Together Again - When Grown-up Children Move Home
Together Again - When Grown-up Children Move Home
Helping parents adjust to older children moving back home!
With the economic crunch and troubles in the housing market more 20something, grown-up children have to move back home with their parents. Once the initial joy of their arrival has ebbed away, families can be surprising how quickly frustration and irritation replace this.
The parents’ routine is thrown off which is frustrating for them. The grown-up child feels they have to fit in where once they were King or Queen of their own domain even if it was a grotty bedsit or tiny studio flat.
Both of our children have moved back having finished Uni, started work and found they couldn't save a bean towards a place of their own. Though it’s wonderful to have them back, and I'd love to say it's been like a big Walton family reunion, it’s been tricky on occasion.
If you've welcomed your grown-up child home, fear not, you can negotiate these troubled waters with some practical pointers:
Together look at the grown-up child's earnings and decide what they should contribute to the home. Make this a discussion not a confrontation. Put pen to paper and write down what has been agreed as a weekly or monthly contribution. Consider, where appropriate, how much they should be putting away towards savings for a future down payment on their own place.
We all know there's a stream of chores to do in every home. Once the children flew the nest you and your partner may have settled into a easy, well-oiled routine where you both have your own responsibilities. Think through your child's skills (maybe they're better at ironing than tidying) and make a list of chores that they can take on. This should be a decision everyone’s happy with to prevent wrangles over who does what. Tape a chores list to the fridge door as a reminder.
While they've been away from home your grown-up child may have enjoyed many late nights that would turn you grey at the very thought. If they’re keeping their side of the bargain with money and chores this shouldn't be an issue as long as they’re quiet when coming in from clubbing and partying. We've a particularly noisy set of doors and right from the start our children had to be very quiet when coming in at 3am!
Yes, your children are now grown but you still want to know they’re safe, particularly with daughters. They may have been used to going out and spending the night at a friend's, rather than returning to their own flat, but now they should let you know if they're not coming home at all. Ask them to stick to something like sending you a text if they think they're not coming home.
Friends And Lovers:
Their Friends - your home is now their place to chill-out when not at work or out. They may want to have friends over from time to time. This should always be on the basis of discussing what their plans are and how they might impact on your evening or weekend. Be reasonable and try to welcome their friends into your home as long as it’s not in the early hours of the morning and they don't empty your fridge.
Sex - Shock, horror your children probably have sex! Hopefully with someone they’re in love with. However this can be a bit disturbing for parents who've never had to face this reality. Again this is all about keeping the communication clear. You certainly don't want "one-night stands" waking up in your home but if they're in a relationship this is something to be negotiated.
There your son or daughter is sitting texting some friend or other, and you naturally think, "who are they texting?" Scratch that thought! If they were living in their own place you'd have no idea about these things. You’ll have a much more successful relationship if you continue by that principle - that it's none of your business and nosiness will cause ructions.
Watch Your Comments:
It's tempting to get involved in choices your grown-up child makes. There they are, in front of you, doing something in a way you wouldn't do. For example, you know they're preparing for a job interview and you think they should wear a different outfit. If they invite your comments or opinion then that's one thing. However if you just charge in there and tell them the way you think they ought to dress it will not be well received!
There may be times when you want to throw a dinner party or get some friends over for drinks and other your grown-up children will or won't be welcome depending on the situation. Let them know if you'd like them to join in (they may not want to but it's nice to offer particularly if it's old family friends) or for some reason (e.g. you’re having business people over) the event is for the people you invite only.
Rotas Are Life Savers:
Devise a rota for things like showering/baths. You may go from a two-person household to a four-person household overnight as we have. You can’t all have showers at once but you may all have to get off to work at the same time. Agree in advance who does what, when, and you'll save a lot of rows!
And finally, enjoy this new phase in your family's life. Once you've worked out the details you'd be surprised how much fun can be had with grown children back under your roof.
Published in The Express Newspaper