Ground Rules for Adult Child Moving Home

Updated on March 01, 2016
M.M. asks from Allen, TX
25 answers

Our son graduated college in May. He works as a freelance camera man in the TV & film industry and rents a room in a house from a friend. His housemate's girlfriend and child may be moving in there in June which would require my son to live elsewhere. We have touched on the possibility of him coming home for a while but would only want to do so if it is in his best interest. We have always told our children they cannot live off of us. There would be rent to pay and they would have to contribute to the household. My days as "Mommy" are in the past.

While he did earn around $30k last year (and finished school spring semester as a full time student) and is working a fair amount, his income is neither predictable nor steady. He chose a tough industry. We would like to see him work on full-time employment with a paycheck. We would also like to see him have a savings goal for a specific period of time, improve his decorum and upgrade his eating habits - still eating like he is in college. He's not a problem and doesn't get into trouble, but he can get a little cocky when we offer advice. It's almost shades of a teen attitude sometimes - which he didn't have so much as a teen, surprisingly. In the 8 months since he graduated college, I have seen a lot of maturity as he begins to navigate adulthood on his own, and I do enjoy his company. He has been working a lot, but it is just so unreliable.

Questions to you wonderful Mammas:
1) Would you let him move home? If so for how long and under what conditions?
2) What would you require beyond rent, 4 hours a week household help and house rules ( girlfriends over, no clothes left in the dryer,etc?)
3) Other wisdom! :-)

I actually don't think it would be a totally bad idea to be home - FOR A WHILE- if he has specific goals and is accountable for those goals. I think we could mentor him on job hunting and building an adult budget if he will receive it and not get cocky.

Good idea or bad idea?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you all for being my trusted sounding board. I really appreciate the perspectives and the kindness with which you responded.

Elena B. described my feelings precisely. Dad says, no way to coming home at all for the reasons many of you have stated. I have been on my own, fully supporting since I was 18 with one brief exception. I was allowed to come home once, no rent. That lasted about 8 months.

He is a man. He is responsible. He is fun and funny. I wish he would dress a little neater for work because, like Elena B. says, its not a Mommy thing, it's a World thing. He is bright and talented but as a "grown up" we all know that the way you present yourself in the world makes all the difference in how you set the tone for those with the power to help you achieve your goals. You are right. He has to figure it out for himself. I did.

He has not specifically asked to come home, nor does he want to if he doesn't have to. I wanted your feedback so that I can both prepare my heart and head for the best adult parenting response should it come to him wanting to come back. I have suggested that he look for a roommate that would be closer to his primary contract job. I agree. If there is a gap, then OK for a short period of time. While I miss having my kids pop in an out (the babies just left for college this fall), I enjoy my home staying tidy!

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

He is an adult. If he moves home, you need to totally let go of stipulations like "save a certain amount", "upgrade eating habits", "get a different job" etc.

Yes he pays rent and cleans his own messes. Beyond that, if you try to set a bunch of other rules, it's going to lead to resentment on both sides.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I haven't read all of the responses, but I do have one suggestion. If you do let him move in with you, and you do charge him rent, put that money in a savings account and and save it for him so that he can have a "nest egg" when he is back on his feet.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

I don't think it is a good idea.
You have a lot of control issues here. He's an adult. It's better for your relationship if you stop treating him like an improvement project and let him find his own way. Your conditions are unreasonable. Eating habits? I mean, he's not five or eleven or fifteen. Move past pretending he still is a child who needs working on. He's a man. He's paid his bills and is working hard to pursue his dream.

Maybe he wasn't allowed to flex his own personality as a teen (when we should be allowing that within some limits, good parents can handle their bids for autonomy and the conflict that comes with it), so he's doing it now. You find him being his own person with his own opinions "cocky". So, no, it's not in his best interest to move back in and be treated like a child paying rent. Not at all.

17 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

With rules treating him like a child, he's probably not going to move home.

He's 22? He's not "cocky", he's just not a baby or a teen. He's finding his own way in the world. He has a career. It's unstable, but it's what he wants to do. He's supported himself so far, so back off on pushing him into the career path YOU want. It's not yours, it's his.

