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Garga

Do not spend your kids’ childhoods telling them how much you want them to move out. Because then they will.

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I’ve known a group of women for 15 years.  For many of those years we’d meet twice a month for lunch, so I know them well and know their kids pretty well. 

Over the years, more times than I can count, a few of them would say things like, “I can’t wait until these kids grow up and move out!”  I understood that about half of the talk was simply venting frustrations over the day to day challenges of raising kids and was hyperbole. But half of it seemed very real.  

And they’d say these things in front of their kids.  I remember a couple of times when the kids were pre-teens, one or another of them would say, affronted, “Mom, I’m sitting right here!”  Their moms would laugh it off.  But I remember cringing whenever they said that about their kids and wondering what sort of repercussion those words might have.

Each of those moms has daughters who are all now in their teens/early twenties.  And those girls are making horrible decisions in their haste get out of the house.  One girl hooked up with a bunch of guys, finally got pregnant, and is now living back home with a baby.  She has made bad choice after bad choice and is trying her best to get back out of the house because she can’t stand living at home.  She only left the father and moved home because he kept coming home to their little apartment drunk and slept around, and she had literally about $10 to her name.

The other is living in the spare room of a trailer of hoarders.  She lives in the spare room with the grandson of the hoarders.  She works all day at her minimum wage job and her boyfriend just hangs out in the spare room all day.  She’s 20 and supporting him and living in a dingy room in a trailer, because she’d rather live in a hoarder trailer than at home.

One girl is only 15, but has been researching emancipation, has made plans to move in with her best friend (which are very immature plans and it’s not going to happen), and has a terrible relationship with her mother.  Something happened in the past few weeks that really hurt her mother, and her mother has basically said she’s done dealing with the girl and doing nice things for her.  I’m pretty sure that as soon as that girl can swing it, one way or another, she’ll be gone.

Another one graduated from high school last week and is getting an apartment with her boyfriend next month.  The boyfriend has been living in the house with the girl and the parents for over a year, but now that she’s out of high school, she wants OUT.  He’s not the one who cares—he’s happy living in his girlfriend’s parent’s home, but she wants out even though he only makes $14 an hour and the rent will be $1000 a month.  They’ll be living pretty poorly and she will have to forgo beauty school.

None of them are going to college or have plans to, except the one with the baby.  Now that the baby is here, she has decided to go to college, but mostly because she can’t stand living at home and is finally making better choices on how to get out of the house without having to live with alcoholic boyfriends. 

My friends who never told their kids, “I can’t wait for you to move out,” don’t have these issues.  But the ones who said it over and over and over...well, they have their wish.  Their daughters are moving out as soon as they can.

Oddly enough, though, not the sons.  The sons are making reasonable choices and staying home as they go through college or work steady jobs and save money.  But the girls are desperate to go and are finding any way they can.

Caveat: we’ll never know if the girls would have been this way even if their parents had never said those words.  But I do wonder...

 

Edited by Garga
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9 minutes ago, Garga said:

Caveat: we’ll never know if the girls would have been this way even if their parents had never said those words.  But I do wonder...

 

My dad being a worrywart was why I minimized being at home as a kid and choose to stay in the college dorm even though I could commute to college (though the bus ride itself was 1.5hrs during the morning commute and my engineering classes start at 9am daily). My kids have decided they want to stay home as long as possible so that they could use whatever money they earn as adults to buy real estate. DS14 told DS13 that paying rent to parents is a lot cheaper than SF Bay Area rents.

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Maybe it isn't the case in the friends you know who never said those things, but I'm watching it happen with people I know and love, who never said things like that, who had really close relationships with their kids during their teen years, whose kids seemed great......who are now making bad decisions, scrambling to get away, and otherwise engaging in baffling behavior. 

Girls and boys, incidentally.  And I've seen the good decisions & the bad decisions all within one family, raised/parented the same way, but kids taking vastly different paths as far as staying in touch with the parents, or not. 

I'm not saying it might not happen *more* when the parents are of the "can't wait for them to get out!" variety, maybe it does.....but it does happen in the other kind of parents, too. I wish we did know what the primary contributing factor was, and we could all just not do it, but from what I've seen, it just doesn't work that way.  

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14 minutes ago, TheReader said:

, and otherwise engaging in baffling behavior. 

 

I'm not saying it might not happen *more* when the parents are of the "can't wait for them to get out!" variety, maybe it does.....but it does happen in the other kind of parents, too. I wish we did know what the primary contributing factor was, and we could all just not do it, but from what I've seen, it just doesn't work that way.  

 

Yes, baffling is the word!  I had wondered if the contributing factor was the constant refrain of “I can’t wait for you to move out...” but perhaps not.  

Edited by Garga
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I'm with you.  I've always hated it when parents talk like that.  Make your kids feel unwelcome and go figure they'll look for welcome elsewhere.  Sure it's not the only factor.  One thing never is.  But I can't see a benefit to that parenting attitude.  And yeah, there's a grain of truth to most jokes.

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3 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I'm with you.  I've always hated it when parents talk like that.  Make your kids feel unwelcome and go figure they'll look for welcome elsewhere.  Sure it's not the only factor.  One thing never is.  But I can't see a benefit to that parenting attitude.  And yeah, there's a grain of truth to most jokes.

I agree, too.  There is no way that hearing that won't effect most children.  It's a rejection and that does not provide a healthy environment.

I am saying that while completely agreeing that even healthy families have children who make that type of choices.  Our children are their own persons and we aren't the only influence.  However, I wouldn't write of that type of comment having no effect, either.

