10 Guidelines When a Young Adult Child Moves Home

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Bill Cosby said, “Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.” More and more young adults are moving back with their parents. Have you ever given some thought to this topic? It’s great to be thinking about these guidelines before your adolescent leaves the nest for the first time. And here are the 10 guidelines for when your young adult moves home:

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1. Respect their adulthood and don’t try to re-establish “the good-old days”:

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The kids didn’t come home because they wanted to re-create the idyllic, blissful days of yore! It’s important to remember that time only moves forward — so plan accordingly.

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2. Write a contract:

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Such a contract should honor both your values and the fact that your child is now an adult. The contract should be a realistic agreement about what it means to live at home, and one that makes sure everyone is on the same page.

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3. The contract should be drawn up together:

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Meaning the adult child helps to set the terms. This is a critically important step because a contract that is agreed upon has more strength than a contract that is imposed.

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4. House rules:

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The contract should include specifics regarding what can or cannot occur on the property and should address, but not be limited to:

Drugs and alcohol Curfew Sleep-overs Parties Number(s) of guests and appropriate visiting times Messing with the settings on the air-conditioning Home security

5. Responsibilities:

What responsibilities are now shared? Yard work, routine maintenance, cleaning the kitchen, care of pets… Best to define these ahead of time and not to assume that “it’s just understood.”

6. Expectations:

What are the expectations regarding meals together? Attending church as a family? This needs to be clear to avoid drama.

7. Financials:

As a young adult, the returning child should contribute to family income. Will they pay rent? Who covers insurance (health and liability)? Are their belongings covered under your homeowners’ policy? All these issues must be clear and reviewable on a regular basis.

8. Enforceable provisions:

Contracts only work if enforceable provisions are actually enforced. It needs to be clear exactly what — and how — consequences come into play for violations. If you are unwilling to ask your young adult child to leave your home in the event that the contract is violated, then you should not let them move back in the first place.

9. Timeline:

It’s important not to welcome adult children home carte blanche (with no provisions or plans). Initial contracts should be reviewable after, say, three months, then at regular intervals thereafter. Such an arrangement must begin with the end in mind — getting them to finally leave.

10. Remember, this is still your house:

Adult children who move home are guests or they are paying lodgers. Either way, they are in your home.


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Once you leave for college, do you plan on ever moving back home? Why or why not?

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