Sunday, November 13, 2011

How long will the kids be staying?

In yesterday's paper there was an article on Gen Y saying that 25% of 25-31 year olds still live with their parents. I kind of knew this already since Rowan works with uni students and a large percentage still live at home. But I thought that by the time they were getting to their late 20's they'd be out of there.

I'm kind of counting on the fact hope that my kids will be moving out a lot earlier than that. In my head I was thinking during uni sometime or if they don't go to uni, when they get a job. I hadn't factored in signing up for long term financial support of their lifestyle or their bid to save up for a house.

Now I'm starting to wonder if (as they say) I'm dreamin'. Is it fair enough to expect that my children should be moving out?  Or is this one of those 'wait until they're older and you'll see' type of issues?

So are kids not moving out just because it is too expensive? Are kids not moving out because their parents like having them around? Are they not moving out because it's too awkward to have the 'it's time to go kiddo' conversation?

I don't know but I'm curious to know if there are things I could say now, in early adolescence, that might prepare the way in the future.  It's not because I don't like them, I really do.  But I think they can learn a lot by moving out and gaining some independence.  And being honest, I'm not sure that we can financially support five kids into their late 20's.

In the meantime I'll persist with my strategy of a small house, crowded bedrooms and bad cooking.  Sure to send them screaming in desperation to an inner city share house!

12 comments:

Tamie said...

Hi Jenny

I'm a Gen-Y-er. From my perspective (I'm not a parent!) I think independence is the governing factor here, and helping kids to own that for themselves.

My parents talked to us when we were in high school about wanting to help us to become responsible and independent. I didn't have a part-time job in high school. Instead, my parents continued giving me pocket money but it was mine to manage and they didn't pay for 'extras' or social things e.g. movies, new clothes, etc.

I felt privileged to have the freedom to study without having a part-time job in high school but equally privileged to get a job and 'grow up' when I hit uni - another part of the gradual process of independence.

I stayed at home until I got married (I was only 23 though!) but when I started working a few years before that, it seemed very natural to me to pay board, help around the house, never ask my parents for money, etc.

Jenny said...

Hi Tamie. That's a really helpful comment. Sometimes kids can move out and still be unable to be properly Independent because they haven't learnt those skills along the way.

Cat P said...

Hi Jenny and Tamie,

My mum was a single parent, and I was the oldest of 3. I always knew that from 18 years old, I'd need to contribute - if the government considered that I was financially responsible (in giving Youth Allowance to me and not my mum), then she considered that I should be paying board.

I also knew that as soon as I turned 18, there wouldn't be any money from her for clothes, movies, etc. Both parents gave me lots of support to look for jobs, though, so I always found it relatively easy to find them. (Support = helping to write CV, asking around for jobs at shops/workplaces, driving me to the shopping centre to walk around, practicising conversations, etc.)

I've lived out of home ever since I was 19, although my brother and sister (both in 20s) still live at home (my sister moved back in this week). Certainly for my sister, the expectation is that she's there as a financially independent adult who contributes to housework, cooking, bills, etc.

What I didn't have when I moved out were many cooking/cleaning skills. Plenty of independence, but I don't think I was a good housemate - fortunately I moved in with a bunch of older girls while I found my feet. (Thanks to those who might read this!)

We're certainly trying (!) to help our 9yo daughter understand how great it will be to be independent. I think it's got through - there's a brand of dumplings that I don't like and won't buy, and she says she'll buy them when she has her own house and invites me over!

Miriam said...

Hi Jenny,

I wonder whether these trends also have something to do with the rising cost of living combined with the large percentage of people living in the city and increase in living standards.

My husband and I are both from the country and we had to move out of home, at 17 and 18 respectively, so that we could attend university. Both of us had a certain amount of money each fortnight (from our parents) which we had to use on all expenses. Not to mention having to cook and clean ourselves. We also had part time jobs to supplement any income.

