Problems with returning adult child(35 Posts)
Our DS has returned home , planning to stay with us for 6 months until he moves back to London. We have been paying his rent for the last year , and have supported him financially in other areas, so around 600 a month.
We moved home last year so the first time he is at home with us in our new house for any long period.
We are very (read extremely..:-)) clean and tidy and want our house kept like that. Our DS isn’t , and doesn’t want to comply with our requests to keep his room tidy, keep the house and kitchen tidy.
Big argument the other night, he was cooking dinner for us, but we got annoyed as he was making a mess, using food we had planned for other nights etc. HE stormed out of the kitchen and said he gave up and we can cook it.
The thing is , we know we are ultra clean and tidy and house proud, and don’t expect him to be the same, but at least have some respect and consideration, eg dont leave cups and plates in the room, wipe the bath down, keep his room relatively tidy. When he cooks , be careful and clean. But he doesn’t.
He works pastime while he is studying but doesn’t contribute to anything, drinks all beer and wine, eg bought 8 beers and they were gone in 2 days , he drank 6 of them. Helps himself to gin and tonics etc.
We know we could approach things , maybe more sympathetically, but his general attitude (and other things he has gone ) puts us on edge.
The way we see it, we know we are overly houseproud, but its the way we are, we have worked hard to have what we have, and he should respect our wishes, he is an adult at 23 , and living with us and paying no money.
Is this fair?
Err YANBU. Sounds like he doesn't appreciate you are doing him a favour and takes you for granted.
I'd be asking him to move out tbh.
Could he have a cupboard in the kitchen and a shelf in the fridge? Then that saves you scrapping about much.
Surely it's a nice thing that he's cooking for you? As a messy cook myself I would find it really insulting if you kicked off when I was mid-way through a meal!
It's your house, be as proud as you want!
He should be grateful and show respect.
At least you have an end date so it won't be forever.
I’d give him a break if you value your relationship with him. 23 is still very young. Most of the young people in my office live at home if they can to save on rent until mid 20s these days! Asking him to contribute if he really can’t afford it (unless you are in dire financial need yourself) is pretty harsh.
I have experience of OCD relatives (the kind who won’t even let you leave a cup on the counter, and line up everything neatly in the cupboards, and the fridge), and staying with them is always tricky as I constantly feel on edge, even when trying to go along with their (neurotic) rules. Your son was trying to do a nice thing by cooking you dinner! Try not to lose sight of that!
If him helping himself to food / drink is such an issue for you, talk to him about it and set some ground rules, or give him a separate cupboard and shelf in the fridge.
My 23 year old comes back sometimes (for a weekend) amd reverts to a teenager in terms of cups/mess/damp towels ect.
If she came back to live we would have to have rules and our standards arent even high!
How did you cope when he was younger and lived at home?
Hi, agree its not nice while he is halfway through cooking a meal, but when there is raw chicken flying around etc, not going to sit there and say nothing. It’s great that he cooks, but we are asking for some consideration, we dont even mind cleaning up after him. We dont expect him to follow to our standards, but at least have some consideration.
We don’t want to ask him to leave, but we are expecting some respect and consideration. I know times have changed but 23 isn’t young, he should be a considerate adult, i know i was as his age.
Tell him rent is £600/month, he buys his own food, does his own laundry etc.
He clearly has no respect for you, has sponged off you while living away and is continuing to do so now he's home.
Six months? I could tolerate 6 days 😳 Thankfully my DCs have similar standards to me, even if DH doesn't!
I think try not to sweat the small stuff. What is more important - things being immaculate or a good relationship with your son?
I'm sorry but if that's your definition of a problem, you're very lucky.
Something may have to give- your standards or your bond with your son?
You have every right to want things just so. However IMO you are giving your son the impression that this is your priority.
No idea how you coped with him in the house before he moved out?
No idea how you coped with him in the house before he moved out?
It does become harder after you’ve got used to not having the mess. Unreasonable maybe, but true.
Much sympathy, OP - we have been/still are occasionally in this position - we’re not particularly clean tidy people, & it’s still hell sometimes 🙄
DS2 has undiagnosed ASD (by the time we realised he wasn’t keen to get s diagnosis) which has made him harder to deal with in many ways, but he’s now nearly 25 & his domestic messiness has actually reduced a bit.
He is a horrible guest though - he’s always surprised, & a bit hurt, if a friend says they don’t particularly want him to stay with them because he’s so messy. I think that might have contributed to his improvement at home!
As far as your DS’s cooking is concerned, could you just not watch while he’s doing it, & then blitz the kitchen with anti-bac when he’s done?
Ours helps himself to food & drink without asking too, but again it’s less of a problem than it used to be. He’s taking anti-depressants regularly now which seem to have improved his attitude to life a lot.
I don’t know if any of this might also apply to your son? Anyway our relationship with DS2 when he’s at home is much better than it used to be & I hope yours will improve too. Good luck
Thanks for some of the replies. To some sounds like a small problem, to others like a common problem.
Fact is we all want a good relationship with our children with mutual respect, we can be biased and self affirming in our own views hence why some of us ask for advice. We know we are not perfect and dont want to be stubborn in our views hence we put things out there.
Reading through these forums there seems to be a general issue of older kids returning home, we get used to our life (yes we desperately miss them, but do enjoy our own time) , kids seem to revert to teenagers when they return.
We all have to find middle ground and part of that is seeking advice and feedback from our parenting peers, so thanks for the advice and feedback.
I think all that is needed is mutal respect and understanding from both sides. Maybe , even though one generation, the new generation is so different it is almost alien, i moved out at 23 , had a job and never had any support from my family, always believed in standing on my own too feet, my partner was the same. This 20 something generation seems totally different , maybe our fault the way they were brought up, who knows.
Anyway - thanks for the comments and feedback
You have my sympathy. I have one adult child who has never moved out and one adult child who has moved out and back in several times. Neither has ever progressed past the teenage bedroom phase. Both stockpile dirty clothes and cutlery etc in their rooms, despite repeated tellings..things sometimes improve for a day or two, but never more. I hate it, and I despair, but for the sake of my sanity I now ignore it because it's a small house with 4 adults in it and we have to be able to live together without constant conflict.
23 is not very young! My 20 yo student DD is home just now and she is very respectful of they way we like our house to be. If she wants extra snacks she goes to the shop and buys them herself. If she cooks, she tidies up afterwards. At age 23 your DS should be more respectful of your home and if he can't do that he needs to live elsewhere.
It's interesting how people can have such different perspectives
My two eldest dc, 24 and 21, are largely not at home any more - one living with g/f and other at university. I'm still at the stage where I love it when they're back, and I happily trade my inevitably (slightly) more ordered life for having the house full of to-ing and fro-ing, music, chat etc. and my youngest not feeling like an only child, for a while! (Nothing wrong with being an only child btw - am one myself, but dc#3 not used to it!)
Stop wiping his arse and tell him to find another place to live.
Get him to pay for it too, no way I'd pay £600 pm for an ungrateful man child
no way I'd pay £600 pm for an ungrateful man child
Thoughtful, helpful input there, cockmagic
"23 is still young"
Good lord. I really wish infantilising adults stopped. It drives me insane.
He's an adult. He should be contributing to the pot in some way. Even a token £20pw would be something.
Cleanliness & tidiness is non-negotiable in shared areas. You shouldn't have to clean up after him at all. The state of his bedroom is his business but shouldn't impact on shared space / resources (plates!) at all.
If he doesn't like what's on offer he can move out and see how he gets on.
As for the food & drink. Personally, I'd ignore the food - everyone needs to eat to survive. I would not ignore the alcohol. He didn't buy it so unless he's offered a drink by the person who did, then he doesn't drink it. If he wants to buy his own alcohol the same rule would apply to you.
This about respect, not tidiness.
The problem is that you have been funding him £600 a month until recently, so he probably doesn't think a few beers/g&t's are a big deal in comparison!
For the sake of a harmonious household I would treat him like a lodger rather than a teenage child. Give him his own shelf in the fridge and stick a rota for cleaning and cooking on the front of the fridge.
I think it’s hard for even adult children to not revert to somewhat teenage behaviours when visiting home (esp for Christmas), before they effectively grow up and have a family of their own. The same parent /kid dynamic is still there.
And I do think it is very different for today’s generation of 20 somethings. Even if they go to university and end up with a top graduate job, they’re leaving with 50k odd worth of debt, and having to save a ridiculous amount for a deposit for a home of their own! Unlike previous generations, this generation can’t easily graduate, get a good job, marry and buy a family home and settle down by their mid 20’s, and many don’t want to, hence the drawn out teenage years.
Try and talk to your son, and remember it’s only temporary, and effectively for the next six months his home too. Try not to alienate him. Imagine what it may be like in 10 years time when he might bring grandchildren to stay (they most definitely will not be super neat and tidy)!
And on a practical note re food, maybe just agree when (if ever) you’ll eat together, and ground rules for clearing up and other chores!
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