Adult Children: Moving Back And Living At Home

What you, the parent, should know concerning your adult-child who must return to living in your home.

One of the life goals of parents is to guide their children safely and well prepared into adulthood. The end result should entail, at some point, moving out of the family home to create the path of their own journey.

Though you may have done all the right things, given all the right information and sent out into the world a fully capable adult, nothing is for certain.

Even the most responsible adult-child, can be faced with some truly devastating, crippling or unexpected situations, that necessitate help from you in the form of... moving back home.

Divorce, changes in financial status, job loss and illness are just a sampling of the reasons your adult-child may be in need of your outstretched arms once again. But, before you put out the "Welcome Home" mat, there are some very important issues to address.

Yes, this is your child, but in most cases, this is not the wide-eyed kid that you sent out into the world. This is an adult. This is a person who has probably addressed many of the same issues you have. Who has probably gained much wisdom and insight while on their journey. And, one who has formed a measure of "adult" dignity.

Because you prepared this person for adulthood, you of all people should know that the person that moves back in with you, is not looking for the same kind of parenting they once needed. In fact, relating to your adult-child from a standpoint of past practices and history could be a recipe for disaster. The time for preaching, teaching and "I told you so's," are long gone.



Just as you would not try to "mother" your dear friend who has come to you with a problem or issue. You should also, not approach your adult-child in this way. For each of you, there should always be a base of shared respect and dignity.

Your first step in making this a successful and wholly comfortable situation, is to allow open communication and space. One of the reasons your adult-child has decided home is the place to be and you have agreed, is to give him/her the opportunity to refresh, rethink and renew. Yes, discuss the reasons that led your child to come to this decision, but never forget, that the same respect you expect...so does your child. All conversation should leave each one's dignity intact.

The next step, is to set down some boundaries. Perhaps you have become accustomed to a certain measure of privacy. Though, it will not be exactly the same as when you had the house to yourself, you are obligated to yourself and your child, to come to an understanding of this.

Depending on the reason for your child's return home, discussing financial obligations is probably a good way to avoid misunderstandings and bad feelings later on. If you feel that it would be appropriate that your child share in some of the household expenses, then by all means, voice this. Together, you should be able to work out a reasonable plan.

As this has probably been your home, longer than your child is old, it is a good idea to discuss the matter of socializing. If you have been having regular events at your home, then there should be no reason to discontinue this practice. But....make sure that you discuss this.

If, your child chooses to invite guests home, make sure that you both agree to times and types of activities in advance. Of course, you are keeping in mind that this is another adult, who would probably fare much better with some social interaction.

Curbing that impulse to "help" is another area to address. So, you know someone, who knows someone, who has this great...job, friend, car, house, apartment....that would be perfect for your child. The best way to handle this issue, is to carefully "read" the situation and your son's or daughter's openness to these suggestions before you "spring the good news."

Last, but certainly not least, if possible, the two of you should set a time limit for your child's stay. Putting this in the form of a reachable and reasonable goal is more likely to result in successfully meeting it.

Now that you are all on your way to a mutually agreeable arrangement, give that kid a hug, tell them how much you love them and then promise yourself that this is all the mommy-daddy sentiment you will offer, unless requested.

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