When the kids don’t want to leave the nest

It is important to not let your children become rulers of your roost just because they still live there

By Kim Wyse

Red Deer Express

Owning a home is an enormous responsibility, beyond the daily chores of cooking and cleaning there are repairs, maintenance and regular dollars which go into the upkeep of a home.

I detest cleaning my house and have always employed a housekeeper until the last few years, now I am my own cleaner and I must tackle it in smaller pieces and various stages to get through the tasks.

As our children grow it can be a challenge to engage them in various chores around the house and if you are ‘fortunate’ enough to have adult children still living or moved back home you have probably faced some unusual challenges.

I have always said that the bigger they get, the harder they are on a home and as an adult child living at home those messes can grow large and can get out of control if left to their own devices.

When they are little you can instruct them to clean their room and use teachable moments to help them learn the basics of life but watch them grow and suddenly they are ‘adults’ who want autonomy and who will refuse to listen to anything you say while taking up real estate in your home.

As parents, we are often torn between throwing them out of the nest and helping them along until it borders on enabling.

I’ve known men who are living at home in their 30s still allowing their mom to pick up their laundry and change their sheets!

It’s a battle of the ages because mom enjoys looking after her son and of course the son loves free room and board and maid service.

It is important to not let your children become rulers of your roost just because they still live there – teachable moments are still possible even with the adults living in your home.

When our children were infants we eventually moved them from milk to mushy cereal to solid food, weaning them carefully from one stage to another.

There comes a crucial time in their lives where they either gain independence or they decide to perch in the nest awhile longer when it can be easy to still do all the work you did when they were children. It is fun to have your daughter help fold towels when she is six and to laugh at her antics but what about when she is 19 and full of attitude at having to do just HER laundry?

Do you sigh and give in and do it yourself because it is easier and you get less eye rolls?

As a parent first and a homeowner second you have the obligation to continue teaching them maintenance skills and to ask them to help within and without your home in the daily routine of household care.

You may have to put up with some eye rolling and they may want to do or be somewhere else more than anything in the world but you are buying bonding time with your child and teaching valuable skills in the process, plus the extra set of hands for labour can help you complete your tasks much quicker!

Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Realtor/Ask a Designer’.