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How do you live in harmony with adult children

(44 Posts)
Icantcopeanymorehelp Fri 29-May-20 00:48:01

Without turning into a lunatic? Just because they are adults doesn’t stop you worrying about them but how do you stop yourself becoming overbearing and treating them like kids?
I’m struggling a lot. Two dc, eldest currently back at home due to CV and youngest never moved out. Eldest has never been any bother.
I am currently waiting for dd to come home as she forgot her keys and I have to stop myself giving her the third degree when she gets in about where she’s been etc. I panic and always think the worst. We’ve had plenty of rows in the past over the same issue and Dh says I should just let her get on with things. Dd doesn’t think she has to tell me every detail of her life and that’s true and She’s old enough and can make her own decisions.
How do you cope?

OP’s posts: |
Pickle40 Fri 29-May-20 01:01:22

I'm back with mum due to civid and no cash it's bloody hard work!!!

Pickle40 Fri 29-May-20 01:01:56

Give girl some slack it works both ways!!!

DramaAlpaca Fri 29-May-20 01:21:42

It's hard isn't it, making the adjustment from a parent/child relationship to one that's more like adults sharing a house.

I've got DS22 here at the moment, it's fine, he's no trouble. He cooks for himself mostly, cooks for all of us once a week, does his own laundry, it's an easy relationship. We've all worked out when to give each other space.

It was more difficult with the older two boys, thankfully they haven't had to move home as I think DS1 and I would have killed each other by now! When they did live at home in their early 20s it was a case of renegotiating the boundaries and I did find it hard at times. Particularly the getting used to them going out when they wanted, coming home at ridiculous times of night, not coming home at all, not having a clue what they were up to, that sort of thing. Super stressful.

I had to learn not to ask them anything, just wait to be told. Often they'd open up next day and chat about what they'd been up to as I'd put no pressure on them.

I think you do need to let go and let your DD get on with it, tbh, but I understand that it's hard. It gets easier though, I promise. When she gets home, just make a cup of tea for you both, chat about something nice and light, deliberately don't ask her about her evening, then head up to bed. Best of luck!

Inoneminute Fri 29-May-20 01:32:48

DS has a job that means he often gets home early hours of the morning. For the first term (I work in school, so everything is measured in terms!) I barely slept. Now I don't even hear him come in.

He's a good lad, brought up right wink I've had to trust that he'll make the right decisions to keep himself safe.

I do still check he's got his keys though grin

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 29-May-20 01:41:21

Yes it’s about trust. But frankly, making you wait up because she forgot her keys is out of order. If she behaves like a child then she can’t be surprised if you treat her like a child. Presumably when she is living on her own she acts more responsibly.

Maybe let DH wait up to let her in if you are feeling annoyed.

We have a key safe though so if people forget their keys it’s not an issue.

Inoneminute Fri 29-May-20 01:49:10

Yes , I agree she should have come straight home when it became apparent she'd got no keys

DeeCeeCherry Fri 29-May-20 01:55:34

You just have to make yourself cope. DDs are early 20s. Couple of days back they went for a stroll over the park. I was clockwatching and it suddenly dawned on me - I was worried and it was DAYTIME! I'm wondering if it's due to living in unprecedented and worrying times and it's triggered some kind of protection mechanism, especially the thought that I don't want anyone to go near them.

We get along just fine. They do emerge from their rooms we chill and chat. We are close. But I'm not around monitoring or asking what they're up to or keeping tabs generally, they're adults with their own lives and I accept that.

Forgetting keys is no big deal (unless regularly), Ive done it and DD has had to wait up to let me in. Deep breaths OP, you'll be fine🙂.

BitOfFun Fri 29-May-20 03:10:59

You get them to move out.

stellabelle Fri 29-May-20 03:19:38

I had both mine at home after they became adults. It was lovely ! Like living with my best friends . They were not children and I didn't treat them as if they were. They came and went as they liked and I never quizzed them about what they were doing. Both brought dates home for sleepovers and I was fine with that.

Re keys, I had a spare one in a "key rock" in the garden ( ie a little artificial rock that you hide a key in. Whoever uses the key, puts it back).

Icantcopeanymorehelp Fri 29-May-20 15:15:54

The forgotten key was a one off to be fair.
It’s just I can’t seem to switch off and can’t relax till I know she is home safe and sound. How do I stop doing this?

Since the lockdown was eased so you could see one person at a distance she’s taken full advantage of this and has been disappearing for hours, sometimes not getting back till after midnight? Have I any right to ask her about this? I ask her to be mindful of the guidelines and that’s all I can do. When she was younger I certainly would have had a conversation but now not sure if I can. We will probs end up falling out. Long story.

It just seems to be me acting like a neurotic as other people I speak to seem to shrug it off and move on. Can you tell I have anxiety!

OP’s posts: |
ssd Fri 29-May-20 15:17:55

Just remember how you were at their age.

Fluffycardigan Sat 30-May-20 11:06:23

I have a very strained relationship with my dd due to the very same thing OP. It’s so very difficult to switch off the feeling or the need to protect when you’ve been doing it all of their lives. My concern and worry is seen as interfering and an attempt control so you can see I haven’t figured it out myself but I’m trying. It’s bloody hard flowers

changeitupagain Sat 30-May-20 16:05:16


Your concern and worry may come from a genuinely good place but how do you deal with that? If you do it by asking them private questions and pushing them for answers, or repeatedly checking in on them then you are interfering and controlling them, even if it comes from a good place.

They are adults and your concern and worry is exactly that - yours. You have to find ways to deal with this yourself without interfering with their lives or they will of course push you away. They are adults and you have no right to control or even know where they're going, who they're going with or what time they'll be back. If they choose to tell you this that's fine but if you push them to know these things you are interfering and controlling them.

You are an adult and you need to control your own worries and concerns by dealing with them internally, not by projecting onto your daughter.

Fluffycardigan Sat 30-May-20 18:33:26

changeitupagain that is an excellent answer and you are right in what you are saying. I am over the top but I am now really trying to sort this out and back off. Totally agree it’s my problem. Is there anything I can read up on to help me? Sorry OP for hijacking your thread .

changeitupagain Sat 30-May-20 19:48:08


The fact you know, acknowledge it and are trying to change it is a massive thing in itself.

I'm afraid the reason I think I explain it so well is because still very recently I've been the adult child living at home. I don't know about reading material but maybe just some active thinking.

Have your children lived away and come back? Maybe at uni?

If yes:

Think about how many nights out at uni they've been on, which you had no idea about, and they were fine.
Think they've lived independently and clearly survived that so can easily survive an evening out with friends.
Think that being in a different place doesn't change who they are, you don't police them, where they're going, who they're with, when they're away, why does being at home change that? Answer - it doesn't

If no, it's a little more difficult but you have to remember they're still adults.

You have worried about them for year and everything has been fine, clearly your worry amounts to nothing, concentrate on that.
You wouldn't police any other adults movements, who they've with ect, they are still adults so you can't do this to them.
Remember if any other adult (boy/girlfriend, housemate ect) kept tabs on them like this, asked them this many questions, even if out of concern, you would be telling your child that they are being controlling, and would encourage them to end the relationship. I'm obviously not saying they should end the relationship with you on a one off but if you, another adult, continue to treat them, an adult, like this they will feel controlled and possibly want to distance themselves and you don't want that.

Sorry if this advice isn't perfect, I'm no expert in this. Just some of the things I tried explaining to my mum when she was questioning me going out, keeping tabs on me ect and I found it controlling and interfering.

Fluffycardigan Sat 30-May-20 20:43:09

Thanks changeitupagain. No this one has never left home. She’s 21 and has never lived anywhere else. Only this past year since she came out of a long term relationship and became single again that I have worried so much as her behaviour and life has changed so much. It’s hard standing on the sidelines and witnessing what’s going on and not trying to step in and give advice. Although I realise now it’s not asked for or needed and you are right, any other person doing this would be seen as controlling. It’s quite humbling tbh and I am not proud of myself at all. I am trying but it goes against all instincts. But I don’t want to push her away so will have to do this.
It’s good to have this perspective as I’ve seen other threads where the advice is just to ask them to leave because it’s your house your rules type of thing.
Thank you.

PickUpAPickUpAPenguin Sat 30-May-20 21:14:21

I have a 19yo who is home from uni and we used to fight like cat and dog. What works for us is treating him like a roommate/lodger.

This means I don't ask about him going out but if the police come looking for him I will have questions. He has responsibilities like clearing up his mess and having to be quiet at night when the rest of the house might be sleeping but that's true at uni too so until he can afford his own place he needs to suck it up although he accepts that those are reasonable requests.

Strangely, giving him lots of space has led to him opening up more. It was unthinkable that he'd find me for a chat and tell me what's happening at work (he's a keyworker) but he does quite often and I love it.

Icantcopeanymorehelp Sun 31-May-20 00:22:52

Thanks for the replies everyone.
@changeitupagain some really good points and good to hear it from the other side. Although dd has actually said some of that stuff to me before. I have to sort my head out too.
@Fluffycardigan I know where you are coming from. My dd suffers from anxiety which rears it’s head from time to time and I’ve supported her through various issues, relationships and other stuff, so I guess I’ve become too involved and frightened that she’s going to get hurt somehow. Although she wanted my support at the time I’ve got to realise that she will ask if she needs it and I haven’t got to push too much or she will cut me out.
It would be a while different scenario if she didn’t live here I think. It’s stressful.

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Sun 31-May-20 00:47:55

I think about how I had all the confidence in the world, when I was 17/18/19/20, and that confidence does actually give you a certain amount of safety.
I think about the fact that I've raised 3 pretty competent, capable adults.
I think about things I've been told about how well my dc responded when emergencies happened, or when things went wrong in various scenarios.
I think about how they've all got good groups of friends who wouldn't just abandon them or leave them in danger.
It’s just I can’t seem to switch off and can’t relax till I know she is home safe and sound. How do I stop doing this

I think about how much common sense they have.
I think about how connected everybody is these days, with mobile phones and social media.
I know they are perfectly capable adults.

Now, yes, I'm aware things can happen that are unexpected or out of their control - but they can happen when they are at home. There's only any point worrying about things that you can control , and then you risk assess situations and try to mitigate risks where you can.

Both dh and I, and both her siblings would hear a phone call if she needed us, and be there in a heartbeat (for the 18 yr old). The middle one is away at University, so, as has already been said, I wouldn't know if she were in or out anyway. The eldest, I realised he survived 3 yrs away, so can probably manage now he's home again.

shinynewapple2020 Sun 31-May-20 00:57:06

I think it's a very different situation at present with lockdown than it would have been a few months ago.

A few months ago I would have said that sadly, you really have to suck it up, you can ask them out of politeness to tell you what time they'll be in. Or if they're not coming back that night , but you have to learn to let go.

It's a different ball game now though and I would be concerned as to who they were with and what they were doing, is there any risk of them bringing infection back ? If they are going to be spending time with a partner or friend , indoors, not distancing then you need to be
Comfortable with this,
Otherwise they shouldn't do it whilst living with you.

Fluffycardigan Sun 31-May-20 09:44:17

This is where it gets difficult because of the current situation. Does this give me any more right to question her whereabouts and who she is meeting etc?
She knows my feelings about the risks. It’s like she’s gone back to being 15 and is sneaking around and hanging around in the park in the dark.

Icantcopeanymorehelp Sun 31-May-20 14:11:35

fluffy I can identify with what you are saying. Many similarities. I’ll PM you.

OP’s posts: |
corythatwas Tue 02-Jun-20 12:04:15

OP, I have a young adult dd who has also suffered from anxiety (to the point of suicide attempts) and is also physically disabled.

I also have a young son (just 20) who is still at work so has no option but meet other people.

Both now at home and both needing to be careful because of dd's physical issues.

How do I cope? Well, I try to differentiate- and let them know that I differentiate- between risks that an adult can take on their own account and actions that may be putting others at risk.

If ds forgets his key he has a choice between trying to wake one of us up (and face our reaction!) or sleeping in the garden. It is warm, it will be inconvenient, it won't cause any actual harm. (obviously only possible if you have a garden)

If he goes socialising and exposes himself to infection which puts all of us at risk- well, he knows not to take the risk of my reaction to that! But because I have established my reputation over the last few years as a generally unflappable person with sensible views, he will come to me and discuss possible scenarios. At the moment, the compromise is that he meets up with one friend, once a week: they walk separately to an open space in the evening when nobody else is about, sit 4 metres apart on a tree trunk, each with a bottle of beer they have brought from home. That seems as safe as they can pretty well make it. And I trust him- because he knows I do.

As for dd, it was difficult to let her go at first, let her move to London (pre-pandemic) when her anxiety was such that she would sometimes get stuck in the tube for over an hour with a panic attack and her physical state was one where she might well collapse crossing the road. But I kept reminding myself that this was also for her safety, letting her learn that she could overcome her difficulties and still have a life worth living.

She is shielding now and will be for some time. But I think it is easier for her to bear because she thinks of herself as a trusted adult who is doing the right thing for a limited period.

As for me, if I get anxious, I do what dd does when she has a bad turn: use distraction techniques. I've been telling her to use them for long enough...

Mrsplantpot Wed 03-Jun-20 00:43:57

I find it hard. Although they are adults and can do what they like it still has an effect on the parents if they are living at home.
I know it’s ridiculous but I still can’t sleep until dd is home but I am trying to bite my tongue and not ask too many questions as it doesn’t go down too well. Is it worse with girls?

corythatwas you sound like you’ve cracked it. Wish I was unflappable. I ask my dd to do the social distancing thing but I’ve got no idea whether she does or not but we all work and haven’t got anyone vulnerable in the house.

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