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I do not like to hear people talking like that about their children - especially in front of them. I also don't like it when moms exclaim that they couldn't homeschool because they couldn't stand to be around their own children all day long. ????? Why did you have children then? Do you realize your children are listening? I wonder if they are thinking they'd love to spend all day with their mom or if they are thinking there is no way they would want to spend all day with her either?  It is sad.

I have seen some kids from what looked like to me (the outsider) a happy home, good parents, caring parents, and those kids made some very poor decisions. 

I wish there was a formula for making sure your kids always make good choices. 

Edited by Bambam
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I know someone who did this. She told her kids that as soon as they graduated high school, she wanted them out of the house. She wasn't going to help them with their problems anymore, and she pushed them to go to faraway colleges so she didn't have to deal with them.  Now her kids are adults and they live far away, and she complains that they never want to see her and don't come home for holidays.

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I hope there's a happy medium wherein one can talk to their kids about the general expectation that they won't always be there, talk about things one plans to do when they're not like the possibility of different sorts of vacations, room uses, and even possibly moving, and yet also makes it clear they're loved and welcomed. Cause, um, that basically describes us. I'm not dying to get the kids out - I've enjoyed, in various ways, all their stages of life and am enjoying this one. But also, I'm definitely someone who envisions the future and I'm not afraid to mention it. I don't know moms who moan about their kids getting out of the house (oy), but I do see a number of moms who seem totally unprepared for the future in regards to their kids - they don't see to expect them to ever become teenagers and have teenager problems because they'll be little forever. And then they don't seem to ever anticipate them leaving. Those parents, when I was a middle school classroom teacher, were a nightmare - because their kids would hit this particular moment of being teens and they were just... totally shocked and appalled. How could my tiny adorable baby have become this disgusting thing! And that was deeply unfortunate. So I've always told myself I should appreciate the right now and be aware that the next stage was coming.

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Sadly, I agree with you. My own upbringing was similar, though my parents didn’t say, “can’t wait till you move out,” but my mom’s goal for us girls was marriage and kids. My parents were very dismissive of women with a career; they never encouraged it and actively discouraged it. All four of us girls moved out young; I was the oldest to move out at 20. My 3 sisters married (the first time) before 20. Two eloped. 

One thing I was determined to do with my kids was have a family feeling. I wanted them to really identify themselves as a part of our tribe. That was one missing thing in my upbringing. I didn’t feel important to the family; I felt like I was a tolerated roommate. I think a lot of kids don’t do well because they lack the same thing I lacked. 

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My mum used to joke 'when you're 18, you're out the door'

She has never forgiven me for moving out at 17 (after graduating highschool)

The joke was just one small example of feeling generally a burden.

She also got pissed at me for moving 90mins away (and my sister thinking about moving 20mins away), 'both my daughters abandoning me' hysterics. Guess who moved interstate (again) within a few months?

I tell my kids all the time that they will grow up and build their own life, but this is also their home and they are always welcome to come back here. It's how dh was raised, and all the kids - grown adults with healthy adult lives - still love coming 'home.'

Eta- after reading the other posts. I did make some... probably less than ideal decisions because more than anything I wanted love/family/home. By the grace of God, they turned out well. It also wasn't 100% my mother's fault, there is a lot of messy baggage in there! 

Edited by LMD
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29 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I hope there's a happy medium wherein one can talk to their kids about the general expectation that they won't always be there, talk about things one plans to do when they're not like the possibility of different sorts of vacations, room uses, and even possibly moving, and yet also makes it clear they're loved and welcomed. Cause, um, that basically describes us. I'm not dying to get the kids out - I've enjoyed, in various ways, all their stages of life and am enjoying this one. But also, I'm definitely someone who envisions the future and I'm not afraid to mention it. I don't know moms who moan about their kids getting out of the house (oy), but I do see a number of moms who seem totally unprepared for the future in regards to their kids - they don't see to expect them to ever become teenagers and have teenager problems because they'll be little forever. And then they don't seem to ever anticipate them leaving. Those parents, when I was a middle school classroom teacher, were a nightmare - because their kids would hit this particular moment of being teens and they were just... totally shocked and appalled. How could my tiny adorable baby have become this disgusting thing! And that was deeply unfortunate. So I've always told myself I should appreciate the right now and be aware that the next stage was coming.

It's possible. My parent's did it.  They were honest that they expected us to become independent after college.  They couched it as being healthier for us and that we would have more fun and freedom.  They also were totally cool with us staying for a few months after college to get on our feet, or, in the case of my brother, allowing him to come home and go into counselling and deal with his alchoholism.  He did have to pay a small rent.  So, they were definitely clear that they were there for us and a landing place, but also a place to launch from.  I lived for a decade in the same city, but in group houses and apartments.  I had a wonderful time. They were right.  But I always felt loved and supported.

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I, too, think there needs to be a happy medium. My parents were great parents, but honestly I was really worried about my mom when I moved out. It seemed like I was almost her whole life and she took it a bit personally when I moved out. I think it is healthy for parents to enjoy the stage after their kids move out and it isn’t ridiculous to talk about it. I wish my parents would have been more positive and not just talked about how they dreaded it. 

Having said that, I can’t imagine telling my kids over and over that I can’t wait for them to move out-especially if it is said while annoyed with something they are doing. I think there is a big difference between “ugh, I can’t wait until you move out and I’m not tripping over your shoes by the door anymore” and “when all you kids are out of the house and happily adulting, I’m excited to have my own craft room.”

