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Friday September 19th 2014

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Five Suggested Rules for an 18 year old Living at Home

Eco­nom­ics are mak­ing it nec­es­sary for many adult chil­dren to return home to live.  Add to that the fact that legal eman­ci­pa­tion has been low­ered to an age when many young adults are still liv­ing at home, depen­dent upon their par­ents, and roles and rules can get pretty con­fus­ing.  More than one eighteen-year-old has said to his or her par­ents, “I’m an adult now and it is up to me how I live my life.”  That’s true, but only to a point, when you’re still sleep­ing in your child­hood bed.

In order to avoid con­fu­sion after they move back in, you may want to state the fol­low­ing before they unpack, or even at 12:01 AM on their 18th birth­day, if you sense impend­ing problems:

1.  It is our  house.  We bought it, we paid for it, we keep it up and pay the bills.  We are in charge.  You are wel­come here, as part of the fam­ily, not as a boarder who has no con­nec­tion with us.  We are still your par­ents.  If it appears that you are not try­ing to make it on your own, we may set a time limit for your stay here.

2.  We set the house rules.  We won’t be unrea­son­able, but some things are non-negotiable.

Non-negotiables may include smok­ing, drink­ing or using drugs; mak­ing major changes in a room – such as wall paint; dri­ving cars with­out per­mis­sion; or expect­ing us to endorse a lifestyle that is con­trary to our beliefs.  Set­ting your own rules goes only so far, when you live in this house.  We will not lend finan­cial or moral sup­port to a lifestyle that resem­bles a soap opera.

Nego­tiables are things like which of your friends we are will­ing to feed, and how often; who does what laun­dry; and the gen­eral run­ning of the house­hold. We have our way of doing things and we won’t be unrea­son­able, but we don’t plan to make major alter­ations in our rou­tines with­out real need, or just because you are now a legal adult.

3.  Be con­sid­er­ate .  This is not a flop house and we may not have a maid, so leave kitchens and bath­rooms clean; don’t take con­trol of our elec­tron­ics; refrain from dis­repect­ful lan­guage, and don’t cause dis­sention among fam­ily mem­bers by a bad atti­tude.  We expect to be told your sched­ule, and when you will or won’t be home, because we care for you and we don’t want to worry.  In one way or another, rela­tion­ships come with strings attached, so don’t con­fuse cour­tesy with control.

4.  Con­tribute in some way.  It’s only fair.  We may not require rent from you (although we could) but we do expect you to con­tribute.  Mow the lawn, do the laun­dry or vac­uum.  Get cre­ative and find some­thing that will help us all out.  We’ll appre­ci­ate it and you will feel a lit­tle less like the depen­dent lit­tle kid who still lives at home.  If you refuse to come up with things by your own ini­tia­tive, we will give you some chores, just like we did years ago.

5.  Leave when the arrange­ment doesn’t suit you.  We love you and you are wel­come to live here under our pro­tec­tion and pro­vi­sion, as long as you are respon­si­ble and coop­er­a­tive.  We are pro­vid­ing for you out of parental love, and your accep­tance of our sup­port obliges you to adhere to cer­tain arrange­ments.  Your age allows you to leave any­time you aren’t happy.  If that hap­pens, don’t stick around, mak­ing life mis­er­able for every­one else, and don’t make it nec­es­sary to evict you.

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2 Responses to “Five Suggested Rules for an 18 year old Living at Home”

  1. Patrick c says:

    Thank you so much ‚this was very helpful

  2. Lucy says:

    Excel­lent infor­ma­tion and very timely, since so many young adults — either by choice or because they don’t see alter­na­tives — are now liv­ing in their par­ents’ homes.

    Your web site is great — both inter­est­ing and help­ful — and I know peo­ple really enjoy it!

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