I've observed that most of our friends who've grown up in the city have continued to live with their parents during their uni years, and sometimes beyond. As a city resident now, in some ways I can understand how much cheaper it would be to live with your parents while you are studying. Especially if your parents are supporting you financially. As a parent, it would be cheaper to support your children living at home than elsewhere.

But I do wonder how students can afford luxuries like smart phones, cars, new clothes and eating out. Maybe these things are considered 'essentials' now, rather than 'luxuries. And so in order to maintain that standard of living, so many kids have to continue to live with their parents.

I think of my Dad who virtually had to pay his own way through teachers college without Youth Allowance or the luxury of living with his parents, not to mention such things as new clothes or eating out. Times are changing, and fast!

Motherhugger said...

I'm one of seven kids. My mum charged us board from the day we finished school. Board was one sixth of our income, whether that be the dole or income from a full time job. As soon as what we were paying in board was equal to paying rent in a share house, we moved out. Some sooner (college or uni).

I've seen kids stay living with their parents who pay no board, and make no contribution. They lose respect for their parents and don't learn to look after themselves. I certainly won't be allowing that!

Louise said...

Hey Jenny, did you know my eldest son plans for the future include sharing a house with your eldest son while at uni. I'm pretty sure he doesn't plan to live at your house, does that help?!

onlinesoph said...

Hi Jenny,

I'm a gen Yer and a parent. I lived at home until I got married, even though I'd always planned to move out. But when I got engaged at 23, there didn't seem much point.

I currently have one brother who lives at home and another who moved out, both are in their twenties. Partly it's a personality thing - the brother who moved out takes more initiative than the other - but rent in Sydney is a huge factor. Not only is the market competitive, but prices are rising fast!

Looking back, I would have liked it if my parents had "groomed" us more for independence. Even though we all had part time jobs since year 10, we didn't really have to wash our own clothes, cook meals, etc. Spoiled I guess. But I don't think that detrimentally affected my ability to "run" a house when I got married...I picked it up quite easily.

In terms of cost, my parents haven't found it a problem (and my dad is in full time ministry). Yes they only have one child at home, which helps, but he pays for everything himself as he works. The only added expense is the groceries, but at his stage of life he eats out most nights. Mum has so much extra in the budget she supplies my son his entire wardrobe! I also think they like the company...my brothers and I have always had a very 'adult' relationship with our parents starting from late teens. More like friends living together than mum and dad (and I know the same was with my Gen Y husband, who moved out at 23 into a share house. He was also charged board when he left school...)

Sorry for the mess of thoughts!

GandM said...

Love this posting (13/11/2011)and all the comments, Jen ! I think your readers must be Christians !
3 of our 4 boys moved out in their early 20's but they have all come back at different times. the youngest was 30 something, but is now happily married in Melbourne. With the size of the houses now,it is sensible for them to 'live in' but they should help pay for Mum and Dad's campervan or air fares so they can escape !!

Karen said...

My brain can't construct a well-thought out response to your post right now...but I think the strategy you are using sounds like a winner :)

alison said...

From all the people I know, I think there are plent of different noble and not-so-noble reasons that young adults are still living with their parents.

From my perspective I think it's important to make sure you make it clear to the kids the moment that they "graduate" into adulthood - whether it be a particular age, life stage or situation. At that moment they should start contributing to the life of the household in a different way - with more independence and more responsibility. Obviously there'd be a little period to sort out exactly what that looks like in your family, but there needs to be an obvious point of change.

From a child's perspective I've seen this not happen very well in my own family and it's sucked!

michael and karen said...

I hope at least one of mine moves out for uni - I have my eye on one of their bedrooms for my craft room :)

Heather said...

Like others, both of us (husband and I) had to move out to go uni because our parents were in the country. We've been working on the principle of brain-washing. Since J was about 2yrs we've been starting sentences with "When you've left home..." and "At uni, when you're living somewhere else,...". Have you considered strong recommendations for courses only run at Melbourne universities?
(PS We do love our J very much!)