When Your Adult Child Moves Back Home.
Particularly during the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, your adult child’s plans may have rapidly changed from work success to a more uncertain future. If you find your empty nest has filled again, combine your loving support with some very clear, firm boundaries. It will protect the future health of your relationship.
During this massive economic upheaval, jobs can be scarce. Everyone is feeling stressed. It’s easy to feel lost and adrift. Having a clear re-employment plan will help your adult child minimize the loafing and maximize the learning.
Develop an understanding about the daily search for work, with measurable goals. Also reach agreement about how your child will contribute to the household.
Honestly discuss other issues, such as the need for mutual privacy. Your newly bulging household will benefit greatly from clearly defining mutual expectations.
Living rent-free doesn’t have to mean budget-free, especially if there are loans to be repaid or other debts. It’s a golden opportunity to instill greater financial literacy by helping your adult child understand credit scores and the consequence of not managing debts responsibly.
Together, you can develop a budget for repaying student and other loans, based on your child’s income and any savings available from living back home. Consider having them contribute to the monthly household bills, how much that will be, and when the money will be delivered. Sweat equity—doing work around the house—is another way to contribute.
The key is managing expectations. Drawing up an agreement together can be an educational and mutually supportive exercise. You can write it down and have everyone sign it; turn it into a contract—another valuable lesson–and make it clear and binding.
If your child starts slipping by not keeping up with the shared agreement, bring it to the table and have an honest conversation. Take that chat off site if things could get heated; a cozy parkland corner is peaceful, neutral territory, removed from all the confusing roles of a lifetime together.
Revise your contract, if needed, but be clear about what you expect, and what your child also expects. Negotiating is another valuable skill that can be learned during your time together.
Work with your adult child to identify what they want to achieve by moving back home and how long they intend to stay–even if that’s uncertain. A rough strategy is still a plan, and good planning is the key to your child’s economic future.