When Your Parents Move In With You
Loss of Privacy
Probably the single biggest issue is loss of privacy on both sides. Chances are that your children left the nest some time ago.
Whether youre married (or living-with) or on your own, youre used to having your privacy. If youve been living alone, perhaps youre dating and invite the occasional man over. If youre married or living-with, you and your significant other could be used to making love when you want or heck, walking around the house naked if the blinds are drawn!
Your parents, too, are used to that same privacy. And its going to be equally tough for them to give up the privacy theyre used to. (This could be even more true if its a parent on his or her own.) There is no simple solution to this problem. It calls for adjustments and respect for privacy on all sides.
Loss of Autonomy
Particularly if you live alone, but even if you live with a husband or S.O., you probably dont report your every move to anyone. You come and go as you please without telling anyone, Im going out to the supermarket and to do four other errands. Ill be back at three. Your parents may revert to patterns from your childhood and expect to be notified where youre going and when youll return.
If theres a real need for them to know, such as, Will you be back in time to give me my insulin injection? thats one thing. Otherwise, you need to take a firm hand and say (gently yet assertively), Mom, Im not 12 anymore. I dont need to report my every move to you. You have my cellphone number. If theres an emergency or a problem, call me. Otherwise Ill see you whenever I get back.
Mom's Need to Parent You Again
Along with loss of autonomy you also face the possibility that Mom (more so than Dad, as a general rule) will try to parent you once again. A little guidance and a lot of love should be welcome, but too much is not good. If you see this happening, sit her down and tell her, Mom, you did a wonderful job of raising me, but Im grown now. I dont need to be told what to do all the time. I need for you to back off. If I need your advice, I promise I wont be afraid to ask for it, and if you need my advice, I hope you wont be afraid to ask for it either, but lets respect each others intelligence and each others emotional space. OK?
Your Need to Parent Them
If theyve moved in because theyre unable to get by on their own anymore, you may need to parent them to some degree. But ask yourself if youre overdoing it, if youre micromanaging their lives, if youre giving them direction when it isnt required. If you do see them making bad choices, or floundering in some way, rather than telling them what to do, say, May I make a suggestion? and then gently try to steer them. If they forget to take their meds, if they have trouble balancing their checkbook, ask them, Did you take your pills? and offer to help with the checkbook, but dont come down too heavily or take over aspects of their lives that theyre still willing and able to cope with. Their dignity and feeling of self-worth may be at stake!
Thank Your Husband
Finally, if you have a husband or S.O., be sure he knows how appreciative you are of the sacrifice of privacy and the overall adjustments that hes made to accommodate having your parents living with the two of you. And remember: They wont be around forever. Make the most of their time with you.
There comes a time, for some of us, when our parents need to move in with us. This is most often due to a health or financial issue. Other reasons also exist, such as inviting a recently widowed parent, who seems to be floundering, to move in for the time being for emotional support and comfort. Regardless of the reason, and despite the fact that it feels good to be able to give back to our parents after all they did for us, the situation obviously can be problematic.