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Big changes are coming

Q: My 22-year-old moved home for economic reasons after finishing college. He acts as if his bedroom is an apartment – am I being unreasonable in expecting him to let us know when he’s not coming home overnight? How about contributing to the household chores?

A: He has been living with peers who come and go on independent schedules. Student life gets started when parents are calling it a day. The student parish that I attend has Masses at 9:15 p.m. just to cater to these late hours! Your son hasn’t readjusted his perspective now that he is back home. He is unreasonable maintaining the student lifestyle without any compromise. Be sure to set some limits as you allow him to regain his financial footing. He needs a plan so that he is making economic progress. Decide on the length of the stay. As an adult, he should pull his weight when it comes to household chores. It is reasonable for parents to know when everyone in the household is in for the night, not because you are “keeping tabs” on an adult child, but because unpredictable absences lead to thoughts of accidents and restless sleep!

Q: How do I prepare my daughter for a new baby brother?

A: Your daughter will be curious about your changing body. A library will have books at her developmental level to explain how he is growing inside you. Show her ultrasounds and photos from your pregnancy with her. Help her make a “Big Sister” photo album from her birth to the present, with places where she will put photos with her brother. If she has to give up a crib or move to a different bedroom, then make all those changes a couple of months before his arrival so that these transitions aren’t associated with his birth. Let her pick out a special blanket for his homecoming. Have Dad hold the baby when you return from the hospital so you can scoop her into your arms. Baby brother can give her a doll when he arrives home; she can care for it when you are nursing and caring for him. Ask your pastor if she can be included in some special way at her brother’s baptism.

Dr. Cathleen McGreal

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