A Full Nest Again – Adult Children Living at Home

A Full Nest Andrea J HaganThe return of your adult children to the nest is a mixed blessing. There are times of great challenge, as well as times of great joy. I know that many of my baby boomer friends share these feelings.

And we are not alone.

A recent Ohio State University study reported that 24% of our children age 20 to 34 have returned to live with their parents. And with our current economic situation, many of these adult children are becoming dependent and failing to launch.

So what will help ensure our adult children become independent, responsible, contributing members of society?  And how do we achieve more harmony and vibrancy in this new family dynamic? It’s an ongoing learning process, but here are some of the things that have helped my adult children:

· Give them your love, not your fears and concerns: they have enough of these of their own. Our ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts – illogical negative thoughts that grab hold of our thinking when an anxiety-provoking person or situation appears) not only stop our children from taking action steps needed to move forward, but are a sure-fire way to ruin family harmony!  Click here for some great resources to help you stomp out your ANTs. 

Clear rules and expectations: outline what living at home entails (make sure this includes what you need for harmony).

• Encouragement/empowerment to solve their own problems and finances their own way: not enablement in the form of hand outs, etc. Care for them but don’t become their caretakers.

Confidence: that they can overcome any challenge; they’re not victims of their circumstances like the economy. Living at home is a strategy to help them launch their lives.

Finding harmony living with adult children can be a constant challenge, but it can also be rich and rewarding. We’ve had magical discussions around the dinner table as my children share their emerging views on the world, and lots of laughter and fun doing household chores together, like the dishes.

This is a new family dynamic which can take time to figure out. Be sure to check out some of the great resources available such as the Empowering Parents series on this subject and the Not Quite Adult book.

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