Adult Children Living at Home?

By: Barahona Consulting & Mediation | Published 10/09/2020


Adult children living with their parents is occurring at unprecedented rates. In some cases the adult children are just late in leaving the nest while others return home after a loss of job or after a divorce. Regardless of the reason, living with adult children can potentially lead to conflict. Be proactive and formulate a plan before conflict develops, or at least before it gets worse.

Many cultures routinely practice multi-generational living. They learn from an early age how to divide responsibilities, respect privacy, and transition from one role to another. In the United States, that has not been the experience for most of us. Therefore, it’s difficult for many of us to adapt to this new reality.

The potential problems are many when an adult child lives at home. Often, views on morality and appropriate or acceptable behavior vary between generations. Parents may expect young adults returning home to observe the same rules as before going off to college. The adult child my try to assert his/her adulthood by rejecting any notion of rules or curfews. Another minefield is household responsibilities, both physical and financial. The parents may assume that the adult child will pitch in out of gratitude and the adult child may assume the parents would say something if they want more help. Either way, it is easy to recognize that misunderstandings can escalate into frustration and conflict very quickly.

Most experts recommend creating a thorough agreement when an adult child returns home or when a child at home becomes an adult. Talking through the issues and writing out an agreement helps ward off misunderstandings and future conflict.

Many families could benefit from professional help in this process, especially if a conflict has already developed or has a high potential to do so. A family mediator who is trained to work with high conflict families can assist you. A mediator facilitates communication between the parties and assists the parties in developing their own, unique agreement.

If you would like to discuss how a family mediator could assist your family, please contact me for a no-obligation, no-cost consultation.

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