In these difficult economic times, more and more young people are relying on their families to help them find their feet. Moving back in with a parent can be great – not only does it save money, but also you’re living with someone who knows how to work the washing machine. However, it can also lead to arguments, personality clashes and misunderstandings.
So if your son or daughter is thinking of moving back home, think carefully about the best way to help them and be prepared for a few rocky moments: they’re all grown up now with a will of their own. Below are 3 things to consider:
1. Do the math
Extra people under your roof doesn’t just mean you’ll be paying out more for water, heating and gas – everything from your weekly grocery shop to your home insurance is going to be affected. Draw up a budget which includes every monthly outgoing and work out how your finances are going to fit together – would it be cheaper for you to make a contribution to their rent in another house?
2. Work out the rent
In most scenarios, your son or daughter should be paying you a monthly sum: it will not only help you out with the costs mentioned above, it has the equally important function of giving them a sense of their own independence. They’ll feel less like a child that’s relying on their parents and more like an adult who’s capable of contributing financially to a household – an important distinction for someone who’s hoping to move on and out when they’ve got enough saved.
There are, of course, exceptional circumstances: maybe your child has no way of earning money or is only staying with you sporadically while looking for a new home. It should nonetheless be made clear from the off that as soon as they stay with you for longer than a month and have access to funds, they’ll have to start paying their way. It’s actually more encouraging than giving them indefinite gratis lodging. You’re saying that yes, their circumstances are difficult at the moment, but you have faith that they will find a way to cope and will be able to support themselves soon.
3. Giving each other space
You’re not used to having your child at home and they’re used to living alone or with friends – it’s a big adjustment for both of you. Many children moving home from living independently have become used to determining their own schedules and being restricted again to their parents’ habits can be frustrating. For parents, it’s like having grouchy teenagers again – hungry for independence and resentful of ‘meddling’ well-meaning questions.
The thing to remember is that you’re all adults. You have every right to set ground rules but you can’t treat your son or daughter like a child any more – understand that they’ve grown as people and that’s a positive thing. Have conversations and be prepared to make compromises.
Amy Chambers wrote this article in partnership with Direct Line. Check their website today for great deals on comprehensive household insurance.