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Family Rules > Your children need to fall out with you to leave home - Pg. 176

Your children need to fall out with you to leave home RULE 81 Your kids have it pretty cushy. Food provided, bills paid, a com- fortable bed. OK maybe you expect them to contribute, but it's nothing compared with the time or money they'd have to find if they left home. So why would they go? On paper, there's no reason for them ever to get out into the big wide world, apart from the desire to get up to things without you knowing, for freedom and privacy (probably best for you not to think about this too much ­ but it's OK, trust me). But it's something they have to do, for their own sanity and, goodness knows, for yours. That's why they've evolved a foolproof system for taking that big scary step away from home comforts and security and into debt and responsibil- ity. It's called rebelling. Of course they may get this process over with years before they actually leave, but at some point they need to bring about a sea change in your relationship before they can actually go. Yep, they have to find an excuse to reject everything you stand for in order to give themselves the impetus they need to get off their backsides and get on with their lives. They need to argue with you until they reach the point where that big scary world looks more appealing than staying here with you. If you're forgiving and understanding, this can be pretty tough for them. They got their ears pierced and you didn't bat an eyelid. So they tried getting their tongue pierced, but you just told them it was their choice. Hmmm. What next? Answering back every time you ask them to tidy up after themselves? Smoking? Swearing? There must be something they can do to rile you. T H E R U L E S O F LO V E 176