 

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17 minutes ago, lovinmyboys said:

I, too, think there needs to be a happy medium. My parents were great parents, but honestly I was really worried about my mom when I moved out. It seemed like I was almost her whole life and she took it a bit personally when I moved out. I think it is healthy for parents to enjoy the stage after their kids move out and it isn’t ridiculous to talk about it. I wish my parents would have been more positive and not just talked about how they dreaded it. 

I agree.

I got home from hanging out with my group of friends and listening to them update everyone on their daughters and I gathered my boys and said, “Guys, I want you to know that I love you both and having you in my life has been a great blessing.  And when you’re in college and afterwards if you need to stay here to pay off debt or whatever, I’m happy to have you stay.  And one day, when you’re ready to move out because you’ll be adults, I’m going to miss you to pieces and be sad that you’re gone, but that will be ok too, because you’ll be grown ups and ready to live in your own houses.”

I might reiterate it from time to time, just to be sure there are no misunderstandings: they are welcome to stay, and when they’re ready to go I’ll be sad to see them go, but not weirdly so.  

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In this case, Garga, I think that saying over and over again that they wanted their kids to move out, couldn't wait for them to leave is the symptom of the dysfunction, not the cause. It's not so much that they said it, it's that they meant it. Even if they hadn't said it, the kids would've known

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I told my five that I was going to build five houses in our yard and it'd be like a big commune.  Two of the boys live on the ranch now, one 20 miles down the road and my two girls live just over an hour away.  The girls are too far, but jobs decreed!

 

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4 hours ago, Arcadia said:

My kids have decided they want to stay home as long as possible so that they could use whatever money they earn as adults to buy real estate.  

When my youngest was that age, she asked if we could homeschool college. She got over it 😄

3 hours ago, Selkie said:

I know someone who did this. She told her kids that as soon as they graduated high school, she wanted them out of the house. She wasn't going to help them with their problems anymore, and she pushed them to go to faraway colleges so she didn't have to deal with them.  Now her kids are adults and they live far away, and she complains that they never want to see her and don't come home for holidays.

A second cousin of mine was told he had until 18 to be out. Literally the day he turned 18. He joined the service, which can be great if that's what you want to do, less great if you do it because you are scared of being homeless. 

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My parents were the type that huffed, puffed, whined, and complained about how much they wanted me out of the house.  My stepfather say me down when I was *four* and told me that he expected me out on my 18th birthday, and that I wasn't his problem after that.  There were many more words said than that, but that is the summary of what he said. He, and my mother, repeated it several times over the years and let me know what a huuuuuuuuuge favor they were doing by letting me live in their home and how they didn't owe me ANYTHING in life.   These same people are now very upset and angry that I don't visit and send them presents for Mother's Day and Father's Day, and feel very much entitled to my time and energy, (and money), now that they are nearing 70 and have alienated everyone else around them.     

You reap what you sow. 

  

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Oh, MissLemon, my heart just bleeds for your poor parents. How sharper than a serpent's tooth is a thankless child!

For next Christmas, you ought to send them a quality recording of Cat's in the Cradle. See how they like that as a gift.

 

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9 hours ago, Bambam said:

I do not like to hear people talking like that about their children - especially in front of them. I also don't like it when moms exclaim that they couldn't homeschool because they couldn't stand to be around their own children all day long. ????? Why did you have children then? Do you realize your children are listening? I wonder if they are thinking they'd love to spend all day with their mom or if they are thinking there is no way they would want to spend all day with her either?  It is sad.

I have seen some kids from what looked like to me (the outsider) a happy home, good parents, caring parents, and those kids made some very poor decisions. 

I wish there was a formula for making sure your kids always make good choices. 

 

I am the same way.  And I used to speak up!  I used to counter it with things like, "I love having my kids at home!" 

My older two are college age and they are all home for the summer and I am LOVING IT!  All my chicks in the nest.  I tell them that all of the time too.  My biggest fear is that they will all move to different corners of the US and I won't see them often.  I don't tell them that fear, I know today's world has people moving all over the place.   And maybe it is because when I was 18 I moved to a different country!  I went to various relatives for holidays, etc....  

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We joke with the kids about getting them and all their junk out of the house, but we’ve also had real conversations about how this is always their home, they’re always welcome, and that working hard and saving money is a big deal. 

The real issue is that we have a growing family (meaning physical size, not number!!!) with 5 “kids” and two parents in 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and an open concept living space. No extra room, zero privacy. That’s already rough for the older kids.  They want space, and it doesn’t look like the real estate market and our finances will line up just right for at *least another year, if not closer to 3, when the oldest 3 will be 24, 20, and 19.  So I do worry.

On the other hand, I did feel nudged out, did make some questionable choices, went back at 22, and then was kind of thrust out at 23 when the rest of the family moved 800 miles away. My siblings were never really pushed in that direction. One has been living with our parents for most of her 39 years, especially the past decade with her child. Another is about to move back in with her two children and no clear plan after that.  Another was in and out through some of his 20s and early 30s, but has a happy little independent family now.

I don’t know how much impact “get out” or “stay” has, vs. the bigger family dynamics and feelings around those things.

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10 hours ago, lovinmyboys said:

 I think there is a big difference between “ugh, I can’t wait until you move out and I’m not tripping over your shoes by the door anymore” and “when all you kids are out of the house and happily adulting, I’m excited to have my own craft room.”

 

Yup.

