How to Survive Moving Back in With Your Parents

Are Mom and Dad your new roommates? Don’t worry about it! With many new grads having trouble finding jobs or making far less than they anticipated, moving back in with your parents can be a smart financial move — and one that doesn’t carry the social stigma it once did. But that doesn’t mean this new (and hopefully temporary) stage of your life is going to be easy. Your parents have spent your whole life learning exactly how to get on your nerves and you’ve probably got a few annoying habits, as well. To prevent a family-splitting explosion, take these tips to heart and take it one day at a time.

  1. Set some ground rules:

    Setting up some boundaries from the beginning is for the benefit of both you and your parents. They can set rules on what they expect you to do around the house and in terms of your job hunt, and you can set some guidelines on privacy and lifestyle issues. It’s easy to fall back into a frustrating, high school-like relationship, so being up front with how you’d like them to treat you and how they’d like you to act in return can save a lot of arguments in the future. Write it down if you need to, and don’t be afraid to address issues that come up later or adjust rules (if you all agree) that just aren’t working.

  2. Be grateful:

    And show it regularly. This one can be hard when you feel that your parents are stifling your independence and that you’re living in a weird adult limbo, but it’s important for your sanity and your parents’ generosity. Your parents are doing you a favor and living with them is a privilege, not a right. Keep this in mind and make sure to thank them so they know that you’re not trying to take advantage of them.

  3. Pay rent:

    A little rent can go a long way in retaining a semblance of your independence and making your parents feel like you’re doing your best to pitch in. If you’re making money from a part-time job, decide on a percentage that would be appropriate to give your parents as rent. You might also consider setting an amount to pitch in for food and other bills they’re paying for you. If you’re unemployed, take over certain chores around the house. Yes, it’ll feel like you’re earning allowance, but it will make you feel less guilty and will give you something to do to take your mind off your job hunt.

  4. Be courteous:

    Of course you’re an adult now, so you can stay out to all hours of the night or walk out the door without so much as glancing at your parents if you want, but your living situation will be much easier if you extend some courtesies to your parents. You don’t need to set a curfew for yourself or call them every time you leave the house, but letting them in on your rough plans will make them feel like you’re being respectful while still maintaining your independence. Are you going to be gone for dinner? Let them know so they won’t wait for you. Staying out late? Just shoot them a text as a courtesy so they won’t worry. It’ll preclude fights over them never knowing where you are or you not being considerate.

  5. Don’t bring dates home for sleepovers:

    There are a few parents out there who are sincerely comfortable with their adult children bringing home dates for sexy time. Your parents are probably not those people. Knowing that you have a date in your bedroom can make your parents feel like guests in their own home or like you’re taking advantage of their kindness. And honestly, your date probably won’t love the situation either, so just avoid it altogether and go somewhere else for your date-night fun.

  6. Have a plan:

    Moving back home without having any kind of exit strategy will drive everyone involved crazy. This is a transitional period for you to take steps to become independent; use it wisely. If you’ve moved home to save money, then make a plan for saving up a certain amount each month and follow it. If you’ve moved home while looking for a job, set goals for how many jobs you’ll apply to and follow up with each week. You’ll be able to tolerate the situation with a better attitude if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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