My friends say I’m cruel but I’m just trying to get by 337



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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.

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.


Guest Contributor

  1. Yes I think they should pay rent. Children don’t realize sometimes how parents are affected by helping them out. To each their own anyway

  2. you are not cruel at all, my children paid board from the day they started work, this taught them the value of money and helped to prepare them for the big wide world when the did leave home they are all in thier 50s now and have learned to budget and have helped thier own children to do the same, if your children were flatting they would have to pay rent dont let them use you

  3. To simply charge rent creates a me/them attitude. If one calls a family meeting to explain expenditure is overtaking income, the children should themselves offer contributions to the family budget with a we attitude. And then all should concur on regularity with add ons for the unexpected.

    1 REPLY
    • Terry, when these children finally leave home they will encounter the we/them scenario from landlords, banks, utility company’s and many more, better after 18 that these lessons are learnt in the home than having them fall down publicly, then they do become “boomerangs”
      needing to return home to recover.

  4. Not cruel at all…….if anything I think it is very responsible move by you.
    Our middle daughter is 40 – has mild cerebral,palsy and an intellectual impairment.
    She lives with us……..but we needed for her to learn that when we are no longer around she would have to pay rent.
    If she was in a group home she would be paying, however she has a much better social life with lots of different activities and travels with us as well.
    All of this adds extras to our living and retirement costs – so she has to pay her way.
    Some of our friends also think we are a bit mean, because we can afford to support her, but that is not teaching her independence.
    And mark my words, when we are gone I am sure none of our friends would be putting their hands up to take her in rent free.

  5. Can’t for the life of me understand why an adult person would want to continue to live with their parents. Love, understanding and a desire to help our children out are natural feelings but having an adult son or daughter under the same roof must surely create problems; to say nothing of the obvious pressure on household budgeting. You are right in saying that failing to teach responsibility is a recipe for disaster. From the tone of your story I fear the disaster has already struck.

  6. Good thinking, young adults should pay rent while there living under the parents roof. Treat it like a share home, also help with electricity, everything. It’s a great learning process. They respect your more.

  7. They should be paying rent, when they do leave home, no on is going to give them lodgings for free, they will have to pay..get them used to it now

  8. Of course you are doing the right thing,I had the same problem so bought a smaller gouse when I retired &told all of them that was it stand on your own feet,it worked

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