Navigating the Nest – When Should Adult Children Fly Away?

A man with his son and daughter holding blocks that say FAMILY.

In a thought-provoking post, a concerned father reached out for advice regarding a growing conflict in his household.

The original poster (OP), a 40-year-old father, revealed that his 39-year-old wife had issued an ultimatum: that their 19-year-old son must move out, or she would.

The Son Returns

The son had returned home after dropping out of college due to a lack of passion for studies. While OP believed his son was making progress, his wife was growing increasingly frustrated.

OP expressed his dilemma, stating that his son had been living at home for the past six months, working odd jobs. He was actively searching for more stable employment, while contributing to household chores and assisting with his younger siblings.

OP’s son also made an effort to be respectful, buying his own food and cleaning after himself.

Despite witnessing his son’s efforts, OP’s wife insisted on giving him a deadline to move out, claiming she couldn’t live like this anymore.

The situation escalated when the son’s girlfriend spent the night, prompting his wife’s anger and further insistence that he leaves. He agreed to not have his girlfriend over to appease his mother, but she refused to believe him.

OP was torn, expressing his unwillingness to kick his son out while acknowledging his disapproval of certain decisions. Perplexed, he turned to social media for some valuable advice.

Online Reactions

As the original poster (OP) sought guidance on how to address his wife’s ultimatum for their 19-year-old son to move out, a series of diverse perspectives emerged from the comments.

Deeper Issues At Play?

One user, drkeyswizz, provided practical advice by suggesting that OP should ask his wife to be specific about her concerns rather than making vague statements like “I can’t live like this.”

By understanding her worries more precisely, OP could work towards establishing a set of rules for their son’s continued residence.

This approach would help highlight the son’s responsible behavior in terms of helping out, saving money, and maintaining cleanliness.

Another user, Iamwinning2022too, shared his perspective on the evolving economic landscape.

The user acknowledged that the financial realities for young adults had changed significantly over the past few decades.

He highlighted that living independently on minimum wage, as they had experienced in the past, was much more challenging now.

This user also encouraged OP to have a conversation with his wife to uncover any underlying issues beyond their son’s living arrangements.

“Your wife saying she can’t live like this anymore is extreme. Is there something else going on that makes her feel like her life is imposed upon? You should talk with her to see what’s really going on.”

AmbulanceChaser12 focused on the wife’s contradictory expectations for their son.

The user pointed out the catch-22 situation the son found himself in when he complied with the rule of not having girls over, only to be met with disbelief.

The user emphasized the importance of understanding what the wife wanted to hear and whether her expectations were realistic.

This perspective highlighted the need for clear communication and trust within the family.

Adult Children Also Need Support

Ypranch expressed a strong opinion against the wife’s position, advocating for continued parental support beyond the age of 18.

“Some kids mature on a straight road. Others take a lot of detours to get to the final destination. Our job as parents is to support and guide them. Not cut them off while they mature and figure out life. He’s not being a freeloader. He’s looking and helping. And being respectful. Your wife is wrong.“

Throwraum13 shared a personal story, emphasizing the potential long-term consequences of forcing a child out of the family home.

The user recounted their sister’s experience of being kicked out by their mother, stating,

“My mother did that to my older sister growing up, and her husband ended up leaving her for another woman. Now she can never mend that relationship with my sister, and still to this day, my sister brings it up. Living in her car {and} the trauma of being homeless.”

The user also cautioned OP about the lasting trauma such actions could cause and urged him to consider the potential repercussions of his wife’s ultimatum.

The Verdict

As we examine these diverse perspectives, it becomes evident that this family conflict raises complex questions about parental expectations, personal development, and the evolving dynamics of adulthood.

Each user’s viewpoint adds a layer of understanding to the multifaceted nature of the situation.

While OP seeks a compromise, it is essential for him to address his wife’s specific concerns and expectations.

Open dialogue, trust-building, and understanding the underlying reasons for her frustrations may help unravel the root causes of this conflict.

According to the majority of the commenters, nurturing an environment that balances parental support and the son’s growing independence becomes crucial as they navigate the complexities of this transitional period.

Ultimately, this family must strive for open communication, empathy, and compromise to find a resolution that respects the son’s journey while alleviating the wife’s concerns.

By fostering an atmosphere of understanding and collaboration, they can navigate this challenging phase together.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. What would you do if you were in the same situation as the OP of this social media post?

Featured Image Credit: EdZbarzhyvetsky /

This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.

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Pri Kingston

Ash & Pri are the Founders of and have spent the last decade building their way towards financial freedom and a lifetime of memories. Having successfully achieved their early retirement goal in under 10 years, they look forward to sharing their financial sense with like-minded people. Read more about Ash & Pri in the 'About Us' section.