Adult Child Living at Home

Updated on October 05, 2012
T.T. asks from Joshua, TX
21 answers

To pay rent or not to pay rent. That is the question.

In brief: had to quit college due to no money. Is 23. Has decided to work as a waiter instead of putting forth any effort in working in his field. Balks at the mere suggesting that he participate in the family and mostly stays in his room playing video games. Don't even think about asking him to take out the trash, pick up his stuff, do the dishes, etc. You'd think I asked him to paint the house or recarpet the family room.

We have an open relationship in that I ask him if he's ok, try and encourage him to get into his field, have gone so far as to set up job ops for him only to have him p*ss them away.

Yes, I'm aware he's probably depressed. No, he won't go to counseling. Yes, I've asked. No, I won't give him an ultimatum. Yes, I've thought about it.

I am going to ask for rent in hopes that he'll see that living at home isn't a party after all and he'll try and pursue his career.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Good wine I can drink while pondering the situation?

Thanks in advance.

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So What Happened?

First, this is all new to me. I left home at 17, got pregnant at 18 and short of having to stay with my mother (my dad died when I was 12) because I was living on someone's floor or getting divorced, I never ever wanted to come BACK home. I have no point of reference to wanting to be at

My daughter moved out at 18...hasn't been back either.

He is using me. I know this. I know he plays the guilt trip card. I know he sits and makes me the bad guy. I know when I sit down with him and tell him, he seems to turn it around and tell me how "grown up" I'm being...which leads to me wanting to RIP HIS EVER LOVIN HEAD OFF. Which leads me to screaming like I don't have sense. I HATE THIS.

Also, I am drinking a nice fruity red. And I can tell's not a bad way to end an evening. (Even tho thinking about this is ruining my buzz). YALL ARE AWESOME!!!!!

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answers from Las Vegas on

I require that my adult daughter pay rent if that is what you want to call it. It must be paid on time and in full. As well, I require that she do dishes, take out trash, clean her room, and her restroom. Does she get depressed? Maybe, don't most people from time to time? If I get depressed, I still have to pay the mortgage.

Charge him the rent and tell him to jump in and help, it may boost his self worth.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Tough love it is!!! Parents are NOT helping their adult children by letting live at home forever and rent free...Helping short term is one thing, but there needs to be a plan!!!

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

The way I see it is you don't get a free ride. He needs to contribute or get out. Contributing can be financially in the form of rent, or by working like painting the house.

As a member of the household, he needs to have responibilities/chores. When I ask my daughter to put away dishes, I get "I didn't dirty them". I need to constantly reminder her that's she's part of our family and we all work together to have a nice, healthy environment. I remind her, she used the bathroom, but I'm the one that cleaned it.

The longer you enable him, the worse the situation will become. So the sooner you have him start paying rent and setting up some responsibilities the better off you'll both be in the long run.

If he was living in a dorm room at school, an apt. with roommates, at a friend's house, or on his own, he would still have responsibilities/chores.

Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Pinot Noir if you want a sweet red. Perhaps a Syrah/Shiraz.
Pinot Grigio if you want a white. A Moscato is delicious too.

Your house, your rules mama.
I have a 22 year old. Quit school. No money also.
He's working but not in his field and won't seek counsel either.

I let him be, let him live his life so to speak for the simple reason that I have taught him all the right things, guided him to the best of my ability and if he hasn't got it yet, he is never gonna get it. With that said, I then set a new set of rules. I take rent and money for his Iphone, as he is on my plan and he has his set of chores to do in the house. He throws out trash and does dishes whenever they are in the sink. After breakfast, dinner, whatever. He does his laundry. So, just lay down the rules of him living at home. His alternative is to get his own place. Good luck.

Girls are different, more independent. My stepdaughter moved out at 18 and comes back and forth all the time.

SWH RESPONSE: when he tells you "how grown up you are being", instead of screaming, say: yes, this is what it's like to be a grown up, care to join the grown up world?....and proceed to lay down the new rules. Your closing statement is : if you don't like my rules, there's the door and you can try living in the real world, with your rules and see how that goes for you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

How about a meaty cabernet sauvignon? I like a wine I can chew ...

I think charging rent is appropriate. You can be depressed and still pay rent. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but when I was 18 and hadn't yet moved out, but was working, I paid rent. It was part of the deal.

Time to sit him down and lay out a plan that you (and your SO agree to) have come up with. A reasonable rent, let him know what his share of the utilities are. If he's really depressed, cut a deal; he gets a reduced rent ONLY if he's going to counseling. Or, if it feels too rough to have him moping around and sabotaging himself, then just tell him "get counseling or you need to find another place that is in keeping with your lifestyle.

He needs a very loving kick in the pants. Sorry. Maybe you might want to go to counseling and get a 'second opinion', talk through what your worries are for him. No parent ever wants to give their kids an ultimatum, but sometimes a bit of tough love helps them out much better than waiting for them to 'get it together'.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

You are hamstringing yourself by not giving him an ultimatum. He doesn't have to pay, just like he doesn't have to help in the house, if you aren't willing to say "shape up or ship out".

There are plenty of college students who need roommates in their apartments. He needs to find one and move in. They would be good examples for him to see, people working towards a goal while he spins his wheels.

I'm sorry, but so what if he is depressed. He's not going to get any better spending his time playing games in your house. He will have to work more and really be responsible for paying rent if he lives with someone else.

Stop letting him be depressed be an excuse for letting him off the hook for responsibility. Depressed people live everyday being responsible for their lives. Hopefully, being responsible will help him decide to seek help if this is what is wrong.

Sending you strength~

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Uh, its time for some tough love. I paid rent starting when I turned 18 until I bought a condo at age 24. I paid rent, had "chores" and told my mom when to expect me home and when not to. I think you need to tell your son that if he's going to be living at home, then he WILL pay $ for rent, take out the trash and do his own laundry, clean his bathroom and his room and communicate where he is when he isn't home. Those are the minimum I would have him do. He would have to do basic things around the house if he lived with a bunch of roommates. Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I let my kids move back home IF (!!!) they went to college and worked to pay for books and tuition. No rent if they were going to college.

If they weren't going to college, then they paid rent. If they didn't want to work and pay rent and help out around the home (if they weren't going to college), then I offered to take them to the freeway overpass of their choice or to the local homeless shelter.

All of my kids have some college. Some have graduated and have post graduate degrees or are working on them.

You begin to set the standards when they were 2 or 3. If you didn't enforce your standards, then it is much harder to enforce some sort of standard now.

The first thing I would do now is to make the rules and ENFORCE them. Other wise get a tattoo that says "door mat" so you and he know where you are coming from.

One of my first rules would be "No video games until you have a job and are enrolled in class or have paid rent". Then, the number of hours on the video games cannot be more than half the hours you spend working and studying.

I saved the money my kids paid in rent and gave it back to them when they moved out.

A mom's job teaching her kids the right path to walk in this life is not an easy one. Good luck to you and yours.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I kicked my son out, but he wasn't working at all and we have a family business he can work in, he is now and doing quite well.

I graduated with my masters in accounting, I could be a CPA. I chose to stay where I am at in payroll, very underemployed. This economy is very depressing.

I agree ask for rent, but as long as he is working, cut him a bit of slack.

