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MomTalk.com November 17, 2017:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more


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Selling the Family Home: Good Enough Moms

Q: My husband and I are in our 50s and our son will be finishing high school this next year. We would really like to sell the family house and move into a condo. We will be helping our son pay for college and moving into a condo will help make that easier. We are also looking forward to not having to spend so much time maintaining our home. We know our son will be really sad about leaving his childhood home, especially when he comes back for visits after he leaves for college. We aren't sure how to tell him about our plans. What should we do?

Q: My husband and I are in our 50s and our son will be finishing high school this next year. We would really like to sell the family house and move into a condo. We will be helping our son pay for college and moving into a condo will help make that easier. We are also looking forward to not having to spend so much time maintaining our home. We know our son will be really sad about leaving his childhood home, especially when he comes back for visits after he leaves for college. We aren't sure how to tell him about our plans. What should we do?

Grandma Betty: You should just sit him down and have a talk with him. Explain that you're going to be empty-nesters and would feel more comfortable in a condo. You shouldn't keep the house just for him. Hopefully you'll have enough room for him in the condo and he'll still have a place to call home. If it's what you really want to do, you should go ahead with your plans.

Erin: Your son should be really grateful that you are willing to make a move to help him out with college, although it sounds like you also have other reasons for the move. It is your decision, but you should understand that your son has many childhood memories from the house and will experience some loss when you sell it. Maybe you could involve him in helping you find your new condo. He might appreciate feeling like he has some say in where you end up. But, ultimately, it's your house and you need to decide what's best for you. Just keep in mind the feelings he may have about all of this and try to be supportive of him during the process. He is in for some big changes in the next year or so – graduating, going off to college, losing his childhood house. So it's going to be a big adjustment period!

Marti: I agree with Erin and Grandma Betty that this is your decision and you have every right to make a move that suits your needs. But so that your son doesn't feel that the rug has been pulled out from under him, so to speak, you could invite him to choose a few things from home that he'd like to keep in your new condo, maybe creating a space of his own that he can return to during holidays and summer breaks. And if he's sentimental about the family home, as many young adults are, maybe make a photo album or collage of some of the good times you all shared in that home over the years. Even if he seems sad or angry about the move right now, over time he'll discover that, wherever you live, you are still the secure base he can revisit as he spreads his own wings and defines a new life for himself.


Marti Erickson, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist and director of the Harris Training Programs at the University of Minnesota. A well-known public speaker, writer, and media commentator, Marti also is the mother of two adult kids and three young grandchildren.

Erin Erickson Garner, Marti's daughter, is a writer and a specialist in maternal and child health. She currently is home with her two young children except for Sundays, when she and her mom co-host the Good Enough MomsTM radio show on WFMP-Radio, FM107.1 in the Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Betty Farrell, Marti's mom, lives in Houston, TX, and is known fondly as "Grandma Betty" to Erin and her kids.



Categories: Advice, Ideas & Stories, MomShare,


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