Seniors: Coping with Grown Children

Jan 6th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Maybe there aren’t so many of our readers who are confronted with this one, but then again maybe there are.  This is a topic much like a bottomless well that seems to go very deep, while offering only shallow solutions. 

Sometimes, because of circumstances, beyond anyone’s control, there comes the phone call or the knock at the door pleading for help, support, and assurance.  Much of these situations are prompted by the dwindling job market, poor decision making when the opportunity was right, or at least better.  Perhaps it is part of a life style choice in which working for someone else, a corporation or such, is unappealing.  There are so many reasons that exhausting the list is exhausting to consider. 

When children return home, no matter their age, with hat in hand, sometimes with a spouse or baby in tow, it presents a formidable challenge to parents, particularly retired parents.  Clearly, when this happens, some plan and structure, some boundaries and rules need to be set in place.  It isn’t as if the child is returning home for a winter vacation from college.  Those days are presumably past  by now. 

Having gone through the necessary greetings and presuming some hints of the current situation have been shared, it then becomes necessary to decide how and within what arena some understanding can be reached.  This will require shared information, on both parts.  Kids, if I may shorten the referrence,  sometimes think parents have  inexhaustible resources. They seem to think “moving back in” constitutes a reasonable and logical solution, not appreciating what it will do to your own life orientations and habits, as well as add to the budget of the household.

Questions abound:  How long does it appear that this solution will be necessary? What source(s) of income have you, if any?  What will you need to bring into the house with you? How will you participate in the household expenses? How will you get around (do you have a car? ) What will you be doing during the day or night, as the case may be? If in a relationship, will he/she be around often? How do you see yourself getting into a better situation so that you can be on your own? Do you understand there will be no parties or groups being entertained in the house?  Do you have any other options for living arrangements?

The questions can go on for so long as patience prevails, but the brakes should be put on before trying to reconcile all issues in the first hour or first day.

There will be a convenient time the following day to begin laying out all the practical concerns, and that should be agreed to.  If he/she has a job, that is all the better.  If transportation is required, that is another logistic to be decided.

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries are the key considerations in an issue of this earth shaking magnitude. Of course, as parents you will be caring and considerate, but remember you still have your  own lives to live.

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