The Biggest Mistakes Parents Are Making With Their Kids Moving Back Home
Just when you thought you could toast to having an empty nest and let those tears of joy or sadness flow, your adult child calls you with some news. It could be work instability, a big break up, or crippling homesickness that is making your over 18 bundle of joy move back home, but they are on their way.
First off, know that this event of jumping back into the nest appears to be a growing trend. In July of last year, 52% of young adults — 18 to 29 years old — lived with one or both of their parents in the U.S. (via Pew Research Center).
Certainly, there will be a ton of emotions after the initial shock of the newish house guest’s arrival. And, of course, there may be a bumpy transition period. But in order to get through this joint life adjustment, there are a few big mistakes parents should avoid making when their ‘little ones’ decide to move back home.
Parents, it may be a knee jerk reaction, but don’t immediately reject the idea of your children moving back home.
Avoid the negative assumptions and ask the right questions
Financial planner Shelly-Ann Eweka, wealth management director at TIAA, explains why this idea might lead to an easier economic start. “It’s actually a really smart decision for their adult children to come home to live with their parents,” says Eweka. “A lot of young adults are dealing with student debt, and they’re really struggling to pay off their student debt, and be able to save for retirement, and be able to save for some of their other financial goals” (via Insider). Sure, you may have to start thinking about cutting down on your shower time to save the hot water. But at least know it could be worth it if it is helping your child get a leg up on their expenses.
As important as holding back your knee jerk reaction of saying ‘no,’ it’s also equally important to avoid the mistake of having a negative attitude. Don’t assume that the situation won’t work and do attempt to create a collaborative success with your new roommate. James Lehman, MSW and creator of the parenting program, The Total Transformation, recommends asking these four questions to your child before the big move happens. “How will we know this is working? How will we know it isn’t working? What will we do if it’s not working? And what will we do if it is working?” (via Empowering Parents). This shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, most parents love quizzing their children.
Make sure your child can help out
Along with a positive attitude and creating an open understanding by asking smart questions, parents should also avoid babying their ‘baby’ too much. Sure, they may be under your roof because of a tough situation, but they should also be seen as an extra contributor to all the work that goes into running a house. “Charge them rent. Or, let them pay a utility bill or two,” says Eweka (via Insider). If they don’t have the money, then perhaps they can contribute to that so you could possibly save more money. “Can they do some of the cooking so that you eat out less?” asks Eweka. “What are the things that they can physically do to help with expenses in the home?” (via Insider).
In addition to letting them help out, parents should also avoid making the mistake of forgetting about their own needs (via Empowering Parents). If you as a parent really enjoy your quiet mornings, then don’t let your adult child blast the radio at 6 a.m. Or if you prefer to eat healthy, ask your new home chef/kid to not make the family their favorite burgers for dinner three nights a week.
What we’re trying to say is that your child moving home can work out for all members of the family. And just remember, whenever it gets a bit stressful with the new addition at home, 52% of other parents in the U.S. are also in the same boat.
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