Thursday, June 21, 2018

Adult Children in the Family Home

The recent case of the man that had to be court ordered evicted from his parents home has been making the rounds on social media, ripe for anyone to weigh in on what they believe is right, wrong, or gray. To be honest, I have no issues when adult children, for a wide variety of reasons, move back in or have not yet moved out of their family home. For centuries upon centuries multi-generation households have existed, working as a collective unit for the betterment of them all. However, ground rules and expectations need to be in place and this is where that families situation went horribly wrong. It didn't appear there were any rules, expectations, or reciprocal benefit going on what soever.

While my son has pretty much never moved back home since getting his first college apartment a month before his sophomore year of college, admittedly, we have helped significantly in the  early years, and occasionally in recent years, with the rent when money has been tight. DD1 was home during the summer college breaks and between graduation in December 2012 and moving to England for grad school in the fall. She also had a short stint before moving to her current home when a job and living situation ended up being quite different than what the offer was. During that three month period of time, we had many conversations about how we would all adjust to another adult, one used to living independently, back in the home. 

We never had formal agreements, but I know of some families, that would be a necessity. If you or people you know may be making the decision by choice or circumstance to have adult children move back home, my families unwritten rules may be of use. I ran this by DD1 to make sure I was accurately reflecting her perspective. I was given the green light to post.

1. Recognition that while the child is an adult, it is still common courtesy when living together to keep each other informed of general plans, time etc.
2. The family house is not a hotel. The adult child takes care of their own personal belongings and needs, and contributes as part of the household.
3. While the point of moving home may be for economic reasons, decide what expenses will or will not be expected to be provided by the heads of household, and what the adult child will pay for. No one should be surprised one way or another about money.
4. Have a plan for how long the living arrangement will be for. Is this temporary for a few months? Is the plan for a year or more? Is this going to be an agreed upon permanent household structure? In my daughter's case, she had a very strong target that the arrangement would not be for more than 6 months, though we all agreed that it was more important for her to find the right job and living fit, even if it extended longer. It ended up only be for three months, but during that time she had a full time job looking for meaningful employment, plus provided tons of support to the household including taxi services for her younger sister.

To conclude, while there were challenges during this period of time, there were truly many more wonderful outcomes. First, the time allowed her to have a thoughtful approach to job hunting, but still without reducing her drive and independence. She and her sister, considering there is a 10 year gap, became even closer living as housemates. It is a blessing to get to know your kids, truly get to know them as adults and not just your children. I feel like my daughter and I developed a stronger bond during this time, as I relied on her for so many things, and she leaned back.

 I know many of you are or have experienced living with your adult children. Please share your thoughts.

9 comments:

  1. I totally agree with your first paragraph. A child living at home at any age is not always a bad thing.

    I know a woman who told all her kids they had to move out the day they turned 18. Unfortunately, that has led to bad companions and unsavory living conditions for the children, plus girls losing their virginity to gain a place to live. None can afford to attend college and work at fast food wages and pay rent. It all boils down to no family support to survive in the world.

    Great post!

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    1. Who knows what the internal situation might have been with that family. to me, it seems odd to think a person that is 17 and 364 days is a child, but at midnight of their 18th birthday they suddenly are an adult doesn't compute. As for multi generational housing, I think society might benefit from thinking more about how this could be solution for a myriad of social issues-obviously not for everyone, from child care to elder care to loneliness.

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  2. We have both kids at home right now and as much as I liked the empty-nest, we are making it work. Ds had roommate issues and dd had a major trauma in her life so they both ended up back home recently - it is hard, 4 adults in the house is VERY different than 2 adults and 2 kids, but we are trying to find a new normal and my kids are getting much closer - they have a 9 year age gap so spending time together now makes me so happy!

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    1. "A new normal"-that's the key right? Norms when the kids were children or teens hardly work, but yet, it is still your home, you get the ultimate say over how your home is managed, but doesn't mean you aren't wanting a satisfactory living arrangement for everyone. Good luck to your family. I'm sure your children appreciate that you are approaching supporting them this way. .

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  3. I figure everyone does what works best for their family on any given time. One of my neighbors lives with both her parents and a set of adult children plus their kids. it works for them and in their culture it is very common for 4 generations to occupy the same house. (It's a big ass house so no doubt there are rooms and privacy for everyone) They all seem to be very happy, so no judgements here!

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    1. Everyone needing their own space, own homes seems to be a late 20th century shift anyway. I know my daughter now can't even think about the possibility of having a room mate, she is so used to her apartment all to herself. I've never lived alone ever-and I admit to being envious at times. You are quite right, all families should do what works for them.

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  4. Im the youngest of a large family, and moved back home after college for a few years. It was the only time I had my parents “to myself” and we got to know each other much more. Although there were some awkward challenges here and there, I am so grateful that I had that time. My Dad died rather young, just a few years after I moved out on my own, and some of my siblings especially envy that I had so much time with him at home as an adult. I am forever grateful to have those memories.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. That's how I felt about my daughter when she stayed between moves.

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  5. I have a friend who rented for awhile in Pawtucket RI. All the houses in the neighborhood were built in the late 1880's or so and were 3 or 4 stories and massive. Back then it was all about multi-generational living....the generation having babies occupied the main floors and the young adults and/or grandparents/great grands occupied the top floor and/or the basement, each having their own apartment under the same roof.
    Families weren't so mobile back then and paying the bills often took more than one breadwinner to get ahead.

    I've got 2 of my "grown" kids at home now. One just graduated(22) and the other has another year until she gets her diploma. We are attempting to support the new graduate(emotionally but only financially as far as no rent, electricity and water and use of our car-he pays for gas)while he saves up for his own car and then eventually deposits for rent. At that point he will move out and he can't wait to leave....which is a good sign.
    When Daughter graduates next year(at 26) she will be moving out as well, planning to walk at graduation then pack a truck later that day with her BF and go.

    I agree that setting down rules or boundaries when going into having grown kids move back in is a must! That way everyone knows what is expected of them. Not to say you can't adjust said rules....

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