5 Ways to Cope with Moving Back Home

iStock_000020512114XSmallOK, so you moved out of home, possibly to go to college, maybe for a job opportunity, to travel or to experience living with friends. Whatever the reason, many people find that the time comes when they need to, or want to, move back home. How is that going to work? I mean, you’re not the same person you were when you moved out; so much has changed, even your relationship with other family members could be altered. Here are 5 ways to help you cope with moving back home.

There are lots of different reasons why you might make the decision to return to the family home but the most common one is financial. Moving out seems to be such a good idea at the time but most of us quickly realize that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and home wasn’t so bad after all! Your own actual reason for returning to the family home might make it easier or harder for you to go back. Be honest with yourself, as well as your family, as to the real reasons for going back so as to make the transition as easy as possible.

Moving back home will require lots of adjustments, not only for you but also for other members of your family. When you left, the dynamic of the household would have changed; everyone would have made some adjustments that would have created a different family unit, with different dynamics. There will be a certain amount of upheaval and some changes may be needed when you go back there to live. Understand from the outset that things will be different; one can never go back to exactly how things were because people change. Family life has gone on since you moved out and it will be up to you to adjust, rather than expecting everything to go back to the way things were.

You will need to be understanding and patient with the other members of the family who have adjusted to you not being there. They will need to be understanding of the changes in you as well; it will take effort on both parts. If you have been away from home for several years, you might have to take the time to get to know family members all over again. This will be worth the effort, as it will help the household function efficiently and peacefully.

Communication is the key to a successful transition back to living at home after being away for a while. Don’t assume you know how the household functions now; ask about other family members’ timetables, chores, activities etc. This way you will be able to make allowances for the comings and goings of members of the household and fit back in in a cohesive way.

Communication is also vital in establishing expectations on your part and that of the rest of the family. You will have been used to a level of freedom while living away from home that may not be possible when you are part of the family unit again. Things like saying if you will be home for meals, agreeing on a suitable curfew, bringing friends home and respecting other family members’ space and belongings may need to be discussed and boundaries and guidelines set. As a part of a family unit again, you will have certain responsibilities and these need to be sorted out at the beginning.

If you have any expectations regarding rules and freedoms, you need to communicate these to the family and your parents, in particular. You may find that they have completely different expectations and you might need to negotiate some compromises if you are all to live together peacefully. You may need to demonstrate that you are older and wiser than when you last lived in the family home. Parents often have difficulty accepting that their kids are all grown up and capable of being responsible without the constraints of too many rules.

I remember when a friend asked her son if he would like to come back home. He had moved away for a job promotion and they had decided to relocate to that same area. He needed to save some money and wanted the benefits of home life to help him get his university degree completed. He came right out and stated that he would come home under certain conditions, and proceeded to name them. She quickly informed him that, actually no; he could come home under their conditions! They did reach a compromise that seemed to suit all and they managed to live amicably, even if they did have some sleepless nights waiting for him to come home from a night out!

So, to help you cope with moving back home, remember these five points – be honest with your family as to the reasons you want to come home; accept that the family dynamic will probably have changed since you left; understand that, while you have changed since you went away, so have the other family members; communication is vital if the transition is to be smooth and hassle-free; make sure your expectations and those of your family are compatible.


5 Ways to Cope with Moving Back Home — 4 Comments

  1. I moved out when I joined the Air Force. I moved back home afterward to go to college. I had the old GI Bill which paid a little over $15k for all 4 years of college. The first year my parents lived in a two-bedroom apartment. That would have been fine except that a wayward high-school-age cousin came to live with them just before I arrived. I slept on a cot in the family room. My parents then bought a 3-bedroom house. My cousin moved out, and after I finished college, I moved out. Being able to move in with my parents while attending college was a godsend. I graduated with no debt, and actually had some savings that I used to buy a pickup truck and set myself up where I currently live.

  2. I moved back home after college and I went to grad school part time at night so it was nice to have some home-cooking and cheap rent. Yes I said rent. As I was working, I think that you should contribute to the household. But, I still was able to save as living outside would have been much more expensive. I don’t know why the US culture and mentality is to move out immediately after college.

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