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Cayman Parent | Articles | Expert Advice | Tough Love: Emptying The Nest

Tough Love: Emptying The Nest

Leaving the nest may once have been a rite of passage, but for many millennials, life in the nest is where they want to be. These days it’s not just the high school leavers who aren’t heading to college that show no interest in moving out; more often than not college graduates are opting to return to the comfort of their parent’s home. If having junior live at home for an indefinite period does not excite you, Cayman Parent is here to offer some advice on gently nudging your child out of the nest! – Satina DaCosta


1. Establish a Deadline for Moving Out

Setting a deadline for moving out will demonstrate that living at home is only a temporary arrangement. Of course the time-frame that you both agree to should be unique to each child’s earning potential as well as how quickly they are able to find accommodation that fits within the budget.

If your child is a high school graduate who will not be moving on to tertiary education, they should still have an idea of how they intend on supporting themselves independently, so a deadline should still apply.

2. Set House Rules

If your college graduate has spent the last four years living a laissez-faire existence in a college dorm, readjusting to a more structured environment may be a challenge so establishing house rules for your nester is the key to a happy home. Also, establishing clear parameters for visitation of significant others or friends is crucial.

3. Find Employment

There are number of reasons why your grown-up child may have moved back in (or have never left) the nest.

The most common motivation for living at home is a lack of funds to rent or purchase a home, due to being unemployed or underemployed. If your college or high school graduate does not have a job, they should make actively applying for one like a daily job.

For more information, visit Cayman Resident’s page on local employment agencies.

If your high school graduate needs to ‘up-skill’ before entering the job market, training opportunities are available at:

4. Pay Rent

Once your grown-up child is employed, their monthly earnings should not be treated as pocket money and they should begin contributing to household expenses. Paying rent not only encourages responsibility, but it demonstrates that a portion of one’s earnings has to be set aside each month to pay for basic necessities, such as electricity.

Depending on what your child’s take home salary is, you may plan to request between 10 to 20 percent of their monthly pay check in rent.

5. Establish a Budget

Having your nester set a monthly budget will help them save towards a life of independence e.g. a deposit on a rental apartment or the purchase of a car.

If your child does not have a savings account, now is the perfect time to have them set one up. You may even wish to request access to this account to ensure this does not become the “party” fund.

 6. Get off the Couch

Living at home should not be seen as a free ride. If you have had the keen foresight to raise your child to regularly contribute to household chores, skip this section. But if you have a grown child who would rather lounge all day on the couch, than lift a finger, you may want to establish a different culture at home. As hard as it may be to teach that proverbial old dog new tricks, you must! Resentment will quickly build if you feel your child is not pulling their own weight, particularly if they are unemployed.

7. Tough Love

It is difficult for some parents to treat their grown-up children as adults, but it is necessary. Whether your child is a high school or college graduate, they will benefit immensely from some tough love. What do we mean by ‘tough love’?

Holding your grown-up child accountable. If they break house rules, establish consequences to incentivise better behaviour. Also, if you have set a clear deadline for moving out, and this has not been met due to a lack of effort in finding employment, you must be willing to give your child a firm push in the right direction. For some parents, that may be out the door. In the end, this type of tough love may be just the thing your child needs to become a responsible adult.

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