Moving Back Home
This blog is featured in the Mindful Life’s Young Adult Series (the Mindful Life is the blog of the Mindful Counseling Center), which is written by young adult bloggers for young adults. This particular blog focuses on the challenges for young adults of moving back home after they have lived independently. It discusses issues to consider and ideas for easing into such a transition without too much stress.
The thought of moving back home after getting a taste of freedom and adult life can be extremely scary. If you went away to college for four+ years without living with your parents and family, you had time to grow into an adult version of yourself without needing too much of their guidance. You started to become your own person, someone who can do things on their own without having to look to anyone else for permission. When moving back home as an adult, it can be stressful to think about how to navigate living with your family but also trying to be independent.
One of the biggest struggles that a young adult might encounter when moving back home is the idea of infantilization. This is when one might treat another person as if they are a child, when in fact they are not actually a child. As a parent, it may be easy to fall back into this state when your child comes back home to live with you. While the young adult is striving for independence but may not be able to fully support themselves yet, parents may revert back to the style of living/parenting when their child was an adolescent. Such a situation makes it hard for young adults to have a healthy independent routine, especially if they start relying on their parents. They may start becoming too comfortable in their life at home, if they no longer carry certain responsibilities that they used to when living apart from their family.
Living at home also gives parents a greater opportunity to weigh in on their child’s life decisions and share their expectations for them. This might cause a rift in the relationship between parent and adult child, especially if the parents are disapproving of their child’s choices. In response, young adults might start to think that they are not good enough. If they can’t live up to their parents’ expectations, how are they going to survive in the real world? They may also see that some of their friends find well-paid jobs and are able to totally support themselves–which may cause young adults living at home with parents to feel insecure about their own life path.
In order to prevent these stressful and mentally draining situations from occurring, it is important to put some ground rules into place. Some of these might include:
Strive for Open Communication
Since you are now an adult living with your parents, it is important that you are still seen as an adult (and act like one). Coming to an agreement on whether or not you will pay rent, contribute to grocery funds, help with cooking meals or cleaning, etc., is very important when making this transition. Having open communication about being on the same page is a key aspect of making this new move successful. It is also important that you are able to communicate about things that may upset you with your family. Remember that they can’t read your mind, and nor can you read theirs. Nipping problems in the bud will prevent bigger blowouts from happening in the future, so don’t be afraid to converse with family members about problems you may be having.
Create a “Moving Out” Timeline
It could be helpful to create a timeline for when you would like to move out on your own. Sometimes when moving back with your family, it can become too comfortable and safe of an environment, to the point where you won’t want to leave. While some people might be itching to get out on their own, and others are content living with their family, it is still a good idea to make up some sort of future plan to be able to move out and support yourself. Also, having a plan in mind to move out will give you something to look forward to and motivate you in the process.
Don’t Be Afraid to Have Boundaries
You are a grown adult. You can make your own decisions on where you want to go and who you want to have relationships with. When you were away at school, you were able to experience this freedom without having your parents watching over your every move. When coming back home, it may feel like you no longer are going to have that freedom you once had. To this I say yes, you may be losing some of it, but you still have the freedom to share or not share as many details of your personal life as you want with your parents. Just because you are living in their home, doesn’t mean, for example, that they are entitled to know information on who you are going on dates with/your relationships outside the house. Setting boundaries on personal matters will help you keep some of your freedom and independence.
If you are moving back home with your parents, remember to be grateful that they are allowing you a place to stay in this period of time that you may not be able to support yourself. Respect the rules of the household and do your part in what chores need to be done (as simple as unloading and loading the dishwasher). Go out of your way to go on grocery runs or run other errands when they aren’t able to. Make time in your schedule to hang out with them, Cherish the time that you have to be close to your family, because you never know where life might take you in the future.
Know that Help is Available if You Need It
If you and/or your family are having a really hard time adjusting to you moving back home, it may be helpful to seek out a mental health counselor. Participating in individual or family therapy might be what you need in order to make this new lifestyle work for all parties involved. Reach out to the Mindful Counseling Center if you are interested in making a counseling appointment.
Best wishes in moving back home! I hope it is a good transition for you.
Article by Emma Corriea