I prefer a good Cab, unless it is a bad day, then a good Port.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Well it sounds like he's got it pretty sweet so I guess you'd better get used to it! I'd recommend a nice 08-09 Cabernet, Napa County of course :)
Seriously though, if you love the "kid" you don't accept this.
The LEAST he can do is pay rent.
And DON'T feed him.
But if you're not willing to give him an ultimatum then I don't know what to tell you....
Sometimes mama birds must push their stubborn babies out of the nest.
This may be a good place to start: go in his room while he is working and confiscate his computer and video games.
Let him know you're holding it as collateral until the first month's rent is due.
It's time for him to grow up, and for you to let go.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

Do not ask him for rent.
Present him with a lease agreement outlining his tenant responsibilities.
Heck, give him 2 options - one straight flat rent - two, reduced rent along with a chore list. If chores are not done, he defaults to flat rent.
If he balks at that, present him with a written timeline of when he has to find other living arrangements.

You need to prod him into self sufficiency. Hopefully, realizing that he can be self sufficient will help lift his self esteem which may lift his depression. Assuming his depression is just situational and not organic.

Let him be a waiter for now - it is an honorable profession. Do not worry about what he is working at, just be glad he is working. :)

As for wine - I like a nice Reisling for white and Pinot Noir for red.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Yes! He should pay rent! I lived with my mom Until I was 27, including some of the time I was in college. The ONLY time I was not expected to pay rent was when I was in school full time. It was understood that I was an adult and, unless I was in school, I was expected to pull my own weight in the household. Seemed right to me, both then and now.

He needs to learn that his room and board has value to it. I don't know if you also provide him with food, do his laundry, etc, but if you do, pull the reins back on that also. It's going to have to hurt a little for him to really get the message. (Make him pay for wi-fi if that's possible, either with chores or money. I'm sure that would get the message across ;)).

I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but as a parent what is best isn't always what is easiest! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Pay rent. It doesn't need to be $3000. Pay something that contributes. We were going to charge my SS the equivalent of DD's very reasonable preschool tuition and a portion of the cable/internet/utilities that he would also be using. He would have everything else covered and you can't get a closet here to live in for less than $900, no utilities. My mom also said that I could move home when I had a rough semester in college, but I'd be working and paying her rent.

If you don't charge him $$, charge him time. If he wants to do neither, give him a timeframe to change his attitude or change his address. If he wants to be a waiter at this time, let it go. Let him be a waiter. It's money. But he should contribute to the chores if he lives there. I wouldn't push the career. Let him figure it out. Maybe he doesn't like his field anymore. Whatever. Just be employed and help out.

Hazel also has some good tips.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Just read your SWH.

No need for you to feel guilty and fall into his guilt trap. He's 23 it's his life and it is time for him to sink or swim on his own dime.

It is time for you to issue him some serious altimatums. He either must pay you market value rent by Novemeber 1, 2012 or get out. What you do with the rent money is your business. You can either save it to give back to him as a gift when he moves out or spend it on nice things for yourself. Doesn't matter it is your money. There is no need for you to feel guilty. You have done your work and now it is his turn. He is 23. TIME TO CUT THE CORD and get him to fly.

If you die today, how will he be prepared to handle life. How will he afford roof over his head, clothes on his back, or food in his stomach?

If he can't figure out what to do, you can definitely assist him in figuring it out outside of your home. He is 23 and the military has plenty of openings where they will cloth, shelter and feed you for service to your country and provide you with college money. His problem with college money could be solved in as little as 2-4 years of military service and he would be out of your house.

The beautiful thing for me about him being 23 is that if you need to call in the authorities to get him out of YOUR house he will have to comply and leave.

Sounds like he needs some tough love. It's time for him to man up for the sake of your sanity, his future and his future children's future. Some day he may have kids and a wife, he needs to be equipped to handle that and not be a burden to his wife like he has become to you.

