Family Life

How to Live with Your Adult Child

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Be on the Same Page
Have a serious talk with your child about the situation. Make sure you both agree to the terms and conditions of the arrangement. Living together will take compromises on both parts, and it will be easier if you keep lines of communication open and set expectations beforehand.

As a parent, you’ll have to accept that your child is an adult and can make his own decisions, and your child will have to realize that living in your house might entail more rules than he is used to.

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Establish Boundaries
Although your child is an adult, he is still living in your house, and therefore should be expected to respect boundaries. Establish house rules before your child returns home, and make sure to enforce them. On the other hand, your child is an adult, and his boundaries of privacy should also be respected.

House rules could be related to having house guests or parties, and your stance on smoking and drinking alcohol. Just remember, although your child should be expected to abide by the rules of your house, they should be age-appropriate. For example, setting a curfew for your child might not be realistic, but expecting him to call if he isn’t coming home for the night is.

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Consider Charging for Household Expenses
Rent, groceries, utility bills–all of these are a factor when your child moves back home. Some parents choose not to charge their child rent, depending on the reason for moving home and whether they have a limited income due to unemployment or student status.

However, charging your child room and board, no matter how little, can help him learn to manage his finances and prepare him to live independently when he moves out. It might also reduce the chances of you becoming resentful if he is spending money elsewhere while depending on you.

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Set Clear Expectations for Chores
At this age, your child should already be doing his own laundry and cleaning up after himself. In addition, asking him to contribute to general household chores, such as yard work, is reasonable.

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Don’t Enable
If your child has to move home because he was laid off, it’s easy to chalk his misfortune up to a bad economy. But if your child is employed, living at home, and not contributing to household expenses or chores, you might be enabling his dependency by being too accommodating. This isn’t doing either one of you any favors. Learn when to draw the line and recognize that teaching independence is part of your role as a parent.

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Determine a Realistic Timeframe
How long your child lives at home is dependent on his situation. If he is in school, you may want to set a move-out date a month or two after graduation. If your child is unemployed, expecting him to diligently look for a job, and move out upon employment, is reasonable. Have a discussion with your child and agree on a time frame. This will help him on his road to independence, and it will give you peace of mind knowing your child’s situation isn’t permanent.

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