Dear JF&CS Therapy Team,
My 32-year-old daughter has asked to move back home after being laid off from her job. I want to help, but I am worried about our relationship if she moves back in. We often argue during holiday home visits. I currently like my life as it is but I don’t want my daughter to struggle while she puts her life back together. I know that I am going to let her come home, but I want to do my best to make her stay as painless as possible. I don’t know how to think about this. Should I charge her rent? …….Help!
You are not alone in your predicament. Due to the tough economic times over the last several years, many adult children have moved back home to live with their parents. While your concerns for discord are real, with some thoughtful planning this can be a win-win situation for both of you. You can enjoy the feeling of helping your child out of a tough situation, and she can rebuild her life without the fear of being homeless.
Should your daughter pay rent? That is a good question. t is not unreasonable to expect her to contribute to the household financially since she will be living there. Paying rent may help to keep her from getting comfortable living off of you. But despite the good that paying rent can do for her, you want to make sure that she can afford it so that her time at home is not financially difficult. But first you must have a serious discussion and come to a mutual agreement about expectations.
What is the ultimate goal of her moving home? Is it to simply get another job or to possibly save a certain amount of money? It is important that you both have and understanding of why she is home.Is there a time limit to how long she can stay? Setting a time limit may give her a goal to work towards her independence. If circumstances change, you can always amend the deadline.
What chores or household responsibilities will you expect her to complete? Is she allowed to have friends over to visit? If she stays out overnight do you expect her to call? Does she have a curfew?
It’s also important for you to have an understanding of what your financial contribution will be. If she is not working, how will she pay her debt or bills? Are you going to pay for these for her until she has an income? If so, then for how long will you pay them? It’s important that you have an understanding of what the financial impact will be to your finances and plans for retirement.
You mentioned that you have argued in the past. Hopefully with clear expectations set from the beginning and mutual respect, disagreements can be worked out with minimal fireworks.
Above all, keep a positive attitude and enjoy having your daughter back home. This period could end up being a cherished time in your relationship.