I'm real with my kids about the annoyances that kids in general visit upon their parents, and they all know how much I'm looking forward to seeing them grow up and follow their own path in life, but that's a whole different attitude than telling a kid over and over again how much of a pain in the rear they are and how much you can't wait to have your life back again.

I also hate hate hate hate HATE those awful pictures on Facebook of the mom celebrating when her kids go back to school each fall. Even when my kids were in public school I hated those things. Because nothing says "I love you" better than your mother shouting to the World how much she prefers her life with you gone for most of it 😝

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11 hours ago, Farrar said:

I hope there's a happy medium wherein one can talk to their kids about the general expectation that they won't always be there, talk about things one plans to do when they're not like the possibility of different sorts of vacations, room uses, and even possibly moving, and yet also makes it clear they're loved and welcomed. 

<snip>

I think that's the way it's supposed to be. I think kids should grow up with the expectation that they will move out of parents' home and into their own lives.  The middle ground between practically shoving them out the door, or expecting them to stay forever. 

One of mine would stay forever, I think, if not encouraged to think bigger.  That one, at one time, wanted me to facilitate homeschool college. No thanks!  

I hope my kids never live too far away, but <shrug> I know it could happen.  I hope to keep them emotionally close, no matter where they live. 

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My aunt had the saying "Out the door by 24".  Most of her kids came home for a while after they finished college, which she was fine with, but she also expected them to launch.

She also required every adult living at home to provide dinner once a week (cooking, ordering pizza, whatever) for everyone living in the home.  

AFAIK, my cousins all have a really good relationship with her.

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12 hours ago, Quill said:

One thing I was determined to do with my kids was have a family feeling. I wanted them to really identify themselves as a part of our tribe. That was one missing thing in my upbringing. I didn’t feel important to the family; I felt like I was a tolerated roommate. I think a lot of kids don’t do well because they lack the same thing I lacked. 

This is what we've tried to do, be, have.....I have always thought we succeeded, but our oldest (suffering from depression/anxiety) has stated he doesn't feel it. That baffles all of us, honestly, but....here we are. I hope/assume it's just the depression talking, and I hope as he recovers, he'll feel his place in our tribe vs. needing to find it elsewhere; it saddens me greatly. Not that I don't also want him forging his place in a new tribe, too, but that he still or again will feel like we are the home to come home to in between. 

(I do see the beginnings of signs that he's moving back that direction; he did come home from his summer camp job and just hug us, so that's a good sign....)

11 hours ago, LMD said:

 

I tell my kids all the time that they will grow up and build their own life, but this is also their home and they are always welcome to come back here. It's how dh was raised, and all the kids - grown adults with healthy adult lives - still love coming 'home.'

 

Same; this is what we try to do. We've made clear to them, as they're heading to college and such, "your room will always be your room" - even if we end up using the room for something else in the meantime, they can always come home. I do think that part has sunk in, at least. I hope. 

10 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

In this case, Garga, I think that saying over and over again that they wanted their kids to move out, couldn't wait for them to leave is the symptom of the dysfunction, not the cause. It's not so much that they said it, it's that they meant it. Even if they hadn't said it, the kids would've known

Yes. This. 

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53 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

and how much you can't wait to have your life back again.

The “again” may be another big factor.  I’ve never had an adult life without kids.  Part of me is curious about what that will be like, and another part of me hopes at least some of my kids will be nearby, and the possibility of doing foster care. Because I like my life raising kids! Maybe I will have to move on to a kidless life, and I think I’ll cope fine if that’s the case.  But I have no before and after to compare. Yet.

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My SIL was kicked out after graduation, with no money or plan. Her parents set her up to make really bad decisions. Thankfully, her grandmother took her in for the summer, which gave her time to make plans.

My kids tease me about how hard it is going to be for me to let them go. But they also know they are expected to grow up. They want, at least the older ones so far, to be adults. They expect that they will be living on their own and supporting themselves when they can (when they get a job that will support them), but they also know they can stay here while they save for a down payment as long as they are actively saving and acting like adults.

We aren't kicking them out, but they have the expectation that they will be living their own lives as soon as it makes sense.

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We have an open door policy for our kids. They know they are welcome home anytime. But they all (even the younger two) are excited to grow up and be independent. My oldest lives some states over and we have only seen him once since Christmas which is not fun, but he calls and in some ways seems more intentional about being involved with us than when he lived here on vacations. 

With D1 athletics, dd1 practically moved out when she was 17 and is home now for 5 weeks after graduation. This is the longest she has been home since then- which is wonderful, but she is longing for her own place and is ready to be on her own.

It's great to have older kids here- but it is also great to see them launch. That is what I mean when I say I am looking forward to the house being empty in ten years.

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Yes, and I've observed that even if that type of thing isn't said, the kids know it. If one parent rejects them and can't wait for them to leave, it isn't a secret to them. We know each other so well in a family that thoughts like that aren't hidden. I know of a case where nothing was said, but the kid knew. They planned to disappear at eighteen because the father subtly rejected them. It all came out when the parents split up.

Even as commuter college kids, I see how mine desperately need acceptance at times. They are very independent in many ways, but they need to know that I love them no matter what and that home is their haven from the pressures and sorrows of the world. They have their own friends and activities, and do most of the chores at home for me. Sometimes we don't have a meal together for several days because of schedules. But when things really fall apart, they need me.

