Yearly Archives: 2009

From the adult child's point of view: How to maintain a relationship?

Lucy Tobin, a boomerang kid in the UK, recently write an excellent piece for The Guardian that can provide some insight for parents with adult children living at home — especially if they have recently returned from university — about how challenging it is for adult children living at home to maintain a normal young adult’s life, having had to give up the typical young adult lifestyle. The article shows how both parents and kids can feel stressed by the situation, and may echo some of your own thoughts about how challenging it is to see your adult child making mistakes or decisions you don’t agree with right in front of you, even if you know they were likely doing those same things while they were away (and you were blissfully ignorant).

Here are quotes from two Moms in the article:

“In a way, it was easier when you were at university. I could listen from afar whenever you felt like talking to me about your love life, and try to help. But now I see it developing in front of my eyes, and when I give you advice, you ignore it.”

“I get on well with my kids, and their boyfriends are nice, polite people to have around. But it can be frustrating – they revert to how they were as children. It would be nice to see them and their partners make a meal for us once in a while, rather than us cooking for all the extra people all the time.”

Do these sentiments sound familiar? If so, you can read the rest of the article here. And then, you might want to check out the tips you can find in The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home.

How to help young adult children become independent

Is the boomerang kid phenomenon all about the economy, or is there more to it than that? How can you help young adult children become independent? In Escaping the Endless Adolescence: How We Can Help Our Teenagers Grow Up Before They Grow Old, psychologists Joseph Allen and Claudia Worrell Allen suggest that over-parenting has created a generation of young adults who are more dependent on their parents than ever — including needing advice from mom and dad an everage of 13 times per week while away at college!

In this interview with the Globe and Mail, Dr. Joseph Allen explains how you can help your young adult child develop the skills they need for independence:

Video: An adult son who returned home with wife and daughters in tow

When adult children move home with children of their own in tow, there are even more issues that everyone has to deal with — including who will look after the young children, where everyone will fit, and conflicts over different parenting styles. Still, it’s becoming a more and more common living situation, and with good communication and understanding, you can make it work. Here’s a video that tells the story of one adult son who moved back into his parents house with his wife and two daughters after the economic downturn made it impossible to make ends meet.

Another family story of adult children living at home

Today’s family story comes from Stillwater, Minnessota, where 33-year-old Dawn Mikkelson has moved back in with her parents after she lost 60% of her video-production company’s business to the recession.

Dawn’s story shows that there’s always something a little starnge about moving back in with Mom and Dad. For her, it’s the pink carpet in her childhood bedroom, that reminds her of her childhood “pink phase.”

You can read Dawn’s story here.

Are your adult child's finances your business?

One of the biggest sources of conflict between parents and adult children living at home — in fact, between just about any adults who share a household — is money. In a recent column for the Washington Post, Michelle Singletary explained when — and why — and adult child’s finances are, in fact, their parents’ business. The column was written in response to a letter from an adult child living at home that began like this:

“My parents and I are at an impasse,” she said. “After graduating college, I had minor credit card debt. I asked to move into my parents’ home after living on my own for a while to get rid of the debt, and to get other finances in order. I wanted to do a reset and start off right before it got out of hand.”

To see what Singletary had to say about this hot topic, you can read her column online here.

The older the child, the greater the tension

Researchers from the University of Michigan recently did a study of parents and their adult children. Not surprisingly, they found that there is often tension between parents and adult kids. Parents tend to feel more tension than the adult kids, and parents feel more tension with daughters than with sons. As children get older, tension appears to increase.

Researchers found that the more tension, the less likely parents and adult kids were to use constructive strategies to sort out their differences.

Be sure to sort out annoying issues with your adult kids before they turn into major crises, and you’ll be much more likely to resolve things amicably. There are some excellent communication strategies based on years of leadership and communications training in The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home.

The study mentioned above will be published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

Video Tip: How to make sure you know your adult child is safe without imposing a curfew

Hi, this is Christina Newberry from If you have adult children in your home again, you may need some help renegotiating that parent–child relationship.

For example, it may not be appropriate for you to set a curfew for you twenty-seven-year-old daughter anymore, but it’s still perfectly reasonable for you to worry about her if she doesn’t come home when she says she’s going to.

Here’s a solution to this surprisingly common problem. Come to an agreement with your adult child that if they’re going to stay up past a certain time they’ll send you a text message either to your cellphone or
to your home email address.

Cell phones are so common these days that even if your adult child doesn’t have one of their own, they should be able to borrow one from one of their friends.

This way you don’t have to get woken up by your adult child calling to say they’ll be late an your adult child doesn’t have to be embarrassed calling their parents in front of their friends, and yet you can rest easy knowing your child is safe just by checking your messages.

More on how to talk to your adult kids about money

A few days ago I posted a link to a Washington Post column by Michelle Singletary, inc which she talked about when adult children’s finances may be their parents’ business. Today, I’ve got a link to the transcript of a live online chat Singletary hosted, where she answered questions about various topics. With her column fresh on their minds, many people asked for more information about dealing with adult children’s finances. It makes for an interesting read, and you can find it here.

College kids coming home for the holidays? You need to watch this video!

Hi, this is Christina Newberry from

If your children are coming home from college for the holidays, it’s time to talk
about what your expectations are and how you can all live peacefully together.

The relationship between parents and children will always be a parent–child relationship, no matter how will that kid may be. For example, an adult child coming home for the holidays may think that you’re going to do all the cooking and do their laundry, while you may be thinking that you’re going to get a break from cooking every night because that adult child is around to pull their weight.

If you don’t talk about this beforehand, you could both end up feeling resentful and angry. Open communication is the best way to prevent stress and arguments before they happen. So here are some things to talk about.

Number one: Household rules, including swearing and noise
Keep in mind that your adult kids got used to a whole new set of expectations at school, including what kind of language is appropriate to use, how loud music should be, and what time it’s okay to come in at night. Talk about what’s okay in your house  and what just isn’t.

Number two: Fair use of resources
Set some guidelines for use of the family computer and be very clear about the guidelines for using and gassing up the family car.

Number three: Overnight guests
Whether you like it or not, your college kid has probably been having sleepovers with his girlfriend while he was away at school. Is it okay with you if he brings her home for a sleepover in his room at your house?

Number four: Chores
A big holiday meal with no help from your adult kids could lead you fuming. Make sure you talk about what your expectations are beforehand so your adult kids doesn’t end up feeling imposed upon and you don’t end up resentful.

Parenting twenty-somethings

For those of you with 20-somethings living at home, Psychologist Susan Allen has put together a blog you might want to check out. With topics like dealing with adult kids during the holidays, and how to talk to your adult kids about credit card debt, she can provide loads of information, drawn from her experience a a psychologist and life coach.

You can find Susan’s blog here: