No kid-ding: How to cope with adult children who stay home

WASHINGTON — After a 30-year-old upstate New York man was evicted from his parents’ home and ordered to move out by June 1 by a judge, a new light is being shone on the issue of “kids” who move back home after school … but then don’t leave.

It is happening more and more in recent years. And it can create stress not only for them but for parents as well.

Leslie Morgan Steiner, a parenting blogger with modernmom.com, shared some insights with WTOP for folks who are in this particular pickle.

“I’ve decided that the best way to deal with this is to imagine that we are suddenly running a summer camp program for adults,” Steiner said. “And it’s like a sitcom with no audience. And that helps manage my stress at least.”

When it comes to rent and financial obligations, Steiner said there are a lot of conversations parents need to have with their children when they return home.

“It’s really hard for us to imagine our kids as adults, but they very much think they’re adults, and they’re ready for these conversations whether they like it or not,” Steiner said.

What are the key topics parents should focus on?

“Do they have jobs and are they earning money? That’s very important,” Steiner said. “And speaking of money … how much are you going to give them? Some kids expect an allowance — that’s a very personal thing — use of the car … Are they going to do their own laundry? The chores? Cleaning up? You’ve got to talk to the kids about this.”

Steiner warned that there is also the potential for fighting between siblings.

“That has come up a lot in my household in the last week,” she explained.

You also need to establish if there is a curfew — or at least make sure your kids tell you where they are going to be sleeping that night.

“I like to know that,” Steiner said.

The trick is in how you communicate these restrictions with a child — especially one home from college on break — who is not used to having to answer to someone.

“I would say the great thing about our adult children is that they sometimes do listen to logic. Unlike when they were 14,” Steiner said. “And the argument I find that resonates most with kids is: ‘Hey, you’re doing a great job becoming an adult … but this issue (whatever it is) … is part of being a good and responsible grown up.”

After that, it is a matter of listening to what your children have to say.

“Just present your case and listen to them,” Steiner said. “If you can have the right attitude, I think you can have a lot of very special times with your kids.”

But when should parents stop and say: It’s time for you to get your own place.

“I think it’s a really good idea to set that boundary long before they actually move home,” Steiner said. “Just set a deadline for your kids so that you’re not in this really awkward situation where you — heaven forbid — have to think about going to court to have your own kids leave your house.”

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