The Cons Outweigh The Pros Of Moving In With Mom & Dad


Moving back in with your parents comes with risks.

There has been much written lately of the increasing number of adult children returning home to live with their parents. Whether occurring just after college, after a stint in the work force or, in some cases, for an adult who has never left home, the decision to live with one’s parents is surely a difficult one.

In that light, it may be helpful to examine the pros and cons.


Pros

1)      Far and away the most compelling and common reason to move home is financial. Facing a tough job market (especially for twenty-somethings) or a hefty college loan debt, many young adults are returning home in an effort to save money. This strategy can pay off in a number of practical ways if followed with determination and discipline.

2)      Other pros, much less compelling, are more practical in nature: the ability to remain close to family, live in a particular area, and in some cases being able to assist parents in need.


Cons

I have broken down the cons – which are many – into two categories: practical and psychological.


Practical

1)      General lack of space. Competing for space with other  family members will lead to conflict and much frustration.

2)      Boundarires and rules. Despite being an adult, parents will have some expectations and guidelines for you “living under their roof.”

3)      Limitations of socializing. It will feel like high school again!


Psychological

1)      Acting the part. Often adult interaction resorts to each playing the role of parent-child. This is more likely to happen when living at home.

2)      Things made too easy. It is possible that your motivation could  diminish as so much is taken care of for you. Moreover, you may continue certain behaviors (i.e. overspending) as finances aren’t so tight.

3)      General lack of independence. There is something to be said for doing your own laundry, cooking and tending to apartment or housing needs. This opportunity is postponed when living with Mom and Dad.

4)      Possible spiritual stagnation. I emphasize possible here as there are so many aspects that factor in. That said, I do believe that the solitude and difficulties of living alone invite one to turn to God for companionship and guidance.


Summary

As you can see, I believe the cons outweigh the pros.

However, there are times – primarily financial – that living at home does make sense. If you find yourself in such a situation, the following guidelines may help.

  • First, have a plan that includes specific goals and timelines.
  • Second, pre-negotiate rules and boundaries with parents.
  • Lastly, be sure to contribute – both financially and with your time and effort. Insist upon this despite what your parents suggest.

Following these guidelines can minimize some of the downfalls and set up a plan for you to soon live independently.



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11 Comments

  1. Tanya-63933 December 9, 2010 Reply

    What age group are you talking about? You seemed to lump every situation together. I saw your “con” list as being an incredibly short-sighted view of people’s lives!

    What if parents and adult children live together as a community in which everyone does his or her share? I never understand how people make snap judgements about what goes on in this type of situation. What about adult children who never moved out (usually the only single child) because they are taking care of or helping out the parents? Your comment about “acting the part” was particularly irksome. Many adult children living with their parents had to “grow up” a really long time ago because they have had to learn how to sacrifice, how to compromise, and how to live selflessly. Many of these children shoulder the obligations that their married siblings – because they are married and have “their own lives” – do not deal with!

    As for possible spiritual stagnation? Do you not think that living at home with aging and ailing parents may be a difficult and lonely life? Do you not think that one might turn to God every moment he or she has?

  2. Dave-573571 December 10, 2010 Reply

    Tanya-63933
    I will have to agree with everything that you said. The part that you have to say about taking care of or helping out I will really agree with you. I fall into one of these situations and I help out with whatever I can do. I do not get the spiritual stagnation because we go to mass every Sunday together. I see a lot of adult children at our parish that go to mass with their parents. We are all individuals and we do not know what His plan is for us in life. You just have to keep a positive attitude and He will guide you in the direction that He has planned for you.

  3. Lucia-551179 December 10, 2010 Reply

    I’m sorry. As someone who has lived with my parents my entire life, I can’t see myself falling into many of these cons. And do not are say this is denial. This is the reality of my situation: I am responsible for two elderly parents who don’t have the ability to care for themselves as they did 30-40 years ago. Okay, the house feels a bit cramped at times. And sometimes we fight over the smallest thing. No, things are not made easy by living with them because of they can no longer do what they used to. And I am far from immature as your article implies: I have been employed for years at my company, and I am the only paycheck in the household. I have my independence, but I do check in to make sure my parents are safe. And guess what? I do the laundry, clean the house and cook, because Mom and Dad can’t do it all the time! I do practice my faith even when it gets difficult. In fact it has grown more with my involvement on this site. I honestly question if you purposely created the cons the way you did to make this arrangement seem worse that it truly is. This bias strikes me as insular and with very little merit for the realities we face.

  4. James-628150 December 11, 2010 Reply

    The practical side of things can be easy to fix. Many homes in the United States are outfitted for basement or garage apartments. Bad habits like overspending can be fixed by mere discipline. Boundires can be re-set if everyone sits and has a good conversation, putting pride aside. Mental reasons are less concrete. What works for someone might not work for other people who are timid or have been brutalized by the world in a way more wounding than most people can understand. Moreover, I dont think people living alone makes them turn to God. Quite the reverse actually. The vast majority of people who turn away from God do so during College and the 20’s. When people make their own rules, they often write God out of the equation. Living at home doesnt solve this either, though. In the end drawing closer to God and walking in his ways is a choice of heart, it can be made at home, in the military, in college or from a prison cell.

    Jim

    • Aggie-385731 December 12, 2010 Reply

      I’d have to agree with James: In the end drawing closer to God and walking in his ways is a choice of heart, it can be made at home, in the military, in college or from a prison cell.”

