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The Not-So-Empty Nest

So you finally feathered your empty nest just the way you like it, maybe turned your son’s bedroom into an office or a craft studio. Then you get the call. “Mom, I’m wondering if it’s possible, just until I get back on my feet …”

If you have an adult child moving back home, you’re not alone. In fact, the number of adult joint households jumped 11.4 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.

Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, family therapist, says financial reasons are why most adult children move back home. “When I work with such clients we brainstorm about myriad topics that need to be considered for all to cope. Most of the themes have something to do with keeping appropriate boundaries and respect for each other's lives.”

“The better the relationship the easier it will be to navigate the process of return,” says Richard Horowitz, a parenting/family coach. “The key to making the transition successful is what happens before the child returns home. It is imperative that the parents and child sit down and negotiate a contract outlining the three R’s of return: Roles, Resources and Responsibilities. … Careful planning and honest sharing of concerns will go a long way to making the return of the adult child a relatively stress-free experience for both parent and child.”

He suggests making a “living document” contract that can be altered if members aren't living up to their end of the deal.

Here are some topics you may want to tackle with your “baby bird” before she settles back in:

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