Q. “I didn’t expect to be in this situation, but I need a place to live. How can we help each other, and be kind and respectful of each other’s situation?”
A. Many adult children, in their 20s, 30s and even 40s find themselves in a similar situation. They are either staying longer before leaving the nest, or returning home to live with their parents. Sometimes moving away from parents takes longer than expected. It might be to save money while attending school, or while working and to save money.
The most often cited reasons for boomeranging back home include divorce, breaking up with boyfriend/girlfriend, loss of a job, running up credit card bills and high cost of living, and trying to make a new start after a period of some form of addiction. Since 2010, issues have also centered around loss of homes, having to take a lower paying job, trying to repay student loans, and going from two-earner incomes down to one, or none.
For adult children, who are used to being on their own and making decisions, returning home to live with parents can be a tricky, uncomfortable and often stressful at times – for everyone – but usually more difficult for the parents. This is where a family meeting can play a pivotal role.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What can I do to make this easier on everyone?
- What do I need from my parents, and what can I offer?
- How can we communicate better so we don’t get into squabbles?
- How can I do my part to help this arrangement be successful?
Helpful Tips: Think about advantages and disadvantages of living at home with your parents. Try to enlist help right from the beginning. Your life may be in turmoil, even so, you have a responsibility to your parents. Put a process in place to deal with communication and conflict issues right from the beginning.
As issues and concerns come up find ways to discuss them before things get dicey. Listen, really listen, when discussing things with your parents. Try to look at the situation from their point of view. Be clear about expectations, each of you, and write them down. A family meeting could help.
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