Holding an adult child accountable

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by re4med, Sep 10, 2009.

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  1. re4med

    re4med Puritan Board Freshman

    Here is a question I have been wrestling with ever since my youngest child turned 18. Legally, I am not "responsible" for him any longer and I understand that biblically that there is not a necessary age limitation. However, what kinds of "requirements" might you establish for an "adult child" living in your home?

    I hope this questions makes some sense... :rolleyes:
  2. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Conceptually, 18 might mean adulthood but not in every aspect, and not necessarily biblically.

    In some states many basic privileges and responsibilities of adulthood come at age 21. There may be a stronger biblical case for that age, were that definitive (I'm not sure there is a definitive age because children mature at different levels).

    I think that a child living under your roof must abide by the household rules. Discipline might involve not continuing to live there.

    At the time, I thought this was extreme, but one father charged his son rent when he turned 18. But one might say, summers and vacations are always free but if a child goes through college or technical school years and wants to stay home beyond those years, they must contribute to maintaining the household somehow.

    My parents always seemed to have the notion that children should take their time growing up and now that I look back on it, I like that.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  3. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    If it was my child and he had finished high school, he would need to enroll in college. If he hadn't decided on a career then he would need to get out and get a job and pay some rent, food, and utility costs also his own clothes and car insurance and gas. I would still have a curfew for the whole household's sake of peace and quiet etc. I moved out of my mother's house when I was 17yr and I learned responsibility and put myself through college and paid my bills on time......I was dirt poor but I did it. So I don't think asking 18yrs to contribute to their parent's household would be a hardship.
  4. re4med

    re4med Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, I remember those days! MY parents charged me 40 bucks per week rent and I thought I was being robbed! :lol:
  5. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    After I turned 18 and went to college, I was allowed to come home during holidays and summer breaks, but I was expected to have a job and follow simple household rules:

    1) Keep your mess out of the rest of the house
    2) Do your own laundry
    3) Clean up after yourself
    4) Contribute to household chores (within reason, most of the time I was working at least 40 hours a week)
    5) No partying, drinking or drugs (it was never said, because it wasn't an issue, but I knew it would never fly in our house.)
    6) Always let parents know where you are and at what time you plan to return. In my humble opinion this is common courtesy and safety, no matter who you are, teen or adult.

    As far as the rent goes, I think it's a good idea to charge rent, especially if an adult child is doing nothing but working. My parents very graciously allowed me to live at home after college for a year without paying rent, because I was paying off my school debt, and my siblings were already out of the house. However, my father made it very clear to me that as soon as my college debt was paid off (and I paid mine off in a year), I had to leave or start paying rent, and I was expected to pay for all my needs and contribute to the grocery budget.
  6. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Why are children a blessing? Is it simply because they exist? This is the mindset of our entitlement culture. However, children are a blessing because they are to continue a godly line and contribute to the promotion of the family. Having many children was considered profitable to the family because of their ability to work the land or produce more to promote the family. I say this because it is central to the root of this issue. Our children often are raised with the idea that it is their responsibility to learn and ours to support them in that, period. They are seldom raised to work hard and know that their responsibility, wherever they live, is to promote the household and always to promote the family head, regardless of age. That doesn't mean that they are to always support their parents financially, but that they are to always promote them as the family head.
    If the children grow up knowing and understanding this, then it is less of an issue when they are older. With this in mind, we do them a disservice and it's actually a detriment to their character if we do not make them contribute their share in the home, both physically and financially. If they are sponges then they are a curse. If they contribute their share then they are a blessing. Failure to charge them a reasonable rent and make them work around the house promotes an entitlement and selfish character in our children.
    Discipline may involve different things, depending on the relationship, privileges involved and character of the child. If they are more sensible and rational, simple reason should prevail. If they tend more toward being reactionary and less sensible, then more drastic measures may be needed. Perhaps a curfew (which should be understood anyway for reasons Mrs. Baldwin gave). Perhaps restricting use of items, car or whatever. Perhaps a more rigid schedule to promote obedience. And, perhaps putting them out of the house. Church discipline is always something we should be willing to consider in regard to our children as well. We often fail in this area because of personal pride. However, in the long list of horrible indictments of Romans 1 is the curse of children disobedient to parents. The penalty of a rebellious child in the OT is death. The rebellion of a child is indeed an abomination to the Lord.
  7. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    My daughter started college last month. So long as she is in school she is allowed to stay home. She follows the same house rules that have always been in effect. Her day starts at 5:00 am milking the cows. She then feeds the pigs and chickens. By 7:00 am she has finished shoeing the horses and making breakfast for the family. She can then go to school. When she gets home there are a list of chores: tune-ups, brake jobs, putting in fence posts, and baling hay. During Christmas break she'll do some "heavy up" wiring in our house, re-asphalt the driveway, and chop firewood.
  8. Honor

    Honor de-cool

    my mom said the only reason she had children was so she wouldn't have to do housework any more... really seriously, that's what she said
  9. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

  10. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    I would allow my adult child to live at home free of charge so long as there is an end in sight or a goal. That could be the completion of education, searching for a job, or saving up until marriage. My parents allowed me to do all of these things at no cost to myself. I lived at home during the summers of my college years, I moved back home upon graduation to look for a job, and stayed at home for a full year in anticipation of marriage. I did not deserve such treatment from my parents, but they were more than happy to offer it.