Just back off all around, even if he doesn't end up staying with you. He's an adult and he can eat what he wants, save what he wants. You're going to drive him away.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't think he should move home. First of all you don't sound like you want him there, you resent the idea of your children living off of you (?) and you're no longer "mommy" ? Wow, your home and family life sounds pretty cold :-(
Also, you can't have it both ways. You can't expect him to behave like an adult if your going to have rules and chores and expect him to take your advice and do things YOUR way. That just keeps him in a childlike state of dependence, not to mention it would also be very depressing for him.
Charge him rent if you want to but for crying out loud treat him like the man he is and let him come and go and date and figure out his life and career for himself.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

any time my kids need or want to come home, they can. this will always, always be their home.
i wouldn't support them (barring exceptional circumstances) and of course there would be discussions about expectations. the same as there would be if any other adult moved in with us.
what does 'in his best interest' mean to you? if he's prone to taking advantage, lazy, indolent or rude, then yeah, i can see you having some qualms, but from what you describe he's a pretty typical young man. he's working, and in an industry where the steady reliable paycheck you (naturally) want for him isn't common. but he earned good money even as a student, so it's likely he'll at least keep himself solvent, right?
his savings, 'decorum' (what the heck?) and eating habits are no longer any of your business. you say your days as 'mommy' are in the past and yet here you are insisting that you get to micromanage an adult's money and dietary habits.
would you have tolerated that from your parents?
a young person moving back home to get through a rough patch is generally just looking for small space of time to get on their feet, not to be chivvied about their 'decorum' or told what to eat.
so to answer your questions,
1) of course. i wouldn't set a time frame on it (but my kids are motivated and would never want to leech off us), and the conditions would be that they would pay some portion of the bills that would increase due to their stay, and we'd negotiate that. in the case of a kid trying to get on their feet, it would seem counter-productive to charge them rent, so i doubt we'd do that. but if they were actually moving home to stay for a long time, and it wasn't to take care of us if we became infirm or to work on the farm, rent might factor in.
we would absolutely expect that he would do his own share of the household chores and upkeep. we'd discuss and make clear our expectations beforehand.
2) already addressed the rent, but for a young adult i would not be keeping a chore chart that designated hours, or overseeing his social life. if he quit helping out, had noisy sex or wild parties or trashed the laundry area i'd be furious at myself for failing so completely as a parent, and yeah, i'd have to revisit everything. but under normal circumstances i wouldn't have a cow over a bowl left in the sink or by having to say 'move your laundry, i need the machines' either.
i raised intelligent competent young adults. if they needed to come home, i'd welcome them and treat them like intelligent competent young adults. i would not assume they needed me to oversee their goals and accomplishments, or to be mentored by me, nor to take charge of their finances. naturally if they asked for help in any of these areas i'd give it.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My oldest daughter is home now, for a semester, and my son graduates in May and will likely be home for a time as well.
Assuming space isn't an issue, I think adult kids living at home is doable.
The tricky part is remembering that they ARE young adults. They may always be our children but they certainly aren't really children at all and you shouldn't treat him as such.
We don't charge our kids for rent or food (our choice, and we can afford it) but anything else they want is on them. They both have part time jobs in addition to going to school. They are expected to clean up their messes and do the same chores they always did, taking out the trash, walking the dog, etc. They've been doing their own laundry for years so that's never been an issue.
As far as goals and attitude? Look, be realistic, no young person wants to be "mentored" by mom and dad. It's in their nature to strike their own path and think they know better than you anyway. So if you can't handle that (and the inevitable sometimes cocky behavior) then maybe it's not a good idea.
But if you can sit down, make a list of expectations that you both can agree on, then it absolutely could work.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We are fortunate to own our home and have room to share. When one of our children asked to move home to move back to the area, we welcomed him. I guess we were always fairly strict and he was always responsible around the house, so we had no rules. We didn't charge rent, as we didn't need it. We didn't enter (or clean) his room and he did his own laundry. This allowed him to save all his money for the apartment he rented several months later. No schedule from us, no expectations that he would join us for dinner (although he often showed up at our appointed dinner time), and no hovering over finances or future. Our only rule was that if he was going to be out past our typical bedtime, that he call us to let us know where he was, and that he never, ever, drink and drive. We explained that we knew he had lived independently, but now that he was in the house, this was a curtesy we all extended to one another.

If our circumstance were different, for example if we needed the rent, we may have done things differently. All my best.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't see an issue with allowing an adult child to move back home temporarily if it means helping that child get on/stay on their feet or allow them the time to save money for their own place or something like that. As a parent, I will do what I can to help my daughter in any way.

My opinion might be different if I had a child with a lazy streak or sense of entitlement vs a responsible child who is working hard.

Of course, a lot of it has to do with your family dynamics. Not all parents and children can get along after a child has moved out and then boomerangs.

I would have a written agreement with house rules. I probably would not charge rent if she were saving for a house, etc.

Our daughter is 21 and has lived alone in a condo we purchased since she was 18 to go to college locally. Even with our situation, we have a written agreement on expectations of how the condo is taken care of, etc. I'm fortunate that she's about 20 minutes from me so we see each other a couple times a week for lunch/dinner and she brings her laundry to my home to do her laundry weekly.

My husband and I often discussed that if our daughter were ever in need, even after she was married that we would open our home to her. We have the space so the issues would be managing day to day with a new setup. The condo will be put in her name and she will have to option to stay or sell depending on where she goes to grad school. She loves her condo tho and says she's staying for a long time!

It sounds like you have a responsible son and he just needs a little help in order to be solely financially stable. Just make sure you all understand rules that are in writing.

Good luck

ETA: I'm in your area and apartments are plentiful around here. He might like having an apartment and roommate. It just depends on your family and how you wish to manage it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If you want a room mate run an ad. If you want your adult son to come live in your home then treat him like an adult, not a child that has to mind. You don't get to tell him how to dress, what to eat, when to come home or even if he has to come home for days at a time.

If he wants to go out and have sex and spend the night away from home you don't have a right to say he has to do anything. You are not his boss in any way.

Print out a lease. State he is expected to pay $XXX per month. Period. He's a room mate not a child moving home.

If you can't get past the fact that he doesn't have to tell you anything, eat anything you cook that he can walk in the kitchen at 3am and cook a full out meal if he wants or sleep until noon every day it doesn't matter and isn't your business.

He's an adult and you don't have the right to tell him anything or do anything more than ask him to pay rent.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

I don't think most adult kids are excited about moving back in with their parents. I think it can work if both parties are respectful of each other's boundaries. From what you've written, it sounds as though you're setting expectations and if he doesn't fly the way you want, it's unacceptable. That's not going to work. He chose the field he's in. If it's unpredictable, he will figure it out. We are self employed. It's very unpredictable. We know to save when we're busy so when it's slow, we have a cushion.

Please don't try to force him into your ideal for his life. I have a brother and sister. We were raised by the same parents who modeled the same values. My brother does what he has to do to barely make a living. My sister and I are driven and live much differently. My parents taught us to budget, work hard and be good people. Just because my brother chose a different way doesn't mean we work on him to see it our way. If we did that I'm sure he'd grow very tired of trying to have a relationship with us.

Please love him for who HE is. Not what your ideal is for him. Your post reads to me, I'll let him move home so I can work on him. He doesn't need that from you. He needs love, support and encouragement. Offer advise IF he asks for it.

I whole heartedly believe an adult kid who comes home should help with expenses (whatever that looks like). I moved home with my parents for 6 weeks while a remodel was going on in my house that made it unlivable. During that time my mom didn't wash a dish or cook very often. I took care of grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. I paid an amount weekly because I knew utilities etc. would increase. My parents didn't want to accept any money from me. If I had been forced into a hotel setting, I would've paid several times that. I still did my own thing without feeling like she or my dad were watching what I was doing. He is an adult now. Please treat him as you would've wanted to be treated by your parents if you found yourself in this position.

Ask him what he thinks would make it a doable situation. You might be surprised that he's already thinking about how he can take responsibility in that environment. You can at least hear what he's thinking. Maybe he already recognizes he's going to need a part time job until he can get established. I find it's always easier to hear what my kids are thinking before I set rules. They usually have great ideas I incorporate into what I was planning.

