Whether it’s the economy, divorce, or simply needing a temporary way station, thousands of young adults (and old ones) move back into their parents homes every day. For the most part, these offspring would choose to do it differently, but circumstances have led them back to your door. They know that you’re family and that they can come to you for a helping hand. They need you. Here are some steps to coping.
First, remember that they are adults, not children. They are your offspring, but not children. Speak to them in a manner befitting any adult that you speak to. Do not slide into the old habits of treating them like you are raising them; you aren’t.
In the most polite manner possible, remind THEM that they are adults. They will slide into ‘kid’ mode unconsciously. This will happen no matter their age or how many years they have been away. We all do it, even when it’s just a visit to mom.
Once everyone realizes that you’re all adults, set ground rules. Don’t set them like you are addressing children; set them as if you are addressing a boarder. Tell them what is expected of them. There should be no teenage-like arguments. Boarders wouldn’t argue with you about what is expected. Explain to them that you are kindly opening your home to them and that you simply expect consideration and manners.
Don’t hover. You wouldn’t hover over anyone else. Leave them a measure of privacy. This also means don’t pry. Converse, be interested, but don’t pry.
Engage in conversational advice, if they ask, but only if they ask. Do not tell them ‘what they should or shouldn’t do’. Remember, you aren’t raising them.
You have a life, live it. Long ago, when they moved out, you got on with your own life. Keep on doing it. Keep doing what you do. Don’t let their presence change that. Be there for them, but don’t wrap yourself up in them completely.
Reinforce your family bonds. Never let them think they are a burden. Always make them feel welcome.
Smile. They’ll leave again eventually.
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