July 3, 2009

Christina Newberry
Phone: 778-232-1584

Watch out for Depression when Adult Kids Move Home

New study: Parents with adult children living at home are more likely to be depressed

VANCOUVER, BC — Families with children returning home from college this summer may face more challenges than they’ve been anticipating, according to a new study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, which found that parents with adult children living at home are more likely to be depressed than empty-nesters. According to an International expert on boomerang kids, the findings aren’t surprising.

“It can be very difficult for parents and their adult children to share a home successfully, especially when the children have been away for a few years,” said Christina Newberry, founder of the website “After the parents and adult kids get used to space, privacy, and independence, the challenges of having two generations of adults living together can be really stressful and emotionally challenging for everyone.”

For parents who think their adult kids will just make a quick stop at home after college while finding their feet, Newberry has a harsh reality check. According to MonsterTRAK, a division of, while only 22% of new grads plan to stay at home for more than six months, 40% of them still live at home more than a year after graduation.

For parents whose adult children have recently returned to the nest, it’s important to do some planning to make sure the situation doesn’t lead to depression — especially if the adult kids end up staying for longer than planned. Newberry recommends six key steps to protect your mental health and keep positive while living with adult kids at home:

– Put yourself first: It’s difficult for parents to put their own needs ahead of the needs of their children, but when adult kids are at home, this is critical. Don’t change travel or retirement plans to support your adult kids unless they’re really in trouble. And don’t give up your den if it’s an important retreat — find an unused space where your adult child can settle in.

– Establish ground rules: Adult kids might not like the word “rules” but the’re important for making sure everyone has the same expectations and everyone’s needs are met. Some families with adult children living at home find a contract can help formalize the rules and keep everyone on the same page.

– Ask kids to contribute: They may not be able to afford market-value rent, but adult children living at home should help make a dent in the extra expenses they create (extra gas, higher phone bill, etc.), or at least contribute their labor to household chores. Parents with adult kids who help out around the house are less likely to feel taken advantage of or financially compromised.

– Don’t take on too much: A college grad is capable of cleaning a bedroom, making a meal, and doing laundry. Don’t start providing the same “services” you did when kids were small or you’ll be setting yourself up for way more work than you should reasonably bear, and paving the way for resentment and other bad feelings.

– Take time out for yourself and your spouse: Your kids are grown-ups now, so they don’t need (and probably don’t want) to spend all their time with you. Make time to do things for yourself, and be sure your spouse isn’t pushed aside — especially if your spouse is your kids’ step-parent.

– Talk, talk, talk: Communication is the most important step in keeping parents and adult kids happy. Don’t hold in anger, don’t seethe, and be honest. Share your thoughts and work together to continually improve the situation.

Following these tips can help prevent stress-induced blowups that can permanently damage important family relationships and lead to parental depression when there are adult children living at home.

More helpful tips for dealing with the emotional challenges that parents face with adult children moving home are available at


About Christina Newberry: Christina Newberry is the author of The Hands-on Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home. Her web site — — offers detailed information on how to establish a workable living arrangement with adult children living at home, including lots of great tips and strategies, plus a customizable “Under One Roof” contract and household budget calculator. Recently featured on radio in Australia and Canada, and in newspapers across the United States, Newberry is available for interviews or comments on boomerang kids and adult children living at home.