When parents have children, they often think about all the great, big, wonderful things their children will achieve as adults. Imagine the shock when parents realize that their children will be doing these things while still living in the family home.
It’s becoming more and more common for young adult children to live at home while trying to achieve their dreams. Over 30% of emerging adults (18-29 year olds) are living at home in Los Angeles, with comparable numbers across the US. However, just because it’s becoming more common, doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.
Living with your young adult child requires everyone in the household to shift how they relate to one another. After all, your baby is still your “baby”, yes, but he’s also a grown adult that has his own life, way of thinking, and way of operating. And, yes, you are still “mom” and “dad”, but you shouldn’t have to be the same mom and dad whose lives often took a backseat to your child’s.
So how do you make it work without getting into endless arguments, fostering resentments, and straining your relationship with one another? Try these three things to restore a little balance in your home:
1. Create a Living Agreement
When I’ve proposed this to parents, many are pretty uncomfortable with it. They had spent the past 18+ years nurturing and parenting their child, and now I wanted them to do something that feels more like a cold, formal business agreement. I get it. It’s tough! But it needs to be done or else no one will be clear on the expectations everyone has for one another, which leads to (preventable) conflict. It also helps everyone step out of the mindset of “parents and child” and more into “we’re all adults here”.
2. Develop a Financial Plan
One of the great things about a young adult living at home is that her paycheck can go towards paying off any student loans or saving up a little nest egg. However, it’s dangerously easy for your child to establish the mentality of “Oooh, I don’t have to pay rent so now I have more spending cash!” Help your young adult develop a financial plan so he or she is making continual progress on paying off loans or saving cash. This doesn’t mean you have to do it– you can send them to a financial advisor or have a mentor help because, let’s face it, your child doesn’t always want to hear your advice.
3. Set a Concrete Move Out Date
Having an end-date to the arrangement helps everyone in the home. As parents, you’ll know when you can get your house back. As a young adult child, he or she will be able to better plan how much money they have to save by when. Without a concrete move out date, living together will become the new status quo rather than a helpful temporary situation.
Living with your young adult child doesn’t have to be all stress and no fun. You’ll be surprised how having a living agreement, financial plan, and concrete move out date will help ease the tension in your home. And with that shift in dynamics in your house, you can begin enjoying your child as an adult rather than your “baby”.
Want more tips for parenting a young adult struggling with “failure to launch”? Keep visiting the blog for more tips, or contact Dr. Crystal I. Lee for a free 20 minute consultation to see how she can help you launch your child.
Please read more about parenting an emerging adult here.