How to Get Your Kid to Move Out (for fun and profit!)

D.R. McElroy

Reclaim your basement! (A humor piece.)

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Of course, you love your kids. But when college is finished and they're still living at home? It may be time to consider ways to get them to leave the nest. You aren't doing them any favors by letting them mooch off you indefinitely.

This can be a touchy subject for a lot of you, but bear with me. Here are some ideas to help move them along into their own place. If the first one doesn't work, the others can help you up your "eviction" game.

1. Derail the gravy train. Are you letting your kid live at home rent-free when they have a good-paying job? Do you continue to do their laundry, buy their food, cook and serve their meals? Are you paying the insurance on their car--or are you letting them drive your car? Sure, it's hard to make it on your own in today's world; but that's what "growing up" is all about. If they don't learn now while they're young how to take care of themselves, what's going to happen to them after you're gone...to Florida?

2. Make "living with the folks" much more annoying. In addition to charging rent and no longer paying for their basic needs, your kids need to feel impinged upon as an incentive to find their own living space. Here are some examples.

  • When they come home at 5 a.m. after a night out, start vacuuming the hall at 7 a.m. as your first chore of the morning. Mowing the lawn, moving the furniture around, or cleaning the gutters above their bedroom window are other noisy chores that work wonders for hangovers.
  • If they're playing video games, be sure to hang around and ask a lot of questions, engage them in conversation, or better yet continually beg them to let you play--then make them explain the rules over and over.
  • Go to them with every single tech question you can think of...even if you already know the answer. It's also good to continue to ask the same questions again and again. Like "What's this button for?"
  • Loudly announce everything you're going to do before doing it, such as "I'm going to the dentist now!" or "I'm going to be in the bathroom for a while!" This is even more effective when your kids have company visiting.
  • Keep telling them about the friends you have who could really use their help around the house.
  • Every time they go out, be sure to ask them if they can stop by the store on their way home and pick up a couple of things for you. Suppositories and incontinence diapers, for instance.
  • Cultivate a bizarre sense of humor; practice it on your kid's partner.
  • If your kid has no partner, constantly talk about the adult children of everyone you know who would be a potential partner for your kid. This works especially well if the potential partner is someone who's wildly incompatible with your kid.
  • Adopt a creepy pet. Reptiles and insects work well, as do certain breeds of dogs and cats. Make sure your pet has free run of the house. (Don't hoard animals. Really, don't.)

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3. Begin demonstrating some of the signs of dementia. Pretend to forget where you put things and then ask your kid to help you find them. Start calling your child by the wrong name from time to time. Put your clothes on backwards--or, walk around the house without your pants on. Laugh randomly for no apparent reason. Have fun!

4. Be standing next to their bed when they wake up. Tell them you've become obsessed with their well-being and feel the need to continually check in and make sure they're still breathing. Leave the creepy stalker-y children's book Love You Forever lying around where they can find it; consider trying a couple of the things the mother in the book does to her son to show her "love" for him.

If none of these steps works to get your kid to move out, then you've got a real problem. As a last resort, consider moving out yourself and just abandoning the house and kid. Leave town, or better yet move to another state. Change your name if necessary.

Remember, it's not just their adulthood that's at stake, but your sanity as well. Good luck!

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D.R. McElroy is a published author, writer, and copy editor with 15 years professional experience. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and a Masters in Environmental Resources. A conservationist, naturalist, and environmental advocate, she spends her time writing nonfiction articles on a variety of topics, as well as writing books on contract for publishers. D.R. wants to build a community of people who love nature and wildlife as much as she does, and who want to help protect our resources for public use.

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