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Hotel Mama: When Children Must Go
Mid-forties. Single. Unemployed. And still Mama cooks the food for her offspring. Some parents have these horror pictures before their eyes when their son or daughter does not want to make any preparations for a move years after they have reached the age of majority. With some young adults, the urge for freedom, starting a family or career opportunities often ensure by themselves that they leave their nest at home. Others, however, stay with their parents for a variety of reasons. And they are not always completely innocent. But when should the offspring leave the house? And how do you make sure they leave without poisoning their relationship?
Anyone who lives beyond the age of 18 at home is in good company. According to a publication by the Federal Statistical Office (“Women and men in different phases of life”), 56% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 lived with their parents in 2008. Especially men (63%) at this age still stayed in the “Hotel Mama” while only 47% of the women still stayed at home.
Why children don’t move out
The reasons for staying in the familiar environment are manifold. But essentially, one can distinguish between legitimate and less legitimate reasons, even if the boundaries are naturally blurred. Those who are poorly funded because of their studies and education and therefore cannot afford an apartment are not immediately suspected of making themselves comfortable exclusively with mum and dad. Sometimes a suitable apartment takes longer to find or a surprising resignation forces the offspring back into their parents’ house. Also a separation or divorce from the partner can drive straight young humans again to the parents. There they then have a temporary place to stay and a little support.
Sometimes, however, such good reasons do not exist or are only used as an excuse to continue to enjoy the comfort of the parental home. Because not only money, but also work and time can be saved if mummy does the housework and brings the food to the table. Parents often cannot get out of their skin and encourage this form of comfort by constantly mothering. So why move out? Especially if the relationship with the parents is good and there is still a minimum of consideration for the privacy of the child, there is seldom a reason for this. In addition to simple laziness, sometimes a serious and full-grown fear of the world and independent living can also be behind it.
How to achieve it anyway
As always, prevention is the best method. If you prepare your child early for a later move out, you will avoid a shock if you switch unchecked from “mothering” to “throwing out”. When – according to the parents – the time has come for the child to move out, the reason for his “nest-stocking” should be explained to him and he should be told when and under what conditions he should move out. But even if a small push into freedom is sometimes unavoidable, you should not build up too much pressure and keep your fingers off verbal threats.
Conversely, pure hints and teasing should be avoided. They are either ignored or they quickly cause bad blood and a deep tear in the parent-child relationship. Open and adult pronunciation is the better method. Sometimes, however, the child may also need psychological support if he or she does not want to succeed in detachment out of sheer fear of the wide world.
New freedom for parents
Many parents – despite their longing for peace and quiet – are afraid to simply cast their children out. One of the reasons is the “Empty Nest Syndrome”. The fear of emptiness afterwards. But the detachment from the children is inevitable anyway and can be postponed at best, whereby it becomes more and more difficult with increasing duration of living together. And a detachment is not only painful, but also brings advantages for both sides. The children enjoy new freedom and privacy. They will no longer be treated like children by their parents and will earn respect for their independence. Parents benefit from a more relaxed relationship with their child, who is no longer burdened by everyday conflicts.
Above all, however, they finally have the chance to devote more attention to their lives as individuals and couples again. They are no longer primarily mother and father and finally have more undisturbed time with each other and for things that they had completely neglected due to all the parenting work. Basically, a marriage can only profit from this. And yet the child is not out of the world. Even after moving out, daughters, daughters and sons remain sons. Only the self-employed.