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Living with Adult Children

With an increasing cost of living putting property ownership beyond the reach of many, it is more and more common to see adult children remaining or returning to live with their parents into their 30's and 40's.

In my psychotherapy practice, I am seeing a number of parents coming for support around how to manage living with their adult children.

To live with our grown up children is an unnatural state of affairs in the cycle of life- our role as parents should be to prepare children for living life away from the nest as an independent adult.

This living arrangement puts pressure and stress on the relationship between parents and their adult children for a number of reasons including:

* boundary and privacy issues both for parents and adult children. As parents, we should not know every detail of our adult children's lives.

* self-esteem problems and shame for adult children still living with their parents who want to live independently.

* infantilisation of adults - It can be difficult for parents to treat their adult children as adults and not overstep the boundary into treating them like children or teens once more.

* lack of opportunity for adult children to meet a partner and move away to live an independent life.

The lack of the natural progression for adult children into living independent lives can create huge mental health challenges for both parents and their adult children.

If you are struggling with the intensity of living with your adult children or parents, it is vital to ensure that you have a solid sense of your own private life .

This means that you will need to seek out more social activities outside your home and may involve some effort initially to create a routine for yourself.

Think about activities that would bring you a sense of relaxation, happiness and joy. Write out a weekly schedule for yourself by marking out the days when you will engage in an activity that fills you with joy. This may be the time to try new activities or classes and move beyond your comfort zone.

Think about the boundaries that you need to set with your adult children in order for you to feel happier:

how much private space do you need every day and how can you make that happen?

What jobs need to be done around the house, by whom and when?

How much is a fair amount of money for your adult child to contribute to the household per week?

Ask that a direct debit be set up for the money weekly so you don't end up feeling resentful if the money isn't given or you feel you have to chase it.

Boundaries will make everything clearer and sometimes a meeting to discuss these issues can help everyone understand what is required in order to create a happier household.



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