A Parent's Guide to Fostering Independence in Adult Children

The pandemic which began over a year ago has made it more common for adult children to live at home with their parents. High unemployment, college debt, and housing costs are causing many young people to delay moving out on their own. If you're a parent who wants to help your adult kids while encouraging their independence, these are important factors to consider.

Financial Considerations

1. Charge rent. Love means introducing your kids to the real world. Paying for housing will help them to become more responsible and understand the consequences of their actions. It's also good for their self-esteem, character, and encourages responsibility even if they don’t see it that way. Be reasonable, be open and non-judgmental on discussing their finances. Be sure not to demean or condemn how much they earn but show appreciation, how proud you are of them for gaining and keeping employment during these tough times. Just because they are adults, doesn’t mean that they still need your guidance and approval. They still want to hear your praise of the positive choices in their lives.

2. Let them work it off. There will be cases where cash payments are impossible. Give your adult children the option to contribute in other ways. For example, they can help by painting the house or completing other household chores.

3. Teach money skills. Discuss the basics of creating a budget and sticking to it. Talk about using credit responsibly and adding to your savings on a regular basis.

4. Plan for the future. Job hunting is hard work. Praise your children for making an effort. Offer advice and referrals if they are open to them. Ziprecruiter, Careerbuilder, and Indeed are my our top favorite job search engines.

5. Set time limits and conditions. It's wise to support your kids in a way that gives them a better chance for success. Make it clear that you are letting them move back in for 6 months or a year. You can always extend the time if the circumstances warrant it.

6. Modify your support as needed. Strategic limits on your assistance reduce the risk of creating a sense of entitlement. It's okay for you to change the terms and amount of aid if you think a different arrangement would work better.

7. Act in unity with your partner. Parents need to present a unified front. Negotiate between yourselves first about what assistance you can offer your children.

8. Protect your own retirement. Think long term. Covering your own retirement expenses will take the pressure off in your later years and avoid placing a future financial burden on your kids.

Personal Considerations

1. Abandon any sense of stigma. Studies show that more young adults are living at home compared to any time since the 1950s in the US. The figure has almost doubled since 1980. Rest assured that you have plenty of company and this is no reflection on you.

2. Talk things over. Communication is critical when you have more people under one roof. Address potential conflicts promptly and respectfully. Don’t be afraid 😱 of texting, email as well and phone call’s to communicate especially since we are in a digital technology driven community where social media rules. try to deal with reoccurring issues that have not been resolved by a mediator, minister or professIonal counselor.

3. Draft an agreement. Put things in writing to avoid misunderstandings. You may want to lay out the key house rules. You can search the internet for legally binding agreement templates at Lawdepot.com.

4. Establish curfews. You and your adult kids probably have very different bedtimes now. Let them know the quiet hours you need. Let them know what time is respectable and what is expected when they will be out of town. Set boundaries and expectations early to avoid any misunderstandings. Communication is key.

5. Decide on overnight guests. You have the right to determine sleeping arrangements under your roof. If not, clearly establish that rule. If so, set aside a guest room for girlfriends and boyfriends if it makes you more comfortable. Consider having a separate entrance for adult kids for your privacy.

6. Learn from other cultures. Much of the world still follows traditions where grandparents, parents and children live together. You may want to give the idea another look. It fosters a greater love and appreciation for family.

7. Enjoy getting to know each other. For however long you share the same home, there is a special connection present in parents and children living together as adults. Be open to seeing your sons and daughters in a new light.

The pandemic 😷 has had unimaginable losses to families worldwide and we extend our deepest condolences 💐 to the countless lives that have been lost during this time. While bringing many families closer together, sometimes managing a multi-generational household is challenging; but the rewards can be significant. Take pleasure in each other's company and support your adult children in getting ready to launch out on their own. Our prayers are with you all.

Many blessings,

Pep & Kish

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