Your baby is back from college or just home for summer break and is planning on living with you! How exciting! You are going to be best friends, have someone to spend time with, help with the house cleaning, walk the dogs, do some errands…BEST experience EVER!! It's a WIN WIN! RIGHT!??
Well it could be beneficial for both of you BUT you need to set some ground rules!
But seriously, let me give you my best tips for making the "adult children living at home" scenario run smoothly, so no one feels suffocated or taken advantage of…
Did you know that, according to the Pew Research Center, more 20-somethings are living at home than any other arrangement (married, roommates)? I know, this surprised me too! Yes, the typical signs of adulthood, like getting married, buying a house, having kids…they’re all happening later now. In fact, Dr. Katherine Newman calls years 18 – 29 not “young adult,” but “emerging adult,” like they are slowly emerging from a cocoon! Haha!
It just goes to show, in this economy and with the cost of college (which I’m sure you are well aware of!) there’s no shame in having to live at home to save money…unless you don’t do your share!
So without further ado:
What the “Adult Child” Should Do
There’s nothing worse than feeling like your adult children living at home are trying to use you for a free ride. (Especially since that “free ride” really would have been nice during college!) In fact, this is something that should be discussed before your child even moves in with you, so they know how much of the cooking and cleaning to expect to do. In fact, you may want to write up an informal “contract” where both parties can make agreements like:
“I have to answer Mom’s texts when I am out late and let her know where I am staying, but I don’t have a curfew and don’t have to come home.”
“I will make dinner at least 3 nights a week.”
It’s good to have set ground rules for both parties. For adult children living at home, the most important ground rules are that they will be doing enough (1) around the house and (2) for their personal development. That way, nobody will feel any resentment!
A recent American Time Use Survey found that parents of adult children living at home did EIGHT HOURS A WEEK EXTRA CHORES! Yes, the parents! I know, that should be the other way around!
What the Parents Should Do
Okay, so now for the flip side of this that is hard for some parents to bear: now your adult children living at home are…well…adults. They may spend the night at their significant others, or crash at a friend’s place after a night of drinking. You can, of course, veto this with a “my house, my rules” so they must live somewhere else if they plan to engage in adult activities.
But that’s just the thing…it is your house, but they need room to grow as adults. They may have already learned some independence at college, but now they will be doing other adult-y things like getting a job or working towards a better job; driving everywhere themselves; grocery shopping; taking care of their own bills; time management…
In my experience, if you want adult children living at home to honor their personal growth, then you have to give them the space to do so. Before you ask, “Are you really wearing that?” “Why are you still dating that idiot?” ask yourself:
“Would a roommate say/do that?”
Of course, this cuts both ways. A roommate wouldn’t care what time you get home at night or if you get home…but a roommate also obviously would not cook for you or do your laundry! 😉
But honestly if you find yourself in this situation, cherish it! My #1 TIP…make the most of it! Find teachable moments and treat each other with respect.