Making the Most of Living with Family

Sometimes, living on your own just isn’t the right choice for the time being. You may finish school and need time to find a job. You may lose your job and not be able to find a new one. You may have a financial crisis and need to cut your expenses until you recover. You might have a health or emotional crisis and need your family’s support. Remember that the people who have been there for you in the past are likely to be the ones you turn to when you need help. If you have maintained a positive relationship with your family and they can help, moving back home may be an option. However, as with moving out, moving back in may not be the right choice for either you or your family.

Reasons   to Move Home

Reasons   to Tough It Out

You can save money. If you have a job, you   can take advantage of the opportunity to build up your savings, or to simply pay off your debts. If you don’t have a job, you can save money and be spared from racking up debt.  You may waste time and money. If you don’t have a job, you less likely to look for a new one because someone else is meeting your basic needs. If moving in with family frees up part of your income, it is easy to tell yourself you have extra money to spend instead of saving.
It may relieve stress. If you are just starting out, not having to worry about bills, insurance, a place to live, and everything else will relieve some stress. You may lose self-respect. It’s hard to have   self-respect when someone is making sure you get up, calling you to dinner, and doing your laundry.
It may increase your job mobility. If you don’t have a job lined up or can’t find one, moving back home affords you the luxury of expanding your job search to find a job more quickly. You may lose your sense of urgency. If you’re not careful, you can get too comfortable and lose your desire to do what it takes to get a job and return to living independently.
You can work to improve your independent living   skills. If you are moving home because you couldn’t yet handle the responsibilities of living on your own, you will get a chance to   improve those skills with your family’s help and support. With willingness to learn and a mature attitude, you will soon be living on your own again. You may fail to develop an adult level of responsibility.   If you agree to take on more responsibility and don’t live up to your part of the bargain, conflicts may develop. On the other hand, if your family doesn’t expect anything of you, it’s easy to get lazy, particularly if they make you feel guilty for trying to help out.

Planning ahead can make moving back in with your family a more workable solution for everyone involved. Before you move back in, sit down with your family to discuss your responsibilities and set a deadline moving out. Your agreement on the details of your stay should answer the following questions:

  • What is your role? Guest or contributing member of the family?
  • What support roles is your family willing to play? Provide a place to stay? Transportation? Insurance? Food and utilities? Money for school expenses?
  • What will you contribute to household expenses? Rent? Utilities? Food? If so, how much?
  • How will you pay your expenses until you find a job in your desired field? Work part-time or full-time? Will your family give or loan you money? Will you be required to pay interest?
  • What will you do toward reaching your career goals? Get vocational training? Take classes at a community college? Pursue internships? Do volunteer work? Get career counseling?
  • How will you show that you are actively looking for a job? Check want ads in newspapers and online daily? Write resumes? Keep networking? Find a transitional job?
  • What are your responsibilities? Cleaning your room? Doing your own laundry? Grocery shopping? Cooking? Lawn work? Calling if you do not plan to be home for dinner, will be home later than planned, or do not plan to sleep at home? Letting your family know where you will be?
  • What rules does your family expect you to follow? Discuss such issues as: Sleeping in or staying up late, a curfew, acceptable noise levels, number and frequency of guests, overnight guests, parties, using the family car, etc.
  • How will you resolve problems that arise? Try the following problem solving strategies: Discuss the problem with the person involved. Call a family meeting. Work together to find a solution.
  • When are you going to leave? Three months, six months, or a year? Set a time limit; it can always be renegotiated. Under what circumstances might your parents ask you to leave sooner?

Put your agreement in writing. If you agree to pay rent and use part of your pay for household expenses, draw up a contract. Periodically, meet to discuss how things are going. Identify any problems that have arisen and work to resolve them. Keep your parents informed of your progress toward resolving the problems that led to your move home and to getting out on your own again. If you reach the agreed upon time limit before you find a job or resolve your personal or financial issues, sit down with your family again to check your situation and re-evaluate. By approaching your move back home in a responsible way, you will keep a positive relationship with your family and make them proud of you!

Independent living carries with it new privileges and opportunities but also new responsibilities. Your success depends on your readiness and willingness to accept these responsibilities. Now is the time  to take charge of your life!

Which do you believe to be the better choice–move home or tough it out?

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