How to Make Sure Your Over-20 Child Continues to Live with You

[This week’s column is written by veteran sitcom writer/producer Miriam Trogdon. I am privileged to turn over the reins to Miriam this week. – TEJ]

I hear so many of my baby boomer friends complain that they never hear from their children.

–       As soon as my son turned eighteen, he was out the door. I thought he might return for his belongings, but instead he got two jobs and bought everything new.

–       My daughter graduated from college and stayed out east. She started working, got a loan for a car and asked to be taken off our phone plan.

And the most common sad tale:

–       I thought for sure my kid would at least need us for health insurance, but no. He made sure his new employer had a great plan and then he moved out for good.

Sound familiar? Then you’re certainly not alone. Most boomers would give their eye teeth to have their semi-grown children living back in their homes, but alas, no matter how hard they try, they are unsuccessful. But not I. My husband and I are proud to reveal that our 24-year-old daughter moved back into our home after college and remains there four years later!  And I want to share some of the ways we make sure this ideal situation doesn’t change.

1)       Make sure they have a private room and bath. These items are must-haves for move-back-inners. So, even if you must part with your own master bedroom and bath, offer it up and you just might be rewarded with an extra mouth to feed.

2)       Speaking of foodstuffs, buy lots of it and make sure it’s exactly what your twenty-something craves i.e. red bull and liquor. And a hot meal every night is usually a draw, especially if that meal is brought to them in their room. And is accompanied by Red Bull and liquor.

3)       Concerning their room: make sure it is entertainment-friendly. That means at least three top-of-the-line computers. They’ll need one for television/movie streaming, one for game-playing and a spare one in case the other two aren’t giving them instant gratification. Sure they could “make do” with only two. They could also “make do” living elsewhere. Like a friend’s parents’ house. So ask yourself – do I want a reasonable electric bill or do I want constant contact with my adult child?

4)       Never mention “getting a job” to your live-in child. They’ve been partying hard for a decade or more for Lord’s sake, and they need a friggin’ break! Remember, once they work, they have money, and once they have money, there’s always the tiniest of chances that they will spend that money on rent.

1)       Don’t suggest they rise before 1:00 p.m. They need their rest, and too much daylight is not going to make them want to stay. So, keep the noise down, too. If you must vacuum and do laundry, do it when they are out – usually after midnight and before 6 a.m.

2)       Do not expect your children to walk and feed the animals. Even if the animals belong to said children. Just because they bought/rescued them doesn’t mean they intend on nurturing them. And don’t buy the cheap pet food. Your child is grown, not stupid.

7)       Get a pool. I don’t care how you do it, just get a pool.

Yes, my husband and I have burned through most of our 401K and the rest of our savings keeping our big one at home, but I am proud to say, there is very little chance of her ever leaving the nest. We did it and, by taking my advice, you can, too! Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s late, and someone’s horse needs currying.

–       By Miriam Trogdon

[About the author:  Miriam Trogdon was born. After that she lived for over two decades in the quaint town of Charlottesville, VA until she uprooted herself and her husband and moved to the quaint town of Sierra Madre, CA. While there, she wrote scripts for many sitcoms, including Newhart, Roseanne, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and others. Often for money.]


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  • Published On Aug. 02, 2012 by TEJ

    1. 8/2/12

      Thanks for your advice. We appear to have a boomerrang child in training. Our son is home from college for the summer. It appears that he eats only tortilla chips and queso dip. His drink of choice is beer. He does not prefer Dos Equis. He drives “his” car and buys “his own” gas with “his own” credit card that has his name and my account number on it. He occassionally goes for 800 mile jaunts in his car to New England. When he comes back the car needs repairs. He finds dealing with mechanics stressful. What fun it is to take the car to the dealer every 6 weeks for new brake pads. Of course, I enjoy this especially since my car had two wheels and two pedals. (I am not making this up!)

      Hurry Labor Day, you’re my only hope.

    2. Eleanor

      Thanks Mirium for these giggles. Thankfully we are past that stage but can certainly relate to the on-again, off-again rotating resident “I wanna come home” syndrome. I met you 18 years ago when you so graciously invited us into your home on our return trip from China.
      Hope you’re enjoying your time in Canada Tim.
      Yer everlovin’ MIL.

    3. Micki Martini

      Mirium!!!!! You’re right, I made all the possible accomodations for my adult children (22 & 24) that you mention above (including the pool). I even went to the extent of moving myself out of the family home. I have to say, by leaving my home, my children misinterpreted this as “abondonment”. After 4 years, I moved back into my home, due to unforseen circumstances. I decided with the wear & tear on the house, I would be forced to ask my children to help with the 3rd complete remodel, and pay a little rent. My mistake ~HUGE!!!! I haven’t seen them since, including my daughters live-in boyfriend. Hindsight, and this could’ve have easily been prevented 4 years ago, we wouldn’t have the abandonment issues, or the emty nest. It’s nice to know, there are other parents out there, and I am not alone.

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