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Tips for adult (21 yo) child moving back in?(20 Posts)
Bit of back story:
When I first got involved with my husband, 12 years ago, his two children from a previous relationship lived with their mother and spent one night a week and alternate w/ends with my husband.
My step-son carried on living with his Mum until he was 12 and then moved in with his Dad. I'd been due to move in that Autumn, but put it off to Xmas to give them some space and then moved in with them. My SS stayed with us until he was around 15/16 when he kind of slipped back into his Mum's household (along with his sister and occasional step-dad).
He's been off to Uni now and graduates this summer and he's decided that he wants to live with us again. His sister, my step-daughter, is happy as she finds him hard to live with (he's 2 years older and sits around in his pants playing video games and annoying her), and my daughter, his 8 yo little sister, is delighted that her big brother is coming back to live with us!
So, my main question here is, what ground rules would you suggest we set up to ensure that everybody is comfortable with the new living arrangement.
Presumably he will be working so obviously he will pay rent. Specify what the rent covers - do you cook for him, do his laundry or must he do that himself. Specify chores he will be expected to do as a member of the household. He must let you know at a certain time if he won't be home for supper or won't be sleeping at home - this is not so that you can check up on him, it's a common courtesy among adults who live together. Do you anticipate problems like him e.g. eating everything you have in the kitchen and when you want to cook a meal some ingredients are gone? If you think it necessary, have rules about friends and noise.
From your side you must realise that he is an adult now and the dynamic will be very different from when he was a teen. You are not responsible for him any more and at the same time cannot "poke your nose" into his business. He has the right to privacy.
Things we'd thought of included;
letting us know whether he's eating meals with us;
no casual girlfriends (a serious girlfriend we've met would be fine, but I don't want him bringing home a succession of girls);
contributing to household expenses if he's working (and we have lined up a interesting job for him);
helping with chores;
occasional babysitting for his sister;
not sitting around in his pants playing video games!
We realise he's an adult and can't be treated as a child, but does he realise that comes with responsibilities? Also, yes, he's an adult, but if he's making bad decisions (ie not going to work) surely we have to step in to a certain extent or we'll become enablers for an idler...
Disagree totally with LastingLight.
Yes he should pay rent, yes there should be a cleaning rota drawn up and yes you should ALL (Step Mum, Dad and Son) get together and decide on house rules. After that, treat it like a house share.
No 21y/o adult needs to let mummy and daddy know he won't be home for tea (don't even think you should cook for him tbh), or that he has got lucky and won't becoming home tonight.
You either pick strict parent/child rules and expect no rent or ask for rent and treat him as a contributing ADULT to the house.
lasslancashire - appreciate your comments, but disagree.
I'd rather he ate with us than go the route of him having a separate shelf in the fridge / cupboard for his food. I've lived in too many house shares to want to go back there as an adult and I'm cooking for the rest of us anyway!
If he wants to live in a house share, he can go and find one; ours is a family home!!
I don't think it's an either/or question; we're looking for something we can ALL feel comfortable with.
So what, you will do his laundry/cleaning too as you're 'doing it for the rest anyway'?
At some point he has to grow up and learn to take responsibility for him self. That includes budgeting money for food, washing detergent ect.
If he wants to live in a house share, he can go and find one; ours is a family home!!
I'm assuming he wants to live with you as it is cheaper than living in a house share. I don't think many 21 y/o blokes who've had the freedom of living out of the house for the last 3 years want to come back and play house and baby sitter if they had a choice.
Hmmm, lasslancashire, don't you think sitting down for a family meal is a little different from doing your laundry? One is a communal activity that holds a family together and the other is, well, it's the laundry; he can use our machine or he can take it to the launderette.
You clearly have your own issues, so let's just leave it there.
I 'clearly have issues' because my opinion differs to yours? Do grow up dear. I would also recommend not going on public forum asking for advice if you only wish to hear your own thoughts repeated back to you.
Seriously, are you just looking for an argument?
In my first response to you I said I appreciated your comments, but disagreed, so you just came back harder with your own opinions, so I'm guessing this pushes some buttons for you.
You don't know me, my family or my background, so really, go find someone else to pick on.
I'd ask for rent from him and if you don't actually need it then save it secretly and it can be towards a deposit on a house or something. If he's working that is.
Thanks MotherOfInsomniacToddlers we'll only ask him to contribute to household expenses if he's working. Unfortunately, we do need the money; we've only just got ourselves sorted financially (I was made redundant a few years ago and it hit us badly, though I'm working again now) and don't really have spare to give him a free ride. Mind you, we'll probably take less off him than if he was paying for it all himself... Call it a halfway house to real independence.
Its fair enough to ask him to let you know if he will/won't be eating with you and not to have a conveyor belt of girls staying over. Its also common courtesy for him to let you know if he's not coming home at night so you don't worry. Yes he's an adult but at the end of the day you're his parents not housemates.
Definitely leave his washing/ironing for him and he needs to do his share of housework.
I don't think you can expect him to babysit regularly if he's paying rent but you can ask him to all the same.
Definitely no parties/bring groups of mates back after a night out. If he wants to do that then he needs to find a flat/house share.
Thanks for you input crazykat - it's a fine balance as he's an adult and we don't want to treat him like a child, but we are, as you say, parents not housemates!
We'll work out a time for him to get his washing done and no-one in my house does ironing, so that's his problem!
As to babysitting; he actually rather likes his little sister and was living with us when she was born so they're pretty close considering the age gap!
I would suggest that you pick a day when you are really rushed, and ask him to cook for all of you on that night. We do that with my son and it's great. He also clears the table very night when he is here. As long as chores are shared and you feel fine with them, and not put upon, that is what counts. I sometimes think my son (still at Uni but back and forth and now made to be more responsible) is more helpful than OH. Underpants - no. My nephew did that and it was gross. Fine for student flats but nowhere else.
Don't make it too easy. He has to want to leave home at some point, and needs a reason to go as soon as he can. I hope you enjoy it. My daughter cam back home for a year at that age and the only problem I had was her waking us all up because she was so noisy at 3am after a night of hard clubbing. Bang! front door. Bang! Cupboards. Bang! Fridge. Thudthudthud up the stairs. Bang! Bathroom door. (twice) Bang! Bedroom door. So if we were lucky we would back to sleep by 4am. I can still hear it all now...
LOL madeofkent - he'll get short shrift if he comes banging in at 3 am!! He's more local parties than clubbing and has stayed, without waking anyone up, after parties before, so I guess we're lucky there!
I'll think about asking him to cook occasionally, but not sure how much studenty stew I can eat!
AJ65 I think your thoughts so far have been very sensible. You may be able to sort out a laundry in return for babysitting arrangement. Good luck. I miss my 21year old dd enormously but it is always difficult adapting back when she returns from uni.
We have our adult DD back living at home. Our default position is that I don't cook for her unless she specifically says she will be in for dinner. But there is always food in if she needs it.
She always leaves the kitchen clean and tidy after herself and is responsible for her own toiletries , washing and her own room.
She contributes a 1/3 of the running expenses of the household eg rates, electric, oil, wifi and food. She set up a standing order to my account for £250 per month.
It works very well for us and we love having her here. Her older sister lives very close with her DH and DC , we think they lured her back
DD went off to Uni I absolutely broke my heart,she only came back for holidays and I broke my heart every time she left. She came back this year, for a year, to do an internship in our city. She's turned into a student!! dropping stuff at her feet, moaning about the food, moaning, moaning, moaning about everything
She was lovely before she left.
I've was on here bereaving her departure amongst many others, and now I think,but what about the threads about when they come back
Maybe you should start one? I still feel bereft, I miss DS hugely when he's at Uni, and I miss my DD hugely too but she comes back about three times a year for a week at a time, and my goodness is she still noisy! She never stops talking! I spend a couple of days towards the end of the week wondering if she would notice if I wore earplugs, but the house seems dead when she leaves and I miss her all over again. I really don't know how I would cope if she came back fulltime. I suppose we would just need a time of adjustment.
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