Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Less room in an empty nest than you might think

My 19-yr-old daughter, who's been living on a theatrical tour for more than a year, will be home for a month in November.

Last time she was home for an extended period, she drove us crazy-- messy, disengaged, expecting to be catered to (at least emotionally), and frankly kind of mean to her mother (that would be me). It's too long to be considered a houseguest, and too short to really integrate her back into systems. She can be somewhat oblivious to her effect on those around her, but is generally charming and great to be around. I just don't want to have to either pick up her shit, or remind her to do so.

So I asked an on-line forum what to do, and the consensus was lay down the rules then chill out and get out of her way.

The best of the comments:
"She's an adult, who's been living "on her own" for about a year now. Expect a lot of frustration if you try to fit her back into the teen-child mold. Let her know you know she's an adult, but also let her know that as family, not a house-guest, she is expected to be responsible. Set guidelines and boundaries up front, in clear terms, without judgments expressed or implied. In terms of expectations in regards to messiness, I'd say let her deal with her own space, but set reasonable requirements for shared spaces, like the kitchen. Try to present your requirements as you would to a potential tenant, not as to a disobedient child."

Life can be so simple sometimes.

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