      Charity begins at home and sometimes with too much familiarity with people at home, charity is a lot harder to practice. This can then be seen as a good opportunity to grow deeper in this virtue.

      That being said, spiritual stagnation is not a result of living at home or living alone.
      I think spiritual stagnation happens when a person fails to fight interior obstacles to grow in virtue and love of God in the given circumstances of his/her life.

  5. Jeff-406043 December 13, 2010 Reply

    I lived at home with my parents until I was 30. Needless to say, I had to take a lot of razzing about it from some friends and co-workers at the time. Looking back on it, I think that some of them were jealous and resentful that I had such a good relationship with my parents. Some of them did not get along with their families and I think they resented that I did have a very loving relationship with mine. I have a couple of friends who have moved back in with their parents and although they love their parents very much, they are itching to get out of there for their independence. I’m sure that they might be taking some razzing from friends and co-workers, too. I would tell them to hang in there and keep saving up their money because in 2002 I bought a house and moved out of my parents’ home. I saved up my money for years from the age of 18 to 30 although I didn’t make a lot of money in the video store business at the time. Personally, I would have preferred to have had my own place a lot sooner, but my parents were gracious enough to let me live there and later pay rent until I could afford my own place.

  6. Matthew-598515 December 14, 2010 Reply

    I got to suggest I entirely disagree with this article. I suggest for so many reasons why the pros outweight the cons. More importantly however what does God say about living with the parents. The cons. To be honest I am finding it difficult to suggest any. Lack of space leading to frustration is certainly not something I have found. There is plenty of room and if there wasn’t then negotiate with the parents and compromise. Ask yourself whether you need all that stuff anyway. My parents don’t have any boundaries and rules. I consider them as neighbours and so keep the noise down and friends visiting to an acceptable level. Again if there was any conflict there I would negotiate and compromise. I am able to be very independent while living with mum and dad. I can still do all the cleaning I am oblieged to do and I even cut the lawns. Something I’d have to do anyway. Finally living by oneself could quite possilbe encourage one to turn to God but it also invites one to feel lonely and isolated. Something the companion of family would deter very quickly.
    Now the pros. Financial is certainly the first one that comes to mind. I have bought 4 houses living with my parents something I never would have been able to do living on my own. I love the companionship of my parents and while we have differences we know the boundaries very clearly. The biggest pro however comes from the example set by many ethic societies. In many countries outside western culture living with the parents till one gets married is the norm. Ofcourse Our Lord did it himself.

  7. SALvador-650764 December 15, 2010 Reply

    I agree w/what u said in the Pros & Cons of living w/u’r parents. In my case I M the sole son & have no brothers or sisters, & for that matter relatives that can or will take care of my Mother now 97 yrs old. Though it has been hard, I was raised in our family & culture that we take care of our parents when they start getting old, & if no special medical assistance is required. My mother is finally ready to admitt that she is getting old but she still takes care of her own self but I M needed close by for help since she is losing her eye sight, & pain in her body is finally setting in from her rough life in So. Tx. But for me, I’ve not dated for quite a while now, but still have the old beliefs of how to treat a lady. But most lady’s now do not want to deal w/additional problems, or don’t know how. So when I meet someone I M turthful about my circumstance knowing full well what the outcome will be. This includes lady’s from 35 to 62 yrs. old. Hope u’r artilce is reviewed & read & more understanding of expectance is fourth coming by the lady’s. SAL

  8. Steven-94269 December 16, 2010 Reply

    When I got out of the Navy I had been looking for a job before I got out but found one when I got out soon but was living with my parents until I was able to find an apartment. I was 27 years at the time it wasn’t soon I realized that even though I was 27 My Mom was being a Mom. I know she meant well but 27 years old and having to be trated like a child. I soon found an Apartment which gave me solice. Always remember your Parents will always be your Parents reguardless of how old you are.

    It was a adventure good and bad that I will never forget.

  9. Monica-568301 December 19, 2010 Reply

    I lived at home for three years after I graduated from college to get rid of some debt and save up for a home. I have an excellent relationship with my parents, and was able to help my family through a troubling time while I was living at home. I am a relatively low-key person that wasn’t itching for space, and I made sure to pitch in and help out whenever I could. After 3 years, I knew it was time to move out because I needed to be independent, and I bought my current home.

    While I agree that the pros and cons are somewhat realistic, I think the article is way too broad in their assumptions. Not everyone has similar cons — I certainly didn’t. Every person and family is different, and I believe that God planned for me to live at home because I was able to help out my family in a time of need. Yes, my spiritual life was stagnent at the time, but that had more to do with an unsatisfying dating relationship and a lack of local friends to encourage me in the faith than with living at home.

  10. Eric-633102 December 20, 2010 Reply

    Everyone seems to have mixed responses on this issue. This subject in particular hits home with me because I just got laid off from my job and can no longer afford to live out there on my own. My parents offered my old room back…rent free, and I will be gladly accepting their offer.

    I know for a fact that my parents only offered this to help. Sure, parents will always be parents, but to what degree? Every individual is different. The same goes for the child. If you know that living with your parents will be particularly difficult in certain aspects, then you review the situation based on each of your individual charters, needs, and certain habitual temptations. If you know your mother will be doing your laundry all the time…don’t let her! (or just don’t move in) If you know that the choices you make on a daily basis will improve by living with your parents…do it!

    My parents and I do actually have a real adult relationship and I am extremely grateful for that. I know not everyone is in that place, so just act accordingly. The bottom line is that we need to be making a conscious effort to move towards God, and not away. Weigh your own options and make your own decision.

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