Cutting The Cord: How To Make Your Adult Son More Independent

If your Son moved back home because of the recession or most recently because of the pandemic, Mom, you are NOT alone!


During events like these, we see high unemployment, college debt, and housing costs become the reasons why many of our young people delay moving out on their own or find themselves returning home. If you’re a Mom who wants to help your Son while encouraging his independence, these are important factors to consider.


 Money Matters 

  1.  You're doing him a favor by charging rent. Love means introducing your Son to the REAL world. When you require him to pay for housing costs you will help him become more responsible and understand the consequences of his actions. It’s also good for his self-esteem.
  2. Or let him contribute through work. Sometimes requiring a monetary payment is out of the question due to the circumstances of the moment. In that case, give your Son the option to contribute in other ways. For example, he can help by painting the house or completing other household chores. This is a reminder that nothing in this world is totally free!
  3. Give the gift of financial intelligence. Discuss the basics of creating a budget and sticking to it. Talk about using credit responsibly and adding to your savings on a regular basis. This will put him in a position to be more self sufficient, which also means less financial obligation and stress for you later.
  4.  Future planning. As you know or may remember, job hunting is hard work, at times even daunting. Commend your Son for making an effort. Offer advice and referrals if he is open to them.
  5.  Establish time boundaries. It’s wise to support your Son in a way that gives him a better chance for success. Make it clear that you are letting him move back in for 6 months or a year. Of course, you can always extend the time if the circumstances warrant it.
  6.  Modify your support as needed. Strategic limits on your assistance reduce the risk of creating a sense of entitlement. Lord knows we don't need any more entitled adults in this world! But it’s okay for you to change the terms and amount of support you're offering your Son if you think a different arrangement would work better.
  7. Be united with your partner. Relationships between partners can sometimes experience strain due to issues with adult children, so this point is key. Negotiate between yourselves first about what assistance you can offer your Son, then modify it together as needed. There's no need to create a good cop-bad cop scenario or sneak behind your partner's back, as this will create issues between the two of you.
  8. Protect your own retirement. Think long term. Covering your own retirement expenses will take the pressure off in your later years and avoid placing a future financial burden on your Son.


Personal Considerations

  1. Don't worry about any perceived stigma. Studies show that more young adults are living at home compared to any time since the 1950s in the US. The figure has almost doubled since 1980. Rest assured that you have plenty of company and this is no reflection on you as a Mother.
  2. Make time to talk things over as a family. Communication is critical when you have more people under one roof. Address potential conflicts promptly and respectfully.
  3.  Put it in writing. Although it may seem formal, drafting an agreement will help you avoid misunderstandings. In it, you'll want to layout the key house rules.
  4. Establish curfews. You and your Son probably have very different bedtimes now. Let him know the quiet hours you need. Taking shoes off by the door can also minimize nighttime disruptions.
  5.  Discuss overnight guests from the beginning. You have the right to determine sleeping arrangements under your roof. Set aside a guest room for girlfriends and boyfriends if it makes you more comfortable.
  6.  Learn from other cultures. Much of the world still follows traditions where grandparents, parents and children live together. You may want to give the idea another look.
  7. And relearn your Son as an adult. You've known him his entire life, but your Son is no longer the baby you raised. For however long you share the same home, there is a special connection present in parents and children living together as adults. Be open to seeing your Son in a new light.

We have to remember that sometimes challenging times have the bright side of bringing many families closer together. Managing a multi-generational household can be tricky, but also rewarding. Take pleasure in each other’s company and support your adult Son in getting ready to launch out on his own.


If you want to learn more about supporting your Son while managing your own peace of mind, I encourage you to set up a free breakthrough session with me. During our 60 phone call, I’ll help you: 

  1. Gain clarity on your current challenges with your Son and what is holding you back from reclaiming your peace

  2. Gain clarity on the type of relationship you actually want to have with your Son and what needs to happen to get there

  3. Together, we will create a strategy to overcome your current challenges and achieve your life and relationship goals

Click here to schedule a free call.


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