There is nothing new about students coming back home from college and staying with their parents until they get back on their feet. In fact, a 2016 report from the Pew Research Center showed that as of 2016, 15% of 25- to 35-year-old Millennials were living in their parents’ home. This was 5% points higher than the share of Generation Xers.
So, what do you do when you no longer have a child to raise but, now have an adult living with you? On the other side, as a student coming home, how do you maintain your freedom while living with your parents? The transition can be awkward for both the parent and the child. Below are tips that keep living with my mom harmonious and stress-free.
Let's start with the advice for the parents first given by my mom, Michon Bunch.
1. Take a Deep Breath
Yes, the first step is to take a deep breath. You are now entering new waters of parenting. Taking a deep breath allows you to relax and gives you time to understand that you have given your child, now adult, all the tools that they need to survive in the real world.
They survived four years away in college with the teachings and guidance you gave them, you can find satisfaction in that.
2. Offer Suggestions Not Demands
The work of a parent is never done. However, when your child is an adult you should be able to effectively communicate. Your child is older so approach situations with optimism while also being more direct and honest. Instead of trying to teach a lesson like in their younger years. Make suggestions that will guide them in the right direction and that also align with the values you instilled in them. They are young adults so demanding them of anything may cause unnecessary conflict.
3. Everybody Needs A Check-In
Here is where the compromise comes into play: Ask your child to check-in with you. It doesn't hurt them to let you know where they are, especially if they are going out at night. You want them to be safe. It takes minimal effort to send a quick text or update. Especially since they most likely are on their phone anyway.
4. Enjoy The Moment
Honestly, if your child is anything like mine, she won't be in the house for long. Enjoy the time you and your children have with each other.
Now, on to the students here are my three tips for living with your parents:
You have to know your parents' expectations when coming back home. Knowing what the "Do's" and "Don't's" are when it comes to what is respectful or disrespectful in their house is crucial.
For instance, if your parent is a stickler on coming in late, you have to either limit your time going out or not staying out to late. You are still living in their house for free or minimal cost so what ever rules they set are the rules you have to follow.
2. Send Gentle Reminders You're an Adult
At some point you're going to feel that your parent(s) are either "babying" you or aren't being treated as a grown individual. This is the perfect moment to remind your parent(s) through a conversation that you're responsible and trustworthy.
Reminder: It should be a conversation should not a confrontation.
3. Help Them Out and Be Patient
If you're going to be living with your parent either rent free or paying minimal bills be sure to help them around the house by doing chores or helping with tasks to decrease the stress load of your parent. Remember this can be a new time for your parent(s) many of them haven't experienced this aspect of parenting yet and maybe navigating it to the best of their ability. Give them time and room for adjustment.
We hope these tips help both the parent(s) and the students live together with a little more ease and harmony.
To see more of this discussion. My mom and I were invited to WTTG Fox 5 News for their
Tired As A Mother Segment. We discussed how to live peacefully with your parents as a young adult.