Adults Kids Living At Home Need to Help!
Adult children living with you?
As a marriage and family therapist practicing for over thirty years, I see many trends in families-some good and some not so good. One trend that has become more apparent is adult children moving back home to live with their parents-usually rent free and with no responsibilities.
Parents continue to pay for the “child’s” necessities (room and board as well as cable TV, phone, movies, clothes, new video games, etc.), mom does the laundry for all, opposite gender friends are behind closed bedroom doors with the youth, and the child grazes from the refrigerator at will refusing to even sit with the family at dinner time (assuming that routine didn’t go by the wayside years ago). The young person doesn’t look for work claiming nothing is available. We are in hard economic times… but you still have to look and eventually something will be found.
How did this happen? And what can a parent do ahead of time to help your child want to live an independent and happy life?
Children need responsibilities! Not only does this help the parents but it also teaches them skills they will need someday in college or in a marriage. Each parent must decide what specific chores you want done in your home, but there should be some-and more as they get older (including learn to do laundry and cook a few dishes). If the child is lax on following through with the chores, don’t nag-just take away a privilege. If you feel you have to give constant reminders, then consider writing a simple contract of clearly worded responsibilities expected and a small privilege important to the child that will be “earned” for each responsibility.
This prepares them for the real world where one has to work to receive pay. An example might look like this: If you make your bed neatly every morning before you leave your room, then you earn 15 minutes of computer time that day. Note the child was told what, when and how often to do the task. And the privilege is an appropriate reward-neither too little nor too big for the small request. And you follow-through 100%.
Another trend is for families to not take the time to eat meals together-and have pleasant conversation. Research shows that this is so very important! I also notice that if they eat together the cook makes a different meal for each child. Children need to learn to eat what is served (assuming you serve some healthy choices). And they can be asked to take 2 bites of something they don’t like to help their taste buds acquire the taste for the new food.
When your child has friends over of the opposite gender, they must play/visit in the family room-not in your child’s bedroom with closed doors. Establish this when they are young and they will likely know to keep the pattern when they are teens. And TV, computer and phone times should be limited otherwise you will find the child on them most of the day.
Begin now to prepare your child for their future by requiring them to be a contributing member of the family-not just “everything should be given to me now and is” lifestyle!
Copyright © 2017, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.