We live in a very expensive metropolitan area with excellent job prospects, so I likely will have one or both for some time after they graduate. They love this area and plan to stay. Of course I hope that they can save and ultimately have their own place, but we'll have to figure what works best for all parties. I know of several cases where an adult child is working and living with an elderly parent who needs some ongoing help. I had my kids late in life and may actually need that at some point, so we'll see. 

Edited by G5052
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One being rejected by a parent — I know of one person who was born right after his older sister, and he has always felt like his dad didn’t want a second child so close and didn’t want him. 

I also know someone who feels like her dad had wanted a boy and really didn’t want her.  

Both left home very quickly.  

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You know, I'm actually not against my kids strategically living at home for a good bit longer. I think it's fine and I'm happy to let them - especially if they're doing it as a positive choice about saving, education, etc. and not as a "I dunno, whatever, free ride as long as possible, I have no plan," type thing. To me, that can be part of launching. And shouldn't feel like a burden. I think the view of this has changed too - a friend of mine who is a lot younger just started dating a guy who lives at home and she told it to me like, isn't that sweet, not like, this is a red flag. That's a huge generational difference, I think.

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1 minute ago, Farrar said:

You know, I'm actually not against my kids strategically living at home for a good bit longer. I think it's fine and I'm happy to let them - especially if they're doing it as a positive choice about saving, education, etc. and not as a "I dunno, whatever, free ride as long as possible, I have no plan," type thing. To me, that can be part of launching. And shouldn't feel like a burden. I think the view of this has changed too - a friend of mine who is a lot younger just started dating a guy who lives at home and she told it to me like, isn't that sweet, not like, this is a red flag. That's a huge generational difference, I think.

 

Yes, it's viewed very differently now. I have a friend whose adult son lives with them because he has a full-time job and is very involved in ministry. He pays "rent" and does all the yardword and some of the chores. But living at home allows him the time and funds to pursue his calling, and it works for them.

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I think this is a dysfunction thing rather than a say this one particular thing to your kids thing.  Even when you don't say it out loud, teens know whether they're close to their parents and appreciated or if their parents just want their space and their own lives back.  

My own dad used to say this all the time.  My parents did help me with college which was great.  But I was never allowed to move back home and there was all this big talk about sink or swim, you're on your own now.  And my parents used to joke about how independent I was.  I felt like I was given no option on that.  I felt I had to be independent.  And honestly, it hasn't fostered a super close relationship with my parents now.  My dad is deceased, and I can tell my mom wishes we were closer.   But I don't know how to undo like 25 years of not being close.  And she has expectations of me making the phone calls, setting up the get togethers, etc.  I do what I can, but it's not a priority.  It's really informing some of my interactions with my teens.  Though I do have expectations of them getting a higher education and launching and I having some time to reinvent myself a bit.  

My oldest is going to college this fall and people ask me about how I feel about it like they expect me to fall apart.  I've homeschooled that kid since 2nd grade.  I'm ready for him to move on.  We have a great relationship that I've worked to foster in positive ways through the teen years.  I'm excited for his next step for both of us.  I feel worse for his younger sister who adores him.  But I think it will be fun for her to be center stage for a while too. 

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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24 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

I think this is a dysfunction thing rather than a say this one particular thing to your kids thing.  Even when you don't say it out loud, teens know whether they're close to their parents and appreciated or if their parents just want their space and their own lives back.  

Yes, I think so. I mean, if a dynamic is cruel "jokes" that aren't that funny, then that's not cool. But some families do joke and dream of the empty nest years openly but do it in the context of a happy family where everyone is getting what they need. It's the dysfunction that's the problem.

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We've always encouraged our kids to look for a career/profession/whatever where they will be able to live independently once they are adults. If they need to come home and live here, fine, but that should not be their plan. I told them that is why we never purchased a home with a basement! Of course, the reality of that is, there are no basements in our section of Texas - so they know this is a joke!

We love my kids. They love us. But I think it works better, as least in our culture, for kids to try to live independently of their parents when they become adults and have found a career/job/whatever that will support them. That may take some time, but that is okay - every one has their own time table. 

We had some neighbors when I was growing up. This family had two boys (elementary ages) but the mom's mother stopped by every day to talk for at least 30 minutes. I was just a teen, but I was thinking - that is a lot of time to sit around talk and not getting anything done. I don't want my mom to do that. 

And one thing I really, really appreciate from my MIL. She told me at the wedding that she would never ask my husband  (her son) if he was coming home. Because his HOME was with me now and not with her. That is a small thing, but it really is huge, IMO.  I knew we would be welcome if we had to move in with them for financial reasons, but she was acknowledging that his main priority was his family (just me at that point) and not her nor his dad. I hope if my girls get married that they find MILs who understand that too!

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53 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

 My oldest is going to college this fall and people ask me about how I feel about it like they expect me to fall apart.  

It drove me a bit crazy when people did that! Particularly people who knew me well enough to know I didn't have my first kid until 32 (so it's not like doing something other than raising children was something I had no experience with). 

I was fine with people wondering what I was going to do, but pretty annoyed with people worrying about what I was going to do. 

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1 hour ago, Bambam said:

And one thing I really, really appreciate from my MIL. She told me at the wedding that she would never ask my husband  (her son) if he was coming home. Because his HOME was with me now and not with her. That is a small thing, but it really is huge, IMO.  I knew we would be welcome if we had to move in with them for financial reasons, but she was acknowledging that his main priority was his family (just me at that point) and not her nor his dad. I hope if my girls get married that they find MILs who understand that too!

