Success: How to Deal With Leaving Davis & Moving Back in With Your Parents

anigif_enhanced-7923-1406080444-8Success is often about how to handle transitions. With a little planning you can make any transition a stepping stone to a new level in your life. This August many UC Davis students will move back with their parents for what both parents and adult children often hope will be a short term.  The internet is full of advice on the topic of  moving back in with your parents, first we’ll deal with the practical stuff and then we’ll have a fun look.

First,’s advice in Moving Back Home With Your Parents After College – How to Make It Work, puts the moving back with parent movement into a broader context:

moving homeAccording to a 2011 Pew Research Center Report, the country is now experiencing “the largest increase in the number of Americans living in multi-generational households in modern history.” More than 10% of all households (11.9 million) include members of multiple generations, the majority of which were an adult child living with a parent. The number of children returning home has become so commonplace that they have earned the appellations “baby gloomers” and “boomerangs.” One of every four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 indicated that they had returned to live in their parents’ house after being independent; one in five of those between the ages of 25 and 34 reported the same.

When a child returns home as an adult, it is rarely voluntary; rather, it is the consequence of too little or no income, high debt, and/or poor income prospects. Young people, even those with college degrees, have borne the brunt of the Great Recession’s impact on the job market. Only 54% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 are currently employed, the lowest employment rate for the group since the government began keeping track in 1948. Furthermore, the unemployment rate for young college graduates has exceeded 19% for the past two years, with no signs of improvement.

Those who have jobs typically earn wages substantially lower than in the year 2000, and they are likely to take 10 to 15 years to make up the difference, according to a 2012 report by the Economic Policy Institute. In 2010, the average college graduate owed $25,250 in student loans, up 5% from the year before – and the number is likely to continue to rise.

How to Deal With the Frustration of Moving Back in With Your Parents

Illustration by Tara Jacoby., has a great article on How to Deal With the Frustration of Moving Back in With Your Parents. Here are a few great tips:

Talk About Your Expectations

Moving back in with your parents, in most cases, is totally different from crashing with a friend. There’s a whole different dynamic, relationship, and added set of expectations. It pays to lay these expectations out from the start.

One way to do this is to draft a lease that includes these expectations. U.S. News & World Report suggests:

Negotiating a lease will force both you and your parents to think through some of the questions/difficulties that your new relationship will face. If you wait until there’s an incident, it will be harder to find a good solution.

Start with the following topics to get the conversation going:

  • Money: Do they have certain expectations about how you spend your money while you’re living with them?
  • Schedules: Does your parent expect to know when you’ll be gone? Will you have a curfew? When will they be home?
  • Habits: Discuss basic living habits. For example, what time does everyone wake up and go to bed? It helps to be aware of how these habits might affect everyone in the house.
  • Pitching in: If your parents aren’t charging you rent, they might expect you to help out in other ways. Discuss how they expect you to pitch in.

When you move in with your folks, it’s easy to fall into your old child-parent roles, because you lived those roles for so many years. If you’ve been on your own for a while, it can be a frustrating adjustment for both parties. Outlining your expectations can alleviate some of that frustration.

Discuss Boundaries

You want to get along with your parents, and setting boundaries can help with that.

Consider all of the common boundaries you’d have in a normal tenant-landlord situation. For example, what’s the house guest policy? Your parents may not want too many guests in their home, or they may not want anyone there during specific hours. Also, where will you stay? If you’re in your old room, are other areas of the house off-limits? If you work from home, do you need a space for a remote office?

Beyond that, also consider privacy. Most parents can’t help but to chime in about your social life, finances, and career. Discuss any concerns you have about their chiming in beforehand, but let them lay out any of their own concerns, too. The Art of Manliness says it’s about redefining the relationship from vertical to horizontal:

For most of your life, your relationship with your parents has been vertical — they stood atop the family hierarchy, guiding, directing, and dictating how you lived your life.

Now that you’re an adult, your relationship to your parents needs to change to a horizontal one. Instead of engaging with your parents as a child, you need engage with them as fellow adults and on terms of mutual respect. Share your expectations and ask them what they expect from the new living arrangement and fight any urge to cry out “That’s not fair!” If what your parents expect is different from what you want, then you’ll have to find another living arrangement.

If there’s disagreement, you’ll want to address it now rather than after you’ve moved in. has A Guide to Moving in With Your Parents, which among other great advice, suggests:

4.  Be Prepared for Parental Judgements

Fourth, if you moved home to get out of debt, don’t be surprised if your parents seem upset when you go on a shopping spree or seem to deviate from your plan. Your parents are making sacrifices to have you home in their space and by covering some of your expenses. Your parents will likely have a hard time keeping their opinions about your finances to themselves, especially when you are the one that opened the issue by moving back home.

5.  Show Your Parents Respect and Courtesy

Fifth, show your parents common courtesy and respect while you live with them. While you shouldn’t have a curfew as an adult, it is polite to let them know you will be out late and that they do not need to wait up. Keeping your parents informed is one of the expectations that accompany living at home. Remember it is their house, and you have to follow their rules.

6.  Stay Focused

Finally, you need to stay focused. Your twenties are a time to have fun, and living at home is not going to be as much fun as having your won apartment. Work towards achieving your goals quickly. You may want to use this survival guide if you have just graduated from college to help you stay focused. Get an extra job if you are getting out of debt, so that you can move out more quickly. When you are ready, you can use these strategies to save on rent.

Finally, Buzzfeed has a fun look at Why Moving Back In With Your Parents Isn’t Actually The Worst. Here is a small sample from their article:

Living at home after you graduate college can seem like a bit of a bummer. You’ll quickly learn how to maneuver the embarrassing conversation that follows, “Oh, where do you live?”

Why Moving Back In With Your Parents Isn't Actually The Worst
Syco Entertainment / Via

Or getting massive FOMO when your friends who don’t live at home do fun things in their apartments.

Or getting massive FOMO when your friends who don't live at home do fun things in their apartments.

Jupiterimages / thinkstock

Your parents, bless them, will judge you when you’re hungover.

Why Moving Back In With Your Parents Isn't Actually The Worst
New Line Cinema / Via

“Don’t you think I feel bad enough already, mom?”


Still, there’s a lot that’s awesome about living at home! You save so much money when you don’t have to pay rent.

Why Moving Back In With Your Parents Isn't Actually The Worst
United Plankton Pictures / Via

And your room at home is probably muuuuuch nicer than anything you could afford on your own.

Why Moving Back In With Your Parents Isn't Actually The Worst
Relativity Media / Via

Not paying rent means you’re also not paying for other utilities.

Why Moving Back In With Your Parents Isn't Actually The Worst
Erin Keever / Via

So gimme dat AC.

And you can use your parents’ actual HBO on a real TV instead of mooching their HBO GO on your crummy laptop.

Why Moving Back In With Your Parents Isn't Actually The Worst
HBO / Via

Heck, you can watch cable for free!

So have a good attitude and enjoy the perks of living at home. Just keep your eye on the prize.

So have a good attitude and enjoy the perks of living at home. Just keep your eye on the prize.