They say you can never go home again.
Slacker son Michael Rotondo learned this the hard way, when the 30-year-old Camillus, NY, resident got served with eviction papers — by his mom and dad.
After crashing with his parents for the past eight years, he now has a court-ordered 14 days to move out of his childhood bedroom.
He might even have to find himself a job.
Fed up parents around the world, take note: You don’t necessarily have to pull a “Rotondo” to rid yourself of an unwanted house guest, even if he (or she) is your flesh and blood. Below, two parenting experts weigh in on the best ways to gently give your kid the boot — without hiring a lawyer and getting the local courts involved.
Set ground rules
“Most parents don’t want their empty nest to be destroyed by their kid coming back and living with them forever,” says Julie Ross, executive director of the midtown-based organization Parenting Horizons.
Ross points out that caring moms and dads can — and should — provide a safety net, but without making a commitment to take in their adult child indefinitely.
“The length of time that the parents expect to put the child up, the financial contribution that the adult child should be responsible for and the expectations about household chores” should all be established before the new roommate gets a fresh set of keys, she says.
Watch for red flags
“If the adult child isn’t contributing in any way,” you’ve got a problem, says Alice Kaltman, a family therapist who practices at Brooklyn’s Family Matters NY.
If the couch-surfer is out of work, Kaltman says he or she can contribute to the household in other ways: “clean, cook, grocery shop, help the parents get to their doctor’s appointments. You don’t have to sit around like a lug.”
If they aren’t making an effort to help, and they’re becoming increasingly isolated, Kaltman says it’s time to start having weekly family meetings about the kid’s job search — and to set clearer deadlines for moving out.
Don’t resort to bribery
Rotondo’s parents reportedly resorted to desperate measures to convince him to leave, offering $1,100 in rent money and suggesting they would pay for maintenance on his busted Volkswagen.
Ross says she isn’t surprised these gambits didn’t work: “I don’t believe in bribery or rewards. The kid may take the money or the car, or whatever is being offered, but they still won’t move out.”
Instead, she recommends that parents who are in a position to help out financially should go ahead and provide a month’s worth of rent — but only after the kid has found a job, and the lease on a new place is already signed.
If these strategies don’t work, and the adult child still won’t budge, Kaltman says it’s time to seek out professional help for the couch-warming kid, in the form of therapy, life coaching or career counseling.
If there isn’t a budget for one-on-one appointments, she suggests either group therapy or even “online chat groups that help motivate people toward work and autonomy.”
And as Ross points out, parents of adult children should make an effort to be helpful — but only to a point.
“Don’t create a situation where you’re always bailing them out,” she warns. “The ultimate in bailing a kid out is letting them live at home.”
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