Midlife is the time when one can refocus on self.
At first, the empty nest syndrome can hit hard.
Hallow bedrooms, uncluttered bathrooms, empty chairs at the dining room table.
Truly this can be a little sad, at first.
Then suddenly you realize you can get used to this!
More time to focus on your own needs, self-care, and even redecorating some empty rooms!
Then out of the blue, you find out that one or more of your adult children need to return home.
What do you do when your adult kids move home?
You may be thrilled to have them back in the nest.
Perhaps you are worried there may be confusion on how things will work.
This article is for those of you facing your adult kids moving back.
There are three main elements to focus on when your adult kids move home.
Step by step, you can work it out.
Outside of those three elements, I will provide you with some follow up advice as every situation is different.
This can stem from a financial need, loss of job for example, or an emotional need among many other reasons.
Regardless of the reason, as parents, we jump into action more often than not.
Few parents I know would simply allow their children to flounder, even if they are adults.
When Your Adult Kids Move Home:
When an adult kid moves home it is important that there is mutual respect.
Boundaries must be set that all can live by comfortably.
Expectations need to be clear.
There will need to be ground rules.
Since every situation is different there are no set rules to follow.
The first thing you will want to consider as parents is the why.
The reason for your adult child moving home will have a lot to do with the ground rules that need to be established.
For example, if your adult kid lost a job and needs financial support, you will want to consider this when establishing the ground rules.
Clearly, you won’t want to foot the bill forever if their kid is out living it up if they are not looking for work.
If your child moved back home for medical reasons, making sure they are doing their best with self-care is a starting point.
When Your Adult Kids Move Home It Is Important To Set Boundaries
They are not kids anymore, and you are not getting any younger!
Setting boundaries is a great way for all involved to know what to expect.
You have got used to a new routine.
You may have television shows you watch, or evenings set aside to have visitors for game night.
Sitting down as a family and talking about times where you want privacy, or will have guests helps establish boundaries on the basic things.
There may be more pressing issues to work out.
Your adult kids may ask for certain concessions too.
It’s your home obviously but try to meet in the middle on some things.
Remember, they are not children, even though some situation brought them back into the fold.
They still will need more freedom and have their own schedules aside from yours, more than ever before.
For many adult children, having to move back home is humbling, sometimes humiliating.
Let them have their say.
It’s not that they do not love you as much as ever, but they are resetting their own lives and trying to find their way again.
When Your Adult Children Move Home
Expectations Need To Be Clear
After a little time for settling in it’s time to set some expectations.
This will be a case by case scenario.
Clearly, they should pitch in.
They are not teens, and asking them to clean their room should be a thing of the past.
It’s up to you to decide if you are going to take them as they are or enforce rules on each topic.
Set the expectation that they contain the mess to their own room.
Alternatively, you can let them know you expect them to keep it clean.
As I have always said, pick your battles wisely.
Not that any of this should be a battle.
After all, it is your home, but the reality is that sometimes, in some cases it is!
Again every family is different. Every adult child is different. We are all different.
It really all comes down to the family as a whole.
How clean they are is just an example of an expectation you may have to set.
Expectations can be about dating life, guests, helping with yard work.
Anything you would expect them to be a part of living in your home.
Don’t forget, however, they have expectations too!
As young adults, they deserve them.
Sure, you could lay down the law and say “well if you need to live here you live by my rules”. I promise you,
I promise you, they won’t be around long if you do that.
Perhaps that’s the plan though!
I don’t think any of us want to feel our house has become a war zone when adult kids move home.
When Your Adult Kids Move Home – Set Ground Rules
Then we have the third and final element.
These are the things you will not budge on.
Yes, they are a lot like expectations but they are not up for discussion.
My advice is to keep these things as limited as possible.
It is unreasonable for your adult kids not to expect a few requirements on this list.
This is probably the most personal of all the three elements.
Again, every situation will be different based on your lifestyle, and that of your kids.
This could include checking in when out with friends. Which may depend on their age.
It could involve helping out around the home.
Or it could be a plan of action for moving back out such as getting finances straight or finding a job.
Whatever your ground rules make sure they are reasonable and that your young adult child agrees to them.
The most important thing about all of the above elements is that everyone is in agreement and that everything is clear.
But wait, I promised more advice for when your adult kids move home!
More On When Your Adult Kid Moves Home – The Finite Details
I realize this is a lot to go over.
It may be too much to do in one fell swoop.
Depending on why your young adult moved home, they may be dealing with a lot of emotional upset.
They could have been married and lost a spouse.
Perhaps they are dealing with depression, addiction, or other health issues.
Sometimes taking it slow is best.
Do not try tackling everything at once.
Consider your own situation and take it one step at a time if necessary.
For some losing a job in and of itself is traumatic!
Especially if they spent years in college to get that job.
They may be feeling worthless, disempowered, shameful, or any other mix of negative emotions.
Some may time to grieve, heal, and build their esteem back up.
You may be able to be a part of this but some of your children may just need time to decompress.
Once again, this is a case by case scenario.
You have to be the judge of when the time is right.
Clearly, we can’t let facing these things go forever.
Patterns can build quickly and we want to nip negative patterns in the bud as fast as possible.
If you do begin to notice an unhealthy pattern, or your child taking advantage, say something before your own frustration builds.
Ultimately, When Your Adult Kids Move Home – Enjoy It!
Sure they aren’t little anymore.
They may not cling to you but they are still your kids.
Take time to enjoy having them back for a bit.
Before you know it, they could be taking flight, again.
I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment letting me know of your experience. Did your adult kids move home again?
How would you handle it?
Any tips you can share or questions just let us know.
You may find other helpful articles in the Empowerment and Enlightenment section of the blog.