On Preparing My Young Adult Son to Move Out

The day he gave me the side eye along with that tone to his voice that only a parent can detect is downright disrespectful, I had made up in my mind that we had to work a bit faster on getting him prepared to move out.  Otherwise, I would be that parent who would one day kick him out.  I simply don’t like young adults who act angrily or disrespectful over seemingly minor issues that could easily be resolved with a question or an offer to help.

This son had been often left alone at his old residence living with dad and other family members.  All that time to self made him feel like he was an adult already even in his early teens.  He made his own meals at times, performed errands and chores, but wasn’t required to obtain employment.  It wasn’t until I brought up a job that he started pursuing one.  

I foresaw a future where he was going to have money battles with his stepparent and father if he didn’t move on getting a job quickly.  He listened and he went above and beyond at his first place of employment.  As things changed in that household so too did his plans for staying with his dad.  He ended up living with us.  Prior to his moving out, I explained how my household was run and that he would be required to work if he wanted to live with me.  He had no problem with that since he had already listened to my advice in the past and was accustomed to making his own money.

It was literally weeks after living with us that he did get a job.  However, that didn’t happen without me encouraging him and assisting with his job search.  I explained that he was to create a list of places he applied to daily and that we would have meetings going over his job search progress.  These meetings were crucial because this way he would be held accountable and I would be at peace knowing he was doing his part to take care of his self.  He didn’t want to lose what little he came with (that was a consequence) if he didn’t do what was asked.  I only had to mention that once and he continued to job search.  You see, he enjoyed gaming and that was a distraction at times.  No job search, no gaming console. 

The biggest mistake that many parents make when they are supposedly helping young adults is continuing to make life at home comfortable for them even though it is in the best interest of all to see a young adult independent, mentally strong and physically capable of taking care of his or herself.  Why would any of us want to move out if parents are paying for everything, cleaning house, doing our laundry, scheduling our appointments, cooking our food, etc. all with smiles on their faces? 

For my son, the comforts of home adjusted slightly once he started working.  I expected a reasonable household contribution and chores to be completed.  We met about that monthly to ensure that things expected of him would continue to be done.  When it was time for him to take on a second job, we did the same.  We met about the job search, discussed his present and future expenses, and shared details about apartment costs and utilities in the area.  He started saving more money to meet goals.

Now he has a move-out date and a place to stay.  Although I feel happy for him, I also feel sad because he’s my son and I love him.  However, it is a must that he has his own space.  His mind and body are changing.  As he goes through his “What it means to be a man…” life transition, he doesn’t need me to annoy or burden him.  I did my part guiding him toward his freedom.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of When Mothers Cry, Say Goodbye to Dad, and Tell Me Mother You're Sorry.

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When Mothers Cry by Nicholl McGuire is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on book by Nicholl McGuire, When Mothers Cry.

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