The Generation Y offspring of helicopter parents may be rewriting the script of adulthood as many of them are moving back home with Mom and Dad. According to the U.S. Census in a 2013 "Wall Street Journal" article, more than 22 million adults ages 18-34 were living with their parents in 2012. And while the practice has lots of practical reasoning behind it, it certainly has its downside -- particularly if the kids don’t appreciate the good deal they’ve got.
1. House Rules
Once your child is 18 or graduates high school, your financial obligation to him is over. Unless you’re under court order to do otherwise, how you support him after graduation is up to you. With that in mind, your kids need to understand that it’s your house and you get to set the rules for anyone who wishes to live in it. Have an honest conversation about what you expect of your child if he would like to live in your house. In a March 2012 "New York Times" article, Christina Newberry, author of “The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home,” recommends drawing up a contract to make everything crystal clear. If your child cannot meet your minimum requirements, tell him he will need to find another place to live.
2. No Free Rides
Most financial experts agree that young people who are living with their parents are making a wise decision for their future. Paying exorbitant rents and living expenses while they also may be paying off school loans and car payments can wreak havoc on their financial future. On the other hand, there’s no reason for you to foot the entire bill. Financial adviser Suze Orman suggests in an April 2013 "Huffington Post" article that parents ask their child to pay some rent, however nominal. In lieu of rent, you could create a chore list so your child could work off her rent obligation. Be certain to outline your expectations and have her agree to the terms.
3. Strategic Financial Help
Kids who are used to getting pretty much everything they want often become belligerent when they finally hear the word no. But saying “no” may be the best thing you can do for your child as she learns to be an adult. Psychologist Jeffrey Bernstein suggests in an April 2012 article he wrote for "Psychology Today" that you limit financial support. While he believes doling out indiscriminate spending money is a bad idea, he notes that helping your child with her own rent as she transitions away from you may be a good investment in her adulthood. He advises, though, to make sure there’s an end date to your generosity.
4. Respect Boundaries
If you truly want your child to respect you, you’ve got to treat him like an adult and be willing to respect his boundaries. And he has to be willing to do the same. That may mean that he can stay out all night if he wants -- as long as he communicates with you -- and that you don’t get to pry in areas of his life he’s not ready to share. On the other hand, he must respect your boundaries, too. He shouldn’t expect you to feed him every night, do his laundry or clean his room. If he wants to be treated like an adult, he needs to act like one.
- The Wall Street Journal: Mother, Can You Spare a Room?
- Huffington Post: Boomerang Kids: 5 Things You Should Stop Doing For Your Adult Children
- New York Times: Rules for When the Chicks Return to the Nest
- Psychology Today: Dealing With Demanding, Dependent Adult Children
- AARP: When Adult Kids Move Back Home
- The Week: How to Handle Boomerang Kids
- Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision/Getty Images