There has been much written lately of the increasing number of adult children returning home to live with their parents. Whether occurring just after college, after a stint in the work force or, in some cases, for an adult who has never left home, the decision to live with one’s parents is surely a difficult one.
In that light, it may be helpful to examine the pros and cons.
1) Far and away the most compelling and common reason to move home is financial. Facing a tough job market (especially for twenty-somethings) or a hefty college loan debt, many young adults are returning home in an effort to save money. This strategy can pay off in a number of practical ways if followed with determination and discipline.
2) Other pros, much less compelling, are more practical in nature: the ability to remain close to family, live in a particular area, and in some cases being able to assist parents in need.
I have broken down the cons – which are many – into two categories: practical and psychological.
1) General lack of space. Competing for space with other family members will lead to conflict and much frustration.
2) Boundarires and rules. Despite being an adult, parents will have some expectations and guidelines for you “living under their roof.”
3) Limitations of socializing. It will feel like high school again!
1) Acting the part. Often adult interaction resorts to each playing the role of parent-child. This is more likely to happen when living at home.
2) Things made too easy. It is possible that your motivation could diminish as so much is taken care of for you. Moreover, you may continue certain behaviors (i.e. overspending) as finances aren’t so tight.
3) General lack of independence. There is something to be said for doing your own laundry, cooking and tending to apartment or housing needs. This opportunity is postponed when living with Mom and Dad.
4) Possible spiritual stagnation. I emphasize possible here as there are so many aspects that factor in. That said, I do believe that the solitude and difficulties of living alone invite one to turn to God for companionship and guidance.
As you can see, I believe the cons outweigh the pros.
However, there are times – primarily financial – that living at home does make sense. If you find yourself in such a situation, the following guidelines may help.
- First, have a plan that includes specific goals and timelines.
- Second, pre-negotiate rules and boundaries with parents.
- Lastly, be sure to contribute – both financially and with your time and effort. Insist upon this despite what your parents suggest.
Following these guidelines can minimize some of the downfalls and set up a plan for you to soon live independently.
- Check out Maria Wiering’s post on emerging adulthood.
- Look for the winter 2011 issue of Tobias magazine for a closer look at this subject.