Amy Chua’s daughters, aged 23 and 20, are living in the family’s Manhattan apartment for the summer and working, but thus avoiding rent by living at home. In her article, Chua explains how she made her daughters sign a valid, enforceable rental contract that she provides the full text of. She says,
The contract was signed by all four of us and went into legal force two weeks ago, and I can now say with confidence that I highly recommend this approach for parents with grown children—at least in America, a land where the laws and social norms heavily favor children over parents. The last time Jed and I showed up at the apartment, the refrigerator was stocked with orange juice, the master bedroom looked duplicitously unused, and our daughters greeted us with spontaneous joy and gratitude.
The fact is, we’re never off the hook as parents. Even when your kids are in their 20s, it’s still a constant balancing act. Are we asking too much of them or too little? Are we being strong and holding them to a high standard, or just being too critical? Are we teaching them by example how to live a happy, meaningful, giving life?
In the end, of course, all that any of us really wants is to have our babies back, to hold them close and to spend time with them—and to have them want to spend time with us.