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.