Should You Let Your Grown Kids Move Back In?

Adult children all across this nation are moving back in with Mom and Dad because economic times are so tough right now. As a parent, you do want to help your children out when they are in need, but you also want your adult children to be independent. So how can you decide if it’s okay for your grown kids to move back in? And how can you do it in a way that works for everyone? You need to think through the decision carefully before moving forward with it, and then you need to put a game plan in place to execute the move in a positive way.

Is it a Good Idea?

Before you allow your adult children to move back into the home, you need to ask yourself a series of questions to determine if it is a good idea. It is very important that you try to approach the situation logically instead of based on the emotions that are tugging at you about the situation. Taking emotions out of financial equations makes this a whole heck of a lot easier to figure out!

Questions to ask yourself when determining if it’s a good idea to let your kids move back in include:

  • Why does your adult child need to move back in? One situation might be that your adult child has been working for awhile but has lost their job and can’t get another one right away. Another situation could be that a child who was away at college is now done with school and doesn’t know where to live. Still another is that your child has been somewhat of a slacker for years, bouncing in and out of your home. Clearly these are all different situations, and while you may find that you want to help your child in one case, it may not make sense in another.
  • Do you have the space to accommodate your adult child? Be realistic about where your child is going to live. Remember that your child is an adult now and does need his own private space.
  • Do you have the resources necessary for this change? If your child doesn’t have any money and won’t be chipping in, can you reasonably afford the extra cost for utilities and food?
  • Can your adult child help you in any way by moving back in? Can your adult child help out around the home in non-financial ways that will benefit you? Or can they chip in a little bit financially during a time when you really need it? Often this situation can be mutually beneficial.
  • How long will this situation be likely to last? You may be happy to have your child for three months, but if you know it’s going to be another year or two before they can get out on their own again then you may need to consider alternative options.
  • What are your child’s other options? There are options for everyone. Some may be able to move in with roommates or other family members, whereas others only have homeless shelters or rehab as an option … but there is always an option. Identify what all of the other options are, and ask yourself honestly whether any of those options would be better for your child, as well as for you.
  • What emotional / relationship issues is this going to cause? Having your adult child move back in is going to bring up any issues that you have in your relationship or just personality clash problems. Identify these in advance and ask yourself honestly whether or not you can live with them. You may even want to speak to a psychologist or family counselor before allowing your adult child to move back in.

Making a Game Plan

If you do decide that your adult child can move in with you then you want to make a game plan for how it’s going to go. This should be something that you outline and then get feedback on from your adult child to create a plan that works for everyone. The plan should be discussed in full, and you may even want to put it in writing.

Your game plan should include:

  • House rules. You need to agree on the rules that will allow you to still feel safe and comfortable in your home. Respect your child’s adult age, but also make sure they respect your personal space and boundaries.
  • Payment required. Will your adult child need to pay rent? Outline how much, when it is due and what the consequence of non-payment will be.
  • Chores. If you are going to ask your adult child to participate in the upkeep of the home then outline for them what specifically their chores will be. A good idea is to leave the specifics up to them since you don’t want to treat them too much like children.
  • Length of stay. You should select a length of time, even if all that you’ll be doing at the end of the period is reviewing the situation and making a new game plan.
  • Progress markers. Set little goals that must be met to get your child out of the home again. These may include goals for getting employment, setting aside savings, and beginning to look for alternative housing.

After your child moves back in you should host weekly family meetings to air grievances, discuss problems and review progress.

19 Responses to Should You Let Your Grown Kids Move Back In?

  1. Unless your kid is going back to school I don’t see why they can’t either pay rent + living expenses or live on their own.
    Even a minimum wage job (over $10 per hr in Ontario) means the kid can work at a fast food joint and bring home at least $1200 a month. $200 for food, $500 for a room (that is high end) and this leave $500 for other expenses.
    There IS work out there – it may not be desirable but it is there. Having a $50,000 a year job is not a right. The child really has to learn to cope with reality and if that reality is that they will work in the service industry, so be it. Parents aren’t necessarily helping their 34 yr old kid out by coddling them into their 40s.

