“As long as you live under my roof, you live according to my rules.” This cliche, often said by parents in movies and on TV, sounds fair and decent overall, doesn’t it? After all, if you don’t pay for rent or utilities, the very least you could do would be to do some chores and listen to your parents about what they’d prefer you (not) to do at home. (As long as they’re being objectively reasonable, of course.)
Redditor ChrisThrow367 shared a pickle of a story with the AITA community about how his 23-year-old son, Chris, moved back home after graduating college. According to the dad, his son doesn’t pitch in around the house and mooches off his parents. So the dad, the sole breadwinner for the entire family, decided to take matters into his own hands and set some ground rules. Unfortunately, they caused Chris to ‘flip out’ and sparked a lot of family drama.
You can read the redditor’s full story below, dear Pandas. When you’re done, let us know what you thought of the entire situation. Who do you think was right in this case? What did you think of the dad’s rules? Do you think that Chris should have been more proactive about finding some way to contribute to the family? Share your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of the post.
Certified relationship and self-love coach Alex Scot talked to Fashion Life about the importance of positive reinforcement, compassion, and leading by example. You’ll find the full in-depth interview with the expert below.
Family drama ensued after a recent college graduate moved back in with his parents and had a problem with his dad setting out some rules for him
Image credits: Christian Erfurt
Relationship coach Alex told Fashion Life that she suggests positive reinforcement for even the slightest steps in the right direction when it comes to encouraging our kids to become more responsible. “For example, if you want the child to become better at picking up after themselves and you happen to catch them putting their plate in the sink or taking their laundry from the floor to the laundry room, give them some praise, ‘Thank you for putting your plate in the sink!'” she said that small bits of praise count for a lot.
However, thanking them isn’t enough. Parents need to set a positive example with their own actions. “It’s also important to note that children will do what you demonstrate to them more often than what you tell them to do. So leading by example is very important and that stems to things like taking responsibility, apologizing, and even healthy habits like nutrition and working out. If it’s an adult child, lean on setting boundaries and expectations, but keep in mind that positive reinforcement and demonstrating to them what you’d like is still applicable.”
According to Alex, whether or not an adult child moving back home will put a lot of stress on a couple depends entirely on their relationship with each other and with the child. It’s all relative! (Pun not intended, we assure you.)
“The best way to set yourselves up for success is to have an honest conversation prior to the adult child moving back in to set expectations, boundaries, and air out any concerns that may need to be compromised on,” Alex explained that it’s vital that everyone be on the same page. Clarity is essential. “The more specific the better. This way both the couple and the adult child are on the same page and there are no surprises once the move-in has happened.”
Alex also offered her insights about why some young adults might shy away from responsibilities that, to many, might seem very simple. According to the relationship coach, these individuals might be feeling overwhelmed or might even have undiagnosed disorders like ADHD. This can leave adult children “almost paralyzed when it comes to basic tasks like washing the dishes.” If you suspect this might be the case, it’s best to approach your child with compassion and talk to them about what they’re experiencing.
“‘Honey, I’ve noticed that some tasks like laundry or dishes are tasks that you avoid. Could you tell me what you’re feeling or thinking when those tasks come up?'” Alex suggested a potential way to approach the situation. “From there, empathize with them and if it aligns with symptoms of any sort take them to get diagnosed. Many adults are struggling with undiagnosed ADHD (and other disorders that present similarly) and they experience a lot of shame and frustration around why they can’t seem to self-motivate to do these types of things, and if you approach them with harsh words like, ‘You’re an adult, these are things everyone needs to do. Grow up!’ It will only cause more shame, self-loathing, and more overwhelm as those tasks pop up.”
Alex also noted that some young adults might not have enough life experience living independently, so it simply doesn’t pop up in their minds to help out their family with household chores and other tasks. “Another possibility is that if they have not gone out on their own yet and lived alone or with roommates, that could also be why they aren’t taking the initiative to assist around the house. It simply doesn’t occur to them because it hasn’t had to occur to them in the past. Bringing it up to their awareness in a non-combative way, and being clear with what their additional new responsibilities are is the way to go here.”
Most redditors thought that the dad did nothing wrong. Here’s what they had to say
The essence of the argument in the redditor’s family seems to be about finding the right balance between Chris’ independence and everyone else’s support of him. Nobody’s denying that life is rough right now: the Covid-19 pandemic has turned the renting and employment game on its head.
Paying rising rent rates is a challenge for many Americans and Europeans. Meanwhile, finding a job can be difficult depending on what your university major is and what experience you have. Some industries weren’t as resilient to the pandemic as others.
Personally (and don’t let my opinion affect yours), I believe that Chris isn’t entirely to blame for moving back home. The world’s still a mess and it can be hard to find your footing. Let’s face it, most of us have been in similar situations where we desperately need a helping hand from our family and friends. At least, temporarily.
However, at the same time, I also believe it’s incredibly important to be proactive about creating a firm foundation for your life: getting a job, doing basic chores, helping around the house, and offering your support to your own family as much as they’ve supported you. Getting everything handed to you on a silver platter might be comfortable, however, forging your own metaphorical platter shows independence, ambition, and grit. It’s possible to flourish even during the hardest of times.
Though when you look at the rates at which rent is rising, you won’t be surprised that Chris and many young adults like him are asking their parents whether they could move back into their old rooms.
According to USA Today, some cities are seeing jaw-dropping increases in rent prices. For instance, in Boise, Idaho, rent prices have gone up by a whopping 39 percent since March 2020. Yes, Pandas, you read that right: 39 friggin’ percent. It’s horrifying!
The median rent in the US has increased by 11.4 percent in 2021. Compare that to an average of 3.3 percent rent growth in the pre-pandemic years from 2017 to 2019. Meanwhile, rent prices are up 10.3 percent right now compared to late August of last year.
Most redditors were on the original poster’s side, saying that what the dad did was right. Or, as redditor Acheesement so eloquently and sarcastically summed the situation up: “I’m an adult, don’t treat me like a child. That being said, please buy all my food, clean up after me, and make me whatever food I want while I watch Netflix because I’m your special boy.”
However, not everyone was on the same page. Some redditors shared their opinions about how the dad’s rules were more about ‘punishing’ his son rather than helping him stand on his own two feet. But what do you think, dear Readers? We can’t wait to see what you make of all this drama.