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Tips for Managing an Adult Child STILL Living With You!


You must make agreements and have clear understandings with your “adult child” about the following issues.  Lack of clarity may result it a return to the same issues that were resolved or unresolved in childhood and adolescence. You will find old undesired parenting habits returning.

Agreements should include but not be limited to:

Financial Contribution—

An adult child living with parents should make a regular pre-established monthly contribution towards room and board.  $300 is a good place to start, and you can choose to use some of that and apply a portion to a fund stashed away for the next “first, last and deposit” when the young person is ready to move out.

Hostel-style rules—

An adult child living with parents should be going to school, out working or out job-hunting from 9-5 pm.  Just like in many “hostels” where the tradition is to close at dawn, and re-open at dusk, the same should apply to adult children living at home.  The young person should not be living a life of leisure.  That is actually what the parent is supposed to be doing.

Household responsibilities-

These should include; keeping ones room and space clean and orderly. This would include cleaning up after oneself in all common spaces of the house as well.   Regular pre-assigned chores should be done, on top of washing, drying and folding ones own clothes. Headphones should be used in lieu of loud music.


The young person should maintain a pleasant and positive attitude the majority of the time.


Courtesy is paramount, and would include informing parents of unscheduled departures, and times when you will not sleep at home.  Parents should be in the loop of guests who come and go from their house, should have advance warning, and should feel comfortable with anyone who comes in or to the house.  Regular parking spaces should be yielded to parents first.


Adult children should refrain from possession or use of substances such as alcohol and controlled substance drugs as per the wish of the hosting parents.

Does this sound controlling? Does this sound like a lot of rules and agreements?

Does this sound more like a parent/adolescent relationship that a parent/adult child relationship?  Does this sound like it favors the parents and puts the adult children in second place?

The answer to all of these questions is yes!  If your “children” are true “adults”, they will not need these rules, regulations and boundaires, as they will be assumed.  They are living in your house as a young adult who is not ready or equipped to support him/herself.

I recommend that parents guide their teens in high school to select colleges that are affordable.  They should select majors and programs that lead to marketable skills and jobs.  If they choose a major which does not lend itself toward future work, they should be encouraged to supplement it with certificates or vocational training which will lead to future employment.

While you cannot control or manage their college career, their currency is your financial contribution towards their education, and it is reasonable that it would have expectations attached.

Their home stay should be brief, productive and full of self-improvement.  You and your adult child share the same goal independence and freedom.  You will not hasten that end result if you:


–       co-depend them.

–       Indulge them.

–       Have no boundaries.

–       Care-take them.

–       Feel sorry for them.

–       Pamper them.

–       Wash their clothes, clean up after them.

–       Micro-manage their lives.

–       Nag them.

–       Argue with them, yell at them, and threaten them.

–       Fear or are intimidated by them.

–       Bend over backwards to keep the peace.

–       Think they are a peer and a friend.

In fact, you will end up reviving the patterns that lived in adolescence that you thought you said goodbye to forever.  You will be sacrificing your freedom, independence and leisure life for their pleasure.

There can be all kinds of flexibility, choices, approaches, strategies, expectations, boundaries and agreements.  You know your adult child, and you know what has worked and what has not worked.  If you don’t feel strong and fully empowered to do this, put a coach, counselor, therapist or facilitator on your team.

If you establish clarity from the beginning, you have a lot better chance of success in moving your adult child into a functional, happy, self-responsible, contributing and healthy adulthood.  Then, they can be your “friend”.


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