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  • Writer's picturedrmollybarrow

Adult Children Come Home to Heal

Updated: Oct 5, 2019

Welcome them home for a little while.

Should you let an adult child come home again? Parents send their nearly grown children out to conquer the world and sometimes they bounce right back home. A parent's goal is to teach their child to survive the best and the worst that life has to offer. Most young people are able to maintain a level of existence, sobriety and relationships that sustain them until they really know who they are and what they want to do with their lives.

However, sometimes life throws them a curve and they falter. Circumstances can hurt them, even bring them to their knees. A devastating break-up with a lover, flunking their first semester, an unexpected death of a best friend, or getting fired from his or her first real job can knock your child out of the game and take months to a year to recover.

Did you keep their childhood bedroom just the same? Perhaps this is the time to open the shades and prepare for a wounded visitor. Make it clear that the invitation is temporary but open your door widely and let them come home again. As irritating as they are to you and your spouse, remember that your little habits will irritate them, too. As they begin to recover their sea legs, they will want the freedom of their own place ASAP. If you want to encourages them to leave quickly after a few weeks recovery, begin to talk endlessly about developing a strong work ethic and new disciplined habits in place of blaming others for their situation or procrastination. Hopefully, they will soon be out seeking new adventures.

Help them improve their diet and sleep patterns. Try including fish oil and B vitamins daily to help them recharge their nerves and bodies. Less coffee and colas and more vegetables will help them with their mood. If your child seems to be getting worse or rarely leaves the house, antidepressants may be indicated. Get medical help immediately if your child seems despondent or suicidal.

Being mom or dad again may even heal your empty nest pain. Give them a safe haven for a little while away from the pressures of living fast and competitively. Soon, they will try to fly again, this time a little wiser, a little stronger and a bit more ready. Oh, and don't redecorate that room just yet. They may be back.

Dr. Molly Barrow earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is a licensed mental health counselor and educator in private practice. She is the author of the Malia & Teacup children's books, Matchlines for Singles; and Step Parenting Essentials. Dr. Barrow is a relationship expert helping individuals, couples, families, and co-workers improve their relationships and communication skills. Her commentary and advice column, quotes, radio show, interviews, and articles are enjoyed worldwide in O Magazine, Psychology Today,, Parenting, Morning Blend,, Progressive Radio Network and Women’s Health.

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