Your relationship with your son is invaluable. If you think you can't abide his life choices, don't let him move in. Damaged relationship isn't worth it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My home will always be open to my children. I would only charge a small amount: it could be coverage of a certain utility bill or $100 monthly just because that I can add it to my grocery bill or gas. I love the company of folk under my roof: siblings, friends new to the city, nieces.

I recall living with my parents, hubby and I when we first moved back to the state, and our parents charged zero.

It is what home is for us and our extended family.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Well, as a mom of 2 boys, one who graduated in May and one who is still in school, I understand where you're coming from.

Here's the thing. You are saying that you want him to work on full-time employment, save money and fix his lifestyle. You seem to think that he'll do that if he can come back to "easy street". You may think that giving him a list of rules will make home not seem easy, but you're wrong about that. He's not going to work on your wish list. He's going to pursue his "dream" and still be without that steady job or savings. And he's going to leave his stuff all over the place and you'll end up getting in arguments with him. Either you will ask him to leave finally, or he'll be sick of "putting up with your generosity" and he'll leave, no better off than when he came.

You can mentor him on job hunting and budgeting when he's living somewhere ELSE. That's when he'll appreciate the recommendations - when he's strapped and HAVING to figure things out. Not when he's at home, comfortable and not worried about money.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I lived at home for awhile after graduating because I couldn't find a job. My parents didn't charge me anything or expect me to help pay for anything. I helped with the same household chores that I did in high school. Not because my parents demanded it, but because I had been raised to contribute to our family. There weren't any new rules added. Again, because I had been taught common courtesy. My parents didn't feel they needed to set any rules. And honestly, if there had been a lot of new rules and I was still being treated like a high school kid, I probably wouldn't have gone home.

If you feel the need to set a bunch of rules, it might not be a good idea for him to live at home. When you offer him the opportunity to live at home, talk as a team about what the expectations should be for everyone. If you expect him not to have his girlfriend over that's part of common courtesy. But he should be able to set some boundaries as well; like not having his parents going into his browser history or reading his mail. He is an adult now and pretty much lived on his own in college. It would not be fair to have a curfew for him.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think this is tricky. I agree with you - lots of things to consider. I have seen instances of this where it has gone horribly wrong (my BIL is still at home and he's middle aged) and I've seen instances where it was terrific. A co-worker friend of mine lived at home while she was engaged and working. She and her fiance (he lived with his parents) saved enough for a down payment on their first house. So in that case, they had a plan. They had goals. And really, mom and dad were just allowing her to live at home (rent free) so long as she put the money towards her future. It was very savvy really.

I think that's the thing - there has to be a goal. I think being a landlord/charging rent is very hard for parents to do. And insisting they follow the rules. You have to watch it doesn't ruin your relationship.

If he can get another room or a roommate and share an affordable place, I would chose that over having him back with you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

He needs to rent another room or get an apartment of his own.
He might need roommates to swing it but he's an adult, earning a living - he needs to figure this out.
Don't let him move home.
The only way I'd allow it is if you had an apartment over the garage separate from your home and he's paying rent as if he were anyone else paying rent.
AND you have a written out lease agreement - has to be renewed monthly/annually/etc - just like any other renter (and he better have his own renters insurance too).
His savings, eating habits, decorum - it's all part of his growing process - and you've taken him as far as you can - leave him to it - or his future wife can handle it.
Either way - you stay out of it.
Like you've said - you've done all the 'mommying' you're going to do - and you're done!
If he eventually lives local to you - bring him a bag of groceries from time to time - or invite him out to eat a meal with you.
You have an adult relationship with him going forward.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Ours moved home right after college - he started a job with a good company but his ultimate work location was "iffy" in the beginning while he was training. So he lived here for 8 months until he got settled and then found a room in a friend's apartment. That was 3.5 years ago. In June, there was a bit of a crisis in his new apartment so he moved home temporarily, anticipating getting a place with his girlfriend. Stuff happened, they broke up, and so he's actively working to find a place on his own without her in the picture.

The first time was a little dicey - he had the "I'm an adult" attitude with the attendant "I can do what I want" mantra. We did charge him rent and he was fine with it, and we also had to learn to let go of things like expecting him to be home for dinner or whatever. He'd been on his own for 4 years at college with no curfew, so we learned to not be parents in that regard. We didn't plan on him for dinner - he could fix himself something when he arrived, or he could go out. If we had leftovers, he was welcome to them. He'd been doing his own laundry for years (since he was 15) so that was simple to continue. If he left stuff in the washer or dryer and we needed to use them, his stuff got dumped in a laundry basket and he could deal with it on his own terms. We stayed out of his room but closed the door if it was messy.

The second time he came home, it was totally different - he'd been on his own for a long time and he was grateful that we helped him in an emergency. We supported him emotionally through the breakup, but he also was an enormous help to us when my husband developed a rare medical condition that landed him in ICU and so forth. He doesn't pay rent this time, but he has taken on certain bills (substantial ones) so it works out. We allowed him to put a lock on his door so it's more like his own apartment. The restriction is that he cannot lock it during the night - if there were ever a fire or a household emergency and we couldn't get in there...

I would say your son should pay rent, at least on his room if not counting the common areas. Give up on telling him he has to keep it clean - just shut the door and do not go in there. Anything he did for himself at college, he does for himself at your house: housekeeping, laundry, meals. I don't think you can micromanage his "eating habits" whatever that means, but you don't need to buy junk food for him if he only wants frozen pizza and mac/cheese. He can buy those things himself. When he runs out of money, that's on him.

I'm not sure how you plan to police/supervise 4 hours a week in chores. If he doesn't do it, then what? You nag him like he's 8 years old? That just makes everyone miserable. I think it's better to give him certain ones regardless of how long they take - dishes in dishwasher, trash on trash days, whatever your needs are. "Clothes out of dryer is fine" but if he doesn't, you're stuck with no dryer! So just dump things on his floor or put them in a heap in a laundry basket (if he has his own bathroom, put the basket in his shower!).

Our son has a TV in his room (he bought it) and he pays for the cable now plus the WiFi (which we get to use elsewhere in the house). If he doesn't pay it, he loses it too, not just us. So there's never a problem. He does all our technical stuff with computers - a huge help. He does yard work and home repairs, and he pays for trash pick-up/recycling.

Food - I shop and he's responsible for putting stuff on the grocery list when we're low - especially fruit and yogurt, which he inhales. If he wants weird stuff, he buys it himself - but he also usually texts me and says he's going to the store so do I need anything too. He eats out a lot or they bring in sandwiches to his work, so he doesn't eat a lot.

We let him half his girlfriend overnight - we weren't going to police his sex life since he'd been on his own for 4 years. We happily showed her where the clean towels are. I did tell him I expected to be told when she was coming over and I wasn't cleaning the house on her behalf! We absolutely don't ask him when he's coming home although if I'm cooking something special I tell him it's on hand and he can have some - as a result, he usually reciprocates and tells me what he's doing.

I think, if your kid has improved in the maturity department, you can celebrate that. I don't think you can really tell an adult child to have a savings goal, and I think you have to watch the advice-giving! You have to try not to mother him all the time - and that means not making his dinner or cleaning his dishes or whatever. He's an adult - treat him that way. You want a shift in his attitudes, but you need to make one in your role as well. But he's a tenant, so he has obligations. Make up an agreement if you want, but make it based on money as well as the common areas (he can't leave his stuff everywhere). Figure out what you're going to do if he doesn't get paid - as a landlord would do.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My 2nd daughter has moved home twice (she is 25 now)- both times were for specific reasons and had specific timelines of no more than 3 months. She is the most "like me" when it comes to cleaning and being responsible around the house, so that really wasn't a worry. However, I have found that it is nearly "impossible" to not get the lines blurred between "mom and kiddo" and "renter." I was very ready both times for her to move out when she did! Even when my kids come for extended stays (college breaks, etc.) I find that it doesn't take long for them to remember how good they had it living at home and strive to get that back :) I, on the other hand, am not looking to do any extra work, even for the people I love the most, on a long term basis.

