5 Ways to Cope When You Move in with Family

In today’s economy, it has become common for adults to move in with family members as a way of saving money and getting back on their feet. Financially it makes sense, but how do you cope with the loss of independence that comes with your new circumstances?

Even if you’re paying rent, you may experience feelings of loss and failure. Here are some tips to help you cope – and get back on your feet as soon as possible.

#1: Discuss Your Expectations

Some of the preparation for your move should happen, if possible, before you take up residence in a family member’s home. Here are some of the questions to ask:

  • Are you expected to pay rent? If so, how much can you afford?
  • Does your rent include utilities?
  • Are your family members expecting you to contribute to the household in other ways?
  • Are you expected to adhere to house rules – if you are living with your parents, do they expect you to let them know where you are?
  • If you’re not paying rent, how will you contribute to the household?

It’s good to clarify what your financial and domestic responsibilities are ahead of time. If you can’t do it before you move in, schedule a meeting as soon as possible after you arrive.

#2: Set Boundaries

The next step is to set some healthy emotional and physical boundaries. If you’re living with your parents, for example, it’s reasonable to tell them that you expect your room to be private. They should ask before they enter. Likewise, it’s reasonable for them to ask you to be quiet at night or in the early mornings.

One of the trickiest things about moving home is the issue of overnight guests. If you’re single and dating, then you might sometimes want to bring a date home with you. It’s very important to talk about that eventuality before it happens.

You may also want to specify which topics are out of bounds. Sometimes, adults who move back in with their parents find that their parents want to intrude in their personal lives in a way that’s uncomfortable. Spend some time thinking about your feelings and make sure to articulate them.

#3: Plan Your Exit Strategy

Moving home with your parents or into another relative’s house has the potential to be demoralizing. One way to combat any feelings of depression or loss is to move in with a plan to move out.

That means looking for a job if you don’t have one, saving as much money as possible, and creating a timeline for when you want to be back on your feet.

#4: Put Your Agreement in Writing

It might seem unnecessary to formalize your living arrangements with family members, but doing it can help you avoid misunderstandings. Even a brief document that outlines your financial and domestic responsibilities can help you live in harmony.

If you feel that you’re likely to clash over personal issues, you may want to formalize those too. That way, all parties can refer to the written document if there are issues to be resolved.

#5: Behave Like a Guest

When an adult child moves in with their parents, it’s easy for all parties to fall back on old patterns of behavior. Your mom may want to feed you every night, but that doesn’t mean that you need to let her.

It can help your mindset if you think of yourself as a guest in their home. Spend time outside of the house, offer to help around the house, and remember that the living arrangement probably isn’t ideal for them, either. Approaching your situation with gratitude can go a long way toward making it manageable.


Moving back in with your parents poses a real challenge, but the five tips we’ve outlined here can help you cope – and get back on your feet again as quickly as possible.

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Posted in General, Moving.