Thursday, March 25, 2010

Only a few more minutes before it all begins...

Well, it sort of all begin already, but most of the kids are still asleep for a few more..

I was wondering if I could get some feedback about a question I've been struggling with over the last week. For those of you who parent "adult" children and minor children at the same time, how do you keep the minor children "in line" without over-parenting the adult children?

We have a lot of guidelines for kids in the house, but we have loosened up on some of them for the adult kids. Obviously they still have to help out, they still have to be kind and not verbally abusive, there are no drugs or alcohol allowed here, they are supposed to let us know when they are coming and going and if others are with them...but a lot of smaller issues like what time they go to bed I figure is up to them.

I'm finding the "it's not fair" attitude on the side of the youngers (who of course, aren't that young any more) and yet I hate to go to a very restrictive environment for the "adults" even though I know that they are choosing to live here simply because I think it would be personally exhausting. Though not saying much is personally exhausting as well.

I know some of you are in the same situation. Do all rules apply to all of your kids at home whether they are adults or not? I'd love to hear how other people do it.

(And for those of you who are sitting back dreaming that when YOUR kids all get to be 18 they will make a nice transition into a college dorm, you may want to take off those rose colored glasses and read about your future. Right here and right now. This is the ONE thing that has totally blown me away ... I seriously believed that we would gradually have the children move out as they became adults and that they would build lives for themselves. Tomorrow, 11 of the 12, four of them 18 and over, will be living here. With us. In this house. Plus the grandbaby. So it really isn't working out the way I anticipated.)

p.s. I'm not as crabby as I sound. And I am for the most part enjoying having my adult kids and their friends, and their girlfriends, around. I just am not sure what's the best approach to take so that the younger kids are not affected.


Life's Mom said...

I usually go with "you have the exact same rules that he had when he was your age. The rules will change for you too when you get older. I am being completely fair by treating you the same way that I treated him. What would be unfair is if he still had to have a 10 year old bed time at his age."

DynamicDuo said...

Growing up in a large family myself (I'm #9 out of 12) and having my adult brothers and sisters move back, then out then back etc.. I can relate. Our house rules were:
*Respect Mom and Dad and Family at all times.
*If you lived there you had chores to do, adult children had extra jobs to offset paying rent.
*You had to let Mom and Dad know where you were going and when you'd be back.
*The house was quiet at 10 pm. Depending on age you could quietly watch TV, or go to your room and read/listen to music on headphones etc... but you had to be quiet so the youngers could sleep. Rise and shine at 7 am, regardless of how they spent their evening. Earlier if Mom and Dad suspected you'd been up to no good.
*Bedtimes therefore related to age, they were extended as you grew up but school nights - 10 pm was the bewitching hour.
*No phone calls after 10 pm. Now adays with cell phones it would be difficult to monitor. Unless you had phones turned in at night.
*Adult children had to maintain a job or be in school, and they had to contribute with work and helping out with the youngers.
*No girlfriends or boyfriends allowed overnight - period.
*Weekend nights for older teens, curfew was 12 pm, for every time you were late, the next time you had to be home that much earlier, unless severely late or alcohol involved where you would be grounded. If the adults plans changed and they were going to be out late - they had to call and check in by 9pm so Mom and Dad wouldn't worry. Calls after 10 usually meant someone is in trouble.
*Foul language and disrespect were never allowed under any circumstance.
*Adults had to have a plan, a goal they were trying to achieve and work toward.
*Older teens had to be picked up for dates or whatever by 7:30pm or you may not be allowed to go. (we lived a good 30 minutes from town on a farm) - Dad figured that if you didn't leave for a movie etc.. by then, then your plans were probably up to no good. My dates were always very prompt!

*If you lived at home you went to church on Sundays - period.

Linda has on her blog something like this -
Fair doesn't mean everyone gets the same, Fair means everyone gets what they need.

GB's Mom said...

My viewpoint is when they are adults, they will have similar freedom. Until then, It's my job to make the rules I feel works best for them.

Johannah said...

I just want to reiterate what Dynamic Duo said. Fair isn't about things being the same- fair is about everyone getting what they need.

You might make an analogy to the services the children (adult and minor alike) receive outside of your home. I bet they aren't all the same.

You could also connect it to who you drive around and how often you do it. For example, one person may get driven around more to make it to practices and meets because that's what he needs. It would be ridiculous to count the car trips and say- well, I took this child on fourteen car rides this week. You only went on nine. Quick think of five places you need to go in the car so we can be fair. said...

I told the kids that as long as you are under my roof you're not a grown-up, you're a kid. If you want to come and go as you please then you need to get your own place. Not that it works like that, but that is the rules :)

nancy said...

Right now, the only four at home are only two different ages, though emotional/maturity level varies greatly. Our kids know that they will receive more priveleges and freedoms as they get older and show us they're responsible. Of course, living as we do on a farm, priveleges are fairly limited. Our kids spend enough time in town during school and practice hours, so the rest of the time belongs to the family. The way I see it, the years go by so quickly, and we wanted to parent, so we're going to spend time together. Our freshman has been quite responsible, so he's trusted to be where he says he is and to return when he's finished...not mess around in town. He's on a school permit, so that limits his trips to and from school, with no in between stops anyway. We have a ton of other squabbles, but the "not fair" one doesn't rear it's ugly head too much. I realize we don't have to deal with some of the issues you are needing to, but a number of "us" are fairly behind grade level and age, from coming home as preadolescent girls..not to mention any names. It was wise to put the girls each behind the brother the same age, language not being the only issue. Also, those who have lost priveleges have often done so because of repeat behaviors. They "get it" when we remind them it's their own fault/pattern. Not that we don't get whining here. But like you, I'm learning to keep calm during the discourse. Not easy for our "types", is it!

The harder thing for me is having grown kids give advice as to how I (in particular) should parent the younger ones. Had some issues with that, as well as the guilt from it being suggested that I made some pretty big mistakes in parenting them! But they're good kids, and having a middle school guidance counselor and a special ed major now in the family has been quite there are perks. None of them have lived home once they left. We kept filling up their old bedrooms!