Q • I am 36 years old and have recently had to move back home with my parents after losing a couple of jobs. While I appreciate them taking me in, they are trying to treat me like a teenager again like telling me when to be home, etc. My dad is offering me money on the side as well as my mom and then telling me not to tell the other one. I don't want to be put in the middle of this type of secret ploy that they have going on between each other but I don't want to upset either one. How can I handle this sticky situation?
From a reader • Our son moved back home about four months ago after losing his income from two jobs. He couldn't pay his rent, utilities, car payment and started living on ramen noodles, which are not that healthy. His older sister has two young children and asked if he'd be interested in taking care of them while she worked from home. So far, so good, and he is able to pay us a little rent and help out around the house. What your parents are doing is not going to end well once it comes out. Don't take their money and tell them to stop. — Hubert R. in Los Angeles
From Jodie Lynn • It's become a common practice more than ever these days for kids of all ages to move back in with their parents.
With that being said, I basically agree with the reader above: stop taking their money. It will eventually come out and unfortunately when it does, you'll be the one frowned upon for taking the money, especially when relatives find out (and they very well may).
The only acceptable way to accept money from your parents is if you and they sign a contract stating that you will pay it back and then follow through once things get better.
As far as them treating you like a teenager, it's understandable that you are a grown person and this would be frustrating. Talk to them calmly and rationally and never raise your voice or act aggressively. Remember, though, that it's their house and you have to abide by their rules just the same as it would be your rules if it was your house and you had a renter.
Consider also that perhaps one day the roles might be reversed and they have to come live with you.
On the other hand, if they start wanting to ground you for not following their household rules, that's a different topic. If it gets that weird and uncomfortable, definitely speak to them about it while keeping the above advice in mind.
I believe that everyone here can come to an agreement and meet halfway, as long as the discussion is civil.
CAN YOU HELP?
Everyone that I've talked to in my family as well as my friends are getting their older children and especially their teenagers video games. My husband and I would like to be the oddballs and not succumb to this insanity. They're already on their digital devices way too much. Can you recommend some holiday gifts for this group? We also have younger kids.
To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.parenttoparent.com, which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.