There are a number of reasons why an adult child would move back to the family home. Whether it’s loss of a job, gaining financial security, or a break up with a significant other, sometimes one of our children needs to get back on his or her feet. We all want to be there for our kids and assist them in any way that we can. Maintaining a level of sanity and sense of humor is key to welcoming an older son or daughter through the front door again.
Five tips to remember when one of your adult children moves back home:
- Communicate BEFORE the move. It is best to have an honest conversation before your child walks through the door. Don’t be afraid to ask if he or she has a plan. Is the idea to stay in your home until they have found a new job or has a certain amount of money in the bank?
- We are all grownups. Everyone needs to pitch in to maintain harmony in the home. Empty the dishwasher without being asked, laundry is everyone’s responsibility, and meals can be made by all. As the parent, the inclination is to revert to the time when your child was little and you did everything for them. That is no longer the case. Just as you don’t want to perform every task for your child, they would prefer that you don’t treat them as one.
- Set some limits. If they plan to stay until a job is found, it is a good idea to have a time frame in mind. This keeps motivation strong and gives them something to shoot for.
- Share expenses. Even if your child is trying get back on their feet financially, they can still contribute. It does not have to be a substantial contribution, but an agreed upon amount within reason of their budget. Not only does this create healthy financial habits, but it also boosts the child’s self-esteem.
- Let them live their lives. While living on their own, they didn’t have to check in with mom and dad. Don’t make them do it now that they are in your home. Of course, if coming in, loudly, at 2:00am has been part of their lifestyle, you may need to ask them to curtail that. As long as there is not an interference to the family, the adult child should be allowed to enjoy their freedom without mom and dad checking in all the time. Be respectful of their life just as you can ask them to respect your own.
Above all else, embrace the relationship that you have with your adult child. Be grateful that they have looked to you, the parents, for guidance, security and love when they need it most.