I think that setting a fairly short and very specific time frame that you are willing to stick to is a great idea. I also found that lowering my expectations as to what they actually WILL do vs. what I would like them to do, allowed me to keep my temper and survive the few weeks or months they are staying with me. $30k a year isn't a world class income, but it is enough to live on if you are somewhat frugal. Especially since he isn't looking for any more than a room, his living expenses should be able to be kept quite low.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would let him move home, with a set-in-stone move out date within one year. Beyond rent, I would require him to 100% clean up after himself (room, dishes, laundry, general pick-up), If he eats family meals with you and dad, then has has to take at least 2 nights per week of dishes. No girls spending the night; no overnight guests at all without specific, advance permission, and overall general consideration for the household.

If I were you, I would back off all the advice and let him do his own job hunting and budgeting unless he asks for your help. He has to make his own mistakes, fall down and pick himself back up - that's what builds character!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

My daughter moved back after leaving an abusive boyfriend. We functioned more as adult roommates than parent and child.
Rules were simple - it's your home, but MY house. MY name is the one on the mortgage.

1 - Pay your way. She was required to pay half the water, electric, and cable bills, and half the shared groceries. Any special foods items she wanted for herself, she paid for. She paid for her pets' food and medication. Her car was in my name and on my insurance (because insurance was MUCH cheaper that way) and she had to pay half the insurance. Her share of the bills came to about $400 a month for her to live in a three bedroom house with a fenced yard, and have all her pets - a better deal than she could have gotten from any landlord.
2 - I don't have a maid, and I am not a maid. She had to clean up after herself, do her own laundry, and do half the housework.
3 - I am not a short order cook. When I cooked for myself, I cooked enough for two. I cooked what I wanted to cook when I felt like cooking. If she didn't want it, she was free to make her own meals, and clean up the kitchen when she was done. If I didn't feel like cooking, I didn't cook. HER dinner was not MY responsibility.
4 - I didn't care if she wanted to have dates spend the night, as long as she closed her door when they were getting jiggy, and didn't get so loud that they frightened the livestock. I sometimes had dates spend the night and I gave her the same courtesy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I don't think I'd let him move home, quite honestly. It rarely goes well, and it enables "kids" however old they might be. The real world doesn't have a safety net.
He may not work in his field. That's how it goes. When you or I couldn't find a job "in our fields", the bills still need to get paid in full. So you go find a full time somewhere...waiting tables, Starbucks, bartending...whatever. You find a job. Period. And you live off what you make - meaning finding rent you can afford, etc...

So, personally, I would not allow this. Good kid or not, the only way he's going to learn life lessons - and he's an adult now - is for you to make him learn them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

It would probably be best for him to look for a room to rent somewhere else, maybe with another young adult. It is not unheard of for young people to share apartments/houses.

This way he still keeps his independence and you keep your sanity. I could see if he needed to come back in an emergency, but its best to encourage him to stay on his own.

Also, sometimes people need to fail so they will work harder in the future.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I just don't think it's a good idea. He doesn't seem to need rescuing. I'm assuming he's about 22 or 23 (unless he went to college late, or took longer than 4 years to complete his degree). I have a 27 year old son, and those 21-24 years can be the cockiest, slobbiest, most free-spending years when many parents wonder what they did wrong.

It took my son until about age 24 to start figuring out that a well-fitting, pressed, clean shirt was not a "mommy" thing, but a "world" thing. Same with a clean apartment, a healthy diet, paying bills on time, and saving money. He didn't get into any trouble either, he just felt that a swagger in a ripped shirt would impress the business world or a potential client. Now he gets it.

By the way, he's in the audio engineering industry. He put in some free interning time after graduating from college, then free-lanced, then worked part-time for various sound stages and sound production studios, then full time, and just this past month he was offered a salaried position with the small company he's been working hourly for (hooray! we are so proud of him!). But he did it by showing up for work early and staying late (demonstrating a good work ethic), going above and beyond the minimal requirements, always showing up for a gig or event, being sober, never needing a ride but having his own reliable (though pretty old) car, and dressing neatly. He still dresses appropriately for the gig, which sometimes is a black t shirt and black pants, or wearing a t shirt with the logo of the band he's doing sound production for, but his clothes are clean and intact, and he is clean too. He also owns a nice suit which he wears for more upscale events. He only owns one, a basic black suit, and he switches out the neckties so it looks like a different suit (he hopes).