  2. I believe there is another common situation, that would force individuals to move back in with their parents, which is they are maxed out and are almost bankrupt. The financial shortfall can be due to poor financial choices and/or a loss of a job. The emotional/ relationship issues escalate when your adult child has children to feed. Therefore, depending on the situation, the plan may need extra rules to ensure an efficient recovery thus reducing the risk of moving back in again down the road.

    With regards to the adult children moving back in, who require a financial tune up, the parent should have the right to know their child’s financial situation (including a detailed list of all the consumer debt). The parent might be more knowledgeable to help their children make a realistic debt elimination plan. Failure to discussing openly about the child’s financial situation could resolve very little and history will repeat itself over and over again. Therefore, before the adult child moves in, a detailed plan must be discussed which will assist in determining the length of time they will be staying with their parent(s).

    However, in the end it is up to the parent how long they are able to accommodate their child who needs assistance. It may be difficult to accommodate over a longer period of time, especially if it is more than just your adult child who is moving in (their children and partner potentially). If further assistance is needed to help their adult children then they should speak with a financial professional to assist with their personal finances.

    • Somewhat i think this is for a younger kids by reading this” but my step daughter has moved back three times and i tell my wife why you keep doing this is they use the kids to get back in and make her feel so bad! witch is wrong, my grand daughter has lived with us most of her life 8yrs the boy almost 5 lived with here were she’s gone but now all of them are here and its Ben three months and i’m tired of it all ready she’s a pig and wont change here ways and want to work at a sandwich shop all here life out of three kids one turned out to be a parent” it seems at 30 yrs old i’m 44 my wife is 47 it sure felt good for a while to be alone for the summer, she went to dental collage to be a assistant and did nothing with here life i wish i can turn her in to that show if it was still on the people that get your kids out on there own and get a good job and stuff but i guess this is what i got to live with in my life, women are to giving to many times and i think don’t draw a line but can tell a man to grow up i just don’t get it anymore, i had to live with my mom after they got a divorce after i was 32 and moved back in because i had problems of my own and was on unemployment and also lived with my grandma and took care of her tell she was ready to die for two yrs but always took care of my responsibility’s that i had well i could go on forever sorry for the long storry had to vent in some what take care people

    • Somewhat i think this is for a younger kids by reading this” but my step daughter has moved back three times and i tell my wife why you keep doing this is they use the kids to get back in and make her feel so bad! witch is wrong, my grand daughter has lived with us most of her life 8yrs the boy almost 5 lived with here were she’s gone but now all of them are here and its Ben three months and i’m tired of it all ready she’s a pig and wont change here ways and want to work at a sandwich shop all here life out of three kids one turned out to be a parent” it seems at 30 yrs old i’m 44 my wife is 47 it sure felt good for a while to be alone for the summer, she went to dental collage to be a assistant and did nothing with here life i wish i can turn her in to that show if it was still on the people that get your kids out on there own and get a good job and stuff but i guess this is what i got to live with in my life, women are to giving to many times and i think don’t draw a line but can tell a man to grow up i just don’t get it anymore, i had to live with my mom after they got a divorce after i was 32 and moved back in because i had problems of my own and was on unemployment and also lived with my grandma and took care of her tell she was ready to die for two yrs but always took care of my responsibility’s that i had well i could go on forever sorry for the long story had to vent in some what take care people