This is huge. My MIL has been the same way, and I so so so SO appreciate it. I know it will be hard, but I hope to give the same gift to my future DILs and SILs.

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16 hours ago, Farrar said:

I hope there's a happy medium wherein one can talk to their kids about the general expectation that they won't always be there, talk about things one plans to do when they're not like the possibility of different sorts of vacations, room uses, and even possibly moving, and yet also makes it clear they're loved and welcomed. Cause, um, that basically describes us. I'm not dying to get the kids out - I've enjoyed, in various ways, all their stages of life and am enjoying this one. But also, I'm definitely someone who envisions the future and I'm not afraid to mention it. I don't know moms who moan about their kids getting out of the house (oy), but I do see a number of moms who seem totally unprepared for the future in regards to their kids - they don't see to expect them to ever become teenagers and have teenager problems because they'll be little forever. And then they don't seem to ever anticipate them leaving. Those parents, when I was a middle school classroom teacher, were a nightmare - because their kids would hit this particular moment of being teens and they were just... totally shocked and appalled. How could my tiny adorable baby have become this disgusting thing! And that was deeply unfortunate. So I've always told myself I should appreciate the right now and be aware that the next stage was coming.

 

Oh there's a huge middle area!  I talk to my kids all the time about how excited I am to help them become adults and be involved in their adult lives, and my younger half see that in action in their older siblings.  We talk about bills, education, jobs, relationships... Abiut the fact that dad and I are not immortal, so plan accordingly.

But the topic of being excited to have them move out doesn't come up much other than me joking about turning all their rooms into yarn or  book barns or moving to a house without stairs since I won't need an upstairs anymore. It's all about being excited to see them live a great life, not excited to see the door hit them in the rear on the way out.

Edited by Murphy101
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I think we’re pretty clear that them growing up, moving out, and moving on is a part of life. Raising them hasn’t been “now we’re parenting toddlers.... now tweens....now teens....” The end goal of adults has always been the same. So while we’re not going to kick them out on their 18th birthday (they’ll still be in grade 12!), we’re always moving forward. And they know that we have ideas for after they have moved on. Our lives as a family have always been an adventure. Growing up won’t stop that!

I always tell them that I raised my kids to be people I like to be with. So far, so good.

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7 hours ago, Farrar said:

You know, I'm actually not against my kids strategically living at home for a good bit longer. I think it's fine and I'm happy to let them - especially if they're doing it as a positive choice about saving, education, etc. and not as a "I dunno, whatever, free ride as long as possible, I have no plan," type thing. To me, that can be part of launching. And shouldn't feel like a burden. I think the view of this has changed too - a friend of mine who is a lot younger just started dating a guy who lives at home and she told it to me like, isn't that sweet, not like, this is a red flag. That's a huge generational difference, I think.

Yeah.  And there are different ways of living at home.  Living as a dependent child despite being a fully-capable adult = bad; living as an adult while sharing cooperative living space with parent(s) = good (in my opinion of course).

When I was single I lived alone for a time in my family home while my parents lived elsewhere. I was "housesitting" for them, longterm. Then my father got sick and they came home; I stayed.  After my father died, I continued to live with my mom till I got married. I was pretty much living as an adult with my mom as roommate.  I mean, I helped her, but I went to work every day, cooked for myself (or not), had a social life. I had already lived on my own, and was married briefly before this, so I knew how to adult.  But it was convenient, cheap, and helpful to my family. One or two guys I dated thought it was a weird arrangement, which was interesting to me and as it happened, there were other things about them that made the relationships not work out.  It sort of became a marker for a good guy - if he was OK with me living with mom, he was likely to be a good person for me to spend time with/possibly have a future with.  And, when I met my husband, and told him I lived with my mom, he was like, no big deal.  When we got married, she moved away again (I had a sibling living in another part of the state, NorCal vs SoCal) and we bought her house.  

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5 hours ago, katilac said:

It drove me a bit crazy when people did that! Particularly people who knew me well enough to know I didn't have my first kid until 32 (so it's not like doing something other than raising children was something I had no experience with). 

I was fine with people wondering what I was going to do, but pretty annoyed with people worrying about what I was going to do. 

LOL - same!  I was 30 with kid #1.  I married at 29.  I somehow managed to live an as adult for 10+ years without kids or a spouse for most of it.  

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8 hours ago, TheReader said:

This is what we've tried to do, be, have.....I have always thought we succeeded, but our oldest (suffering from depression/anxiety) has stated he doesn't feel it. That baffles all of us, honestly, but....here we are. I hope/assume it's just the depression talking, and I hope as he recovers, he'll feel his place in our tribe vs. needing to find it elsewhere; it saddens me greatly. Not that I don't also want him forging his place in a new tribe, too, but that he still or again will feel like we are the home to come home to in between. 

(I do see the beginnings of signs that he's moving back that direction; he did come home from his summer camp job and just hug us, so that's a good sign....)

Hugs to you. A good bit of it is just a crapshoot, IMO. You can turn yourself inside out trying to communicate something but sometimes the kid just doesn’t receive it. Like when, a while back, my grown son complained about how I didn’t expose him to music. I mentioned it on here, because I was like WHHHHHAAAATTTT.?? I did SOOO much music! We did Kindermusik and years upon years of piano lessons, and later, guitar. Tapes in the car, musical instruments from around the world, “Wee Sing Spanish,” CDs before bed...it was just mind-blowing to me that he didn’t really receive it, or realize it. 

I don’t think there’s any way to help that. 

