This year has derailed a myriad of plans, professional and otherwise, for countless people. For some, this may mean asking mom and dad for a bit of financial support, or maybe even moving back in with them while things get sorted out.
Lynsey Romo, an associate professor of communication at North Carolina State University, co-authored a study with Jenna S. Abetz that looks into the “dilemmas and strategies” of 31 adults between the ages of 22 and 31 who, after living elsewhere, had returned to the nest to live with their parents. Their research yielded five guidelines that, according to Romo, “people can use to help ensure that ‘moving back home’ is a step forward instead of a step backward.”
If you or someone you are close to is going through this process, or if you are a parent who has welcomed an adult child back into your home, then consider these guidelines to ensure a successful transition and a happily shared living situation.
See living at home as an opportunity
Life is all about how you frame it. If you frame moving back in with your parents as a failure, then it will be. Instead, tell yourself that living at home is an opportunity to focus on your future and strengthen your familial bonds.
Clearly articulate expectations
Layout the ground rules so that boundaries are clear for both parents and adult children. Agree upon rent and when it should be paid. Talk about curfews and overnight guests so that no one is caught off guard in their bathrobe. Make sure to take the guesswork out of everyone’s expectations to cultivate a culture of mutual respect and to minimize the chances of miscommunication.
Contribute to the household
Contributing to household chores and maintaining the space should be the absolute minimum. According to the aforementioned study, relationships within the household improved when adult children communicated the specific ways in which they could pull their weight for the benefit of the entire household.
Although times may be uncertain, it is still important to outline how long you would like to be a tenant in your parents’ home and why. It could be related to employment, education, or reaching a financial milestone. Whatever the case may be, communicate this with your parents.
Act like an adult
Being back in your parents’ home does not condone childlike behavior. Resist reverting to teen-like patterns, even if the setting may trigger it. Although living at home may come with certain perks like breakfast from mom or the occasional load of laundry, resist depending on your parents for everything you relied on them for as a child.
Source Study: Emerging Adulthood
Additional Resources: Helping Adults Navigate the Decision to Move Back in with Parents