Making It Work When Your Child Needs to Move Back Home

and Teresa Greenhill

It is not uncommon for adult children to move back with their parents. This may happen when they are going through a difficult time, have lost their job and don’t have any other place to live, or when they get divorced and cannot afford their own place. This is so common that there are more young adults 18-34 living at home with their parents than in any other living situation.

When this happens, it is important for you as the parent to be as supportive as possible. Because moving back home is probably the result of an unfortunate situation for your child, it’s best if you can help them understand they are not a burden on you and let them feel like they’re still an important part of your family. 

Making Space

One of the most important conversations you’ll want to have is about what it means for the household if they move in and how much space will be available.

Create separate living quarters from yours as much as possible. This can be a finished basement or a little-used den as long as it affords them some privacy. You can also allow them some independence if they have their own refrigerator and microwave in their space.

If your child is moving back into his or her old bedroom, replace the kid-sized single bed with a double or queen. Upgrade dressers and bookcases, too, plus a computer desk and chair and a television.

If they’ve got a whole household full of furniture that you don’t have room for, look for a nearby storage unit that they can access whenever they need to. Call to ask about any discounts they may be offering for new customers, military, and college students. You can also check for prices online to find one big enough for their things but that is still in their price range.


It’s important that you set up a budget before your adult child moves back in with you. This will help you determine how much money they need each month and how much they are able to contribute to household expenses.

If they’ve moved back due to the loss of a job or divorce, allowing them time to get more financially stable before asking them to contribute is fair to them. However, setting up a schedule and a date for when you expect them to begin paying rent and contributing to things like utilities, food, gas, and other expenses is fair for you and allows them to feel like they’re not a burden on you.

Sharing Responsibilities

Have a conversation with your child about shared responsibilities and figure out who is going to take care of what. They may be busy looking for work, starting their own business, or going back to school, but they must still take a role in household duties.

If your child is moving back and has a child of their own, you may find you’re spending a lot of time helping care for your grandchild. Although this is something you’ll probably enjoy doing occasionally, if you’re providing ongoing, full-time care for your grandchild while your child is at work, it’s not unreasonable that they pay you for that service.

The most important thing is to communicate with each other and be open about who is going on what tasks so that there are no surprises or disagreements later down the road.

Helping Them Find a New Place

Once your child is back on their feet after their setback, be it divorce, unemployment, or school, you can both begin the search for an apartment for them. You can begin with an online search to narrow down choices like the area, size, price, amenities, and availability of units

For instance, you can find an 850-square-foot apartment in Livonia, MI., for as little as $750 a month, and a home in that same area can run as little as $1,000 per month for a small, one-bedroom home. It all just depends on what their needs and preferences are.

Pinnell Enterprises is a real estate investment company and full-time property investors in Metro Detroit and specializes in finding those hidden house deals that you normally only hear about. Contact them when you’re ready to find a great deal on a home.

Being supportive of your child who has moved back home while also being firm about financial and shared responsibilities is not easy to navigate, but open communication can help you avoid stress.

Once they’ve had a chance to recover financially, be proactive with them in finding a place they can call their own, encouraging them to strive for independence again, even if the first time didn’t work.

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