Roommate or Child: 5 Steps When Your Kid Moves Home

Child or Roommate?

So it started when your kid friended you on Facebook.  You wondered, are they my friend or my child?  Now, the economy is bad, they lost their job or are trying to save up after college and before grad school (if they ever get there) and again, you are wondering, are they my roommate or my child?

The economy is getting worse and many young people are either getting more roommates or moving back home.  This is a very tough transition.  Most people feel bad for the kids:

“Oh, that sucks so bad! Do you have a curfew again?”
“Do they nag you like all the time? That blows!”

But, I feel worse for the parents, here is why:

-Kids usually have a choice, parents almost have to say yes to their kids moving home.  Isn’t it like obligatory to accept your jobless, wandering kid in a recession?
-Kids get laundry done, free food, hot meals, and possible snacks.  Parents get more laundry, another mouth to feed and more glasses to wash.
-It’s free for kids, parents are suffering in the down economy too, their grocery bill goes up a lot when a kid moves home.
-Parents know have to readjust their empty nester lifestyle back to having kiddies again…no more remote hogging for you!

What can parents do when their kids move home? It doesn’t have to be all bad.

Here are some sanity saving tips:

1) Set the Boundaries Early

Before the habits come up and to avoid an awkward conversation later about having significant others spend the night, have your boundary conversation right away.

2) Be Clear: It’s Not All Candyland

If your child is over the age of 18, moving home should not be a vacation.  Now, if your child is home on their summer vacation from college, they do get some leeway, but make sure they understand they should be doing something productive with their time if you need that.

3) Have Them Chip In Enough To Make Them Appreciate You

I think a lot of ungrateful twenty-somethings move home and feel like it is better than high school.  No curfew and no chores! I think that chores should change as a child gets older, but make sure that they are chipping in with laundry or car washes.  You also might want to consider having them work for their roof.  I do not recommend having them pay rent (let them save it!) but you could have them file papers, do house or yardwork for their upkeep.

4) You Do Not Have to Be a Roommate (or Butler or Chef)

So many moms love to cook for their kids.  This is wonderful, but make sure you are not being taken advantage of or under appreciated.  They need to understand that they should pick up after themselves, do some grocery shopping and perhaps take a dinner meal per week.  If you let them live like a teen you are doing them a disservice for their future real life roommates because they will be spoiled and messy!

5) Bring Back What You Like

Having your kid home can be great!  Bring back the stuff you like.  Board game night, family movies and breakfast together.  If you are kid is home, soak up every second, soon they might be far away!

If your child is home from the economy or just from college, set clear boundaries and enjoy them being there! If they are home and you want them out of your home, check out my post on helping teens with their job searches!

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One Response to “Roommate or Child: 5 Steps When Your Kid Moves Home”

  1. allie
    June 23, 2009 at 10:07 pm #

    I'd be thrilled if my kid moved home for a while. He's been on the other side of the world in China for a long while. For whatever reason it would be nice to have him home. I do get a bit miffed at people making it seem that it's so awful for the child to be living at home. Yes, indeed! Oh the horror of it all! Having moms home cooking again and being with people who would do anything for your happiness.

    Enjoy your kids while you have them in their younger years because you never do know what direction their adult lives will take.

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