Many adult children are still living, or have moved back, into the family home for many different reasons. For some people this can bring about a very different dynamic to the family set up, which can sometimes be the basis for conflict. We’ll delve into ways to manage this situation.
So why do adults stay living with or move back in with their parents?
- Generally it usually comes down to money! Yes it’s not the only reason but in most cases it will be the main reason. People either don’t have the money to get their own place or have maybe lost their own place due to financial difficulties.
- Other reasons might be for physical or emotional support due to different medical conditions.
- Many full time adult students will live with their parents throughout their studies as their income potential is significantly decreased.
So where and how can issues come about?
- For adults who have lived away from the family home for a good amount of time, moving home can be a necessary evil. When they move back into their parent’s house there can be a large number of issues that arise. Parents can sometimes slip back into “parenting” mode. This can be nice in the beginning, having meals cooked, washing done and so on, but this can quickly turn into a bone of contention when parents get upset because you’re not home on time for dinner, or came home late from a night out…or didn’t come home at all!
- The flipside can also arise, where the adult child moves home and expects the parents to “look after” all the above. Some parents can feel like they have already done their job in raising their child and this can build resentment. Why should a parent have to wash an adult child’s dirty undies!!
- If the child isn’t working or making any attempts to create employment opportunities for themselves, this can become frustrating for parents and trying to talk to their child about it can almost turn into the same experience as it was when they were 6 or 7 years old!
- If a grandchild has come into the family home also this can be difficult as grandparents may feel that their child isn’t parenting “right” while the adult child can feel that they are being undermined by the grandparents.
None of these situations are easy to deal with so what can the parent do?
- First things first, make sure there are clear lines of communication open, this includes you being open to hearing what your child is trying to tell you about their situation. Ultimately you both want the current situation to run as smoothly as possible for everyone in the home.
- It might be worth creating a “family contract” of sorts. Not one that’s is overly restrictive or oppressive but one that is an agreement on who does what and when. So it could be as simple as agreeing with your adult child that they do their own laundry or that or will text them during the day if you are making dinner for everyone.
- As it is your home, your standards of cleanliness need to be maintained so they need to clean up after themselves.
- You need to also decide and agree if and how much they will contribute to the house financially.
- If there is a grandchild in the house, you need to sit down with your child and ask them what the boundaries are for the grandchild. They need to lead this discussion and will need to be supported to maintain their boundaries for the child.
- If you feel that they are not parenting properly in a certain area, approach this gently and subtly and never in front of the grandchild. They may ask you for some advice or support but always take their lead.
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