As a 22-year-old Gen Y-er, I can only imagine the impact my generation is having on their hard-working, hard-saving baby boomer parents. The media consistently inundates us with stories about children remaining in their parents’ home until they are 30, leeching money from mum and dad while changing jobs yearly to suit their ever-changing career aspirations.
As I have recently vacated my parents’ premises, I can envisage the relief they must be feeling at having the house, the pantry and their early, uninterrupted nights to themselves, not to mention the undisputed right to their television and living room, and the freshly cleaned scent wafting from the now polished bathroom.
However, for many parents, it is not easy to encourage their children to grow up, let alone move out. So, if you are a parent despairing about your child’s lack of direction and antipathy towards independence, or even if you’re just bored, here are some tactics you can use to edge your child closer towards adulthood, or simply to torment them for pure enjoyment:
Charge them rent (or threaten to). I personally find this method quite effective, as it never fails to incite indignation from the Gen Y-er. “What do you mean, pay rent? You know I only have a casual job! How can you do this? If I have to pay to live HERE, I’d rather move out.” Bingo.
Assign chores. This one, if implemented correctly, is a winner. If there is one thing most young people abhor, it’s cleaning. If you can, you should sit down with your partner/friend/other responsible member of your household, and think up a roster of weekly chores. Then, to spruce up your Saturday morning, I suggest walking into your child’s bedroom at 9am, shaking them awake and telling them they must dust, vacuum, mop and clean the toilet. If you are an anxious individual, the following scene may not provide as much amusement as a nervous breakdown, but it will certainly surprise the Gen Y-er into an action of some sort.
Set a curfew. Again, this can be a group activity with another adult. Simply think up a time that you deem appropriate for your 24-year-old to be home, and after a month, they will be settled down across the city with a mortgage and not one, but two respectable jobs.
So, whenever you’re restless and stressed out about the child-man/woman still sleeping between the bed sheets you bought them for their 12th birthday, try some of these, or even invent your own.