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1 minute ago, Quill said:

Hugs to you. A good bit of it is just a crapshoot, IMO. You can turn yourself inside out trying to communicate something but sometimes the kid just doesn’t receive it. Like when, a while back, my grown son complained about how I didn’t expose him to music. I mentioned it on here, because I was like WHHHHHAAAATTTT.?? I did SOOO much music! We did Kindermusik and years upon years of piano lessons, and later, guitar. Tapes in the car, musical instruments from around the world, “Wee Sing Spanish,” CDs before bed...it was just mind-blowing to me that he didn’t really receive it, or realize it. 

I don’t think there’s any way to help that. 

Thank you, Quill; you have no idea how much that means to me, to hear that. Truly. 

He has said to us "we're not a very close-knit family" and all of us just kind of look at each other in disbelief, because, if anything, one of the things that Brazil did for us was to turn us into this.....unit. We had no one else *but* us while there, most of the time/much of the time, and so we became this very insulated, insular, family unit where we all relied on each other, and only each other. The boys really struggled making new friendships when we came back, because they had each other, what did they need with outside friends? But then, there was oldest, saying we weren't very close. 

It's been mind-boggling. I imagine part of it is natural growing pains of finding his own way, and part is probably the depression, but.....it's been a head-scratcher, for sure. 

Anyway, thank you. Really. I appreciate it. 

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27 minutes ago, Quill said:

Hugs to you. A good bit of it is just a crapshoot, IMO. You can turn yourself inside out trying to communicate something but sometimes the kid just doesn’t receive it. Like when, a while back, my grown son complained about how I didn’t expose him to music. I mentioned it on here, because I was like WHHHHHAAAATTTT.?? I did SOOO much music! We did Kindermusik and years upon years of piano lessons, and later, guitar. Tapes in the car, musical instruments from around the world, “Wee Sing Spanish,” CDs before bed...it was just mind-blowing to me that he didn’t really receive it, or realize it. 

I don’t think there’s any way to help that. 

Yes. Sadly, I have a ds who, at least at this period in time, doesn't seem to feel accepted or loved. We've made mistakes, sure, but we work very hard to try to make him realize how much we love and care for him. It's like loving a brick wall. Recently, I lost it with him a little bit and told him that we love him, we want a good relationship with him, and we want him to feel like he belongs. But we can't do it all ourselves--he has to take some responsibility and make some efforts too. It hurts us sometimes, but our main concern is that he's carrying around these feelings of...whatever it is, when it isn't necessary, because we see his gifts, we see what a great kid he is, we are NOT wishing he were like his brother or other siblings, etc.

ETA: I didn't share with him that it hurts us sometimes and ff, but I did share with him that we see his gifts and ff.

Edited by Jaybee
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9 hours ago, TheReader said:

This is what we've tried to do, be, have.....I have always thought we succeeded, but our oldest (suffering from depression/anxiety) has stated he doesn't feel it. That baffles all of us, honestly, but....here we are. I hope/assume it's just the depression talking, and I hope as he recovers, he'll feel his place in our tribe vs. needing to find it elsewhere; it saddens me greatly. Not that I don't also want him forging his place in a new tribe, too, but that he still or again will feel like we are the home to come home to in between. 

(I do see the beginnings of signs that he's moving back that direction; he did come home from his summer camp job and just hug us, so that's a good sign....)

Same; this is what we try to do. We've made clear to them, as they're heading to college and such, "your room will always be your room" - even if we end up using the room for something else in the meantime, they can always come home. I do think that part has sunk in, at least. I hope. 

Yes. This. 

Its the depression. My oldest is the same. She is the only one of my four kids who feels this way. We’ve tried and tried to explain and reassure and still...it just doesn’t sink in. 

Weve finally come to the realization that we did the best we could. She’s looking for someone to blame for her pain. We’re the first natural target. But we did the best we could and the other three are good, so I don’t think it was the parenting. 

I’m hoping that one day she realizes that it’s not us. It’s the lies that depression has told her.

and yes. It is very very painful.

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3 hours ago, TheReader said:

Thank you, Quill; you have no idea how much that means to me, to hear that. Truly. 

He has said to us "we're not a very close-knit family" and all of us just kind of look at each other in disbelief, because, if anything, one of the things that Brazil did for us was to turn us into this.....unit. We had no one else *but* us while there, most of the time/much of the time, and so we became this very insulated, insular, family unit where we all relied on each other, and only each other. The boys really struggled making new friendships when we came back, because they had each other, what did they need with outside friends? But then, there was oldest, saying we weren't very close. 

It's been mind-boggling. I imagine part of it is natural growing pains of finding his own way, and part is probably the depression, but.....it's been a head-scratcher, for sure. 

Anyway, thank you. Really. I appreciate it. 

 

I am one of 7 and our family has always been very close.  At a certain point many of us realized we didn't know how to make friends because we never needed to, since we always had each other. We all have overlapping hobbies and interests that keep us close as adults while also still having many differences.  I see all my local siblings at least once a week, usually twice.  The siblings that are farther away I see at least once a year but we are still close while apart.  

But one of my brothers has never felt like he's close with any of us. We treat him like every other sibling and have always tried to show him he really does have the same interests as all of us that helps keep us all close but for whatever reason he has never felt close to any of us.  He has commented to my mom about how wonderful it is to hear of all the things we do for each other but for some reason he doesn't think we'd do the same for him.  It is sad and hard to comprehend but it really is just his perspective and for whatever reason he doesn't see what everyone else sees.  We'll never stop trying to include him and be close with him and hopefully one day he'll see that.  

