Families with Twenty-Somethings Living at Home

September 30th, 2009
  1. Ideally, the return of grown children to the family home is an opportunity for parents and children to grow closer. Approaching the situation with an awareness of the positive aspects is vital.
  2. European families have experienced grown children living at home for decades, in some countries such as Italy, more than 90% of young people. Their strategies for making it work can be examined and role model for the United States where this is a more recent change.
  3. Even before grown children return home it is important to open communication and work out ground rules for the new living arrangement.
  4. An important ground rule to work out is chore distribution. This includes discussion of laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning and meal preparation, among others. Many parents but especially mothers feel burdened with grown children living at home because chore distribution is not equitable.
  5. Another guideline that needs to be discussed and strongly considered before young people return is a drug-free home.
  6. Working out opportunities for privacy is a key aspect for all generations living together. Acknowledging and finding a place for sexuality is a vital part of a successful mutual living arrangement.
  7. The stage of family growth where young people are coming and going, is a time when emotions run high. Jealousy, envy, anger and conflict may be present between generations and siblings as new boundaries are shaped. An awareness of these complex emotions eases the transition.
  8. A discussion of provisional departure dates before a young person returns home can ease the transition for all.
  9. All members of the family need to learn to relax during this period. Factors such as equitable chore distribution promote this but it is challenging.
  10. Traumatic events, such as a recession, are difficult but allow families an opportunity to become closer. Working together as a team instead of criticizing and fighting promotes growth and intimacy.