January 22, 2012

Adult Kids Living at Home: Why They Should Pay Rent

My first child is turning 18 this year. That means I’m about to become the parent of an adult. Issues like having my adult child live in our home will soon be a reality to me.

The concept of adult kids living at home and paying rent is controversial.

Some people are adamantly opposed to it, while others consider it essential.

What most people will agree on is that it is  situational. For example, some parents hold that adult children who have just had a devastating life event need a safe haven where they can get their bearings. However, they will charge their kids rent if they feel they are in a financial position to do so.

Here are some of the situations where most parents agree their kids should pay rent:

They Have the Means

If your child is living at home and earning money, he or she is in a position to pay rent. This can be an introductory exercise to help your adult child get a handle on how money works.

They Are a Bit Too Comfy

Many parents will charge an adult child rent if he or she seems a bit too comfortable living at home. Maybe he is playing video games all day, or perhaps he is staying out late with friends and sleeping until noon. Many parents will charge rent if they feel their child needs a dose of reality, or a nudge toward getting out on their own.

A Matter of Practicality

Sometimes, it’s just a practical matter – Mom and Dad need the financial contribution, and it’s just common sense to help pay for what you’re receiving, whether it’s room and board or groceries. Sometimes, it’s just necessary for the family to function.

Reality Check

Let’s face it – some adult kids living at home need a dose of reality. Maybe they’ve been too sheltered, or are used to having things handed to them. Charging them rent is a good way to introduce them to the reality of the modern world – nothing’s free.

Learning to Contribute

Whether it’s your local community or workplace, learning to contribute to a functioning group from which you draw benefits is an essential life skill. Your adult child needs to understand that he or she ought to give back to the family and community from which he or she receives. In the workplace, this attitude toward contributing can make or break a job opportunity.

Build Confidence

It’s worth noting that a child who seems incapable from getting out on his or her own may lack confidence. If your child does not feel equipped or feels incapable and incompetent, he’s going to be reluctant to strike out on his own. He just may not think he can. So it might be a good idea to spend a little time building confidence, and charging rent is a way to do that. Your child will see that he can, in fact, pay rent and be responsible, thus building up his sense of competence.

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Alexis Rodrigo

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