      • 3/26/12 UPDATES FROM Mark–So what do you call a daughter same thing or what? Bum! Once kids got & have kids they use them to there advantages some times, i just dont know why they do or maybe they just dont think they are using them but in my book its the wife that gives in, my daughter moved out couple of month when i wrote the first story and that was a relief” she’s Ben out for about 2-months now and her daughter still lives here to finish school for the summer but her boy lives with her and next year he will be going to school, and i think now because she got a D>U>I now she is going to jail for it & her fines that she’s had for a long time ,my wife will be paying her rent when she is gone to jail from her daughters child support and the little guy will be here soon to, maybe here before jail i dont know, i wish Kids will just stop having kids’ where protection please, its always the parent that pays for these things, if i new it was going to be like this i would of stayed single i sometimes hate marriage, if you get married make sure there kids have lots of friends and are very much older or maybe 20yrs old LOL! not 13-16 Ive noticed to that most kids these days smoke pot and that is a big issue because they will not keep a job ever and if its a girl and have kids she will just keep collecting welfare and not work at all, my step daughter still is smoking it and have not stop for over 10yrs now I WILL UPDATE WHAT HAPPENDS IN A COUPLE OF MONTH OR SOONER Thanks!

        • Mark I have the same situation. Step-daughter came back two years ago with a two year and said she was going to live with us. I got her into an apartment and paid for everything all she had to do was ‘make it’. She lived with us for 9 long months. Now she has been out since June 3rd, 2012 and as of last night my husband (her dad), says she needs to come back to our house again. It was the worst experience of my life when she lived with us before. Now she has lost the apartment, moved in with her babysitter for a month and now with some guy for the last two months. I guess its not working out with him either. I will probably get divorced over this.

  3. In the majority of cases that I know of where adult children have moved back in with parents it hasn’t worked out in the long run. The two reasons that seem to stand out are:

    1. The parents feel that they are being taken for granted
    2. The lack of privacy gradually progresses from an annoyance to becoming a major issue on both sides.

    The underlying reason for these two points is the generation gap. The game plan that you have set out has some excellent points but, unless the kids are angels and the parents have the patience and understanding of saints, there most likely will be friction that can gradually grow into conflict.

    Unfortunately it is usually the parents who lose out in this situation because they have not set the rules in the first place or, worse still, they have set the rules but have waived them whenever the child has copped out with excuses such as “I’m broke, I’ll pay you next week” or “I’m going out, I’ll do the chores tomorrow”.

    Young adults may not like having to obey the rules but if they live with their parents then they are going to have to be made to do it as otherwise they’ll never learn to take responsibility for their own lives, financially or otherwise.

  4. If the kids are gainfully employed or going to school and moving back is part of a plan for the kid to get back on their feet, then absolutely parents should let their kids move back in.

    If the kid just wants to drink beer and play video games all day long without paying rent, then that’s another story.

    I didn’t move out of my parent’s basement until I was 25. I saved a lot of money in those early adult years. This was an undoubtedly positive move for me.

  5. For the record, I don’t have kids and I probably don’t see myself being a parent anytime soon.

    I agree with Financial Uproar, if the adult child is moving back home as a plan to get back on their feet, then that is a respectable transaction. I moved out at 26 and reaped the benefits from not paying rent. However, I could not stomach the idea of ever moving back home, but emergencies happen. Although the likelihood of that happening to me is slim.

  6. Several excellent points have been made by all. Thank you Sustainable PF. Unfortunately, I am a parent in the category that Elizabeth Todd has referred to, which is why I’m surfing the web on this topic today and decided I would share. My son is 21 now. He has not been employed since August 2008 a few months after he graduated from highschool and announced he was not going to attend college. Even though I began drilling college, armed forces, and living on his own into his head when he turned 16. Therefore it came as no shock to him when I told him he will need to move out. At the time, one of his options was to move to Michigan with my father where he could attend community college, work, etc. He moved but that was all. He returned to Georgia 6 months later with a plan to find a job and save money for his own place. We made an agreement that he could stay for 5 months, but I noticed old habits returning and told him to leave again. This time he moved in with friends. They stayed in an apartment for a few months and were evicted. He bounced between friends to motels for a few months. He asked could he move in a few times and I said no. I knew he hadn’t learned anything, because he was still managing to party. He then asked would I help him get applying for schools. I asked him is this for me or him. He insisted that he needed to be responsible and this was for him. I decided to give him another chance with this being the final opportunity for any assistance from me. He began school away from home last fall and the first semester I gave him money monthly so he would not have to work and focus on studying. He failed all classes. I cut him off, only providing toiletries and the advice to find a job and study hard the next semester. By midterm, he was doing the same thing. I told him don’t expect to move back in. Neither semester was due to struggles with the class material, he just stopped going to classes both times and focused more on socializing. He insisted that he will attend summer session and get back on track. How??

