The Naked Guy in the Kitchen is my Boyfriend, Grandma

Deborah Hutchison

Like so many college students, my niece was determined to move to New York City after graduation. Her grandparents – my parents – lived in Westchester County, a 30 minute train ride from Manhattan, and were happy to have her stay with them for a month or two while she sent out resumes, had interviews, and explored her job options.

Nine months later with a tough economy, and the world of New York publishing having adopted the genteel form of exploitation known as the “unpaid internship”, my niece was still living in her grandparent’s house with no departure date in sight. Everyone was beginning to feel edgy and frustrated with this situation. Then, my niece’s boyfriend decided to visit from Florida; my niece casually mentioned to my mother that she wouldn’t have to worry about making up a bedroom for her boyfriend, as he’d be sleeping with my niece in her room.

My 75-year-old mother was appalled at this idea, and half-heartedly confronted my niece; my niece dug her heels in and stated she was an adult and that, as everyone knew, she and her boyfriend always slept together. Next, both my sister and I got involved taking opposite positions -- and angry emails and text messages escalated into even angrier phone calls. Threats were issued, tears were shed.

If only we had known about the “Adult Child LIving at Home” Agreement!

These days between 35%-40% of college grads will be moving home with their parents. These adults in their early 20s are used to living on their own with a great degree of freedom; meanwhile, their parents may be ambivalent about treating their children like adults (but may have come to enjoy that extra bedroom the child used to occupy!) Taking the time in advance to calmly discuss expectations on both sides, and to commit to reasonable ground rules will help both parties navigate through and even enjoy this transitional period of time together.

The Adult Child Living at Home Agreement is one that engages both parties and allows for modifications to be made by both you and your child. By offering this agreement and committing to clear communication, you’ll not only set a good example for your child of responsible, proactive communication, you’ll avoid unneeded stress and bad-feelings between yourself and the child you love.

For more information, go to: The Adult Child LIving at Home with Parents Agreement.

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