Do you have an adult child living at home with you? If so, you are not alone.
A recent report by the Pew Research Center shows that living with parents is the most common living arrangement for 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. There are many factors that can lead to this — changes in the job market and the economy have made it difficult for young adults to support themselves on their own, and fewer young adults are moving in with romantic partners or roommates.
While this trend to stay at home can be beneficial for many families, it does present its own set of unique challenges. Is it okay to have house rules and expectations when your child is an adult? How can you set limits and boundaries with an adult child? What if you are ready to have your adult child move out?
Here are a few tips for parents living with adult children at home:
- Recognize the things that have changed. Your adult child will be making their own life decisions. While you will always be their parent, your parental authority has changed. You aren’t going to be holding them to the same exact rules they had as teenagers in your home.
- Remember that some amount of conflict is normal. It can be very hard for parents to let go and watch their child make decisions they might not agree with. Adult children can be very resistant to rules or expectations from their parents as they expect and demand their independence. Going out into the world and learning to support oneself is not easy! Remember that this tension is common and a sign that you and your adult child are going through some age-appropriate growing pains.
- Come up with a living agreement. Even if your child is an adult, this is your home and you get to set your own house rules and limits. What are you willing to provide for support and how will everyone in the family support the household? Some parents ask their child to contribute to the household expenses, or they come up with certain chores that everyone participates in. Sit down and discuss your house rules around things such as noise, overnight guests, or drug/alcohol use. Allowing your adult child to live with you is a privilege that you are providing. How will you know if this living arrangement is working for everyone and what will you do if it isn’t working? Click here to download our sample living agreement.
Empowering Parents has a lot of resources for how to live with and set boundaries for adult children. If you are looking for more information, this article is a good next step: Ground Rules for Living with an Adult Child.