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How to help your adult kids flee the nest

·Senior Producer/Reporter

Saying "I live with my parents" is typically not something you want to advertise. But despite the social stigma, more young adults are moving back home than ever before. According to a Pew Research study, 36% of those 18 to 31 years old, a record total of 21.6 million millennials, lived in their parents' home in 2012.

Coming together under one roof again can be an uncomfortable adjustment for parents who thought they were done raising their kids, but find themselves having to parent in a new way. With grown children, expert Rachel Cruze, author of "Smart Money Smart Kids," recommends establishing clear guidelines and setting expectations in writing.

Below are Cruze’s five tips on how the whole family can work together to maintain a healthy relationship under one roof:

Write a contract

If your adult child is not moving out, have a formal contract with your kids with a move-out date and some other expectations that you have. It kind of seems formal -- it may sound a little crazy -- but when it’s in writing, it’s going to stick more than if it’s just this idea that you kind of talk about. And it’s not a formal legal document, nothing’s going to happen if you break it, but I think it just shows that, clearly communicating, “This is exactly what we expect for you.”

Set a reverse curfew

I love the idea of a reverse curfew, meaning you kick them out of the house from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for them to go and apply for jobs because a lot of these adult children don’t have jobs and they’re not making an income.

So again, instead of them sitting around the house doing nothing, you kick them out of the house and you say, “Between 8 and 5 you’re not allowed to come back. You have to be out applying for jobs.”

Set realistic goals

College graduates should be looking for a job, not just necessarily the “dream” job. I think a lot of them have this expectation coming out of school that they have their degree and they’ve been studying this passion of theirs. And that’s great! I want you to get a dream job eventually, but you may not find it right after college. So you need to be very aware that your dream job may be not just sitting there waiting for you, that you need to go make any type of money at any job possible while still looking for the dream job on the side.

The six-month mark

Your kids can live at home, I think, up to six months. Six months is a great mark to say, "Now it’s been too long." And so for me, I always tell parents to over-communicate with their kids and to figure out a time frame that’s best for your family. But six months is a good point. You just don’t want it to extend because that’s when it starts to harm them when they depend on you way too much.


When you over-communicate for your kids to move out, it’s not going to hurt their feelings. What you’re doing is you’re giving them a gift. You’re saying, “We want you here, we love you, but really what we want you to do is succeed in life and to be an adult and to have the dignity to stand on your own.”

Again, you’re wanting to give them the dignity to be on their own, pay their own bills, let them feel responsibility. Because you do gain dignity when you move out. It’s all out of love. You don’t want to be harsh or mean but you’re saying, “We’re doing this because we love you, we want to see you succeed.”

Are you grown and living at home or have an adult child who moved back in with you?

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