As a parent, you may have thought your young adult’s arrival home was a stopover, a year, tops, until he or she found another job or finished her education. Wake-up call: Your adult child may be far too content to think about leaving. And, he’s not the only one.

happy-home-adult-childUnder One Roof Again

A new study from the Pew Research Center, “In Post-Recession Era, Young Adults Drive Continuing Rise in Multi-generational Living,” analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data and found the rise in multi-generational households continues to increase after the recession. “The uptick since 2010 has been particularly pronounced among young adults ages 25 to 34,” the report said.

Even more surprising: the number of young adults returning home has eclipsed the number of adults aged 85 and older as the group most likely to live in a multi-generational household.

In many ways, this new trend makes sense. As young adults are among those still feeling the aftereffects of the Great Recession, many college grads are flocking home. Other twenty and 30-somethings are joining them. Sharing a roof with mom and dad—eliminating the high expense of rent, in many cases—brings precious security. Adult children can focus on repaying education loans and looking for jobs in a tight job market.

Anticipate changes in the person you raised, in your relationship, and in how your household functions.

Suggestions for ensuring a happy household:

  • Create an exit plan early: Early on—before all parties have gotten on each others’ nerves—be proactive. Talk about and establish an exit plan with your twenty- or 30-something. It doesn’t have to be a hard-and-fast deadline. However, choose a time frame you all agree on, and within which you expect your child to leave. With a hoped-for plan in place, your son or daughter has a goal to work toward. Without it, you run the risk of enabling and allowing him to coast along. Or, you allow him to take advantage of the good things you provide.
  • Remember, it is not your job hunt: It belongs to your son or daughter. Taking care to make suggestions, not pronouncements, will eliminate tension in the long run. Offer to help when asked or to assist in creating an action plan with long-term goals, but be sure you don’t take over.
  • Keep in mind that you were Commander In Chief: Anticipate changes in the person you raised, in your relationship, and in how your household functions, because a returning adult child is not the same one who left a few years ago. For the times the parent in you comes out, and you can’t stop yourself from butting in, instead of barking orders and making demands, simply say, “I need to tell you this because I’m your parent—you can listen or not.” Your “new” boarder is not a guest, but a family member who should share the burden of running the household. If you need help, ask for it. But, don’t demand it as if your child were still a toddler or preteen.
  • Be appreciative of the time you have together: There’s little doubt that any relationship between adult child and parents has to be tweaked. This is even more the case as parents and adult children join forces again. The by-product of living together is new insight. This situation provides the ability to gain an understanding of each other as adults, as people rather than just as parent and child.
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