    I don’t have the space or patience and honestly whatever’s left of our relationship is on a thin line. A couple of weeks ago on a Sunday, he said he was here and wanted to wash clothes before he returned to school. Which at this point is just where he’s staying. He came and ended up staying overnight. I lost it! This was obviously his way to move back in and it worked. He began working at a carwash the next day and was basically invisible for the next few days. He returned to school a few days to get some things and “register for summer school”. He came back yesterday. He has to go back next week to clean out his dorm room.

    Although, this is my only child and he is my parents’ only grandchild, he was never a spoiled brat. He was always quiet and respectful. Now he is in a form of extended adolescence and acting like a brat, refusing to understand why I can’t see that he’s “trying now” and why I won’t “work with him”. He and his dad had some type of disagreement a few years ago and they don’t speak. I don’t want to get to that point but that is where I’m headed. I have no desire to ask for rent because I don’t want him in my space for another week, let alone a few months. I definitely don’t want to set myself up for some type of contract that I will have seek legal advice for later. I want to see him be a productive member of society and have tried to make sure I’ve done my part as a parent. But I have nothing left.

  7. @Exhausted and numb.. we told our 21 year old one year ago that we were moving to our new built home and because he was not in school or working (his choice) he could not come with .. he worked for 6 months and he gave me $50 a pay period to save up for his own place,, which i dutifully tucked a way for him.
    the day before our house was sold, he acted surprised.. what do you mean i have to be out tomorrow..i wish i had more notice….etc

    he moved in with his grandparents, and called the first night crying… it breaks my heart however,, those who choose to not work, not go to school and sit around smoking pot dont get anymore help from me. he can text if he wants to talk or touch base, but i cant afford his “lack of motivation ” anymore.

    Tough love stinks but they tell me it will be worth it in the end.. time for him to grow up and me to let go…..

    good luck with your situation, be STRONG!

  8. My 27 year old step daughter and her 7 year old son have moved back into our home after attending school in Florida for the last9 or 10 years. We use to live in Fl but have since moved to NH. So they are back with us. She has a “Masters degree” however, she’s been with us for almost 3 months so far and has not gone on 1 interview. She is obsessed with the tv program NCIS and wants to be in Forensics like the girl Abbey, in that show. She thinks her masters is the golden ticket and she will not take a job that’s “beneath her” She doesn’t cook or clean unless we push her to do it. She’s always watching tv. She tells us she is sending out 20 applications a day over the net. And that there is no way to follow up on them. They don’t respond back either. I’m on my last nerve. This is causing problems between my husband and myself. We are very private people and now we have no privacy. I know she needs help and we did what we thought was the right thing to do by letting them move in. I’m lost here . Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  9. I have a 27 year old son who has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from the University of Michigan. Although he is highly intelligent, he has no friends that I know of, does not have a driver’s license and recently lost the only job he’s ever had after just a few weeks of working. His apartment lease (three months) expires at the end of the month and he’s expecting to move back into the home that his step father and I share. I am torn. Is it possible that my son has mental problems that is preventing him from making friends and gaining employment? I’m just not sure what to do.

