Adult children frequently return home due to job or housing insecurity or relationship difficulties. Parents should establish clear rules and boundaries with their adult kids from the outset in order to promote an environment conducive to healthy relationships between all parties involved.
One way to do that is to see them as roommates instead of children; this helps everyone treat one another with dignity and fosters everlasting bonds between all involved.
1. Keep it clean.
Adult children moving back in with their parents’ homes can either create an incredible opportunity for strengthening family bonds or be a disaster that divides the household further. To ensure everyone enjoys an enriching experience, setting clear rules early can ensure everyone’s wellbeing.
Clean up after yourself and show respect for the belongings of both yourself and your parent’s belongings, including furniture like the living room couch that you may use – be sure to put it back where it belongs at every use, don’t leave books or toys lying around and don’t leave piles lying around either!
Boomerangs should ensure they’re employed upon returning, or actively looking for work if unemployed, in order to save money and build an independent sense of independence for when it’s time for them to move out on their own. Setting an expected date of departure from this temporary living arrangement may also prove helpful.
2. Don’t smoke in the house.
Smoking indoors is hazardous to everyone’s health and poses a significant fire hazard; so make sure your cigarettes and cigars are stored in proper containers, with empty ashtrays being handled carefully.
Parents may worry about their adult children living at home during this period of COVID, but that anxiety can be reduced by mutual respect, clear boundaries and open dialogue. Adult children must respect the privacy of their parents by not making disparaging remarks or intruding on their personal space.
At any rate, never enter someone’s room without permission and never search their drawers or refrigerator unless asked. Doing this treats your adult child like an inferior roommate instead of treating them equally and can strain relationships significantly. Instead, work together on creating a list of house rules that works for everyone involved.
3. Don’t bring friends over.
As soon as children reach adulthood, their dreams of leaving home and finding their own space begin to come true. But given COVID’s efforts in forcing adult children back into their parents’ homes as soon as they turn 18, these plans have been put on pause for now.
If your grown child decides to move back in with you, treat them like a guest rather than a tenant. Establish clear household rules with start and end dates such as quiet hours after 7 pm or when they must be up by a certain time so you won’t hear “Stairway to Heaven” being played over and over at 2 a.m.
Establishing mutual respect, clearly defined boundaries and consistent communication are all vital parts of making any arrangement work successfully for everyone involved. Allowing children input on rules ensures they feel like an integral part of the family unit – this way independence can be attained without disrupting existing relationships.
4. Don’t eat in the kitchen.
Adult children returning home can either strengthen or strain a family dynamic. Therefore, it’s crucial that everyone involved create some guidelines to make everyone more productive and form lasting ties between one another.
Your adult children must always be treated with respect, including in their private space and room. Adult children should also show consideration towards younger siblings by not disrupting peace and quiet, and give notice when hosting guests for dinner at least 24 hours in advance so you can plan accordingly; otherwise noise intrusion into your home at unsuitable times could prove disruptive; creating a group text among all household members to quickly share information can keep communication lines open and ensure everyone feels heard and involved.
5. Don’t watch TV in the living room.
Set some rules about viewing times, so no one ends up listening to Stairway to Heaven at 2 a.m.
Studies have demonstrated that children whose bedrooms contain televisions tend to score lower on school tests and experience more sleep problems, in addition to being more likely to become overweight and smoke.
If you find yourself arguing with an adult child over viewing TV, try to compromise and focus on the positive aspects of having a healthy relationship. Avoid spying on their personal items; rather arrange a family text where you can discuss house matters together.
6. Don’t stay out late.
Concern can run high when your adult child is out late, and you might feel inclined to check in every 15-30 minutes or so. But it is wiser to be less intrusive rather than controlling, as frequent checking could become intrusive and lead to resentment from them.
Establish a code phrase your adult child can use when out late so you know it’s okay to check in. This can especially helpful if they live in a separate room or basement of their house.
If they return home without employment, if appropriate, ask them to contribute toward household expenses or help with laundry duties as an effective way of teaching them financial responsibility and becoming independent in terms of financial security. This way, it may serve as an example for them when it comes time for employment opportunities or college.
7. Don’t have sleepovers.
Sleepovers were once an unremarkable part of growing up for many Gen Xers and millennials; but for parents reentering adulthood it can now become less convenient to drop their kids off at friends’ houses for all-night video game marathons and pillow fights.
Parents have expressed concerns over sleepovers on TikTok videos and parenting blogs, such as fear that their children might become exposed to online pornography or predatory individuals on social media, and want a sense of control over the living arrangements for their kids.
If your adult child wants a sleepover, make it clear that you will only agree after seeing them on a daytime playdate or other social gathering; that way you can assess how their behavior will likely be during an overnight party.
8. Don’t cook together.
Although it may be tempting, adult children shouldn’t be treated like roommates. Demanding that they shower every day or set a specific time and date when all electronics must be shut off constitutes treating them like children and isn’t good for their mental wellbeing.
Snooping around their personal space and phones is surefire way to spark conflict, so try setting up a group text or family calendar where all members can update chores or household duties as necessary.
Orman emphasizes the importance of setting expectations that boomerangs contribute towards household expenses and bills while living at home, so finding an equitable agreement that works for both parties – such as having them take on another minimum-wage job to teach responsibility while restricting freeloading – should also be key to maintaining positive relations between couples living together.
9. Don’t go out with your friends.
Parents often long for an empty nest and some peace and quiet as their children reach adulthood, while children themselves anticipate leaving home and starting new lives of their own.
But the boomerang generation is throwing a monkey wrench into these plans; more adults than ever before are living with their parents and dependents.
Compromise and open communication are the keys to solving any situation, particularly one involving adult children living at home with parents. Adult children should contribute towards household expenses while respecting their parents’ space and privacy, as well as establish an initial contract that is reviewed regularly – this will put everyone’s mind at rest while giving time for kids to find employment or save up funds to move out again when the time comes.
10. Don’t talk about your problems.
Adult children returning home as adult residents often encounter multiple boundary issues. These challenges may range from how to cope with their current stressful situation to managing irritability or depression and remaining an responsible member of the household.
If you need to discuss your issues with your parents, try not to do it when they are busy cooking dinner or engaged with other things; doing this may make them defensive and cause irreparable harm.
If you need to have a discussion with them, be sure to do it in an adult way – yelling, tantrums or shutting the door won’t help the situation at hand. Consult a therapist or counselor as needed for guidance as you navigate this new dynamic.