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The goal of having your adult child move back with you is to get them in a place of independence where they can make it successfully on their own, it is not to enable them to be irresponsible. Part of making them independent and responsible is having them chip-in paying rent and/or bills (when they gain employment), and contribute to the household chores.
Having your adult child move back home can come with a mix of emotions. On the one hand, you may feel some excitement as your child moves back home, and on the other hand, you may feel tremendous stress. Making sure that you take care of yourself and if you are married your spouse will be of utmost importance as you navigate your adult child living at home.
Set clear boundaries before your child moves back home so there will be no misunderstandings of the expectations that you have for your child.
Use the following tips as a guide to setting boundaries, but know that each person is different and you may need to modify or adjust these guidelines as needed.
Before your adult child moves back in:
- Have your child make a plan. Include in this plan employment, how they plan on contributing to the rent/bills, and household chores.
- Discuss a reasonable time that you want them home at night. Just because they are adults, it is still your house. You may not want your child roaming the streets all hours of the night. Discuss this beforehand.
- Discuss how they plan on getting to work if they don’t have transportation. Do they have money for an Uber? Are you willing to take them to work? If you take them to work discuss what you are willing to do. Are you able to pick them at from a night shift, or do they need to find a job with reasonable hours?
- If they are in a relationship or coming out of one, discuss how you will handle that. If they have been in a toxic relationship, you will need to decide what you will tolerate and not tolerate.
- Do they have children and/or animals? How will they provide and take care of their children and/or pets?
- Set a reasonable time for their time at home. Some people will need a month or so to get back on their feet, but if you have a child that has bad credit, no savings, no car, no health insurance, and/or is currently unemployed the time frame for them being at home could take 6 months to a year to gain financial stability and independence.
- Discuss your tolerance for drugs and/or alcohol. Do you expect your child to refrain from drugs and alcohol, if so this needs to be discussed beforehand? What are your limits on alcohol if this is allowed?
- Are there any environments that you don’t want your child to go into? Are clubs, bars, casinos off-limits?
Goals for the first 30 days your child is back home:
- If they are unemployed or need a better paying job, have them update their resume and put in applications to prospective businesses. Realistically, if your child has been unemployed for a while it could take a month or longer for them to find gainful employment. Set a realistic time frame for getting a job, or finding a better one. 30 days is a realistic time frame. That time includes updating a resume, sending in job applications, making contacts for jobs on Facebook or other sites, and job interviews.
- Have them start a budget. If your child has moved back home, very likely they need money management skills. A checking and savings account should be open in their name.
- After their employment is secure, have them contribute to the rent and/or bills. If you can afford to, take the money and put it in a savings account for them. When they are ready to move out, it can help with any down payments they may need.
- Have them make a daily schedule, especially if they are unemployed and/or have addiction issues. Keeping a routine will help your child with time management, and keep them productive as they look for work. Having them sleep all day, is a big no!
- Have them make goals for 30, 60, and 90 days. These goals should include financial, career, personal, physical, spiritual, and mental.
- Make sure they are getting spiritually nourished. Is there a church, group, and/or Bible study they can be involved with?
After the 30 days is over and your child still needs a place to live, continue with the above goals, and if possible add your child attending college or taking classes to gain better employment. If they don’t have a car and have gained employment, consider matching funds with what they save for a car. Work towards your child getting a car as it will not only lead them to independence but take some of the load of you.
Although it would seem easier to allow your child to just come back home and have them do nothing if you do this there is a good chance that is exactly where you will find them down the road-doing nothing!
Remember the goal of having your adult child move back home is not to make them dependent upon you but to become independent and responsible.
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