What to Do When Your Adult Children Move Home

Dr. John Townsend talks about what to do when your adult children come home.The uncertainty and difficulties over the last few years has seen many adult children move back home with their parents, creating a new family dynamic.

Dr. John Townsend helps parents to navigate expectations and responsibilities with their adult children, to set healthy boundaries, and show mutual respect. He addresses communication issues, and discusses formulating and implementing a plan for rules in your home that can work for everyone.

Below is a partial transcript of part of the discussion between Jim Daly, of Focus on the Family, and Dr John Townsend, co-author of Boundaries.

Dr. Townsend:

Because of what’s happening [with the COVID-19 crisis], they (adult children) are loosing jobs and they can’t be in school and they’re coming back [home] as adults.

Basically what we have happening is a temporary reversal of God’s entire created order. Because when you look at Genesis 2, it says, what do you do when you get old enough to get out there and be autonomous, you leave and cleave. You find your own mate and social system, and career, and passion. All of a sudden the breaks are on that stuff, and somebody who had these dreams to get out there and find their way … [now] I’ve got to come back to my bunker room with my bunk bed and my little brother on the bottom of it?

The reversal of the created order creates a tension in and of itself.

Jim Daly:

You as the 19, 20 year old, maybe 25-year-old, come back into this environment, and it’s got to be weird. Right?

Dr. Townsend:

It’s very weird. First off, they’re sort of embarrassed. I was ready to go make my move, to start my company, start a church, find the right guy or gal to get married — now all of a sudden I’m dependent again. I’m moving from independence to dependence.

The second thing is that it’s all freedom. They’ve lost freedom…. So the challenge is to be able to give them appropriate freedom in a space where there’s not as much freedom as there was, and make it work out....

(Watch the entire interview below.)


This is just the beginning to a major transformation! Learn more about how to say no and really mean it by reading The New York Times bestselling book, Boundaries.

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