If you’ve got adult children living at home, you’re not alone. In fact, almost 40% of adult children do. (1) There are a lot of reasons for this: economy, saving for school etc. But the fact is many adult kids are moving back home so we might as well make the best of it. We’ve had our children live with us at various times after adulthood and in all honesty we were happy to do it. But there are certain inherent issues that can crop up with the situation. So we’ve got a few pointers to help save your sanity and keep your relationship intact.
For more tips on relationships read How To Diffuse an Argument. You can also get our free high resolution frame-able quote at the bottom of the post. It comes in two sizes. 5″x7″ and 8″x10″.
It can be difficult drawing the line between our children being kids and being adults. This means as parents it’s easy for us to overstep our bounds on what we should and should not try to control. Just as it can be hard for the parents to view kids as adults, it can also be hard for the kids to get out of “kid” mode where they expect things from you that you’ve always done.
In reality the rules should be simple and logical. Despite the fact that they’ll always be “your babies”, they are adults and deserve the same autonomy any adult should have. However, you are no longer required to take care of them nor do you owe them. They are adults and need to act like it. They are in your home. So you get to call the shots. The key is to make them fair and reasonable.
It’s a great idea to write up a family contract of goals and expectations.
THINGS YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO REQUIRE
- Discuss their goals and the length of the stay before they ever move in and what their plans are. Revisit that discussion every few weeks to make sure things are on track.
- They clean up after themselves. No ifs ands or buts.
- They pitch in on housework.
- Depending on the situation, they contribute financially. If they can’t, they do extra things around the house to compensate.
THINGS YOU DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO REQUIRE
- What they do outside the home.
- Who their friends are.
- How late they stay out.
- If they go to church.
- What they wear.
Respect them as another adult and don’t try to manipulate or force things on them that you would not force on another adult. By this point in their lives they have decided if they want to go to church, who their friends are, who they date etc. Setting up rules where you overstep your bounds will only harm your relationship.
Your rules should have to do with what affects your home and those in it. If they smoke and you don’t, then they do it outside. And you don’t give them a dirty look or make snide remarks when they do. If they drink and you don’t, you can request they not do it inside. You can also stipulate they may drink in the home but not be intoxicated.
The key is respect for another person’s rights unless it infringes on yours, just as you should do with anyone. If rules are broken, never get angry. Simply reiterate the rules and if they are broken constantly, then calmly explain they must move out. If rules were set ahead of time with consequence it should not be a surprise. Anger only tears relationships apart, so always be respectful and act with integrity.
Treating your kids with love and respect and not judging choices they make will go far to keeping a strong bond of love and trust between you and make living together a lot easier.
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Amazon has a couple of great books on just this topic.