My friends say I'm cruel but I'm just trying to get by

My friends say I’m cruel for doing this, but I am just trying to get by. I need to charge my children rent to stay at home otherwise I will suffer – it’s just maths! My children are 27 and 21, and they both live with me. My mid life baby Erika came along unexpectedly in my 40s and she’s clung on ever since, but my son Nicholas has been back more times than I can count.

I have friends who happily let their adult children live with them rent free but I can’t continue to do it. My own uncle lived at home until he was 45 and I don’t want a repeat of that. I already feel guilty and a bit annoyed at myself for stopping the kids from having independence, so in a way, being their landlord is my way of letting them know whose house it is!

The boomerang generation is well and truly in full swing, with nearly 1/4 of Australians aged 20-34 still living with their parents and more than half have moved out only to return again, mainly for financial reasons. But what about my finances? I swear they forget that the burden of a child is so much more than just providing a roof over their head – it can be emotionally tolling. And for those who believe I should be happy they live with me and still see me, I am glad for that, but I want to enjoy my later years instead of being a doting parent well into my 60s.

As I write this, my daughter is looking into share houses with her friends. My own mother gave me no guidance about that sort of thing when I was leaving home, so I want to make sure I give her as much information as I can, whilst not holding her hand. I have helped her to create a budget where she can pay her bills and rent and still have enough to enjoy life. I think that can be the issue: many Gen Ys don’t THINK they can do it, but they really can once they see how manageable living out of home can be. Sit down with them and work out expenses and so on, and they will be less daunted by it all.

Ad. Article continues below.

Making Erika and Nicholas pay rent has forced them to budget their spendings, whereas those naysayers who think I’m doing the kids a disservice are really the ones letting their children down. Enabling them to sponge off you sets the wrong example and if you ever want to have a holiday or relaxing retirement, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye.

As parents, we have a responsibility to form our children into mature and upstanding members of this society. Allowing children to live responsibility-free is a recipe for disaster, in my eyes – no matter if they’re 15 or 35.

Photo: FBNstatic

What do you think? Do you charge your children rent? Or did you when they lived at home? Share your opinions below.