  10. Wow! After reading these comments I wish I had these parents to help. I was 16 when I moved into my own apartment because I just couldnt’ deal with the rest of the family. Im spanish so this was basically blasphemy to my family. At 29 I moved in with my mom and three of my brothers who still live with her because I had just left the service and was 9 months prego and guess what? I had to pay rent, 800$ for a room with no privacy which the rest of the family went in and out of all day. The landlord was a total Beast! that increased the rent another 100$ because the baby (ahem, that’s right, baby) was costing that much extra in water and heat, lmao! wow! anyways,that’s what I got from my mom, meanwhile, I learned that she only paid 1k a month plus utilities for that apartment, she was collecting food stamps and section 8 so she was living large basically. My older brother used to pay her landline and internet bill and gas and electric, so she only had to come up with 200$ out of her pocket….I had to pay that’ plus the nanny plus my own food, transportation, my own medical and baby, let me tell you that wasnt cheap at all, and all baby expenses. I have 3 brothers that live with her still, who do absolutely nothing because they’re men and they dont’ do anything except study, so all you smooching kids take a hike in that manner and make ALL your kids pay rent, it will help them. But what about when parents and sibblings want to move in? I have since bought a house, nice 4 bedroom house in a good area, and now the family that was so nice to me wants to move in….HELL NO!!! I told them they had to pay rent, 800$ plus their own food, etc., exactly what I had to pay living with them, and they didnt like that deal stating I was being mean and unfamily like, lol. I have been a single parent since before my daughter was born, what makes them think I”ll treat them differently? I understand that situations happen but karma works wonders so be kind to those that you think you’re doing a service to because one day you might have to be the one reaching out, and find nothing there to support you.

  11. I have 4 adult children and over the years all of them have moved back in at one time or another, some with a spouse and/or children. What I have learned is that it is generally not a good idea, and should be avoided unless there are absolutely NO other options. Most times, the parents and children’s lifestyles just don’t mesh and it’s stressful on all. Last time around my husband and I offered to help subsidize rent for a period of time, to allow our child to get back on their feet and stay in their own place. This worked well for us, and the expenditure was little more than the cost of having them all in our home. We had to tighten our belts a bit to do so, but the sacrifice was well worth it, and we retained our privacy and sanity. If you do decide to let them move in, create a contract with provisions for privacy, rent sufficient to cover food and utilities, and assignment of household chores. Discuss in detail your expectations ahead of time. Sometimes that is enough to motiviate them to find other options!

  12. I was packing to move to a new home in NC when I got “the call” from my son … two weeks after getting married, one week after returning from his honeymoon trip, he was fired: “could he come live with me?”

    Yeah, not a problem … we had a spare bedroom and it wasn’t as if he was a stranger (I raised my sons as a single Dad with custody). And, to tell the truth, although my son and I don’t see eye to eye on everything (he’s politically to the left, I’m politically “don’t give a rats butt”), we got along just fine and were hoping to start a business as soon as we got some essentials sorted out around the house. He willingly helped with the renovations on the house and with keeping the kitchen clean. His wife, however, was a cardboard princess … too good to clean up after herself or to clean their room or even to pick up her sanitary napkins when they overflowed the bathroom wastebasket … she could never bring herself to help out around the house, inside or out … but she had plenty of time for Second Life, eating, and trashy romance novels.

    Like another poster mentioned, they claimed to be putting in job apps via the internet. The only problem with that is that there were a number of local jobs within walking distance that they were both “too good for”. Eventually, her selfishness (hoarding food that I had bought so that I could not eat it … going so far as to buy a dorm refrigerator) got to be too much.

    I asked for a progress report, was accused of treating her like a child (she said it, not him) and they “suddenly” got a job offer the next day (for him, not her, at minimum wage) from his brother … 1,100+ miles away. Two days later, they were gone.

    I’m not certain that I would be willing to pack up my wife and belongings and drive 1,100 miles for a part-time minimum wage job. Got to admire the my sons willingness to ride the avalanche all the way down.

    I wish we had had time to think about matters before time, but their rent was coming due almost immediately and (clue) after being together for over a year, they had no savings to ride out even a single month without a paycheck. With a little reflection, things might have turned out very differently. I really DO think that having specific and reasonable expectations that are clearly understood ahead of time would have made a big difference.