He has stayed in our home for a little bit at times, but only over a weekend, or, for example, when it was March 19th and his new apartment was not available for move-in until March 30th, something like that. Moving home is not for purposes of instilling decorum or for learning to eat something besides beer and Doritos. It's for extreme situations (escaping an abusive relationship with nowhere else to go, when the adult child has been arrested, when the adult child cannot stay sober for even one day, when recovering from illness or surgery, when a financial crisis has occurred such as the adult child's place of employment shutting down without notice). Your son doesn't need rescuing.

I think your son just needs time to grow up. He's a college graduate so presumably intelligent, and he'll figure stuff out. Let him apply for and get his own place. If necessary, if there's a slow month (and I get that, since my son has experienced many "dry" months), then help him A LITTLE with the rent. But moving home will just make him comfy. You don't want him to be comfy. You want him to be mature. It sounds like you've taught and demonstrated the importance of a clean body and a clean living situation, being fiscally responsible, and how to have manners. Give him a little time for them to all sink in. It's almost like they know this stuff, but to adopt them all would mean mommy and daddy were right. It's really funny to hear my son repeat things to me like the benefits of drinking plenty of water, and eating lots of vegetables, as though these ideas are his original thoughts, and not things we taught him for his whole life. They have to get to the point where they're mature enough to be willing to admit that the life lessons we taught them are not just old-people junk, but actually valuable. Moving your son home will not speed up this process.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I would let him move home under the condition that there is a timeline set in place (6 months or one year - with option to extend if BOTH parties agree) and rent is paid. Usually when you rent a room in a house, you pay a rent that includes utilities. So decide what you want him to pay monthly plus how much your utilities will increase (water, electric, gas, internet usage, etc.). I have no idea what the prices are in TX but my parents charged me $500/month in 1993!

He is expected to act like a guest - no visitors without prior permission overnight or otherwise, clean up after himself, contribute to groceries or add food into his rent amount if he is eating there, do his own laundry, keep his room/bathroom clean.

He has chosen a career which may not have a full-time employment with benefits and a paycheck. That is okay - in fact in today's society many more people work as "contractors" rather than employees. (1099 versus W-2 in tax lingo). That just means he needs to get his own health insurance and disability insurance and he needs to keep a big enough safety net (savings account) to handle it if he has a dry spell.

You need to accept that your son is working and his industry is different than your ideal scenario. If he made $30K last year that is not bad.

Good luck! C.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

IMO, this goes best IF all parties are in agreement. So, as weird as it may seem, draw up a lease and list of expectations and discuss it. For us, it was difficult when my stepson had no job (at the time) or had a job but when it changed locations, just expected to flit between homes as he felt like, with the assumption that we would store his belongings free indefinitely. DH charged him minimal rent, and we provided much of his food, all the utilities, etc. While we expected him to in exchange behave like a member of the family and not a tenant (hence, the low low rent), he didn't see the same and he and I clashed. In retrospect, I wish we'd charged him more and expected less, or at least been very very clear about how long "a while" was really going to be. DH enjoyed having his son home (he moved in about the time his sister went to college) but we still had (have) a younger child at home who didn't understand when he didn't say good bye but left for days or weeks. For starters. DH finally did charge him minimal storage (half rent) because we could not use that room for an office with his stuff there. It was in part incentive to finish his move for real. He's been moved out fully for 2 years now and we are all happier. He kind of acted like an overgrown teenager - sullen when asked to contribute (dishes, trash), and didn't seem to fully appreciate how good he had it. He was aghast when DH said he should pay for storing his stuff here after several months...DH said if not, it would be considered abandoned and we'd take care of it our way.

SO, with your son, if he needed to come home, I'd give him 6 mo (because he can and has had roommates and presumably can start looking now for new ones), I'd require a decent rent to offset the extra utilities, determine what happens with food, and talk to him about mutual expectations. But you might also consider extending him a loan for a security deposit to get him into a new place without returning to yours. It depends on what kind of person he is. I overall find that college "kids" learn best when they have to do so on their own. My stepdaughter learned really well how to budget for groceries when it was her dime. I would not offer it if it was just to rescue him from something he can handle on his own.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions