Multigenerational family living together

Moving Back Home: 14 Survival Tips for Living With Your Parents as an Adult

If you are moving back home to live with your parents, you are not alone. Many factors have caused a large-scale reconfiguration of how Americans are living, and many adults are moving back to live with their parents.

Zillow reports that roughly 2.7 million U.S. adults moved back home with their parents in March, April, and May 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic spread.

While the coronavirus has put the mass migration home in the headlines and may make moving back home seem like a temporary by-product of difficult times, there are many reasons adults of many ages are making this decision. This includes situations from changing family dynamics such as the need to care for aging family members or stabilize after a divorce to wanting to prioritize finances over living independently.

Whatever the reason for moving home, doing so is hard even under the best of circumstances. Admittedly, there is plenty of potential for frustrations and misunderstandings as everyone adjusts to new roles. However, with the right tools, it can be a wonderfully rewarding experience.

To help make the experience a success for you and your parents, here are 14 tips to help you move home without anyone losing their mind.

1. Have the Hard Talk First

Before you pack your boxes, sit down with your parents and discuss all the hard and uncomfortable things first, such as their financial expectations, visitors, household duties, house rules, privacy, and family time obligations. After the conversation about moving back home, have everyone write down their understanding of the conversation and provide an opportunity to clarify any differences. The more clearly everyone spells out expectations beforehand, the fewer disagreements you’ll have later.

2. Downsize Before You Come

Woman carrying boxes as she starts moving back home

When you move back in with your parents, you are not just moving “back home.” You are moving into their home. It is easy to unintentionally cause hurt feelings by moving items to make room for your own or by cluttering up a space. The best way to avoid doing this is by bringing as little as possible.

Take the opportunity to downsize by selling, donating, or storing everything you will not immediately need or that will cause any disturbance if you bring it with you. If you do not like the idea of your belongings sitting in a highly trafficked storage unit or you want them closer and more accessible, consider renting space from people that live near you.

Neighbor is a platform that connects people with stuff to people with spare space to store it, such as in part of a garage, spare room, or a shed.

Just a few of Neighbor’s advantages include:

  • Storage options in your neighborhood
  • Your possessions are safer
  • You have easy access
  • Month-to-month renting
  • Your belongings are insured

With Neighbor, you do not have to compromise by selling off your world just to move back home.

3. Establish an Adult-to-Adult Relationship

One of the most difficult things about moving home is avoiding reverting to a parent-child dynamic. Parents have the natural inclination to parent, and it is easy to want to let them. But if you want to develop an adult relationship, you have to keep that standard throughout your time living at home. If mom or dad is doing your washing, fluffing, and folding, then you can expect that they will want to have some say in other aspects of your life.

4. Be Considerate

Remember, your parents have invested a lot of time, care, and worry into you, and they are not going to stop now. They are very likely going to worry if you are not home as expected, if they see that the “change oil” light on your car is flashing, or about any of a multitude of things that could threaten your wellbeing. While their practical parenting has ended, their care has not. Be considerate of this by letting them know your plans. This small gesture can tame their fears and cause them to return the favor with mutual respect.

5. Establish Your Goals and Pursue Them

If you are considering moving in with your parents, there is likely a reason behind that decision. Very often, those reasons include gaining stability, saving money, or needing a little extra support through a transition. Identify the reason for moving home and make a plan to address it. It may take looking at the problems from a new angle and being willing to shift gears, change plans, and do hard things.

6. Be Ready to Demonstrate Progress

Your parents, too, will have expectations about what you should be achieving while living at home. Staying up all night playing video games but being too tired to look for work won’t cut it. Because they love you and want to see you succeed, they will want to see progress, even slow progress. Keep a record of your goals and mark them off as you achieve them. Share your progress with them regularly.

7. Take Financial Responsibility

Moving back home will mean added household expenses. Taking on that financial responsibility will go a long way toward building mutual respect while you live at home. Contributing to household expenses also helps in maintaining an adult-to-adult relationship needed to make the experience a positive one.

8. Maintain Boundaries

Sharing a space can be very difficult. So make sure to clearly establish a space that is just yours and take time away from the family dynamic. Be sure there is an understanding that you need some autonomy but appreciate their support.

9. Respect Boundaries

While your parents are happy to help and glad to welcome you home, it is important to remember that they have established a changed life since you’ve been gone. They will have their own routines and expectations of what the living arrangement will look like. For example, they may not mind that you have a group over for dinner. But they may prefer that things quiet down past a certain time. Respect their needs as you meet yours.

10. Disagree Like an Adult

Parents may want to share their opinion on how you live your life. Sometimes, it can come across as harsh, overbearing, or nosy. Have simple and non-combative but firm answers ready that fit a wide range of problems, such as “I’m sorry we feel differently, but I do appreciate you telling me.” or “Let’s set aside time to see if we can work this out.” Getting angry and loud will only remind them of (someone’s) teenage years when they hung “Keep Out” signs on their door.

11. Show Gratitude

Make it a daily practice to show your gratitude. Simple acts like going to the store, making dinner, washing their car, or taking care of pets let them know you appreciate the opportunity to be home. Doing small things to demonstrate that you care will help fortify your relationship and make all the harder parts of moving home easier.

12. Spend Time With Your Parents

Whether it is a cup of coffee in the morning or a weekend trip to something fun, make sure to prioritize spending quality time with mom and dad. Without that time, it is easy for a parent to feel alienated, used, or unappreciated. As an adult moving back home, you can also benefit from time with your parents. Spending time with them can help you gain new insights and glean wisdom from your new adult perspective.

13. Mind Your Mental Health

Moving home can also be difficult emotionally. Navigating home life, friends ribbing you about living in your mom’s basement, living in your childhood room, and feeling like you have taken a step back in life can be very discouraging. Make a plan to care for your mental health by:

  • Talking with supportive friends
  • Taking time for self-care
  • Exercising
  • Going outdoors

Any move is a big adjustment, and there’s no shame in getting help.

14. Treat the Experience Like a Runway

Moving back home with parents can be a soft place to land in difficult times. But it can also provide the runway needed to take flight! Not everyone has the chance to reduce their bills while they go to work or school or have extra support while they advance their life. Moving back home is only a setback if we treat it that way; instead, leverage it as the massive opportunity that it can be. Get the most out of moving home by using the time proactively and utilizing the help of experts in finances, education, or the job market. Make it your mission to advance your life.

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