The familiar pattern of family life that previous generations followed has been disrupted by economic uncertainties and conditions, meaning that we are seeing more adult children living with their parents for longer than was previously the case.
This change in the family dynamic creates a number of challenges, not least parents bankrolling their kids to some extent or completely, for longer than they expected. The question is when is it time to be cruel to be kind and send them packing to fend for themselves?
Families often stick together of course, and if one of you needs help from Hutchinson & Stoy as a result of a car accident, you will no doubt provide the compassionate support they might need, but when it comes to telling your adult kids to love out, here are some factors that might help to determine your timing on this difficult subject.
Millennials more inclined to stay at home
The current crop of 18-34 year-olds, otherwise known as millennials, are a generation defined by a number of different aspects, including the fact that an estimated 26% of them are living with their parents, according to a study published by the Pew Research Center.
If you break those numbers down and look at 25-year olds in isolation, you get an even more pronounced trend, with anywhere between 30% to 50% of these mid-twenties children, likely to be residing with their parents.
Carrying the financial burden for longer
One of the consequences of continuing to carry the financial burden and welcoming your back into the family home after they have completed their education, is that you may well be forced to delay your retirement plans or not have as much money as you envisaged when you finish work, if you carry on paying for your kids beyond what used to be a shorter timeline.
It is understandable why children of the millennial generation may be looking to reside with their parents for longer, when you look at the soaring rents they face and the affordability issues attached to buying their own home.
As a parent, you may well feel a moral as well as some level of financial obligation to look after your kids for as long as they need your help, but there has to come a point where you need to make plans for the next phase of your life, which means that you might have to consider asking them to leave and fend for themselves financially.
Finding an acceptable compromise
If you find it difficult, if not impossible, to administer the sort of tough love that is needed in order to cut the financial umbilical cord and call an end to your financial support for them, the other option would be to consider trying to find some sort of acceptable compromise.
It may be difficult to try and hold your child accountable and commit them on their own financial path so that they are draining your own resources, but this is a conversation that needs to be had and some financial planners even suggest that you draw up a contract that you get your child to sign, so that they understand the seriousness of your intentions and own financial priorities.
It is suggested that you avoid drawing money out of your retirement accounts in order to set them up or help them on their way, or at least take some professional advice regarding the financial consequences of your actions, before doing something that you might subsequently regret.
Paying their share
If your children are simply not in a position to move out at the present time and afford the rent and other bills that go with running a home, it makes sense to try and get them to adopt a sense of fiscal responsibility and this starts by paying their share to stay at home.
The first thing to do in this respect, is to have a proper family discussion where you air your concerns about your own financial situation and future plans, and lay out exactly what it is costing you to run the home with them still under the roof.
Your children wouldn’t expect to get free electricity, gas and food if they were living in their own property, so you simply have to highlight what it costs to keep them, which then allows you the opportunity to request a fair contribution towards this expenditure.
It is definitely sometimes better to be cruel to be kind, and this means there will come a point where you need to ask your children to make their own way in the world. When that is, can depend on many different factors, including your own financial position and how strong you can be in making such a difficult decision.
Amber Hope classes writing as her hobby and writes on a wide range of subjects for parent, lifestyle and personal finance sites.