spurs a sibling into action more than trying to become the favourite again. And let’s face it, the further away they live, the more we remember only their good qualities.
2) Buy and cook food that they don’t like or have a political reason not to eat. Pile on the gluten filled, white sugar and saturated fats for your skinny raw vegans, and pull out the organic kale and quinoa pasta for your fast food addicts.
3) Tell them you’ll take their clothes to the dry cleaner, and then don’t. Store their designer labels (that they can afford, apparently) in the trunk of your car until they complain. Then dump them all on their lap.
4) Find out when they have an important morning at work (presuming they have a real job) then invite a dozen of your closest, loudest, wine drinking friends over for a “book club” meeting the night before. This is part payback for the nights they kept you up when they were in high school, and part payback for the nights they keep you up now.
5) Comment on all of their Facebook posts. Make sure some of them include telling them to come home at a reasonable hour (if it’s a picture from a party), or that you really like their “outfit”, or “Don’t forget to pick up your rash medication on the way home.”
6) Set them up with every available neighbourhood “kid” their age (male or female) living at home. Invite them over for dinner; make things as uncomfortable as you can. “Look you’re both unemployed! You can volunteer together!” The other parents might thank you also and return the favour.
7) Borrow their clothes. All the time. If they don’t fit, just take them and hide them for a few days and return them. Better yet, throw out a piece of clothing they love and you hate, and let them know you did it.
8) Text them constantly when they’re out with your car. Or with the car they drive that you paid for. Not to catch them texting and driving, but to drive them nuts when they get to their destination. Ask them when they’ll be home, who they’re with, and then pull out the big guns, and phone them. A few times.
9) Turn their bedroom into a study when they’re at work. They don’t go to work? Do it while they’re still sleeping in it.
10) Post hundreds of picture of them looking really dorky on Facebook. And then add five comments to each post. Spell things wrong. Tag their friends.
Things Not To Do:
1) Be nice to them; compliment their clothes, their choice of friends or the way they picked up a glass to put it in the dishwasher.
2) Say “Well aren’t you clever!” when they pick out a birthday gift for their sister, all by themselves.
3) Make their lunch. Make their dinner. Unless they hate your cooking.
4) Give them beer. Or any alcohol of any kind. Don’t give any to yourself around them, either, unless it turns you into a nasty drunk and you say what you think. That could work.
5) Tell them they’re not ready to move out, and not every 32 year old is.
6) Do their laundry. Even moving clothes from the washer to the dryer because you need to use the washer, is helping them with their laundry. They do this on purpose so you will move it. Do what a person in an apartment laundry room would do; pull it out of the washer and dump it on the floor or in an empty laundry basket.
7) Ask them what they want from the grocery store. Who cares what they want from the grocery store? Are they paying for the groceries? Are they driving there? Carrying them out to the car, and then from the car into the house, and then into the fridge and cupboards? Even if they do one of these steps, it’s not enough. It’s just not.
8) Offer to do any chore for them while they are at work. What are you, their wife? No, wait, if they had a wife maybe they would move out.
9) Say things like “Well the great thing about having Scott at home is…” in front of Scott. Even if there is one tiny thing you like about them being at home, it gives them further permission to stay there. By definition, they’re a Mommy’s Boy, because they’re still at home at 28, so way to go on perpetuating that for another five years, at least.
10) Pat their hand and say “Oh don’t you bother with that. Go out with your friends.” when you’ve finished their favourite meal, that you cooked, and they make a slight movement to take their plate to the dishwasher. Joke’s on you, FYI, they were moving the plate to get to their smartphone.
The basic underlying principle here is to make things as uncomfortable as possible to have them stay at home. The nicer you make it, the more they’re going to want to stay. And they might even bring a bunch of their friends with them too.
Kathy Buckworth has four children. Well, actually two children and two adults. The adults have moved out. But it seems weird to say “I have two adults and two children.” Get Kathy’s latest book, “I Am So The Boss Of You: An 8 Step Guide To Giving Your Family The Business” at bookstores, through Audible, or online atAmazon.
This article first appeared in huffingtonpost and can be found at this link: