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Should I Have Rules for a 20 Year Old If She Still Lives at Home

My request for you to give me some advice

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First of all I just wanted to thank all of you for your Advice. I took some into consideration. My husband and I had a long talk with my spolied daughter. She has been following our household rules and she has been coming in at appropiate time every night. She is also starting college soon. So again thank you all.

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Yes She should abide by the same house rules as the rest of the family. If she doesn't want to then she needs to find herself her own place to live and pay her own bills.

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I would sit down and have a talk with her. I think she should have rules, she still lives at home. Is she working or going to school? If going to school she can lend a hand around the house: do the dishes, help vacuum or clean the bathrooms. If working, let her pitch in financially. Let her be in charge of paying one of the smaller bills phone, water, etc... Let her know she is the oldest and setting an example for younger siblings.
Good luck.

My parents had rules. No laundry after 8. If you are going to be out late, call. If not coming home call. Its just a piece of mind for all. To know that we were safe.

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So, I'm only 20 myself and I will even tell you that if she is living under your roof then yes there should be rules to be followed. I was fairly an exception to the rule because I was out of the house and paying my own way by 18, however, it is important that your home is respected. You want to keep in mind that after 18 you have to allow more independence and expect more responsibility. However, I know my mother always had the rule for her children who were over 18 and still living in her home that she did not mind if they wanted to stay out for the night, however, if they were going to be out after a certain point she expected the courtesy of a phone call (at an appropriate hour) to let her know when they would be home, even if it wasn't until the following day or such. As well, it was expected that as long as meals were had at the home then they were expected to help with dishes.

You can expect your children to follow the rules of the house and if they do not like the rules you need to tell them that they will have to find a way to live on their own, that you cannot handle the sleepless nights. Make sure that you explain your issues to them so that they understand why you are putting in rules.

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All my kids are older than 20, two are still living in my home. We had an agreement from the time they were 12: go to school full-time, live at home rent-free. Don't go to school, pay rent or move out. Grades must be passing or above --- not just taking up a seat in a class. Since we started this conversation when they were young, it was always accepted. While living in our home, whether paying rent or not, they are to obey house rules (no "sleepovers"), pick up after themselves, help with household chores (dishes, cooking, dishwasher, garbage, etc.) and let us know if they are not coming home. We don't need to know where they are or what they're doing, just whether they will be sleeping at home that night. We pay car insurance for them, too, as long as they maintain good driving records. They pay all their personal expenses, other than groceries, but even pick up groceries on their dollar on a regular basis. They've all done their laundry themselves since they were teens (our arrangement with laundry was: Mom will do it as long as it's in a hamper, thus they ended up doing their own). It worked well with our oldest, and is also working with our middle daughter. Son is out on his own and married now. Middle daughter is in school for the "free ride" -- as my daughter says, "Why would I go off the payroll?" works almost full-time and also coaches softball every spring. Youngest daughter has had some problems with it; decided to leave school but had a problem paying rent for a room she's lived in all her life. Moved out, came back, moved out, and is now back but has returned to school as the alternative to paying rent (and because she realized she wouldn't get anywhere without school). I think because we talked about this often and stood our ground when it was challenged, it has worked for us. You have to have a conversation with your daughter. Plan out ahead of time what the guidelines will be, but be careful and thoughtful because you MUST stick to whatever the planned consequences are. She may challenge you and it will never work out unless you're willing to follow through. Sometimes they have to learn the hard lesson by themselves.

Good luck!

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Well my daughter is only 3 months old, but I can tell you how I was raised. Mom's house=Mom's rules! No matter what age. It is about respect for the house and all those living there. If she wants to come and go as she pleases then she should get her own place. It worked for my brother (6years younger)and I just fine. If we complained we were reminded that we could live on our own (which of course we couldn't afford, I think we really just liked the free ride). Once we were ready to be "adults" we moved out (around 24-26 years old). Good luck!

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YES, there needs to be some rules. My 20-year old step-daughter just moved in, but she isn't working much and not going to school. So, we did a contract that laid out what we expected and also a place for her goals. She has to post her work hours on the calendar, take care of her cats, do some of the dishes, keep her bathroom (the main & guest bathroom) clean, keep her room straight (ok, that's not happening), and help with cooking occasionally. She also has to be actively looking for a fulltime job or go back to school. There is a deadline to show progress on these items or she needs to move out. So far, some compliance in some areas, but the 15th of August for making progress (per the contract)is fast approaching, so we will see what happens next. We are not a hotel. If she wants to do nothing with her life, she can live anywhere. If she wants to (or needs to) live with us, then she has to be making progress towards her goals. Good luck to you and yours. J.

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Ah, but yes N....She lives in your home, she is still part of the family. But; as an adult, she needs to know how to be responsible and accountable for her actions. Sit down with your husband and set up some realistic rules for her; as well as the rest of your home. Does she pay rent? There's your answer. If she is still considered as a dependent on your taxes, then as her parents, you HAVE every right to say to her, "Hey...we're raising your siblings in this household, and your actions are not making this easy. I'm sure she has a cell phone, if she is going to be leaving for the evening, ask her to communicate what time she is going to be coming home or if she isn't...then she should be able to communicate what she is doing. Yes, she's a young adult and your child still. But..if she can't communicate with her parents that it's common courtesy to let the people you live with know what time you should be home, or if you're coming home...and to be respectful of the home. Give her statistics as to why as parents you are concerned. Let her know that you love her, but gently guide her to talk with you. If she can't see that this is affecting the family and HER parents...You can always play hardball with her....if she comes in late at night and keeps you awake...you need to let her know WHY. You are HER mother- so you need to talk to her for the right reasons as why you are concerned. You can always WAKE her up after she's just come in and settled in....interrupt her sleep pattern....If she gets mad, she might get the picture. Also, let the 18 year old know that this is NOT acceptable behavior. You could also ask the 20 year old to move out. You've come a place in parenting that is very hard...But as parents, we didn't get classes on how to deal with these questions and concerns. Please let your children know that you love them, and if they lived in different circumstances- there are rules (mostly common courtesy)that we live by. Then, there are laws that we must obey. As adults, we learn as we go- we can only leave the impression upon our children, instill the values, but we CANNOT control their actions. I wish you luck...

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I am a mother of 2 19 year olds and when they turned 18 they were given an option pay us rent and live in our house as almost like renters ( afterall I am still a mom) however this would give them complete freedom or live under our roof rent free with responsibilities including chores.
They of course chose rent free however with both instances I would still do what we do now. We post everyones weekly schedule and if they are going out with friends to give us an estimated time they would be home but not hold them to it Unless of course it is hours over
She is living under your roof your rules whether she likes them or not she has to respect them You have to give her some freedom at 20 becasue she is an adult but she has to understand while she lives there you and your husband have reason to worry if she is not home so all you would ask for is some communciation I hope that helps

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If your 20 year old child is living under your roof she should have the same rules as the other children under your roof. She should have a curfew and also chores she must do, just as the other children. Also - You bought her a car. If she is working she should also be paying her insurance, car payment and rent to you. If you don't do this you are setting the 18 yr. old up to fail, as well as the other two. Please listen to your heart because your concerns are correct. Hope this helps, Patti b

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if you have rules all along you definitely needrules for her if she cann'tabide by them then
she is on her own..but it sounds like she might
be a bit spoiled..and yes the 18 will be just as big a problem..why because his sister is getting away with the way she comes and goes.....i do know what i am talking about..i have eight children..all very good and all married they all have a college education...which we helped them get at the university that we could afford...if you never had rules before i might be kind of hard to start but it has to start somewhere...but i wish you good luck

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Yes She should abide by the same house rules as the rest of the family. If she doesn't want to then she needs to find herself her own place to live and pay her own bills.

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Hi N.,
I agree with the previous posters: your house, your rules. My parents, who I know love me very much, never would have let me live at home if I could afford an apartment, and if I could not, they would have made me pay what I could while making sure I did plenty of housework, grocery shopping, etc. They would have set limits wherever they felt it was necessary. I very much respect them for having good boundaries, and because they have always combined these boundaries with plenty of love, I would not have taken offense. It sounds like you've always had the love there but perhaps not the strong boundaries? If I'm correct on that, keep in mind that no one likes to have something taken away, even if the person knows logically that what you're doing makes sense. You might need to address that head-on from the outset -- something like "I know that I have not always set the strongest boundaries, but I now realize that I need to start doing that. Therefore, I need to talk to you about some adjustments to our living arrangement." She needs to respect you and your house rules.

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Hi N.,

My Answer would be yes, but limited. You see if you make it too easy on the kids they will never leave the nest. Having rules that they have to abide by is a good way to motivate them to want to have their own place eventually. My basic rules for my children over 18 have been pretty simple. First and foremost, no sleepover guest of the opposite sex. Second, they must show respect for the family. Curfew was 12 during the week and pretty much they just had to tell me when they would be home on the weekend. I explained that the weekday curfew was so that I could still function at work the next day. If they were going to be past the curfew, I simply asked them to call and let me know. They still had to do chores, and they had to be done before going out. Pretty basic simple rules. I let them know that I would no longer be grounding them, that they are now adults and it is time for them to practice being responsible. I let them know that if they did not follow the rules, the first offense would be a warning, the second I would start charging them rent, and the third would get them a 30 day notice to move. It has worked beautifully. I have a 21 year old that moved out a year and a half ago on her own choice. A 20 year old that moved a year ago, again of his own choice. A 19 year old that moved out a year ago, just after her 18th birthday because she chose not to follow the rules. Whatever you decide, good luck and God bless.

p.s. My cousin charged her daughter rent from the day she turned 18. She put it in a savings account without telling her and when she moved out she gave it all back to her as a gift.


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Dear N.,

Your home, your rules. If your daughter is working, going to school and has to start paying ALL her own bills including rent, she may tend to slow down her social life during the week. Even if she doesn’t, she will be in her OWN place (apartment or studio apartment), and while you will still worry about her (because we all do), you won’t be staying awake or awakened when she comes home at 2 AM.

As for your 18 year old, the behavior of your 20 year old may have already paved the road. What you can do is let them both know if they can’t abide by the family schedule/rules, perhaps they could be roommates?

You and your husband sound like very loving, generous and reasonable parents. Establish what time you want them to be in and stick to it. If they think they are “too old” to have a curfew, then they are “too old” to be supported by Mom and Dad.

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ABSOLUTLY!!! There should be certain lines drawn based on ages in every home. If you dont draw the line you could end up like my parents... My 29yr old brother still lives at home, has never moved out, and doesnt pay rent, or even help with groceries. They are actually selling their house right now, for many reasons...but one of the top reasons is to get him out on his own. I moved out at 19. Sure I came bak for a short time (with a 1yr old when my ex left for another woman), but I paid for all groceries, a little rent and for the PG&E in an ALL ELECTRIC house. Out of respect for you, she should abide by your rules. She will appreciate it when she is older. Plus it will set a good example for the other kids, who are watching what she gets away with.

Repectful vs. Non-Repectful...a power of the will. My son is only 10 months but I was 20 at one time. I understand your fustrations; I unlike your daughter didn't care what time of day or night it was or worried about waking my parents, I would call and say, I'm not coming home or I'm on my way. I also left my cell phone on 24/7, and left a note with where I was going and who I was going to be with. But I can say that I was alway treated as an adult from the time I was a young teenager. No crewfew, my parents would say, what time will you be home, and if I said midnight, I better dang well be home by midnight or I'd have some serious explaining to do. Does she drink? I always did and my parents new it, but I'd call and say I"m not coming home or can you come get me. We had a VERY open and trusting relationship. I also had friends at my house all the time and my parents would encourage me to have friends over and cook for us and such so that there was no feeling of the I've got to hide this or else? You may have taught your daughter to be respectful and responsible, but how was and is the relationship between her and your husband? That's not a fast answer, it's a time thinker. So I wish you well and the only thing I can really say, is sit her down, and ask her why she isn't doing the calling, note leaving, etc. Hear her out.

Best of Luck

You know, I was just reading these responses aloud to my husband and daughter, and they (and I) have a question:

Do you guys actually LIKE your kids?
Enjoy their company?
Do things together?

Respect, a keyword that keeps popping up, is, after all, a two-way street.
If you call for respect from her, you need to be giving it to her as well.
A 20 year-old woman can't and shouldn't be treated as the teenager she recently was.

Yes, your daughter has to behave well towards you.
The touchstone question should be, I think, would you allow an unrelated roommate to do these things.
You mention cheating and lying, so it seems as if there are issues here you aren't bringing up.

I think what is disturbing to me is that many of responders here make it sound as if they look on their adult children as rather annoying tenants to be ousted.

Why is is "success" to have an 18 year-old move away from home as soon as possible?
Or to have a daughter in her own apartment who you don't hear from very often?

Sure, I expect that my kid will become independent.
But my job is to provide the best possible preparation for that day.
And in this area (among the highest housing costs in the nation, people), in this economy (in the tank), I believe my job is to provide the most family support to my offspring that I can manage.
And I really do not believe that sending an 18 year-old, or a 20 year-old, out to support herself is the best foundation for a happy and healthy adult life that I can supply.

So, yeah, your daughter should treat you respectfully.
That's been true since she was a toddler.
And true of how she should treat everyone, not only her family.
But don't use threats against her fledgling attempts at economic and social independence to try to manipulate her behavior.

I'm a Mom of a 16 year old boy & a 20 month old girl. We have rules for our houshold yet as our son gets older he gets to voice his wants & needs. He's a very respectful young man & abides by his curfew...when he turns 18 he knows that he gets to choose his curfew. He also knows that on school nights he needs to be responsible which we know he will by his past behavior! Our request for when he is 18 is that if he knows he will be out past midnight he just calls us...when he gets home all he has to do is let us know he is home so we don't wake up & worry or wonder if he's okay...& if he needs a ride from us no matter what time it is we will pick him up.

It's more important for us to have that mutual way of treating our kids with love & respect because we expect the same thing from them. We are here to support our kids no matter what! We are their safe place to fall no matter what the circumstances are! We would LOVE our kids to live with us through college yet we know that won't happen for the whole time...it's a natural part of life. The relationship we are building with our son & our daughter since the time they were born will continue to be a close one as they grow & move out on their own to begin to build their own families.

Don't get me wrong...our son does not make the rules...we include his points on our decisions to extend his curfew & what he is allowed to do or not to do.

Hope this helps. Your daughter is an adult & treating her with love & respect will in turn allow your relationship to blossom from parent-child to friends. That way when she moves out you will be closer & you will stay in touch more! It's your house & there should be some rules...include her on them because she is not a child anymore.

Absolutely, she should have some rules. I know that she is an adult, but there needs to be a mutual respect, both ways. And to be honest, if you and your husband are having sleepless nights waiting for her, she is not being very respectful. No, you don't need to know her every move, but she should be respectful enough to tell you where she is going and around what time she will be back. As adults we all have rules and have certain expectations that we are to live by, whether it be at work or at home or how we parent. When people are invited into your home, isn't there a certain degree of respect that we expect from them. For instance, my husband and I are Christians and we are raising our 4 daughters with the same morales and values. We do not allow alcohol, drugs, smoking, cursing, and monitor what our children watch on TV. So when we have guests come over for a family get together, they know that there will be no alcohol of any sort at our home. We also pray before each meal, and they are welcome to pray with us or to be respectfully quiet while we pray. One of my daughters has a muslim friend and when she is over she prays, and we are respetful of her time of prayer. There are many different degrees of respect and how we show it. I don't believe that you should treat your daughter as a stranger that lives with you, because she isn't, she is your daughter. If you rented out a room to a stranger, I am sure there would still be some sort of rules that they would have to live by. Just because our children become legal adults by age, does not mean that our parenting stops and everything gets thrown out the window. As young adults they need their freedom, but they also need rules to follow, as we all have to some degree. Hope this helps.

My xchildren have the same rules as when they were younger living at home. My daughter is only 14 and saw that her brother had to abide by the rules. He was also yold he could stay home for free if he was going to school but otherwise would have to pay a small amount of rent with the same rules to follow. I wanted to discourage him from laying around the house and just working aty a fast food job.

I had two boys and it was a little different, but they still let me know where they were. I didn't put a curfew on them, but they knew I wanted to know if they were not coming home so I would not worry and they were good about that. They had respect for me and still had rules to follow, but you figure they are an adult as much as we want them to still be our baby!

The first one is always the hardest.


Anyone living in your house should have certian rules, no matter how old they are. It is simply a matter of respect. She should always let you know when she will be home (or not coming home) so you will know not to worry. Would you go out to a late movie with your friends and not let your husband know first? Would your husband stay out all night with his buddies without calling you? This really is common courtesy.

She should also let you know if she will, or will not, be home for dinner so you know how much to cook and won't end up making others wait for someone who isn't showing up.

Everyone in the house should be helping out with the household chores/upkeep. She shouldn't be required to fix the roof or anything, but dishes, dusting or laundry are perfectly reasonable requirements and will show her that even as an adult she still has responsibilities.

Good luck!

Ask her to call you before midnight if she plans to come home by 2 or spend the night at a friend's. Explain to her that while you know you can trust her, you and your husband have a hard time sleeping and that a simple check-in will allow you to get some rest.

I think if I had children of college age at home I probably wouldn't make them pay rent if they were taking a full load and doing things to prepare themselves for a career in their field, like interns, volunteer work, lab work, etc. But they would HAVE to be taking a full load and the grades would have to stay up. However, I would still set some rules. There would have to be a curfew. It's your house and there is no reason for you to be up sleepless because your 20 year old has decided to stay out super late or not come home at all. And I would also make sure she does all her chores.

If she breaks these rules then I would be inclined to have her move out. I don't think I'd even ask for rent because then she'll feel like she can stay out late, not care about grades and not pull her weight around the house and you'll still have sleepless nights.

You may want to put together a spreadsheet for her of expenses she would have if she lived on her own. Quantify everything...gas, food, rent, utilities, car insurance, tuition, misc., etc. and compare that to what she makes in a month at her job. That might help her to see how good she's got it right now. And you may not want to scare her into not wanting to live on her own ever, so if she does want to move out, maybe you could offer to help with tuition and rent if and only IF her grades stay up.

Then add a column for what she would potentially make in her field if she finishes college and a column if she doesn't finish college. This will take a little research on your part, but it would be good incentive to finish school in the most economical way possible.

I don't have kids of this age, so I'm not sure if this is good advice or not, it just feels like what I would be inclined to do.

Good luck!

I am only 30 and I moved out of my parents home at 22 after I finished school. I paid for my own car and insurance by then, but my parents let me live at home rent free while I was in college. I still helped out with chores and let my parents know where I was going. They were very strict in high school, but eased up a bit. I would come home on the weekends at around 1AM, but I wouldn't wake them up or if I did they never said. You should also be a little stricter on the oldest, because you are setting a precedent for your younger kids. If you are not happy with the current situation then something should change. It is your house and you shouldn't be miserable.

Well she is an adult. She has to respect some rules. I had to do certain chores aorund the house since I didnt pay rent. I could go out when ever I wanted but if I wasnt going to come home I would have to call. I didnt have a curfew, nor should she. But if she lives in your house and comes and goes she should at least tell you if she isnt going to be home until after midnight.

It's about respect. You can't force a 20 year old woman to have a curfew (that’s just not reasonable) but you can tell her that you need her to call you if she’s going to be out late just so that you don’t worry. And she needs to be quiet when coming in. When I came home from college for the summer my parents would make me call them at 11 if I was going to be out after 1 (11 is my mom’s bed time 1 is when she would really start to worry.) This worked for us. I also had to help out. This meant either doing chores or paying for 1/3 of the rent ( I gladly worked in the yard since I was saving for a new car.)

I would say yes - if they live under your roof they can live by your rules. If that means calling in checking in or letting you know if they won't be home at night than so be it. They can always go live on their own if they don't like it :-)

If both you and your husband are having sleepless nights, then YES, there should be some rules for your 20yr. At this age, it is tough, do both you and your husband have good communication with her? If you do, then I don't think there should be a problem. I am 27yrs old, and at 19-21yrs of age, I was having my parents go through some sleepless nights too. I was hanging out with friends and getting home late or not at all until the next morning. I was still living under their roof too. It is only fair that I respect their home since I was still living there and not paying any rent. My parents did not approve of my all- nighters. We came to the agreement that as long I would give them a call and let them know I will not be home or be late that was fine. By the way my parents knew the people I hung out with. I also did my share in the chores around the house.

It may or may not be a solution to your sleepless nights, but it worked out at my parents house.

My mom had sleepless nights with me too (I never stayed out too late) but my mom would have me just call their house and let it ring once when I was on my way home. That way they knew I was going to be there soon. This seemed to help. I always let my parents know what I was doing (if I knew).

This is all about boundaries, N..
Boundaries are about 4 things : honoring individual needs, clarity, communication and consistency.
If any aspects of these elements are unclear or scary, you and your husband would be wise to seek the support and guidance of a life coach that specializes in family/young adult issues. Best, Catrina

I think it's fine to have house rules and she should follow those if she is living at home. I know you worry as a parent, but she is an adult now and she can't be treated the same as your younger children. Let her have her space but at the same time to ease your mind have her rules be, that when she goes out have her tell you where she is going and what time she expects to be home. Tell her if her plans change to call you and let you know. Just let her know that you want to know for her safety and it's not to be nosy. I had the same problem with my parents and we worked out that I would let them know where I'll be and time I expected to come home so they weren't worrying all night. Just don't pry into every aspect of her life. Just remember it's your home and it's your rules. hopefully you can come up with a good working plan.

Of course there are rules for anyone that lives in your house. The respect they should be showing you for still living there. I always told my kids, as long as you live under my roof you will live by my rules. If it is a work night they will be in by 10pm. weekends could be 12 or 1a.m., and must let you know where they are. If they come up missing, you always need to know where to start. No sex under my roof unless you are married. If they don't want to live under your roof, by showing respect then they can leave. Gods Blessings to your family. N.

My parents had rules. No laundry after 8. If you are going to be out late, call. If not coming home call. Its just a piece of mind for all. To know that we were safe.

i have not been in your shoes (yet) but can answer from the child standpoint. when i was younger i would stay with my parents on break from college. if i was going to be gone until late at night i would let my folks know i was going to be out. if i planned on staying out all night i let them know this also. i did not ask permission but i did respect their love for me and knew they would sleep if they were not waiting for me to come in. this was something we worked out together so we could live together happily. i would sit down with your daughter and go over some 'guidelines' and 'requests' that you and your husband have while she continues to live in the home. let her know you understand that she is 20 and an adult, but you will always worry about her because she is your child. it sounds like you are not trying to limit her life (or lifestyle) but she is not realizing the impact she is having on your lives. open communication without threat and demands would likely work wonders.

If this person lives under your roof there should be guidelines, not necesarily rules. Just voice your situation with them and treat them as an adult and hopefully it won't get to the point that you have to have rules as you would a child.

I think you should have rules. She is living in your home and should follow your rules or move out. Of course, being 20 she should also have the freedom to come and go as she pleases for the most part; however, still abiding by any rules you may have on this. I think you and your husband need to sit down with her and explain the rules and explain that if she doesn't follow them, it will then be the time for her to move out.

Ditto Toni's comments. I had to move home at 24 after a job loss and my parents were very strict. I had to pay rent, help with meals, help with cleaning, you name it. I wasn't a difficult person in any way (had a degree, just was unemployed for a few months, and no issues like drinking or drug use) and they were still tough on me. I think it's critical to be that way. It really encouraged me to give my all to my job search so I could get out of there.

If you're daughter's giving you grief, set some firm ground rules and a timeline for preparing herself to move out.

Good luck!

Most of the responses to the question you asked were about curfew...and a few about chores. I am 27 and I live at home with my parents. The economy is very tough right now and it is a helpful situation for both of us as long as some understandings are made. As a young adult, it can feel very embarrassing and humiliating to live at "home" if you feel like a child. The first step to making her follow your rules is to ensure you treat her as the adult she has become and not the child she may have been in the past. Have a talk with her about what her expectations are. Does she feel that she should not have to pay rent? Does she have a different way of cleaning than you do? (That is a big one..my mom and I reach the same cleanliness but she sometimes can't stand the way I go about getting there). Set the rules, (I suggest marking on a calendar what days certain chores should be completed each week), see how things work for a few weeks (IMPORTANT: ALWAYS compliment her on the things she has done before critiquing the things she hasn't done. The more you compliment her, the better she will feel about your rules and the more she will do over time). As time goes on, start tweaking the rules to fit your higher expectations. All of that said, here is how we do things in my house:
Keep in mind that I live here with myself, my bf and our 4 mos old son. My dad is semi-retired and my mom works full time. I do not "work" and my bf works full time as well.
1) Dishes: My father and I rotate days that we do the dishes. I am M,W,F and he is T TH. Weekends are left for each person to do their own dishes. (note: "dishes" include wiping down counters and table, keeping kitchen area tidy)
2)Laundry: Laundry is always done at non-peak times to save energy. We each do our own laundry; clothes are to be kept in their designated spaces i.e. laundry basket, hung up, in the dresser
3) yard: I lucked out and the yard is my fathers pride and joy. he does most of the work, but if he occassionaly needs help with something(lifting/moving something, watering while he is out for the day) he lets me know and we work with my schedule.
4) "Dusting": dusting of furniture and blinds is done at least once a week by myself or my father.
5) Floors: I have a cat so I am in charge of sweeping/vacuuming a couple of times a week. My father mops.
6) Misc: The house is kept tidy by each person cleaning up their own mess. If we have an item out we are using, it gets put away before anybody else may need to access that area. If not, that item is at the mercy of whoever has to put it away! (and that may be in the garbage!)
7) food/groceries: my bf and i are very low income so I do eat my parents food. My mom cooks about 75% of the meals, I do the other 25%. Cooking meals at home helps us all save money. Every day food is shared, specialty items (like sodas, Splenda, cookies) are labeled with a colored sticker. So we know what is mine.
8) Bills: I pay $150 a month for utilities, and any of my own bills (car insurance, clothing, phone, etc I am responsible for 100%.)
9) Curfew: I have no curfew and as long as I do not come home loud or slamming the door (or am out every night) I can come and go as I please. Phone numbers for myself and my closest friends are always left posted near the kitchen telephone.

Sorry for the long response, but it is important to know what can work. I feel that it is really important to know that if you butt heads a lot with your child about chores, that there is typically a deeper issue that goes beyond the chores, so you may want to work on that first. I started lying to my mom as an adult because I was ashamed and afraid of her criticism. (not something i typically do because I was raised better). Also, if you are extremely disorganized and messy yourself, please do not expect your child to be super neat and tidy or to clean up all of your messes, she will likely get resentful. Rules are very important and will teach her to keep herself organized and be successful when she moves out on her own again.
good luck!


Your house, your rules. Obviously they don't need to be as strict as with your younger children, but they need to exist out of consideration to you & your husband. Once they become legal adults, they have a choice: stay at home & live by the rules you set or move out so they can make their own rules. I am still a young mom, but that is how my husband & I plan to treat our two when they are of age. My parents always had that rule & I never found a problem with it.

I'm coming at this as someone who was in your daughters shoes not too long ago, not as a mom with grown children as I am only 26. I lived at home only the first summer after I started college, so the summer between freshman and sophomore year. I was 19, and I followed all my parents rules. I never really had a curfew but my parents always knew where I was and what time I would be home. I was expected to help out around the house and was expected to be home for dinner at least sometimes. Now cut to a few years later to my brother living at home around the same age and everythings different. He goes out all the time, never tells my parents where he's going, has his gf sleep over (which by the way I was never allowed to do until I was engaged). He pretty much lives the same way as he does when he's at school. But, my parents trust him, as they should. My parents brought us up to be honest, make good decisions, etc...similar to what you said about how you and your husband raised your children. What I guess I'm getting at is you need to find thay happy medium...acknowledging that your child is a "grown woman" but also having some kind of line as she still is living under your roof, and from the sounds of it, for free. Now if she is paying rent, then no you really can't have too many rules, but if she's living there for free, then yes draw a line somewhere. But talk to her first, don't just come in and say these are the rules, talk about some rules that work for both sides. Even though my brother has it pretty easy compared to how I had it, I still feel like I could have done what I wanted back in the day, I just told my parents about it! Again, I'm coming from the point of view of your daughter, I could be totally off as my son is only 3months old and I have no parenting experience in this, just the child experience. Good luck, I hope you guys can figure out what works best for your family.

She's 20 and old enough to be on her own. If you are allowing her to live in your home, you have to allow her the freedom to be an adult, because that is what she is. She is no longer your little girl. You may want to talk to her, and let her know that you are worried about her and you can request that she let you know if she going to be gone late, but in the end she is an adult living in your home. If you want to help her out financially, that is something you will have to do without any strings attached at this age. Otherwise, you should let her start to try and take care of herself, possibly by charging her rent. If you are trying to help her get through school, your "rent" could be certain extra chores around the house or something like that. As a roommate she should be responsible for helping with the upkeep anyway. If you have raised your children the way you say you have, you need to trust them to make good decisions. Just ask yourself, what could you do if she didn't live at home? Not much, right?

ABSOLUTELY!! She is old enough to take responsibility for herself. It's your house and your rules. Not only will she be a better person for it, you are saving yourself from the same grief from the younger children. You KNOW they are watching how your 20 year old is acting and taking notes on what she gets away with. It's going to be tough for you to answer "Why can't I do that? You let xx do it!"

MOST Definately!!!

I have a wonderful 18 yr old daughter who simply couldn't live within the rules and moved out. She rents a room from her Aunt, has a steady job, pays her own bills including tuition and goes to community college full time! She admits it is worth the $$ she pays in rent and bills to avoid conflict with her parents. And we all enjoy each other more!

Recently, when she was recovering from surgery, she came home to be "nursed" by Momma. Toward the end of that time, she began getting back into her routine - which included coming home after midnight. I reminded her that she has younger school-aged siblings and parents who work and that coming into the house so late is inconsiderate to those you live with. I gently, and humorously, told her it was time for her to go home - the patient has been healed (ha ha) and the hospital is closed. We laugh about it because we know she's a night owl, but those late hours just don't work for the entire family.

Mom of 4

Hi N.,
Your house your rules. You and your husband need to sit down with your daughter and establish boundaries and rules for her to follow while she lives with you. She is an adult and has every right to make her own choices. If she chooses to live under your roof, she needs to obey your rules. Is she chooses to live elsewhere she'll need to follow the rules where she is. This is true for just about everything we do in our society. For instance she must obay traffic laws when she drives or risk loosing the priviledge.
All the best to all of you, S.

Hi N.. I think that if you're worried about your daughter you should have a rule that she at leasts calls you and tells you when she's going to be home....just explain to her that you're worried because that's what moms do..they worry naturally. If you wanted to be extreme you could band her from staying out late or whatever but.. in my experience that doesn't make for a good relationship. She needs to explore, she's getting some freedom and using it. Now on the other hand if she's doing rotten things and you know it then that's another story! I would definetly go extreme if that's the case..no being out late, take the car keys away, etc.. but you have to choose your battles here and figure out what's appropriate. Good luck!

Even with roommates that are not related, there are rules. It is important that your daughter learns how to respect others and be considerate.
I know that when I had roommates, we always made sure that we told each other if we were going to be gone overnight.

Good lord, of course you should have rules! It's your house! It's not about discipline as much as it is about mutual respect. Even roommates and spouses have rules for cohabitating. This should be a minimum for having your daughter live in your home. Further, if she's not contributing to the home financially in some way, she should be. I have been "out on my own" since 18, but I lived with my dad for a year during college and my mom at 28. Now, 8 years later, my husband, son and I (plus a baby girl in October) are living with mom again. I have ALWAYS paid rent, contributed to utility and phone bills and groceries. My husband and I were facing a raised rent and a new baby and my mom was out of work for half of last year, so we decided to combine households and we're very happy. But we all have rules to live by. Even at 36, I let my mom (and my husband, of course) know what time I'll be home and she does the same for me. We pick up after ourselves. We share household chores. Even my 2 year old is "responsible" for helping feed my mom's cat. He loves his little daily "chore". We all need structure in some form. Don't be afraid to set your boundaries!

It is always a sticky situation with an adult child living at home--- but YES, its still your house and especially when you still have a financial stake in her life then she has to answer to you when she is at home. It might help to appeal to her on an adult level, explaining that if she is going to live at home that there has to be a way for her to live at home, feel like an adult but not cause sleepless nights for her parents. Perhaps talking to her about basic guidlines as a "courtesy" to you and her dad. Also allowing her in on the adult responsibility of helping to make sure that she is a good example to her younger siblings. I think you obviously have the right to lay down rules as you want butI think that sometimes it is a hard pill to swallow for a child who is struggling with wanting to be an adult but not quite acting like one yet! Good luck!

First of all, the in-and-out as she pleases has to stop. You have a home, not a motel. She either lives with you or she doesn't, period. If she lives with you, then definitely there are rules to be followed. If she doesn't like them, she can move. She needs to understand that that is YOUR home and you are allowing her to stay there. This is a privilege not a right. Your legal obligation of having to let her live with you ended two years ago and everything she gets now is out of the kindness of your heart, not out of legal or moral obligation. And it is absolutely GUARANTEED that if you let her continue this way, the 18 year old will follow suit. You need to nip this in the bud right now!

I would sit down and have a talk with her. I think she should have rules, she still lives at home. Is she working or going to school? If going to school she can lend a hand around the house: do the dishes, help vacuum or clean the bathrooms. If working, let her pitch in financially. Let her be in charge of paying one of the smaller bills phone, water, etc... Let her know she is the oldest and setting an example for younger siblings.
Good luck.

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