Adults living with parents: Topics to discuss before move in day
What topics are tricky when adult children move back in with their parents? Start with these topics to set up a successful co-living arrangement.
Living at home as an adult is becoming more common in recent years. About 50% of adults between the ages of 18 to 29 were living with their parents, as of July 2022. That co-living arrangement may offer benefits for both sides of the equation economically, emotionally, physically and more. It may also cause tension when it comes to sharing space, responsibilities and logistics.
Follow these tips to start a list of house rules for adults living with parents. These tips will help determine responsibilities and set some ground rules.
Topics to discuss with adult children living with parents
Money, rent and utilities
Parent of adult children: This is probably the most complicated piece of the parent/adult child co-living discussion, and it may be influenced by circumstances. If your adult child lost a job and is in a tight financial situation, charging them rent may not be reasonable. However, if your child has a source of support, you may want to charge them rent and a portion of utilities. (The specifics can and should be highly individualized, but they can be based on space or number of people in the house, for example.) It may feel strange, but it's a way to help them maintain a budget that includes living expenses.
Adult children living with parent: It's important to understand that, yes, you are your parents' child, but you're also an adult — eating, sleeping and enjoying utilities in their house. Discuss contributions you can and can't make, particularly if a job loss led you back to your parents' home. If you are employed and living with them to meet financial goals, consider how you can contribute to necessities such as groceries and utilities.
Breakdown of chore responsibilities
Parent of adult children: Your list of home to-dos may not be familiar to your adult children. Discuss what needs to be done and figure out a way to divide and conquer duties within reasonable time frames.
Adult children living with parent: Take charge of some regular tasks such as mowing the lawn, vacuuming or taking out the trash. Remember: You're living with parents to help them, too.
Parent of adult children: Adult children are just that — adults — and they have different privacy expectations than when they were minors and lived at home. That being said, your expectations about habits such as smoking and drinking are necessary topics of conversation. If your adult children move back in with kids of their own, discuss the limitations they have in place when it comes to food, screens, discipline and more.
Adult children living with parent: If your parents have house rules — such as prohibitions on alcohol or tobacco — it's important to convey respect and discuss them in a mature, respectful way. In addition, if you move back in with your own children, establish your own expectations regarding what's OK (and what's not) with their time, too.
Schedule for household areas
Parent of adult children: Remember the family calendar you used to track activities and appointments? You may want to institute a grown-up version of that to include the basics (shower and work schedule, for example) and what events or gatherings you have planned.
Adult children living with parent: A healthy adult child/parent relationship means treating your parents as you would any other grown-up. Share your plans as much as you need to, and keep a regular schedule that's respectful of the routine they followed while you weren't living there.
Timeline for co-habitating
Parent of adult children: Unless your adult child has a milestone, such as saving for a house, setting a deadline for them to move out may be unreasonable. However, it's OK to check in every few months, discuss what's going well and mark any progress toward job hunting, for example.
Adult children living with parent: Challenging financial circumstances, including losing a job and moving into your parents' house, can make agreeing on dates and times for your move-out difficult. However, you can help assure them you're making progress by setting your own timeline for interviews, training and more. If you've moved back in to accomplish a savings goal, update them regularly on progress related to that, too.
As a final note, make sure to review your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy when moving into another household. Keeping your policies and coverage limits up to date can help protect you if the unexpected happens.