To sum it up, either he pays you rent or he gets out. No guilt required. He is 23 not 3. Time to grow up. Isn't what you raised him to do? It simply becomes I love you and you have to go if you are unwilling to pay rent. He is able he can work. He may need to work more but he needs to want more for himself. Don't you think so?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Rent is a good option. I wouldn't put him out - just yet. Base rent on what he really afford to pay. You should also outline the rules that he must follow living in your home. If you just continue to let him do whatever he wants, he'll be living with you when he's 40. You should limit your help to avoid enabling him. Stop setting up jobs for him. Make him do the work. He will value it more. Are you gonna go to work for him when he decides he doesn't want to go? He's bummed out because he had to leave school, but that is no excuse to coddle him. Are there any male figures or role models in his life that can advise him? He needs your support, but he also needs guidance that is going to help him, not make things comfortable for him. Life is not comfortable. He might just be in a rut, but you need to take charge of outlining what you will and will not accept in your house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

He's out of school, so he pays rent. Period. Or you can start eviction proceedings (ha).
He's a member of the household, so he does chores. Period. Or you can start eviction proceedings.
Don't feel guilty. This is just a fact of life and something he needs to do if he's going to be in your home. Even my FIVE year old does chores around the house because that is what family members do, he earns allowance, he pays 10% in tithes/charity and 10% to savings, and can do what he wants with the other 80%. So at 23, I'm expecting he can put his big boy pants on and earn a little money, pay rent and his expenses, help out with some basic household maintenance (he'd have to if he had his own apartment!), and act like he's part of the family.
I also like fruity reds. Although I'm more partial to a nice hot chai.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If this were me, and I say this because this is how my parents handled us... I would charge a few bucks rent - not a lot but just something to put toward the water, electric, etc. to make him see he does not get a free ride. My parents charged us like $10 week when we started working but still wanted/needed to live at home; of course that was about 30 years ago but it made us be more responsible. I intend to do this with my own children!

I would also point out that he needs to put some money in the bank and not just spend it all. As for house rules - he NEEDS to pick up his stuff, dishes, etc. Think about the future - don't you want him to be good husband material? I would never want my son getting married thinking the wife is always going to be picking up after him, etc.

I would be telling him yes, everyone falls on tough times and we get to slump around for a little while but then we have to pick ourselves back up and move on!!!

Can't he go the student loan route? I've already told my kids I'm not going to get all worked up about paying for college. I figure they'll be working to help pay for as much as they can, I'll help as much as I can and then we'll get student loans and pay them off as we are able. Or they'll have to co-op or something.

I love sweet wines: I enjoy Boones Farm once in awhile because it is cheap and still gives you a little buzz. lol!! But then I also like the Mogan David sweet wines - they're yummy - and still reasonably priced!!!

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

When I was 28, I moved back in with my folks while I was writing my dissertation. Rent was to be $400, but my mom let me work off $200 by deep cleaning her house every week. I also helped make dinner and did shopping.

I'd suggest to your son that he has to pay rent and can work off some of it by doing X, Y and Z. He's 23. He's an adult. It's time that he learns how to make his way in the world.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

To stick to your main question... yes, have him pay rent. Make it a requirement and have him sign a rental agreement that includes chores.



answers from Dallas on

I'm going through the same problem and had to kick my 24 yr old son out. He had some money to live on but I don't want him to move back in. No job either and won't follow the leads I have sent to him. I know he is doing drugs and is unmotivated. I also thought he was depressed and asked his doctor for help but my son doesn't want to go or find out what is keeping him from being a man. He has an apt with a friend for 10 more months and I might have to use his college fund if he defaults. I would ask for rent or start charging him for maid services. I have talked to several friends who are going through the exact problem even my family doctor so you aren't the only one. They don't know how to be a man and live on their own. I guess the helicopter parenting is biting us in the @@@. Try a Trader Joe's merlot while you are pondering this. My son had all the opportunities handed to him and is an ungrateful person who doesn't appreciate his family. At least your son has some kind of career. I think the video games are the cause of this and they live in a fantasy world in their games. Sorry to vent but don't know what to do either.



answers from Dallas on

Pay rent, but with 30 days advance notice. Time for tough love. Sorry you have a bum son, but he's old enough to make his own choices. He seems closed to your Mommy help, so now you have to be the adult.

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