By Martha Ross
The Mercury News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Christina Newberry, the author of “The Hands-on Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home,” says that a successful arrangement with adult kids at home depends on managing expectations. She especially emphasizes the need for clarity on financial issues.
SAN JOSE, Calif.
Pat Read enjoyed life on her own in her Northern California home after her two kids left for college, graduated, started their careers and set themselves up in their own apartments.
But about a year ago, stuff happened. Her children were hit by soaring rents, and her family faced a situation that is becoming familiar to many parents in the Bay Area and is transforming how people live together in the United States.
First, 30-year-old Lisa got priced out of an apartment she was sharing with roommates in Oakland, then 28-year-old Jeff could no longer afford his jacked-up $1,700-a-month one bedroom.
“I told them they were welcome to move back home but under certain conditions,” Read said.
For Read, she knew her children weren’t typical of despairing stories about the “boomerang generation.” They weren’t mooching millennials who have “failure to launch” issues but hard-working young adults faced with a challenging housing market.
Still, she realized it was important to talk about everyone’s expectations for living together and to lay out some ground rules, including her need for them to pay rent.
It turns out that Read’s demand for clarity is just what was needed, according to therapists and other experts in how families can cope with this phenomenon.
As it happens, Read found that things went much more smoothly than she expected. She hasn’t missed the peace and freedom of her empty nest and in fact prizes the opportunity to get to know her kids in a new way.