I think that children have the tendency to think of their parents home as it was
for them before they left the nest - yet worse. Although I used to do my share
of household tasks at home, I became a 'guest' when I would visit my
parents home and spent my time vegging. It wasn't until after I had lived
out of state for a long period that I realized my behavior needed an adjustment.
My mom had become more open with me about how she felt when she was descended
upon. I had been one of those who 'descended' upon her - not offering
to help provide food and assuming that she could somehow watch my children. Now I make a point to do some service whenever I visit my parents. I call
ahead to make sure my visit comes at a convenient time and I try to avoid
It's odd that parents' homes are ever considered a dumping ground. It
seems that part of the problem is this idea that it's someone's
"job" to do housework, to bring in the bacon and that children are to be
served by their mother whose sole joy should come from being a homemaker. It is
not surprising that when these young people return home they behave,
embarrassingly, like entitled brats. When I was growing up, as now, we children
did our own laundry, cooked meals for the family and took care of the yard work
and other chores around the house. In fact, we did it all, my parents were
responsible for the finances by working. That is still the model, though my
mother who is nearing retirement now enjoys doing things for us that she never
did before: Now she helps with our son and did laundry for us when my husband
and I were both students. I think if you don't teach your children respect
for others when they are kids and do everything for them, you are in essence
sowing the seeds that will lead to moody and selfish behavior later.
Bountifulmomofsix - "descended upon" is such a great way of expressing
what can happen during the holidays! And the idea of openness will help almost
any situation. I also think that the moodiness could be a red flag
for something happening that the parents don't know about...parents could
beat themselves up saying "oh man I must have raised a brat he/she is always
moody when he/she comes home!" When really that kid could be struggling with
the gospel, with a boyfriend, with grades, with self esteem, with other family
relationships -- struggles that are just a natural part of growing up. So
it's best to open the lines of communication, but how?
Christmas is a time filled with cherished childhood memories. It's not
surprising that when adults return home for that special time of year with
parents, siblings, familiar faces, they find themselves wanting the recapture
the past and to their own surprise find themselves wanting to go back in time.
It's as disquieting to them as it is to family to find themselves reverting
to petty rivalries and resentments they thought they had grown out of. And when
the holiday is over and it's time to commute back to their present lives,
they are as relieved to be escaping as their parents are to see them go.