If you are a parent with adult children living at home with you, you aren’t alone. More and more “boomerang kids” – those that left to go to school or move out on their own at one point – are finding themselves living back home with their parents. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 25% of parents have one or more of their adult children living back at home with them, while a 2007 Canadian census showed that 44% of adult children between 20 and 29 have moved back in. While there are many reasons why adult children could be living with their parents, right now most of the blame falls on the economy and the recession.
The recession has made it more difficult than usual for new graduates to find gainful employment, especially with experienced workers finding themselves unemployed for months or even years. Without a job, it’s impossible for these young people – who are usually without much savings yet – to pay their rent or make payments on a vehicle, and they find themselves eager to return to the comfort of their parents’ house where rent and food is often free. And while some parents may be okay with their adult children living at home, there are positive and negative aspects to doing so. So let’s take a look at a few of those, and investigate some helpful tips for making such a relationship work for both parents and children alike.
Advantages to Having Adult Children Living at Home
- Parents will have more help around the house, whether financially or in physical work
- Children get a chance to save money, try a new career, and otherwise have a chance to get back on solid footing
- Offers opportunities for parents to get to know their children as adults
- A chance to build a stronger bond between parent and child
Disadvantages to Having Adult Children Living at Home
- Can be a drain on parent’s finances if they have to monetarily support their kids
- If the child is not respectful, this relationship can lead to stress and fighting
- Over-parenting and enabling an adult child can lead to them to not taking responsibility for their future
- Lack of privacy for both parties, parents and children
Tips for Parents of Adult Children Living at Home
When you have adult children living at home again, it’s important to set up boundaries and rules right away. Having these in place will help ensure a smoother transition to your child being at home again while also encouraging them to act like an adult with responsibilities. You definitely don’t want your 25 year old to act like he or she did when they were 12! Here are some important tips for parents with adult children moving back in with them:
- Have them contribute something towards the house expenses. By requiring them to pay rent or buy groceries, it helps to instill a sense of responsibility and how much it costs to run a household.
- Chores are not just for teenagers. Require your new boarder to mow the lawn, do the dishes, cook dinner, or clean the house.
- Do your best to understand their situation and offer assistance when needed. Unless your child is a slacker and just sleeping all day, chances are they do eventually want to move out and could use your guidance on how to make that happen.
- That being said, remember that they are adults. You don’t need to keep tabs on them 24 hours a day or ask them to report to you. If they were on their own, you probably wouldn’t have any clue what they were up to each day.
- Lastly, set a time limit for their stay. While this time limit can be adjusted later if need be, an adult child needs to be independent and move out at some point. Having a time limit in place would encourage them to find work and start setting up a life on their own.
Tips for Adult Children Living at Home
As an adult, moving back in with your parents can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you can have a chance to regroup, maybe save a little money, and enjoy some of mom’s home cooking again. But on the other hand, you are back under your parent’s roof and will need to abide by some of their rules again. Here are a few things to help make that transition home again a little smoother:
- Pay for as much as you can afford. Moving back home isn’t a free ride, and you are an adult now. It’s time to take responsibility for yourself and pay for whatever you can with your own money.
- Continue looking for work if you don’t have a job or are underemployed. Not much would upset parents more than to see their adult child sleep late and play video games all day long.
- View living at home again as a privilege and not a right. If your parents are OK with you moving back in, don’t forget how much it could impact their plans for their life post-children.
- Save your money. If you still have money left over after expenses and helping your parents out, put it away for a rainy day, AKA when you move out. You’re going to need that money for move-in expenses on your new apartment.
- Don’t wear out your welcome and stay longer than you need to. Your parents did their job; it’s time for you to do yours.
With the economy showing no signs of a quick recovery, chances are that even more parents will have their adult children living at home with them again. But with open and honest discussions about expectations and goals prior to move-in, it is possible for these “boomerang kids” to make a successful transition back under their parents’ roof and then back out into the real world. Respecting boundaries set forth by both parents and children alike is the single most important factor to pay heed to. By doing that, it’s a relationship that will work out quite well for both parties.
So, do your kids live at home? How do you approach it?