If your kid is coming home from college for a short – or long – period of time, the best thing you can do for the sake of your own mental health is to set some rules!
We’ve all been young adults, so I’m sure you can sympathize a little – but let’s be honest, on the other side as a parent it’s not easy living under the same roof as them.
We love our kids, and we want them to be happy.
But not at the expense of our own happiness by letting them treat our homes like a student dorm or a hotel!
Here are 11 rules for a college student living at home you may want to consider!
11 Rules for College Students Living at Home
1. They Chip in Either Physically or Financially!
This might be the most important rule of all.
I’m sure, in fact, I know you’re happy to have your child home, but it doesn’t mean they get a free ride.
If you do give them a free ride not only are they going to take advantage of you, but you’re also not helping them transition into a responsible adult.
I’m not trying to tell you how to parent here, but I’m sure this rings true.
So, either they work and contribute to the household bills, or they get stuck in with a few extra chores to make up for not having the financial means.
2. They Get a Job if They Have Some Downtime
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of downtime after a hard semester or year, but if they have too much it might be time for them to get a job.
Even if it’s just part-time, having a job teaches responsibility and work ethic.
Plus, as mentioned before, they can start contributing financially to the household.
It’s a win-win situation!
If they are lucky enough to have their college tuition covered, why not put that extra time to good use and start building their resume?
Plus, they’ll have some extra spending money too!
3. You’re Not Their Personal Driver
As parents with kids who do not have their own transport, it’s all too easy to become a taxi or personal driver.
But, it’s important to set boundaries and let them know that you will not always be available for their transportation.
And neither should they start to expect you to just drop everything and drive them around when they need it.
Encourage them to get a license, or even just find alternative methods of transportation like public transport or carpooling with friends.
4. You’re Going to Communicate as (Mature) Adults
It’s important to have open communication, but it’s also important that they respect you as their parent and not just a friend.
It’s possible they’ve grown up a lot since you last lived under the same roof, so I’m sure the dynamic between the two of you has changed.
They’re still your ‘baby’, I get that and that’ll never truly change.
But the way you talk to one another and interact has to change, and as an adult it’s important they come to you with their problems and respect your decisions.
5. You’ll Respect Their Space and They’ll Respect Yours
Just because they’re living under the same roof, it doesn’t mean you have free reign to enter their room whenever you feel like it as you did when they were kids.
And this applies to your own personal space and boundaries.
You need to respect their privacy and personal space, just as they need to respect yours.
And if boundaries are crossed, communicate calmly about it and come to a solution that works for both parties.
It’s important to remember they are not a child anymore, and treating them as such is not going to benefit either of you.
6. You Need to Know if They’re Staying out All Night
They are adults, and they do have a right to their own independence.
But as their parents, it’s important for you to know where they are and if they will be out all night while they’re living under your roof.
Not only for safety reasons but also because it’s important to have a general idea of their whereabouts.
And if they are staying out all night, perhaps it’s worth discussing a curfew to ensure their safety and also for the respect of your own household’s sleep schedule.
7. They Need to Tell You Who They’re Bringing Home
This is a big one in our household, and I’m sure every parent out there knows exactly why.
It’s important for you to know who your son or daughter is bringing back to your home beforehand so you feel comfortable with their guests.
You will also want to set your own rules around who they can bring back, how long they can stay, etc.
It’s going to help avoid any potential embarrassing problems at the very least!
8. If They Can’t Work They Can Volunteer Somewhere
You’re going to come to realize how big of an advocate I am for installing work ethic in kids and young adults.
So, if your son or daughter isn’t able to find a job, encourage them to volunteer somewhere.
Not only will it keep them busy and give them purpose, it’s also a great way for them to gain experience and build their resume.
9. Set Some Rules Around Eating Arrangements
Food is one of the biggest points of contention when it comes to living with kids, and big kids eat a lot!
I suggest you set some ground rules around;
Will they need to buy their own food?
Will you cook for them and expect them to pitch in with groceries or money?
Or will meals be a shared effort where everyone pitches in with groceries and cooking?
Whatever the arrangement, it’s important to have these discussions and come to an agreement before it becomes a problem.
And trust me, it will!
10. You’re Still Their Parents, Not Housemates
It’s important to remember that even though your child may be living at home as an adult, you’re still their parents and not their roommates.
There is a huge difference between the two!
It’s essential that you set boundaries and maintain a level of authority as their parent, it will benefit both parties in the long run.
11. You Get the Final Say, and That’s Final
At the end of the day, as their parent you get the final say in all household decisions.
This may not be a popular rule with your child, but it’s important for them to understand that you have the final authority in the household.
And if they don’t agree with a decision, encourage them to calmly communicate their concerns and come to a solution that works for both parties.
But ultimately, it’s your household and you have the final say!
Image credits – depositphotos.com/stock-photo-sneering-parent-and-loud-daughter
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.