Adult Children Moving Back Home – Not Always the Best Idea

When an adult child wants to move back home, most parents unequivocally say yes without stopping to think of all such a move might mean. Yes, in your mind, your child is still your beloved baby, but whether we like it or not, this baby is now an adult and needs to be treated like one.Before you agree to your adult child returning home to live, there are some serious considerations you need to take into account.1. Why did this child leave home in the first place?Was it because they had matured to a point where they were self-supporting and well-prepared to live on their own? Did they leave with your encouragement and blessing, or in a snit over the latest argument about house rules? Had your home turned into a daily battlefield over their views about life as opposed to yours?2. What is the reason behind your child’s request to return home?Is he or she out of work and at a place where going hungry or living on the street is a real possibility, or are they just thinking that their monthly rent payment would come in handy for extras they would prefer to spend it on while living back home for free? Or perhaps the request is due to a disagreement with a roommate, or a desire to save money while pursuing further education. Perhaps they just want to regain that feeling of being cared for by mom and dad, sleeping in on week-ends, and enjoying a temporary return to their childhood status.3. What type of lifestyle has your child chosen since leaving home in the first place?Maybe your adult child has become a party animal, or a heavy drinker who is often out of control. Does he or she do drugs, or hang out with questionable people who would be invited to “crash” at your home from time to time? Is your child’s sexual behavior at odds with your own beliefs?4. How long does your adult child plan to stay after he returns to live in your home?Usually, the return home is a temporary thing. After a few months to get back on his or her feet, the child is ready and willing to face the world again. Unfortunately, some find living at home the best of two worlds-the total burden of supporting themselves has shifted, at least partially to their parents, and the children themselves, because of their age, feel free to come and go as they please, ignoring rules that they were formerly required to adhere to.After thinking about the 4 questions above, you may want to at least put some limits to the agreement to allow an adult child to move back home. It is true that he or she is now an adult. That doesn’t mean that you have nothing to say about their behavior in your home. But what you have to say should said loudly and clearly before you agree to the move. This is doubly important if you still have other children living at home.1. If a disagreement caused the child to leave home in the first place, insist that you talk it out and resolve the disagreement before the child returns.2. Go over your child’s reasons for wanting to return home and, if possible, see if you can’t show him or her some way to resolve the problem without returning home. A quick and easy transition to living at home again, often leads to using this as the solution to every problem and delays the process of maturing into a responsible adult. Even if finances are the basic reason, you should ask the child to share in your household expenses as much as possible, and they definitely should take on a fair share of household chores.3. Bringing an out-of-control adult into your home, or one who lives a lifestyle opposed to your own is asking for trouble, especially if there are younger children in the house who may be affected by these behaviors. When you deny the child’s request to return home, emphasize the fact that you are not rejecting him, but that you do not intend to allow certain types of behavior in your home. Encourage him to seek professional help and give your assurance that you will help as much as possible, but that you cannot allow him to live in your home.4. Set a tentative time limit on your adult child’s return to your home. It doesn’t have to be an exact time and date, but it should be a reasonable expectation that by the time they find a new job and have worked 6 months, or by the time they have completed the classes they wanted to take at the nearby college, or as soon as they find an acceptable roommate, you expect them to return to full adult status again. They should know that you consider their return home a temporary thing and that the goal is for them to reach a place where they are self-supporting and happy on their own.Having an adult child move back home is never as easy as it sounds. No matter how short a time they have been gone from home, they will have become a different person from the one you launched into the world. The suggestions above can help make the move less traumatic for all concerned and, hopefully, help you avoid having a 40-year-old adult who refuses to even look for a job anymore and spends his days munching on chips and dips in front of your TV set.