How to Tell the Kids you’re Selling the House

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Loving couple looking at their dream house

Loving couple looking at their dream house

In the big screen comedy, Sisters, released in late 2015, Maura and Kate, both grown adults, lose their minds when they hear the news that their aging parents are selling their childhood home.  Chaos ensues and, while a bit “over the top,” and unrealistic, as fiction will be, the reality of telling your children, even mature adult children, that you are selling “the house” can land you in a sticky situation.  If your children will soon be heading off to university or are already out of the house and standing on their own two feet, you may be ready to downsize or move to a different area.   Feelings of nostalgia, loss, anger, and fear can creep up on the most stable of family members during times of change.  So, before you plant the “for sale” sign in the front yard or blurt it out over Sunday dinner, you may want to make a few preparations for sharing the big news.

Prepare a Plan

Before telling your children, grown adults, or otherwise; prepare a plan.  This means, know what you will be doing after you sell and where you will be living.  Even if the plan doesn’t play out exactly, it can be used to calm the emotions that may boil to the top during discussions. The “unknown” brings fear and anxiety to most of us.  To counteract the negative effect of hearing the news of the sale of a beloved home, having a plan for the future can ease minds.  While the thought of walking away from the sentimental landmark will stir up feeling of selfishness and, “what about me,” the worry of where you will live will lighten the burden a bit.

Prepare a time

Again, don’t share the news by letting your offspring drive up and discover the sign in the yard.  It’s best to tell them before you put the house on the market.  This will lessen feelings of resentment and animosity.  Set aside time just for sharing the news, giving everyone involved time to process the information, share feelings, and ask questions.

Prepare the words

You have a plan for the future, and you have scheduled a time to talk.  Now, “write a script,” so to speak.  Choose your words wisely, and plan to be positive and reassuring.  Rehearsing what you will say, in your head or out loud, will benefit you when it comes to delivery day.  Use words that will show encouragement as well as empathy.

Give Them Time

Once you have made the announcement, give your audience time to process the information.  Be patient, and answer questions.  Assure them that you understand their concerns, and remind them that you share some of the same emotions.  Eventually, your entire family will be able to move forward into the future as a family; even without the cherished childhood home.

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