Sunday, 1 April 2012

At what age are kids ready to move out?

At what age are kids ready to move out of the home? There is no specific age for a child to be ready to leave home. Usually it's a combination of circumstances that brings about the departure.

There may be temporary absences before the final exodus, such as extended vacations, attendance at an out-of-town college or university, but on these occasions, both child and parents know that the youngster will return. Most of their personal belongings remain in the home and their bedroom is kept intact.

When the final break comes, these factors have generally fallen into place:

* The young person is legally an adult. In most Western countries, that occurs at age eighteen. After that, even if the parents ask the authorities for help in bringing the teen back, that help will be refused.

* The young person has a means of supporting himself. He's finished his education. He has embarked on career which provides him with a decent living wage, and offers him an opportunity for advancement.

Sometimes premature departures occur when a youth, yearning for independence, gets a part-time employment. Even teenagers are sensible enough to know that they can't survive without money, but they may display poor judgement and think they'll be able to survive forever on their wages from the neighbourhood pizza parlour.

These "early departures" usually fall under the heading of temporary absences.

* Once he's settled in stable employment, the young adult eventually finds the house rules his parents have established to be somewhat confining. To express it in the language of one young man: "What? No sleep-overs with chicks?"

Or, it may be something simple that causes conflict: the youth playing music too loud, missing meals, drinking too much, staying out too late, or having their space continually in a mess.

* Either the youth, or the parents, or perhaps both, will realize that all concerned would be better off if they lived in separate places. This is a natural sequence of events. It is nature's way of preventing parents from having broken hearts when the fledglings leave the nest.

There is no set age when these events occur. It depends on the character and maturity of the young person and the tolerance level of the parents. Perhaps the average would be when the child is in the early to mid-twenties.

Occasionally, there will be an easygoing, pleasant, adaptable young person who stays home with mom and dad indefinitely, or only leaves to get married. Parents who are lucky enough to have raised this type of child should consider themselves truly blessed.

In these modern days, when "relationships" seem to be in vogue, and when almost 50% of traditional marriages break up, when jobs are lost and layoffs are frequent, children may return to the nest two, three, even four or more times.

Many realistic parents choose to leave their offspring's bedrooms intact for years, just in case... Perhaps the opening question should be amended to read :"at what age are kids ready to move out of the home the first time?"

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