It used to be that children would grow up, perhaps go to college or get a job, and move out sometime shortly after high school.
Our society is seeing a reverse in this trend where the number of children age 21 to 31 either remaining at home or returning to home has increased dramatically over the last few years.
There have been some estimates showing that 85% of kids graduating from college return home to live and that approximately 13% of young adults age 18-21 leaving home to try life on their home return to live with their parents.
These kids returning home to live once they reach young adulthood have been dubbed the “boomerang” kids. Having children in their 20’s and 30’sin the house can cause a lot of tension and stress causing for a bumpy home life.
Below are some steps that parents can take to help reduce the stress and tension when your adult child is still living with you.
Clarify Your Expectations
If you don’t clarify what you as parents wish for your child they may continue to think they can live with you forever. Although most children don’t want to live back at home if you don’t express your wishes this may become a problem.
You should make it clear from the beginning that you are happy to help them if they continue to work toward their independence. Have a frank talk on what this means to you and ask them how they think they can achieve this.
Be honest with your child as to what your expectations are regarding them living there. What will be expected of them as far as looking for a job if they don’t have one?
Will they be expected to pay rent or do chores around the house? It is important that you sit and talk amongst yourself and decide on these issues before approaching your child.
Have them Sign a Written Agreement
You may think this is unnecessary because after all they are your own child and they would never take advantage of you.
No matter how well intended you and your child are without a written agreement as to how much they should be paying to stay there, what is required of them as far as chores, and perhaps a curfew, the issues get sticky.
Put it in writing and go over it with them and have them sign it agreeing to what it is you are requesting that they provide and do if they are going to live with you.
Do not be afraid to ask for rent or to list jobs they will be require to do while they are living there. Make it clear that this is not a free ride where you cook, clean and do the laundry for them.
Please access the following for a copy of a living agreement one might enter into with their older child if they are still living with you or have returned to live with you.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
It is important that you don’t blame yourself or your child for the situation you child finds them self in.
Economic times and lack of available jobs have made it more difficult than ever for young adults to live on their own. Be encouraging and understanding in an effort to help them get a job.
Respect Your Child’s Independence
Although it will be tempting to comment on the choices your child makes regarding everything from the mundane of what they eat to the much more complicated as to who their friends are, and who they may be dating.
All the commenting you do will only create dissonance between you and them. Try to remember that you brought them up with a good sense of how to live life and just because they don’t do things the way you do does not mean they won’t be successful.
Embrace the Situation
Although having your children live with you when you were hoping to settle down and enjoy not having to have them there, try to embrace the situation and learn the new roles that will be require of all involved. There will be plenty of new roles that you should not fight but embrace.
Continue the Dialogue
A situation such as this will require a continuing dialogue between you and your teen to make sure that things are going smoothly.
Hopefully your teen will continue to be open with you and share whatever progress they are making in becoming more independent.