The statistic was hard to believe.  One in every four 26-year-olds still live at home with their parents.  As the step-mom to a fantastic 12-year-old, I only had to imagine doubling his age, his size, his laundry and his food intake to decide it wouldn't be such a happy home if he stayed with us through his 20's.  So, I went to my trusted friend Google to see what the 'experts' say about getting adult kids to leave the nest.  33 Million returned links showed me it's a concern and a question that is asked a lot.

Here is some of the best advice I found:

1. Change the way YOU see your kid.  He ain't that little anymore and he is fully capable (if unwilling) to fly on his own.  Use your logic and remove some emotion to look at your child -- and see that child as the adult he is.  In fact, by age 26, he's just as much as adult as YOU are.  See The full article from Empowering Parents.

2. Change the way the kid sees HIMSELF.  If your child has never paid rent, paid for their own insurance or bought their own groceries.  It's time to get some of that training so the transition to being self-sufficient won't be so hard.  Make a plan with your child to start covering their expenses.  Make sure it is comparable to what they would pay living outside the house.  Things like renting their room, toiletries, food, entertainment, cable, phone, car, insurance -- all should be in that budget.  Don't forget -- your kid is doing laundry, too -- so water and electric need to be part of their payment.  Once they have the budget in control and feel more 'in control,' make hard deadline dates for the child to find his own place in the world.  See the full article from The Huffington Post.

3. Your House, Your Rules, No Exceptions.  It's not harsh, it's good parenting.  Set the boundaries you need to have a happy home.  If you're uncomfortable with overnight visitors (um, YES, I'm uncomfortable with that), then make that off limits.  If your spouse likes to be in bed by 10 and would hear your kid coming home late, it's your house -- and it's your rules.  You don't have to make it impossible to live there -- but you do have to realize that your role as ultimate protector and nurturer are over.  You need to refocus on what makes you happy and let your kid find their own happiness.

4. Working to Support Yourself is NOT Optional.  It's not for any of us, really.  The majority of Americans work for the money they get and live with the results.  Working for minimum wage is better than unemployment.  Working while in college is better than dropping out.  Working to support yourself is not something you have a choice on -- it's something you are required to do in our society.  I don't know about you, but when we die, it's not going to be a payday for our kid where he can put his feet up for the rest of his life and drink soda out of a jeweled cup.

5. Think About the TRUE Meaning of Help.  Dr. Phil (who rarely is a source of good advice for me) says it's not about your supporting your child, it's about you teaching the child to support themselves, "You don't help people by taking away their self-sufficiency, pride of accomplishment and achievement.  Children need to take an initiative and find ways to achieve their goals on their own.  If something is important enough for your children, they will find a way to make it happen."  See his article on adult children leaving home.

It's fine for me to put these steps down now.  My 12 year old will be with us for a while.  We've decided he'll either be a millionaire architect or living in our basement when he is 26.  Either way -- he'll be prepared for the steps above.  Even at 12, he has his own money that he manages with our help (spending, saving and giving).  He can do his own laundry, he knows how to do the dishes and he makes a mean mac and cheese.  We think he'll be ok... but just in case, I'm bookmarking this and might need a little refresher in the next 12 years.