Re-feathering Your Empty Nest

Today over 20 million young adults between 18 and 32 are more likely living with parents than independently. And the phenomenon of boomerang kids back in the nest is being called a favorable cultural shift. Yet it’s a challenge for some moms who are in the midst of spreading their own wings. If this sounds familiar, try these practical tips to help you navigate this transition:

Increase optimism. A positive mindset doesn’t diminish the fact that you now have more responsibility and less freedom. But changing your perspective and how you see these particular circumstances can alter your experience. Don’t we sometimes create our own reality?

Be supportive. Talk with your Millennials about intentions and the goals they plan to set. Providing guidance as they create short-term objectives may minimize frustration or stress and increase cooperation. Encourage them to take concrete steps toward moving forward on their own and eventually moving out.

Accept what is. You may be reluctant to give up your new office and turn it into a bedroom. But if they’re still carrying huge student loans, are you willing to deal with the guilt of saying no? For ideas about how to improve communication, set ground rules and resolve conflict with your adult children, CLICK HERE.

Track progress. Urge your emerging adults to make lists of major obstacles and stumbling blocks as well as their internal strengths and external resources. Journaling can provide comfort and relief as well as stimulate motivation. Writing regularly will help them feel grounded as they release mental toxins and deepen awareness.

Give it time. Understand that your boomerang kids are opening up to the possibilities. It can take months to find work, adjust to new demands and gain confidence. During this process, have them explore internships or volunteer work as a step toward finding the career meant for them.

Appreciate this second time around. As you establish family rules and they assume responsibilities, together draw up a bottom line. Convert the nest to a net as you launch them into self-sufficiency. By supporting their efforts – as they settle into a job, finish grad school or save money for a down payment – you’ll see them becoming full-fledged adults.

Photo courtesy of cousin Ellen Shenkarow, who was visiting her adult children in Berkeley.

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