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Family Files

Facts for All Ages

Returning to the Nest


"Mom and Dad, can I come back home for a while until I'm back on my feet again?" or, "I really don't want to leave home until I save enough money to buy my own place."  Sound familiar?  This is a common living situation for many families, as more and more adult children are returning or remaining in the "nest."  This type of family living is a growing phenomenon creating what some call a "full" or "cluttered" nest. 

Some of the factors that have kept young adults in the parental home include education costs and the repayment of student loans, the high cost of housing, difficulty in finding a job or low entry level pay, and increasing age at the time of first marriage.  Financial hardships, unemployment, and marital or relationship problems are often reasons for returning home after a period of living independently.  Whatever the reason, the cluttered nest can be a challenging situation for both the adult child and the parent(s). 

Returning home carries with it the difficulty of trying to fit back into the family routine after living independently.  The reasons for returning home in the first place may add emotional stress to the pressures of moving back home.  Parents too face the challenges of lost privacy, reduced space, and higher utility bills.  However, it should not be overlooked that this living situation can be very beneficial for the family, as parents and their young adult children may get to know each other better as adults and perhaps grow closer in the process.

If it is necessary for adult children to move back home, setting guidelines for the new living arrangement may decrease the opportunity for misunderstandings or problems.  Finances, household chores, privacy rules, computer usage, garage and parking space, and even when the arrangement will end are all viable issues that should be considered.  These guidelines should be fair for all parties and open to review and change as needed.

The ability to communicate with one another is the key to living together successfully.  Family members really need to listen to each other and work together to create a loving and supportive environment.


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