11 Important Rules for Adult Children Living at Home

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:09
Use these rules to create a contract that works for everyone in your homeOnce your child leaves the nest, you don't expect them to fly back home to roost. This change in plans isn't necessarily a bad thing; in fact, more than half of...
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Once your child leaves the nest, you don’t expect them to fly back home to roost. This change in plans isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, more than half of people living with adult relatives say the situation is convenient and rewarding![1] What’s the secret to domestic bliss? Establishing clear expectations with a detailed set of rules. When your adult child moves in, follow this list of rules to move forward in a healthy way.



  1. Create a compensation plan and share expenses.
    It’s okay to tailor the payment amount to your adult child's situation and means, but they need to help foot the bill for household costs.[2]
    • Motivate your child to become independent by increasing their payment slightly each month. This way you provide assistance when they need it most without enabling them long-term.
    • Set up a monthly automatic transfer from your child’s account to your account. This heads off excuses and nagging![3]
    • If you don't need the money, you can put the payments aside as a nest egg to help your child with future moving expenses.[4]
    • Contributing financially establishes responsible habits and builds self-esteem. Isn't that what every parent wants for their child?[5]
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  1. Divide up chores so they're everyone's responsibility.
    How you choose to divvy up the chores is less important than the fact that each person takes accountability for their share.[6]
    • You might want to handle many of the household chores, while your adult child tackles heavy-labor tasks like shoveling the snow and mowing the lawn.
    • Your adult child must pick up after themselves. With your kid at home to lend a hand, your overall work burden ought to be lighter.
    • Remember that gratitude goes a long way. Sure, taking out the trash might be their responsibility, but everyone likes to hear a “thank you.”[7]


  1. Chat about visitors and overnight guests.
    Openly address the topic, even if it feels awkward. Your adult child might feel you're being unreasonable or old-fashioned, but as the homeowner, you're allowed to decide who you want–or don’t want–in your house.[8]
    • While your adult child is entitled to make their own decisions regarding relationships and intimacy, they'll have to find another place for sleepovers if you're uncomfortable with it.
    • Your adult child has other options, so there's no need to feel guilty about setting sleepover boundaries. They can go to their partner's place, stay at a hotel, or go camping.
    • If they just want to hang out with a friend you aren't fond of, they can go to a coffee shop or park.
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  1. Split grocery costs and cooking duties.
    Discuss questions like: Who will shop for groceries? How will you divide the grocery bill? Is anything in the fridge fair game?[9] If you want to avoid a showdown over an empty carton of ice cream, hash out food expectations from the get-go.[10]
    • When it comes to cooking, you can take turns, cook your own meals separately, or have one person cook while the other buys all of the groceries.
    • Even if you decide to share groceries, it's a good idea for each person to have their own off-limits cupboard or storage bin. Sometimes you just don't feel like sharing that package of cookies, and that's okay.


  1. Decide when each person gets to use shared spaces or items.
    Which night can you reserve the living room to host your book club? What happens when a football game and The Bachelor are both on, and there’s only one big screen? Create a schedule to minimize conflict.[11]
    • Work out a routine for recurring tasks. One person can use the treadmill every morning before work, while the other uses it in the evening.
    • There are always options for compromise. Your child could watch the game at a friend's house or at a sports bar, or you could stream your show on a laptop. Or, you could record programs to watch later.
    • Don’t worry, you don’t have to give them access to your entire Google calendar! A calendar on the fridge is sufficient for writing down events and reserving shared spaces.
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  1. Follow a check-in policy to be considerate.
    As an adult, it can feel a little strange to call when you'll be out late, but it keeps your loved one from worrying. Setting and adhering to a noise curfew is another way to demonstrate courtesy.[12]
    • The check-in rule goes both ways: your adult child should check in with you, and you should check in with them.[13]
    • You don’t have to elaborate or provide details about where you are and who you’re with. Just letting them know when you’ll be home is sufficient.
    • Quiet hours are good for everyone's sanity! Nobody wants to hear a "Stairway to Heaven" guitar solo at 2 a.m.


  1. Set up a monthly family meeting.
    This gives you a chance to touch base, clear the air, and make sure everyone is happy. Practice positive communication strategies: take turns listening, use negotiation methods to problem solve, and choose constructive language instead of harsh words. [14]
    • Speak up if something is bothering you, and ask for help when you need it. If you make a mistake, apologize.[15]
    • Start a group text so everyone in the home can easily share info about household issues. This also creates a useful written record, which means that nobody will need to be reminded about their chores.
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  1. Only go into their room when you have permission.
    Invading someone’s personal space or snooping on their computer or phone is a surefire way to start an argument.[16] You’re both adults, so treat each other like grown-ups.
    • It can be easy to slip back into the dynamic you shared during your child’s teenage years, but for your relationship to stay healthy, it needs to grow and change too. Respect their autonomy.[17]


  1. Make other arrangements if the situation becomes too stressful.
    Living with your adult child can be an opportunity to spend time together, work through old issues, and make new memories. But sometimes cohabitating just doesn’t work out.[18]
    • Recognize that the money saved by living together isn’t worth the cost of poor mental health.
    • It’s absolutely unacceptable for anyone in the home to be verbally, physically, or emotionally abusive. If you’re in immediate danger, call the police.[19]
    • If you need additional support, check to see if there’s a domestic violence hotline in your area. In the US, call 1(800)799-7233, or text START to 88788 to reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24/7.
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  1. Set a specific date or establish a benchmark for moving out.
    In most cases, the plan isn't for your grown kid to live with you forever. If you want to resume your empty-nester life in the future, outline a timeframe for moving out.
    • Benchmark ideas include: when they’ve graduated from college, when they've found a stable job, or when they've saved a certain amount of money.
    • The timeline doesn’t have to be set in stone. Just know that an adult child might lose the motivation to become independent without a clear “expiration date.”[20]


  1. Create a written agreement that lists the rules.
    Sit down and chat about what you each want and need, then put it into writing. Experts recommend drafting the agreement before your adult child moves in.[21]
    • This is a collaborative activity. If you take the time to listen to and validate each other, it can be a bonding experience.
    • Sign, date, and file it for easy access. It might feel a little silly to make a contract, but it ensures everyone is on the page and heads off miscommunications.[22]
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