You've had the date of your child's college graduation on your calendar for months. As the date grew nearer, you hoped that they would solidify post-college plans. But nothing came together and here they are, on the phone, asking if they could move back home "just for a few months" while they figure out their next move.
Saying “yes” was the easy part. Now you need to figure out how you’re going to navigate your life while your now adult child lives in the room next to yours.
When your kid was an infant, a toddler, a teenager you spent time figuring out what kind of parent you wanted to be—so why stop now?
If you do nothing else, I want you to do one thing before your kid moves back home: set an intention.
An intention is a personal declaration and an act of being. How do you want to be in regard to a particular situation or event? You want to create an overall intention for the kind of parent you want to be to your adult son or daughter while they’re living at home. Your goal, as well your child’s goal, is to reframe the parent-child relationship now that your child is grown up.
The question now is while you and your adult child are working on achieving that goal, how do you plan on being? When you set an intention, you help bring clarity to every action that follows.
You’re setting an intention for two primary reasons:
- You want to be able to help your child launch and transition into adulthood in a way that will truly help them long-term.
- You want to feel really good about the choices and decisions you’re making during this time.
Your intention becomes your guideline or your compass. This is your “true north.” You’ll return to your intention every time you need to make a decision with your adult son or daughter.
When faced with a difficult decision or situation, you’ll want to use your intention as your lens or filter as you ask yourself, “Am I saying or doing the healthiest thing for my son or daughter?” To feel confident about these decisions you need to have a solid intention for yourself.
I firmly believe that our thoughts shape our reality.
If we create an intention that has a purpose that will bring about a positive outcome, then our thoughts will follow. Conversely, when we don’t have something to focus on then we get stuck thinking about everything we don’t want.
For example, you decide to set the intention that while your son is home you will continue focusing on your health and your job. If he asks for help you’ll give it, but your intention is to focus on what you’re doing, not what he’s doing.
There will be many times when you’ll want to interfere when your child is back home because you’ve been through all this before. You think you can save them some of the pain and frustration you experienced in your 20s. Yet, skipping your yoga class to pick up your son’s dry cleaning for his big interview because he’s “too busy” or just plan forgot, doesn’t help anyone. You’ve missed your class, and they’ve been relieved of the consequences of their mistakes.
This is not setting them up for adulthood.
I’ve created a worksheet to help you set your intention today. It’s free to download. Print it out and take some time to yourself to set an intention that works for you. And remember to refer to it when you’re feeling pulled away from that goal.
There are going to be times when it will seem like you absolutely have to step in and help your son or daughter. Your intention will help you decide when you need to jump in and help and when you need to take a step back.
The most important lesson is that your kid needs to know they can handle things themselves, and you need to know that you can put yourself and your wants first.