Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Kids > Values and Responsibilities > Fostering Independence > Adult Child Won't Leave Nest
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Adult Child Won't Leave Nest

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: This question concerns adult (twenty eight years old) children living at home with their parents. This young adult is not working but is capable of working. I've heard that a contract is a good method of working toward separation. What should the contract contain in terms of goals and conditions? How is it carried out? Thank you!

A: I think a written contract is an excellent tool in helping to resolve a conflict like you describe. Twenty-year-old children who are physically and emotionally capable of working are not contributing to the overall welfare of the family and are being encouraged in this irresponsible, adolescent behavior by their parents. It always takes "two to tango" in these situations. Even though parents loudly protest about these living situations, they are getting something they want out of the situation or else they would not have allowed it to continue. The contract should be ideally drafted by "kids" and parents and should have a mission statement (i.e., why you are undertaking this separation), short- and long-term goals, and a timetable that is firm for when the children should be out of the house.

Obviously, a contract of this nature is only as good as the integrity of the people drafting and signing it; this cannot be viewed as something your children are doing to pacify you and with their having no intention of following through on their obligations. I believe that the discussions and heartfelt feelings that should come out in the process of making up this contract can serve as the long overdue catharsis that frees the whole family from an unhealthy family environment. Be loving, be firm, and be free.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Handwriting Headquarters
We've got handwriting practice worksheets, handwriting tips, and answers to your child's writing struggles, just in time for back to school. Brought to you by BIC.

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!