Teach your grown up kids about moving out while they’re still at home

The best of both worlds. Kristie's son gets the chance to experience independence without the cost of moving out of home.
ISTOCK

The best of both worlds. Kristie's son gets the chance to experience independence without the cost of moving out of home.

When children grow up and begin to express their desire to leave home, it isn't just the empty-nest syndrome the parents are worried about. There are often questions: Have I taught them enough about the world? Are they ready to live without us?

And most of all, can they afford it?

These are all questions Kirstie Rehutai found answers for when she first set her eyes on a property near her hairdressing business in the Australian town of Winmalee in New South Wales' Blue Mountains.

Kirstie Rehutai's property in Australia's Blue Mountains has ample space for her family of five and a view of the bush ...
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Kirstie Rehutai's property in Australia's Blue Mountains has ample space for her family of five and a view of the bush beyond.

When children grow up and begin to express their desire to leave home, it isn't just the empty-nest syndrome the parents are worried about. There are often questions: Have I taught them enough about the world? Are they ready to live without us?

READ MORE:
Why you should move out of home before you're 30
Parents waiting longer for an empty nest
How to survive moving back in with your parents

Why you should live at home until you're 30

The property came with ample space for her family of five, a pool and a lovely view of the bush beyond. However, it was the basement that caught her attention.  

"I had this idea that Jimmy would eventually want to move out," says Rehutai, "and the space was perfect to let him try his independence while still at home."

It wasn't long before Jimmy turned 16 and asked to "move out". As part of learning the responsibilities of having his own place, he took it on himself to furnish and decorate the room before promptly disappearing from the main part of the house.

The family's basement is a spare space that doesn't share an entrance to the main part of the house. Jimmy quietly slips out when he leaves early for work as a plasterer, brings his girlfriend and friends over without having to disturb the rest of the household, and doesn't have to see the family if he doesn't want to.

Rehutai was initially nervous about the idea, and the same questions on whether Jimmy was ready clouded her mind.

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"It was something that I knew I wanted Jimmy to have," said Rehutai, who is assured her son doesn't feel excluded from the family just because he might be ready to try for a life on his own. "Obviously Jimmy couldn't wait to live down there!"

The benefits outweigh her worries. As a mum, Rehutai feels comforted knowing her son is in a safe place every night, and he gets the chance to experience independence in a familiar and controlled environment without the cost of moving out.

She is, however, careful to treat the apartment as her son's space, knocking when she would like to enter and gives him the privacy and independence he needs.

And the family does still see him from time to time, more frequent than they expected.

"He still uses the main bathroom. I think he still likes to be part of the family," she says.

As much as this is about teaching Jimmy a lesson in independence, the arrangement seems to have also enhanced the relationship between mother and son.

"I think it's made our relationship better. It has made him grow up a bit more, and I feel like I've got a man rather than a son." Rehutai said proudly.

So, has it been a good experience for Jimmy as well?

"It's alright," Jimmy says. "It's not like real independence … still got mum and everyone upstairs and I don't pay rent or anything, but yeah, it's nice to have my own space and away from my little siblings."

When asked if he'd like to move out one day, Jimmy is hesitant.

"Yeah, one day," he says. "When I can afford it, maybe. But I am liking it for now."

 - domain.com.au

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