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12 hours ago, MysteryJen said:

We have an open door policy for our kids. They know they are welcome home anytime. But they all (even the younger two) are excited to grow up and be independent. My oldest lives some states over and we have only seen him once since Christmas which is not fun, but he calls and in some ways seems more intentional about being involved with us than when he lived here on vacations. 

With D1 athletics, dd1 practically moved out when she was 17 and is home now for 5 weeks after graduation. This is the longest she has been home since then- which is wonderful, but she is longing for her own place and is ready to be on her own.

It's great to have older kids here- but it is also great to see them launch. That is what I mean when I say I am looking forward to the house being empty in ten years.

 

This is how my parents are.  They have made it clear that home will always be home for any of us.  Most of us moved out shortly after college graduation or once married.  But one of my brothers lived with them until he was 35, with a few short periods of times when he had his on place. He just struggled greatly with finding a nontemp job and holding it down.  Staying at home allowed him to get his degree later than most and he now has a really steady job and is doing well.  

They allowed dh, the kids, and me to move in with them while we got our house sold and looked for a new one.  They didn't charge us anything while we still had the house mortgage and once we sold the house they only asked for $300 for utilities.  That allowed us to sock away money for a down payment on a house that they actually moved into with us.  

Now my brother is living at their house with his family while he sells his house and looks for a new one or buys theirs' from them.  Once again, they are only charging him for utilities.  

Now that they live with us, I'd like to let my siblings know that our home is still their home if they ever need it.  But I don't quite know how to do so.

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On ‎6‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 7:15 PM, Garga said:

I’ve known a group of women for 15 years.  For many of those years we’d meet twice a month for lunch, so I know them well and know their kids pretty well. 

Over the years, more times than I can count, a few of them would say things like, “I can’t wait until these kids grow up and move out!”  I understood that about half of the talk was simply venting frustrations over the day to day challenges of raising kids and was hyperbole. But half of it seemed very real.  

And they’d say these things in front of their kids.  I remember a couple of times when the kids were pre-teens, one or another of them would say, affronted, “Mom, I’m sitting right here!”  Their moms would laugh it off.  But I remember cringing whenever they said that about their kids and wondering what sort of repercussion those words might have.

Each of those moms has daughters who are all now in their teens/early twenties.  And those girls are making horrible decisions in their haste get out of the house.  One girl hooked up with a bunch of guys, finally got pregnant, and is now living back home with a baby.  She has made bad choice after bad choice and is trying her best to get back out of the house because she can’t stand living at home.  She only left the father and moved home because he kept coming home to their little apartment drunk and slept around, and she had literally about $10 to her name.

The other is living in the spare room of a trailer of hoarders.  She lives in the spare room with the grandson of the hoarders.  She works all day at her minimum wage job and her boyfriend just hangs out in the spare room all day.  She’s 20 and supporting him and living in a dingy room in a trailer, because she’d rather live in a hoarder trailer than at home.

One girl is only 15, but has been researching emancipation, has made plans to move in with her best friend (which are very immature plans and it’s not going to happen), and has a terrible relationship with her mother.  Something happened in the past few weeks that really hurt her mother, and her mother has basically said she’s done dealing with the girl and doing nice things for her.  I’m pretty sure that as soon as that girl can swing it, one way or another, she’ll be gone.

Another one graduated from high school last week and is getting an apartment with her boyfriend next month.  The boyfriend has been living in the house with the girl and the parents for over a year, but now that she’s out of high school, she wants OUT.  He’s not the one who cares—he’s happy living in his girlfriend’s parent’s home, but she wants out even though he only makes $14 an hour and the rent will be $1000 a month.  They’ll be living pretty poorly and she will have to forgo beauty school.

None of them are going to college or have plans to, except the one with the baby.  Now that the baby is here, she has decided to go to college, but mostly because she can’t stand living at home and is finally making better choices on how to get out of the house without having to live with alcoholic boyfriends. 

My friends who never told their kids, “I can’t wait for you to move out,” don’t have these issues.  But the ones who said it over and over and over...well, they have their wish.  Their daughters are moving out as soon as they can.

Oddly enough, though, not the sons.  The sons are making reasonable choices and staying home as they go through college or work steady jobs and save money.  But the girls are desperate to go and are finding any way they can.

Caveat: we’ll never know if the girls would have been this way even if their parents had never said those words.  But I do wonder...

 

I see the kids making poor choices and rushing to get out of the home, and the moms wanting them out, as symptomatic of a generally unpleasant home life and troubled relationships (at least in some ways) that these girls are attempting to escape.

Edited by Reefgazer
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DH's nephew has had a pretty rough childhood in general so his current dysfunction is probably a reflection of all of it. But his stepmom used to tell him that when he was 18 he was expected to move out. It broke my heart to think how his 8 or 10 year old mind interpreted that. Little kids don't know how to be independent, and that's a scary thought.

Right now I have an 8 year who openly worries about how to be a grown up because he doesn't know how to drive and he doesn't know where everything is in the grocery store, etc. I know that constantly reminding him he was moving out at 18 (not my expectation) would send him into a panic. So we talk about how much time he has to learn those things and he gets lots of reassurance about the things he's already learned, etc. I don't imagine any of my kids will want to live at home forever, but I tell them right now that they can because grown up life looks scary. In the meantime we're teaching them to work hard and be independent in age appropriate ways so that someday, leaving the house is a natural next step.

 

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