Q3: How does the situation affect family relationships?

I tend to get asked the same questions over and over by both parents and reporters, so this week, I’m posting answers to these common questions here on the blog. I hope you find these Q&As helpful. If you have your own question you’d like to see answered on the blog, please leave it in the comments or send me a note at christina@adultchildrenlivingathome.com.

Today’s question: How does the situation affect family relationships?

Answer: It can have a huge impact, especially if the parents are not on the same page about the situation. Often one parent will want to provide more support, while the other wants to encourage the child to reach independence sooner, and this can cause major tension. It is even worse if one of the parents is a step-parent, who may not have the same kind of bond with the adult child and may feel displaced in their own home as their partner shifts their attention to the adult child.

If everyone is open and honest, it can be a wonderful time when parents and adult children get to interact with each other on a daily basis in a way that is not common in our culture, which can become the basis of a much stronger relationship in years to come. But if communication is not good, and expectations are not aligned, the experience can be a disaster that damages relationships for the long term. So keep the lines of communication open, be honest with each other, and respect each other. In particular, the adult child should respect that their parents are giving them a pretty major boost by allowing them to live at home.

The key to making it work that everyone needs to have their expectations aligned in terms of reason for the adult child’s stay, length of the stay, their behavior in the house, their financial contribution, and so on. The best way to make this happen is for the family to sign a contract outlining the expectations before the adult child moves home (you get access to a contract template when you purchase my book).

Want to learn more about this question? Download my free report from the right column of this page, or check out my book, The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home.