Why Do Parents Kick You Out at 18?
Turning 18 is a major milestone in a young person’s life. It marks the transition from childhood into legal adulthood, bringing with it many new freedoms and responsibilities.
However, some parents make the controversial decision to kick their children out of the home upon turning 18, leaving them to fend entirely for themselves.
The Legal Context
Parents are not legally required to continue housing or supporting their children once they turn 18 and graduate from high school. So kicking an 18-year-old out is within a parent’s legal rights. However, some argue that parents have a moral responsibility to continue supporting their children through early adulthood if needed.
Common Reasons Parents May Kick 18-Year-Olds Out
There are several common reasons why parents may kick their 18-year-old children out of the home:
Supporting an adult child can create financial strain, especially for lower-income families. Parents may not feel they can afford continuing care and support. Asking a child to move out can relieve financial pressures.
Some parents take a “tough love” approach, wanting their 18-year-old to learn independence and self-sufficiency. They believe striking out on their own will motivate them.
Frustration Over Lack of Progress
Parents may feel frustrated if their 18-year-old isn’t progressing with work or education. Kicking them out is seen as forcing them to get serious about their future.
Conflict in the Home
Ongoing family conflict can cause parents to ask their 18-year-old to move out. This eliminates strife for the rest of the family.
The Potential Harm of Kicking Out 18-Year-Olds
While parents may have understandable reasons for asking 18-year-olds to move out, research shows early independence can negatively impact young people. Potential risks include:
With limited education and work experience, most 18-year-olds will struggle to afford living costs without family support. Many end up homeless or in poverty.
Without parental support, many 18-year-olds drop out of high school or college to focus on simply surviving. This harms future career prospects.
Mental Health Decline
The stress of extreme independence at a young age leads to surging depression, anxiety, and substance abuse among kicked-out 18-year-olds.
Long-Term Strained Relationships
Kicked-out young adults often resent their parents for years, causing permanent relationship damage. Some families never fully reconcile.
Creating a Supportive Transition to Adulthood
Child development experts emphasize the importance of a gradual and supportive transition to adulthood for 18-21 year olds. Recommendations for parents include:
Allow Continued Residency
Letting 18-21 year olds remain at home while progressing with work or education ensures stability.
Rather than abrupt independence, assign age-appropriate responsibilities to teens to systematically develop life skills.
Don’t just kick 18-year-olds out. Offer mentorship as they gain independence to set them up for success.
Let Natural Maturity Take Its Course
Most young people begin desiring independence around ages 21-25. Have patience allowing the maturity process to unfold.
Seeking Compromise With Stubborn Parents
If despite the risks, parents remain stubbornly insistent about kicking an 18-year-old out, the young person isn’t entirely without options. Some potential compromises include:
Make Your Case
Present well-researched information on risks of early independence and benefits of gradual transition. Appeal to parents’ care and concern for your well-being.
Propose a Trial Period
Suggest a time-limited trial period of independent living with clear expectations. Reassess with parents after the trial.
Identify Other Supportive Adults
If parents won’t budge, reach out to other stable adults (relatives, family friends etc) who may provide transitional help with housing, finances or mentoring.
Utilize Community Resources
Research community resources like youth support organizations that can provide various forms of assistance to young people facing homelessness or other challenges.
Kicking children out at 18 has risks that parents may not fully consider in their frustration or desire to motivate. Young people facing ejection from home also need proper guidance and support to manage such an abrupt transition. With open communication, outside-the-box compromise and utilization of all available resources, families can potentially avoid the negative consequences of sudden withdrawal of parental support at 18.