5 Ways to Make Life at Home Easier with a Boomerang Child
Having a child at home can make it easy to fall back into the patterns of childhood. Suddenly, instead of an adult family member sharing your space, you have a brooding teenager and a mess in the kitchen.
No one wants that – your child included.
Instead of reliving the teenage years, use this time as an opportunity to foster contribution, communication, and family unity. After all, in some respects you have a chance to build a relationship with your child that most don’t get. So how can you make the most of it?
First: Consider asking for “rent”
For some parents this is an obvious part of the family dynamic and for others it’s an abomination. But for all, consider this: asking your child to contribute to the family kitty (you don’t have to call it rent) can help your child more than it helps you.
Why? Despite the trend of more kids living back at home, for most it likely falls somewhere in between mildly embarrassing and downright horrifying.
After all, we all want to feel like we’re progressing, and finding oneself back in a childhood bedroom might feel like the opposite.
Financial contribution can help counter the problem. Instead of a kid at home, your child can be a fully-fledged adult who contributes to groceries, maintenance, cleaning, or the mortgage.
That’s progress – regardless of the amount of money involved.
Delegate responsibility – and authority
Similarly, you might find old patterns of household authority and responsibility emerging. Case in point? Those dishes you’re finding everywhere.
One solution is to delegate responsibility in a big way by delegating authority. It works by interrupting the cycle of nagging and rebelling (and its close counterpart, doing everything and doing nothing) that can creep up in parent/child relations.
If a young adult has authority in some way, he or she makes the rules – making it difficult to ignore them. It’s a little psychologically tricky, perhaps, but it can help foster the independence that your child needs and the sanity that you long for.
You could try delegating:
- Total care, responsibility, and maintenance for the family cars (which of course includes use of them!)
- Grocery shopping and meal-planning for the family (particularly useful if your child is interested in healthier living)
- Keeping something clean, such as the kitchen and floors
For many parents the idea of saying “You’re in charge” to a person who doesn’t pick up their own dishes can sound terrifying, but you might be surprised.
Few people can resist the urge to do things their way – which of course means that you would have the burden of accepting your child’s way of doing things.
If authority for cleaning means your child hires a housekeeper, vacuums wrong, or institutes a draconian new rule about shoes in the house, well, so be it.