These days many grown kids are coming back to the nest or finding it hard to leave. They may have failed in their initial attempts at independence or fear striking out on their own. With mutual agreement on the terms and conditions for living together and mutual respect for each other’s opinions, standards and expectations, this could be another chance to foster their maturity instead of compromising it. Ask yourself these questions before you agree:
. Have you agreed how long this arrangement will last, what your expectations of each other are, and how you’ll resolve conflicts?
. Can you allow them to make their own choices about work, friends, money, social and sexual habits – without requiring your approval?
. Is their presence in your home interfering with your freedom to live as you please?
Q. Our son flunked out of college and came back home to live. He has no job, a plan, or much motivation. We’re worried – and also impatient, resentful, and guilty about feeling that way. Is this normal?
A. He may be afraid of trying again and failing or suffering from serious depression or even substance abuse, in which case you should seek professional help. If he’s scared and stalled, help him assume more responsibility; consider subsidizing his rent somewhere else for a limited time or requiring him to contribute to the household in some way.
Q. My daughter is living at home while working at a full-time job. She says she’s saving for a place of her own, but meanwhile she’s spending all her salary on clothes, trips, and a car. How long must we support her lifestyle?
A. Until your patience runs out! Set a time for her departure;meanwhile, require her to pay you room and board. With an adult’s rights and privileges come an adult’s obligation to support herself.
Q. Our 25 and 28 year old sons are gainfully employed and still living at home. I’m tired of cleaning, cooking and picking up after them, but my husband says we have plenty of room, why should they pay rent somewhere else? What can I do?
A. You want to stop being the Mom and enjoy retirement while Dad, who didn’t have much time to spend with the boys when they were young, wants to do that now. Step out of the homemaker role; suggest that they get together outside the home, pursuing the activities they enjoy. If this doesn’t work, consider selling your house!