January is a common month for divorce. The new year leads people to start taking control of their life and their happiness, and that results in divorce for many couples. Young adults that split often run home to Mom and Dad for a period of time. It’s actually estimated that a third of homeowners are welcoming their adult children back into their home. Marsha Temlock, author of Your Child’s Divorce: What to Expect… What You Can Do, recently highlighted the below tips for parents who are dealing with living with their adult child once again.
While parents want to be as supportive as possible, they shouldn’t play Mom and Dad all over again, and they definitely can’t be enablers. Most children don’t realize that parents also need to transition and process the divorce as well, and that’s not always easy. It will be a bumpy journey for everyone, and the best thing to do is not extend that journey longer than it needs to be. Consider setting a flexible timeline for how long a child should live with the parents again. Make sure it’s being interpreted as a plan to help them set goals, and not a date to kick them out.
Another suggestion is to be up front about divvying household duties and expenses for food, gasoline, etc. Your child is now an adult and should be treated as an adult member of the family, not a child.
There is a lot of adjustment that takes place when a divorce leads to a child moving back in with his/her parents. The newly separated or divorced mom is redefining her role primarily as wife and mother when she’s no longer married; the son who was once husband and father is no longer a husband, and often spending fewer hours with his children than when he was married. This can be a hard transition for parents to watch on the sidelines. Remember that many parents are going through it. Support and love your children like parents want to, but treat them as adults.