Thursday, 27 April 2017
Welcome your children home. Create a welcome environment for them to come home to.
These days young adult children (and adult children) are returning home and living there longer than in previous generations. This can happen for many reasons: student debt, failure to find employment, inadequate wages, desire to save for their own home/future, addiction, mental illness, laziness.
While we don't want to support a lazy child (this person needs tough love and firm boundaries), and we may not be able to support an addicted one (if she is wreaking havoc, stealing from you, etc.), those with addictions or mental illness do need help. And no one loves them like we do.
That being said, these are huge challenges to live with and even as you try to get your child the help he needs, you may need counseling for yourself.
But back to welcoming your child: unless s/he is lazy, s/he should feel that "home" is easy to return to. The prodigal son was willing to work as his father's servant, but how much more joyful his reunion when he found his father watching for him, running to meet him, and ready to throw a party.
No, you don't have to have a party. But you do have to treat your child like the adult s/he now is. A welcoming environment includes privacy and respect. While you may charge a nominal amount for room and board (food, water, electricity cost money) or charge rent, s/he should do his/her own housekeeping and laundry.
While we may be happy as empty-nesters and desire our children to launch, we shouldn't make it hard for them to come home. Sometimes it's the best place for them to be as they sort out their lives with our support and encouragement. They may not always listen to us, but we can still play an influential role in their lives. And as their pre-frontal cortices develop, they may discover that our words and thoughts actually do have merit. How welcome is that?!
The letter W is brought to you by the A to Z Blogging Challenge that takes place each April. Join us anytime you like!