When You're 18, You're Out

By Frank Lowe

Originally published on Advocate.com May 19 2014 7:15 AM ET

Nothing blows my mind more than meeting someone in their mid-20s who still lives with their parents. With the exception of having special needs, there are no reasons that come to mind as to why this is OK. I was 17 when I moved out, and that couldn’t have come any sooner. I left for college and had to learn how to manage things all on my own. The experience was both educational and maturing. I had absolutely no money and my parents didn’t support me, so I was at the mercy of my student loans and crappy part-time job. It was heaven and hell at the same time, and very important for my personal development. And though my son may have a few more things than I did then, he will surely find himself at the same place when he is 18 — not welcome to live in my house.

I have a theory that your early- to mid-20s are the most telling time in your life when it comes to predicting your future. The way you act when you graduate college (if you went) is a peek into how your maturity will evolve. I’ve noticed that 25-year-old college-educated men are either one of two types: (1) ready to accept adulthood and start to get serious about their lives or (2) refusing to accept adulthood and wanting to stay in party mode as long as possible. I’m sure there are gray areas, but this has been my observation in general. Not surprisingly, the ones who refuse to accept they’re getting older are also the ones with parents who still want them to be kids. Most of them even still live with their parents, and their mothers are still doing their laundry. I’m sorry, but there will be no failures to launch in my house. If my son hits 25 and still wants to live here and party with his college friends, he’ll be shit out of luck.

This rule should come as no surprise to my son, as he will have been living out of the house for 7 years by 25. And I won’t just walk him up the edge of the nest and push him out, hoping he’ll fly at 18. Our plan is to assist him with responsibilities and teach him how to properly hold down a job and apartment and pay his bills on time. As long as he has that under control by 25, then he can do whatever the hell he wants. If he somehow majorly fucks all of that up, then we will assist him with smart choices to get back on track, but will not open our doors for him to crash here. I would spend sleepless nights making sure he is OK but will not open Pandora’s box by enabling lazy behavior. I personally feel this is one of the best things as parents that we can do for our children. It’s OK to baby them when they’re babies, but teaching them to be an adult is the ultimate feat.

 

FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.

Contributor: 
Frank Lowe