Clara Peña, LPC-S, LCDC, RPT of New Outlook Individual & Family Therapy, LLC is passionate about helping women adapt to empty nests. But what happens when those “grown” children return for short-term (weekend, holidays, summers) breaks and long-term (years) to the family home?
According to Dr. Peña, a professional therapist, setting clear boundaries and expections is key to this new dynamic:
Welcoming kids to visit for short-term and long-term returns is best done by setting boundaries and expectations that are clear for everyone. Although you want to support your adult child while they are finding their own way, your support is aimed at letting them develop their own independence in the process. If necessary, sit down with your kids to decide on lists of life goals in areas of career, health, and finances and what steps are needed to meet those goals. For example, you may require that your son or daughter work and go to school while living with you to meet their long-term goals.
Other considerations for setting boundaries may include a date that your child is expected to move out, and rules concerning chores, curfew, guests, and financial payments to the household. Consider holding regular family meetings to address issues that may arise. Open communication is important when setting boundaries. Remember your kids are adults, so avoid lectures and practice active listening in discussions. The process is better if everyone is allowed to address their concerns and come up with solutions together. Ensure that you are not ignoring your needs to only accommodate your children’s needs.
Clara Pena can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 832-742-4723.