Every parent dreads the phone ringing in the middle of the night when our children are out. Not one of us hasn’t held their breath as we pick up. Luckily, for most it’s never anything serious, but still your blood runs cold until you know that for sure.
The question proposed in the title is usually one that comes in the middle of the day. However, in some cases, that can really cause you to clutch your heart and think about going to the ER.
There can be any number of reasons: job loss, relationship difficulties, a roommate who isn’t working out.
For some of us, this is welcome news. But in today’s world of busy Baby Boomers more often it’s not a happy situation. You may find yourself fearing becoming full-time parents again.
Here are some suggestions to make that transition easier on both sides of the parental fence:
- Set a reasonable time limit. Moving back home shouldn’t be forever. Have a serious talk about what goals, financially and otherwise, need to be achieved in order for them to resume their independent life. Try to establish a time line while still being understanding and supportive.
- Don’t feel you need to know everyone they are with, everywhere they are going and what time they will be home. It’s hard to stop being the parent, but this is one time you need to let go.
- Don’t let things fester. If something is irritating you, talk about it right away.
- Be clear about “services to be rendered.” Moving back to the upstairs bedroom doesn’t mean that you will once again be doing laundry, making meals, picking up dry cleaning.
- Don’t become the “Bank of Mom and Dad.” Everyone has financial problems at some point. Your jumping in to rescue really won’t help them. They need to fix it themselves.
- Have a talk about respect: respect for your lifestyle and your home. It is easy for “returnees” to revert to leaving dishes in the sink and expecting a hot meal just because there always was one before. You’ve “been there, done that” and there’s nothing wrong with finally having time just for you.
- Make it clear that it is your home and have a frank discussion about entertaining and overnight guests. If you are not comfortable with a boyfriend or girlfriend spending the night, make that be known up front. It’s still your house and your rules no matter how old they are. They also need to understand that you are not planning on supplying everything for poker games, girls night in or beer bashes…or cleaning up afterward!
It can actually work out to be a very happy time of “re-acquaintance” for a family! Just don’t be afraid to stand your ground and protect the “nest!”