When Your Child Comes Back Home

October 22, 2008
Special Feature

Hard economic times make for hard choices. One of the hardest for adult children is to go back home to live with Mom and Dad.

Hard economic times make for hard choices. One of the hardest for adult children is to go back home to live with Mom and Dad. As job losses mount, however, the chances that Junior will show up on your doorstep looking for a place to live are getting better. There are a few things that parents can do, according to family counselors, that can make the situation more bearable for all concerned.

The first task is to be clear on how expenses will be shared. Knowing up front how your adult child will pay toward the cost of utilities, groceries, and other necessities will go a long way toward averting future conflicts. Although it may seem harsh, family law experts counsel that it’s a good idea to get these agreements in writing. They also advise that you not include property taxes and mortgage payments as shared expenses, since these won’t change when your child moves in. Besides, if you ask for help with the mortgage, your child may expect some equity in your home, which could be a bad move if you decide to sell.

Perhaps the most difficult adjustments will be in the lifestyles of those involved. Living with an adult child can make parents revert to parenting, which can rankle with a son or daughter who’s used to being independent. The unwritten laws of family life also decree that at least one family member is a night owl while the rest are morning people. In this case, some compromises will have to be made if the arrangement is going to work.