Each one of my 4 children has moved out only to return home after a season away. I wanted to navigate their hearts and mine well during this tumultuous time of transition. For years, one of my prayers had been, “Lord, let them learn everything they need while they are still under the protective covering of this home.” I knew how cruel the world could be and wanted resilience to be built in my children so they would be able to bounce back from disappointment and failure.
When they ‘returned home’ I knew there must be things the Lord still had for them to mature in. Oftentimes they would get frustrated at the necessity to move back home, however, as we learned to give ourselves to the training and equipping of the Lord, when the time was right…off they flew into the future the Father had created for them.
How do we as parents navigate these times of launching our adult children well, especially if life circumstances have brought them BACK home for a season?
We must keep a positive perspective and realize “God may not be finished”. Maybe there are areas of restoration in your relationship with your child, maybe there are areas of maturity they need to grow in. We have to maintain our trust in GOD and His plans for our children and guard our hearts from disappointment.
Set Boundaries…it’s your Home
It is HARD once they have been out. They have established their own curfew, own living style, schedule and values. Remember THEY ARE ADULTS and must be treated as such (even if they are not acting the part) and as a responsible parent, it is ok for you to draw up a rental contract. Give them the freedom to begin to take responsibility for the property, which they are renting, from you.
Respect Them as Adults
Sometimes this is the hardest; after all we are MOM. My son even said when he moved back home “Don’t treat me like your son, treat me like a tenant.” Yeah, right I thought. Eventually I informed him, “you are my son, and so we have to figure out how to do this based on that reality.” That seemed to take the pressure off of both of us. I could still communicate with him as a loving parent, speak into his life and encourage him, and help him look to the future.
Understand the WHY
Our children might move back home for a variety of reasons: they have graduated from college and trying to find a job, they did an internship and are back home to figure out the ‘next’, they moved out and life on their own just didn’t work out, or a multitude of other reasons. Knowing the why they have come back helps you as the mom move them toward adulthood and stepping back out.
Our children are entering into adolescence younger than ever and staying in that adolescent stage longer too. Studies show that most children don’t move into the adult stage of life until they are 26. My personal feeling is that oftentimes we, the parents, might be responsible for this lengthy adolescence. We need to evaluate our role as parents, understand the values we want our children to take with them as they transition to independent adult living, and ask for the Lord’s leadership in instilling those values in our children. There are things we can do as a loving parent to help strengthen and encourage them into adulthood. So if you find yourself with an adult child coming BACK home, embrace it as an opportunity to you to partner with the Father and instill some more values in the hearts of your children.
What are ways you are helping your children prepare and succeed as adults?