After you move out of your parents’ house, you probably don’t plan on moving back in. That’s why it can be tough if you do find yourself living with your parents again. This can happen after college, or following divorce, loss of a job or as the result of medical issues.
We’ll be honest. It will be a big change for everyone and conflicts will arise. However, it is possible to live in harmony when moving back home. We have some suggestions for how to do so, and we hope they help.
If possible, only move in with your parents if you already have a good relationship. We realize this may not be possible if you’re in a tough spot. The following suggestions will help in either case.
Have a Talk
Before you move in, arrange to have a talk with your parents. This talk will be about responsibilities, roles, boundaries, and expectations—all important topics for any roommates to be clear on. The goal is to come to agreements and, yes, you may have to make compromises.
You can’t expect to move in with your parents and be completely taken care of like a child. As an adult, you’ll have responsibilities, but so will they. You’ll need to decide who pays for what, if you will pay rent, and who handles which household jobs. The money matters are especially important to work out as they can be the source of greatest conflict.
The first thing to remember here, for both you and your parents, is that this is a roommate situation, not a parent/child situation. Emphasize if needed that you are no longer a child. Treat them like adults, and expect them to treat you like one. This may be a challenge. These are the people who changed your diaper, helped you with homework, and sent you to your room when you were misbehaving, after all. There should be more of a balance of power now. Still, remember you’re living under their roof, and show gratitude and respect.
You are your own person, and you may not agree with your parents on certain hot-button issues. Most commonly, that means topics like religion and politics. If you have serious disagreements on these topics, make a rule that they are off limits in conversation. You might even ask them to not give you dating advice unless you ask.
Observing boundaries also means making space for yourself, and for them. Don’t hog the television. Spend time away from home if you can. Go out with a friend. This will give you and your parents room to enjoy some personal space.
This includes things like whether, and when, you will all eat dinner together, how much time you should be spending looking for a job, and at what time you need to lower the volume of your music. There also needs to be an expectation of privacy for everyone. Finally, everyone should be expected to follow the ground rules you’ve all agreed to.
The Small Things
Beyond the rules you established, you should do things that seems small, but that can help maintain the peace. Vacuum and dust without being asked. Always clean and straighten up after yourself. Help with cooking, or cook a meal for everyone yourself. Offer to do the grocery shopping. Clean the bathroom periodically.
Only Bring What You Have To
You probably have a lot of belongings, too many to fit in your old room. So, bring only what you really need. Go through the rest and decide what you want to give away, sell, or recycle, and put the rest in self storage. Yes, you’ll have to pay storage rent, but it’s much less per square foot than an apartment.
Chances are, you and your parents will still encounter challenges living together. Remember your established rules, and work with them calmly. Usually, living with one’s parents again is a temporary solution, so work with them and keep moving forward with your life. And, who knows, you may end up with a better relationship with your parents for it.