Surviving a Freeloading Kid!
by Chris Theisen
Steve's parents were beginning to wonder if he would ever "leave the nest." His empty soda cans, dirty dishes, scattered laundry, and random "work-related" papers constantly littered their once spotless abode. Getting him to pick up after himself was like asking a vampire to sunbathe...it simply wasn't going to happen. Steve's sense of irresponsibility seemed almost instinctive.
As far as freeloaders go, Steve was a pro. His freeloading was so well played out that he rarely, if ever, had to pay for meals, entertainment, clothes, gas for his car (which he also didn't pay for), or even rent. Sure, Steve would occasionally fork over a few bucks to satisfy his diet soda addiction, but getting him to spend money on anything else was like pulling teeth!
Freeloading was always Steve's specialty. He had a considerable amount of practice as a teenager...and now, as an adult child living at home, Steve really did become a pro. Job-hopping and excuse-making were Steve's specialty. He had his parents almost convinced that the world (especially potential employers) was conspiring against him to keep him in his parent's home as a permanent fixture.
For Steve's parents, the problem became too much to handle when they realized how much money and frustration Steve's freeloading was costing them. The burden of allowing Steve to freeload in their home was not only affecting their marital relationship but also rapidly draining their financial resources. They simply had to do something or things were going to continue to get worse.
"Evicting" a freeloader isn't as easy as one would think. Telling a loved one that you are about to cut off financial support is no easy task, let alone telling that same loved one that his/her freeloading days are over and that it is now time to start supporting himself/herself. This can be quite traumatic for both the parents and their adult child.
There really is no easy way to "boot" a dependent child out of the house, but at some point it needs to happen. Parents of adult children should in no way be discouraged from providing moral support and proper guidance to their adult children, but financial responsibilities and housing need to become the responsibility of the adult child.
Certainly, there will be instances in which a parent will feel compelled to help an adult child who is struggling though a "bump in the road," but to continuously and perpetually do so is only asking for trouble. Parents that do this are only creating a dependent child that will likely take advantage of the situation for as long as possible.
If you have a freeloading adult child living with you then it might be time to reconsider your approach. Perhaps a written agreement or contract is the way to go. An agreement or contract allows parents to set the conditions which allow the adult child to stay in the home. If the adult child feels that the conditions are too restrictive then he or she can simply move out.
Parents need to make sure that the agreement (or contract) contains a clause which includes a "move out" date. Adult children should also have household responsibilities and expectations that make things as easy on the parents as possible. Monthly contributions should also be included...no child should have a completely free ride!
If you need a place to start with regards to a pre-written agreement or contract, then try our downloadable version here.