    My son would be welcome back … minus his wife. He has got to solve that first. She is no longer welcome in our house.

  13. I enjoyed reading everything you all said. My response to all of you r remarks is this. I’ve done everything and tried it all with my daughter. I have 2 grown kids a hard working son, and a hard working daughter. But i have a problem with my daughter. She has moved in and out of my home 8 times more not less. Even ths signing of a contract doesn’t work for her. Out of the 8 times at least 3 of the 8 i’ve put her out. And one of the 8 she’s had back then a set of twins a boy and a girl age 2 at that time. Even the kids couldn’t stop me from knicking her out, she wouldn’t help pay any bills, she montored the food she bought like a hawk watching a chicken, she wouldn’t respect the rules that was sat up for her to follow, she wouldn’t wash a dish to save her life from hell fire. She would go to work and didn’t come in as scheduled from work. Hanging with friends and etc. Never wanted to even go half on not even one bill. If she want’s to do something and you don’t agree with what she want she’ll get man up in your house. And on yesterday she asked could she move back, I told her NO! and i told her my reasons are because it’ll create to much stress for me and you know you’re not gonna do right. She said it’ll only be for one month, i told her one month will end upbeing 2 oe 3 and before i know it you’ll be here a whole year. She stood up and said i only ask,, and i said i’m only stating the fact, because you know my health isn’t good and now it’s not 2 kids but 4. So she exit the door and hasn’t called or came by since yesterday. So I called her and told her about herself to the 10th degree. And I didn’t bite my tongue. I told her i’m your mother you’re not mind, and i will be respected and hate me if you must, but if die i’ll did on the truth not a lie. I told her the above reasons why she could not come back and i wasn’t changing my mind. i told her i will have a life outside of you and the grandkids rather you like it or not. And my health and well being is important to me even if it means nothing to you. i told her at her age you got to settle down and stop all that moving. What did i say that for, she states she’s got to find acheaper place to stay etc. But i said you’ve been doing the same thing now for 8 now 8 years and the twins are almost 9 years old. I said when will you stop. 4 kids by 3 different men. And married to none. I told her I didn’t raise you like that. She hollers moreso, so i let the hair go with the hide, and i said HATE ME IF YOU MUST, KEEP THE KIDS AWAY, DON’T CALL TO SEE RATHER I’M LIVING OR DEAD FINE, I’M USE TO IT, YOU’LL NEED ME BEFORE I’LL NEED YOU. I told her all of your life you have lean on me hard but i’m getting you off of me, you’re trying to kill me and i’m not going to let you. Go on I told her do what you gotta do. BUT YOU CAN’T COME HERE. Call your daddy and he said NO! he’s been saying no to you all your life. He should step in at sometime or another i said. But he tell you to call me. SO I TOLD HIM AND I’M TELLING YOU NO! AND MY ANSWER IS FINAL. I DECLARE I SHALL LIVE AND NOT DIE IN THE NAME OF MY CHILDREN ESP MY DAUGHTER AT AGE 29 she feels the world old her something and as her mother i suspost to pay it all back to her nomatter how she treats me. PEOPLE I’VE DRAWN MY LINE IN THE SAND I FED UP. BEING A MOTHER DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO USE YOU AS A FOOT STOOL, A BANK, OR YOU HOME AS A REVOLVING DOOR. IN AND OUT WHENEVER AND HOWEVER THEY PLEASE. SO AS A PARENT I DECIDED TO TAKE A STAND FOR SOMETHING OR CONTINUE TO FALL FOR ANYTHING. i figure if i keep allowing her to come and go over and over again, shell never settle down and raise her own children. She’s made her bed i gonna let her lay in it, I will not bail her assets out this time. Call her daddy, call the babies daddy, call anybody she want. But my answer is STILL NO!

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