If you’re a parent faced with the prospect of an adult child moving back in with you, you’re not alone. A record number of adult children are returning home – an estimated 85 percent of new college graduates move back with mom and dad and approximately 13 percent of adult children between 18-29 return home for various reasons, including joblessness, divorce, illness, and addiction.
Having several adults living under one roof can be a trying experience, even for the most patient of people. It can be a major source of stress and tension for all parties involved. A new set of dynamics – previously unknown in your family – can come into play and wreak havoc with relationships.
Here are some tips to help make it easier to co-habitate with your adult children:
- Communicate Make sure you discuss issues, clarify expectations, and simply clear the air when there are issues. Regular, open communications can quickly keep small issues from becoming larger problems. It is the most important tool for maintaining healthy relationships.
- Don’t give advice unless asked Sometimes it’s hard as a parent to remember your child is no longer a teenager and as an adult is responsible for his or her own actions and decisions. Nothing can sour a relationship faster than unwanted advice and opinions.
- Set goals and rules Set some preliminary guidelines and rules and stick to them. Setting clear parameters at the outset can help avoid misunderstandings and prevent children from overstepping their bounds.
- Respect their independence and choices As mentioned above, it’s hard to keep in mind your son or daughter is no longer a child needing your daily guidance. Let them live their own lives free from your judgment. At the same time, let them know you expect them to act like a responsible adult.
- Discuss finances early If your child is in a position to pay for some or all of his or her household burden, he or she should. Discuss the specifics and when and how payment should be made. At the same time, encourage them to practice good fiscal judgment and save towards their independence and future.
- Set household responsibilities As an adult, your child is perfectly capable of some level of household responsibility. That should include cleaning and maintaining his or her personal space as well as participating in joint household chores such as laundry, cooking, cleaning and more. Whatever it is, establish it and stick to it.
Every situation is different and requires commonsense judgment and flexibility to keep relationships healthy and relaxed. The most important thing is to communicate and keep an open mind.