When you live by yourself for the first time, it's freeing and empowering! You start to feel like your own independent adult. But sometimes due to finances, property damage, or unexpected events, you may need to move back with your parents.

After doing life by yourself for a while, it seems almost impossible to be in the "child" role again. You think, "How can I live my life as an adult while living with my parents?"

A mom hugging their son. The son looks surprised and embarrassed.

In this day and age, there will be a lot of real reasons to need to live with your parents again. While that might be hard to adjust to, you can be your own person while living under your parents' roof.

The following tips are from what I learned moving back with my parents during the pandemic in 2020 for 2 years, when I was a soon-to-be college graduate.

1. Re-own Your Family Role

The major adjustment you will have to get used to is to go back to your old family role. It simply means that whatever lifestyle you've lived before, you have to adjust it to your parents' rules and standards.

At the very least, this means making sure you're an active family member and contributing to the household.

SpongeBob SquarePants doing multiple chores with many arms.

This will include some of the following:

  • Communication: letting your parents know where you are, what you plan to do, and what you want.

  • Compromise: consider your parents' needs and wants when making decisions, aiming to find common ground.

  • Adaptation: if you aren't used to cleaning or cooking a lot, this will be a good opportunity to learn!

My Experience

For me, it was both easy and hard to go back to my role — easy because I was used to being home for breaks, but hard because it was no longer "my own" space, and I wasn't used to communal living.

Regardless, I took up the responsibility of some chores, making sure the inside of the house was clean and maintained. I also made dinners during the week, learning some new skills and recipes!


What are ways to become an active part of the family? Select all that apply:

2. Set Boundaries

While you adjust to something similar to how you used to live, remember now that you're older, and things are different. You have the right to set some boundaries with your parents to still be your own individual self.

For example, perhaps you'd like to stay out late without worrying about a curfew, or cooking meals for the family that you want to cook. With open communication, you can set these ideas and standards in place with your parents.


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  • Be open and honest about each other's expectations.

  • Work with your parents — remember, they're adjusting too!

  • Stay consistent with your boundaries.


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  • Tell them how you'll do things without their input or consideration.

  • Antagonize your parents when they're trying to understand your boundaries.

  • Allow parents to change or disrespect agreed-upon boundaries.

My Experience

My parents were very open and understanding of my own time. For example, they didn't expect me to always be available for every family get-together, and were willing to adjust their schedule around mine if needed.

As for them, I made sure not to practice my singing at a late hour, and when I had friends over, that they left at a reasonable time.

Consider the following: You decided to learn an instrument. You talk with your parents about when would be a good time to practice. They say besides their afternoon naps, anytime is fine as long as it's not too loud (especially towards nighttime). From this conversation, what would be reasonable boundaries for everyone involved?

A. You can practice at night, but you'll play softly.

B. You practice any time you feel like it.

C. You can practice either during the morning or the evening.

D. You can't practice in the house at all.


What are reasonable boundaries for everyone involved? Select all that apply:

3. Be Proactive

When living back with your parents, it's VERY EASY to become passive with your life. Your parents are taking care of mostly everything, and are more responsible than you are for your living situation.

It's important to avoid falling back on bad habits and continue seeking individual growth and experiences. Just because you live with your parents, doesn't mean your life is on hold!

Consider the following questions to help you make ideas to stay proactive:

  • What's the next life goal you could be working towards now?

  • What activity or event can you do outside of the house?

  • What's a skill or hobby you always wanted to learn?

  • What get-togethers or trips do you want to take with friends?

  • How can you help your family or community?

A person writing their class schedule and goals in a journal.

My Experience

Funny enough, it was my parents that helped me be more proactive! The most proactive thing I did was start my master's program online, but I was too focused on schooling and not having fun.

My parents helped me find a place for dance lessons. I started to take singing lessons too, and also started running for exercise. My only regret is that I didn't seek more experiences, and move past my wrong belief that my life was on hold.

4. Have Fun with Your Family!

With all this, moving back in with your parents is a great opportunity to spend time with them, and continue to build your relationships with nearby family. Your parents will appreciate your effort in setting time just for them.

Here are some idea starters:

  • Set up a game night

  • Watch a TV show with them

  • Go out for dinner or some dessert

  • Plan a day trip to an event or location (beach, park, etc.)

  • Take some time to talk with them

A family that cheers with cups at a table. They say in unison,

My Experience

With my parents, we had many dinners together, watched movies, and did some walking around the neighborhood. I got to see my grandparents a lot, too.

My only regret is I wish I'd taken more initiative and time with the planning. Most of our get-togethers were last-minute or whatever we were feeling at the moment. That being said, I'm grateful for the time we did have together.

Take Action

Olivia Rodrigo accepting a Grammy Award. She says,

While it can feel like your life is coming to a halt, it's far from the truth. Your life goes on, it's just now with your parents. Recognizing this fact will allow you to enjoy a lot more life than you thought you could.


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