If your children are over 18 but continue to live at home for personal or financial reasons, develop rules to ensure the living arrangements don’t encourage the young adults to become lazy or take advantage of you. Create a contract that outlines the terms that your children must agree to before becoming a “tenant” in your home, particularly if you’ve had conflicts in the past.
Although you may not be able to impose a curfew on a young adult living at home, you can establish rules about staying out all night or inviting friends over to spend the night in your home. If you don’t mind your child sleeping elsewhere for the night, the New York Life website still recommends asking him to give you a courtesy call so you won’t worry. You also have the right to insist that he doesn’t bring friends or a significant other to spend the night if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Formulate ground rules about the way adult children must conduct themselves while living under your roof. Discuss the amount of noise your adult child can make, especially at night when you’re trying to sleep. Set a time when the television, video games or phone use must stop. Ban the use of alcohol and cigarettes in your home if you’re opposed to them. Instruct your child not to plan a party in your home unless you’ve approved the event and the guest list.
Charge your child rent if she’s living at home, particularly if she isn’t going to school. Even if you simply charge a token amount each month, the fee will require her to get a job instead of watching television or hanging around with friends all day. If you don’t need the rent money, the Focus Adolescent Services website recommends placing it in a savings account. Give the money back to your child later so she’ll be able to pay for a security deposit on an apartment when she’s ready to move out.
Let the young adult know that an invitation to live at home doesn’t mean he’s living in a hotel. The Family Education website stresses that you shouldn’t fall back into the habit of taking care of your “tenant” like you did when he was a child. Insist he keep his own room clean and complete chores such as doing his own laundry, cooking meals, doing the dishes, taking out the trash or helping to care for younger siblings.
If you’re only allowing your “boomerang kids”—the term used to describe adult children who move back home—under your roof temporarily, include a move-out date in the contract to ensure they’re working toward a financial goal to live on their own. You can also impose additional deadlines, such as a target date to graduate from college, to find a job or to pay off a percentage of a student loan or credit card debt.