    As to what I expect from an adult child living under my roof, that largely depends on his/her attitude. My parents never laid out any rules or expectations when I was in that situation, because I was grateful for what they were providing. I respected that it was their home and I was a temporary resident. I respected that they were my parents and to some extent still an authority over me. They, in return, respected that I was an adult without need of supervision. They didn't have to demand to know where I was going and when I would be back--I offered such information on my own.

    If the adult child's attitude is in some way disrupting the peace and prosperity of the home, rules and expectations need to be addressed.
  11. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    There are a lot of variables. The basics, however, should be that the child live under the house rules, be courteous (let you know their whereabouts, when they'll be home for meals, etc), and be in church each Sunday morning. The rest is pretty negotiable, depending upon the individual circumstances.
  12. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    I have four adult children. Circumstances differ, but I followed certain principles:

    1) A parent is responsible to God for anyone living in his house and under his authority.

    2) Persons not financially independent are not functioning as emancipated adults. Parents may help with housing, food, vehicle, insurance, and tuition, but as mentioned above, with a plan to help a child become a self supporting and responsible adult. Any assistance given in these matters should clearly involve effort and responsibility on the part of the recipient. Such an arrangement implicitly implies a degree of continuing authority over the child.

    3) Parents should not accommodate sin. Children may have different views regarding use of drugs, sex, entertainment, work, worship or the Lord’s Day. While they live in their parents house, they should not expect parents to subsidize or accommodate practice contrary to their beliefs.
  13. christiana

    christiana Puritan Board Senior

    As long as he lives in your home he is both accountable and responsible to you as his parent! If he is mature enough to have a full time job and be self supporting then he should be but if he prefers to remain at home he lives by ALL of your rules and assists with all of the chores as each family member does. This also includes the display of a pleasant attitude all the while! This is not easy as I know well from experience and you will be in my prayers as you follow His will as leader, father!
  14. Bald_Brother

    Bald_Brother Puritan Board Freshman

    Age of accountability?

    Funny. My dad told me the same thing, and carrying on the tradition, I tell my boys the same. Actually, it's usually something like,

    "Oren, do what the happiest day of my life was?"

    "When you married mom?"

    "No. That's second or third place. It was the day you turned 12. You know why? Because your mom said I had to wait until you were twelve to make you mow the lawn. Thank you for turning twelve."

    -----Added 9/10/2009 at 03:48:54 EST-----

    My parents are dealing with this right now with my younger, 26 yr old brother. The problem they have, though, is that they never maintained "rules under my roof" for him after he returned home after dropping out of school.

    I agree with the other repliers that say to make sure you maintain household rules, with punishment... even flexing the option of sending them on their way if needs be.

    I wish my parents would use this option, and I know they regret they haven't yet.
  15. E. Thomas Young

    E. Thomas Young Puritan Board Freshman

    Hey William, it is Eris, from facebook. Sorry to post this here. Just wanted to say hi to William. Someone I admire.

    -----Added 9/10/2009 at 04:17:42 EST-----

    William, that is to be Eric not Eris. LOL
  16. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm not sure I would agree with this statement. I think that children taking forever to grow up and mature is a big problem with our society presently. Especially with men, we have too many who don't want to be leaders in home and church, instead they are more concerned with video games and having fun. Spoiled, immature children need to be encouraged as much as possible to act like adults and "grow up", for lack of better words.
  17. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior


    I don't think Scott was suggesting children should "take forever to grow up". That is quite different than "taking their time". Yes, there are many kids who are babied for far too long, resulting in a lack of manhood and responsibility. Nobody is advocating such. There are also many kids who are thrown into adulthood far too quickly, resulting in a loss of nurturing and a deficiency of fundamental values.
  18. re4med

    re4med Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Eric!!! Welcome to the PB. I think you will find some godly men and women here and I am always interesated in what they have to say about various things. :offtopic: LOL! Let me know if I can help you in anyway.
  19. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member


    My oldest turned 18 this last March. He is required to attend Church with us. I actually didn't have to tell him that. He does it anyways without me requiring it. He still has to do his chores. Nothing has changed in that reguard. I guess the only thing I did have to put on him was that I told him he was required to be by 1:00 Am on the weekends and Midnight on the weeknights. I didn't even have any argument on that point from him. I did allow him to start smoking cigars and he went out and bought his own pipe and tobacco. So we both enjoy a bowl or cigar together on the front porch. I did tell him I disapproved of cigarettes. He has had a job for the past year and a half. He paid for his own car and the insurance. He offers to help out financially without my asking. I am most blessed. He is an ideal son as far as I see it. He is going to attend College next year at a local Community College so that he doesn't have to deal with the idiot lifestyle of most College kids. He wants to live at home with me for accountability. He did have the option to go. He wants to teach History at the Highschool or Jr. High level.

    I went into the U.S. Navy and was stationed at Oceana in the early 80's. When I got out I moved back in with my Mom. Another buddy from the Navy also moved in with us as he was stationed at the MEPS in Indy. It was ideal. I didn't move out till after I graduated from a Technical school with an associates degree and got married. My navy buddy Todd still lived with my Mom then even. He became family. He ended up getting his College Degree at the same College my son wants to go to. Todd got married later and is now a dean at some College in Iowa I believe. We were both in our late 20's when we moved out of my Mom's house.

    I am not sure you can place a framework age wise on the situation. I am sure you can expect certain behavior or out the door they go.
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