All parents know that the time will come when their newborn will no longer be completely dependent on them for everything. Children grow, develop and eventually move out on their own. While many children move to go to college, many also move back home following graduation. If you are looking forward to enjoying your twilight years with your spouse without having to drain your retirement account by financially support your 24-year-old twins for the next decade, what can you do? How can you encourage your adult children to fly the nest?
1. Draw Up a Contract
A contract is necessary in many business transactions and lets everyone know exactly where they stand. Adult children who have rented an apartment know firsthand that a rental agreement protects all parties’ interests and concerns. A contract between adult children can also let them know that while they are living back home they must abide by their parents’ rules. This can teach your adult children responsibility.
Write out all the terms and conditions you would like to see your children abide by, including a start and end date. This will let your adult children know that you are more than happy to give them a roof over their heads. But at the same time, it also sends out a clear message that this is just a temporary arrangement until they are on their feet and able to support themselves.
2. Set Financial Rules
Moving back home makes economic sense to many adult children who are swamped by student debt or those who have lost their home. However, moving back in with their parents does not absolve adult children of their financial responsibilities.
Set financial rules that make it absolutely clear that everyone in the household will contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the home. This includes paying a portion of utility bills, food and other expenses. Parents should also let their children know that they will not be paying their adult children’s personal expenses, such as car insurance, mobile phone or credit card bills. This will help adult children to budget their money and to responsibly care for expenses that they have incurred without expecting their parents to pick up the slack.
3. Set House Rules
House rules do not just apply to children while they are minors living at home. Adults children who move back home should continue to live by their parents’ house rules. These include getting involved in cleaning, laundry, cooking, where to park their vehicle, and rules about house guests. Rather than assume your adult children will follow the rules, put all of your house rules down in writing.
Moving back in with your parents as an adult child can resolve a lot of problems, but it can also create problems. Start off by drawing up a contract and going over all of your personal wishes so that everyone knows where they stand. Parents who follow through will be able to teach their adult children important life skills, so that they will soon be in a position to move out and care for themselves as independent adults.
More from this contributor:
How Long Should Parents Store Their Children’s Belongings?
How to Adjust to Empty Nest Syndrome.
Should Parents Allow Adult Children to Move Back In?