Junior won’t leave home.

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Junior won’t leave home.
What happens when your child grows up, but doesn't leave? Looking for your empty nest? Time to fly!

Junior won’t leave home.
In Italy they call kids who never leave home “Momonies.” In Germany it’s “Hotel Mama.” Japan’s “Stay at home adult children” are “Parasite Singles.” The scenario is one we have seen in the movies, with our neighbors and possibly in our home. Junior won’t leave. He has no intention of ever getting his own place. He goes on numerous job interviews that are futile toward securing him a job. He has a girlfriend or two and they are usually hanging out at your house too and eating your food. His clothes are in your hamper each Saturday to wash, and he forgets to fold them and put them away. Before long you are taking care of him much the way you did when he was eight. It may not be Junior; it may be your daughter Laura. That can be worse as Laura may have an unemployed boyfriend and/or a baby or two. Telling Laura “No” is easier than telling those little cherub faced grandchildren “No.” What is a parent to do? How did this situation happen and how can you stop it? Your friends and neighbors advise you to never let it happen from the beginning, but it is unclear how and when it happened. It is insidious and before you know it, you have your son, daughter, their partners and grandkids all in your extra bedrooms. It’s no longer just the two of you as you had imagined; the nest is so full someone is bound to fall out. Last week on Fox I received this question from a viewer.
Dear Mary Jo, My 19-year-old daughter has two kids of her own, and I sometimes think she uses her kids to get her way with me. I think I feel like I'm not a good mom. I want to put the grandkids first in this situation, so I end up taking care of them most of the time. What are your thoughts? Thanks, JJ
Dear JJ,
Wow, what a dilemma, but what an incredible opportunity to teach your young daughter healthy boundaries and change her life in a positive way. Preventing this sort of situation is always much easier then dealing with it after it happens. No matter what religious book you ascribe to, you will find that loving someone often includes being firm with them and mentoring strong boundaries. Even Christ loved with firmness. His love was gentle, but it also held others accountable for their actions. Your daughter needs this right now. Sit down by yourself and make a plan, and then work toward carrying it out.
1. Make an appointment with your daughter over lunch, tea, or in the evening when her child is asleep. Ask her for her plan. Be objective as much as you can, but also remind her nothing changes without a plan. You can propose that you will be backup babysitter, but make sure she knows how many hours that includes each week.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Mary Jo Rapini

Counselor/Therapist

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Location: Houston, TX
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