Reply To: Young Adult Transition

Allison Russo

This reply was originally posted by user parentcoachjoyce in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

I know I’ve said a lot already, but I’d like to chime in and say that I love the jointly written contract idea especially if you give him some input; that way he will feel like he has a little more buy-in because he helped create the stipulations.

In response to some other comments above, I’d like to say that one last thing about the whole “homeless” issue. I understand that to some parents, telling their ‘adult child’ to leave is a “line they would never cross”. I get it; that’s up to each individual parent to decide. All I’m saying is this: WHATEVER consequences you state in your stipulations, it’s important that you be emotionally and physically prepared to follow through. If you are not, then don’t make it a consequence. It’s much worse to not follow through on an ultimatum than to fail to set one to begin with.

(And I think it’s worth mentioning that there are a lot of ways you can “help” an adult child that don’t involve having him live in your home. Sometimes living together is just not a good idea anymore for either of you, and that’s okay.)

But in situations like the one we’re commenting on where an adult child leaves and then wants to come back, the bottom line to keep in mind is this: once a child turns 18, you no longer have a legal obligation to put a roof over his head. Therefore, after a child turns 18, he needs to realize that living with you is a privilege, not a right. That means you get to decide things for your house and your living environment, like—levels of cleanliness (and odor!), how people are treated, etc.—and he gets to decide if the pros of having the privilege to live there outweigh the cons of having to make some changes in order to meet your stipulations, or the cons of having to couch surf or whatever.

One of the most important things you can do for your child at any age, regardless of whether or not they have ADHD, is to allow him to learn that his choices and decisions have consequences (good and bad).

Joyce Mabe
Parenting Coach, mom of adult son with ADHD, author