This topic is fresh in my head as I read a review copy of Randye Kaye’s Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey From The Chaos Of Schizophrenia To Hope, and wonder what a parent of an emotionally disturbed adult child to do?
I plan to review this book soon, but in the meantime, I spotted a parenting advice column in the Washington Post, in which two of the letters dealt with adult children. Check it out:
My 23-year-old is working 50 hours a week at a job that doesn’t pay much. He’s over his head in debt. Should I allow him to move back home?
Having an adult child move home can be a great experience for both of you, as long as you treat him like an adult–that is, he keeps his room fairly neat and makes his bed in the morning; does his own laundry and changes his own sheets every week and cooks supper for you once or twice a week. If you can’t do that, you’re not ready to help him out….
How does a parent motivate a young person (age 22-24) to go back to college to be able to earn more money to become self-sufficient?
A child between 22 and 24 is old enough to decide whether he’s going back to college or not and he’s old enough to be self-sufficient, too. If you treat an adult like a child he will act like a child, down all the days.
It is sad that so many young people today are not self-sufficient in their 20s, then again, this is hardly an American phenomenon. When I lived in Spain, adults there lived with their parents until they were well into their 30s and even 40s. I know it’s not culturally unacceptable here, nor do I think parents should be their children’s indentured servants indefinitely. But what happens when children can’t find jobs due to the economy, or are so emotionally unstable that they can’t live on their own?
What say you?