What rules do you think an adult child should have to follow to live at home?


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I always wondered what rules others insist upon for an adult child to live at home. I can share mine and you can share yours, if this topic is interesting to you. Then I will tell you which one my two adult children who had to leave violated.

1/To live at home after age eighteen you MUST either be in school full time or have a full time job. I will accept part time if it's leading to full time and the adult child seems very interested in bettering himself and growing up.

2/Everyone is polite to one another. Yes, I know siblings and parents and their adult offspring do fight, but it can not be constant, it can not involve threats, and the adult child can not be either verbally or physically aggressive. Physical aggression is very serious in our house.

3/In my house you respect our desires. You do not light up a cigarette in our house. You do not drink. You do not do anything illegal in our house. What you do outside of the house, I don't always know. But don't do it at home. Yes, we will smell the smoke even if you shut the door, open the window, and smoke three rooms away. It is forbidden in our house.

4/You can not be out after twelve, no matter how old you are, without checking in at home and telling me that you won't be home and where you are. I am a very nervous person and I will not be able to get a lick of sleep unless I know, no matter how old you are. Violating this rule was so strict in our house that even 36 never broke it. When Julie broke the rule, I would call all her friends looking for her an d then call the cops. It was very embarassing for her, but I was frantic. If you live with me, let me know, as a courtesy, that you are going to be late and that you are safe and where you are. Or that you will be spending the night somewhere else. Just tell me. That's all I ask.

5/You don't steal.

6/Don't make a huge mess in the house. Pay some of your bills, like gas. Be respectful of our property. No holes in the wall because your angry, for example.

These are all I can think of. I don't think they are unreasonable or hard rules to follow. Most young adults follow these rules without being told about them. 36 had to leave when he put a hole in the wall just beside my head after backing me into a corner, although he actually was the one who walked out the door. I had warned him that if he left he would not be allowed to come back, but he left anyway. Before he left, he had stolen, memorized ex's credit card to rent porn movies, and was very abusive to his sister Julie.

Julie used drugs and had many, many chances to get help, which she refused. She stole, lied and was on parole twice. She told us she was going to pick up a friend of hers who was going to spend the night and called us at midnight from Minnesota because she had gone on a "road trip" with this girl and the car had been obviously racing so badly that it started on fire. We gave her a lot of chances, but she finally wore out her welcome. It is hard yet gratifying to see the wonderful straight young mother she is today, but she sure gave me some gray hairs!!!!


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Mine would be the same or similar. Our son lived at home for a short time after 18. First he worked PT and saw a psychologist. Then, he worked part time and went to college PT. (Didn't need to see the Dr. Anymore :) ) He went through some weird, late adolescence phase. He seem to be transitioning at first slowly, but then rather nicely into young adulthood. Anyway, we had the same rules and he did abide by them. However, out of no where, he was cussing (at the beginning). Nothing I said or did helped UNTIL I started fining him $1 for every cuss word and $2 if he used the "F" word. He can be rather frugal and it paid off. It really ticked him off, but I asked him if he wished to give me a dollar or pay for an apartment????
I think adult children (certainly if they are 21) who are working and don't plan on going to college, should probably pay a small monthly rent and also have to keep their room clean, wash their own clothes and have one or two weekly chores. I think around 22, depending on their maturity level (very important) they should be encouraged to find their own place.
And if they are breaking the rules...at any time....they should be "gifted" with eviction.


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I don't care much about the state of their rooms. If it is messy they should keep the door closed, and I won't go in.
I wouldn't dream of doing their laundry.
They should pick up after themselves and keep the kitchen clean. They should do a few chores every day (just like I do) to keep things running smoothly...empty the dishwasher, walk the dog, water the houseplants or window box, go buy milk or other basics (with my money as necessary) and, if we are eating together, they hsould make dinner from time to time.
I differ from some of the other moms in that I think a curfew is forever. Like MWM, I don't want to worry, and I don't want to wake up when they come home late. I tell them what time they have to be home, and they have to come to my room and wake me up when they get in (eventually my daughter started texting me from her room instead which served the same purpose...I didn't wake up and worry).
No overnight friends of the sexual type. Ever.
No overnight friends of any type without asking me.
That is it off the top of my head.


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I posted these in a prior thread...edited them for here.

**You will keep your room in clean, if not neat, condition. You will NOT leave dishes, wrappers, cans and bottles in your room.

**THERE WILL BE NO SMOKING OF ANY KIND IN THIS HOUSE! We know what our house smells like.

**There will be nothing illegal in this house. Period.

**You will assist with normal household chores. If you dirty a dish, wash it. If there’s paper on the floor, pick it up. If your laundry needs done, do it. Don’t gripe if asked to carry out a bag of trash. If we are: raking leaves, shoveling snow, trimming bushes, mowing, painting or fixing things, etc.; you are expected to OFFER help even if you don’t think we’ll accept it. You don’t have set chores and you don’t have an allowance. You do not do these things for money. You do these things for the same reason we do them: Because you are an adult who lives here too and they need to be done.

**You will not lay in bed until noon. You will work and if you are not working you will actively look for work. If you get a job you hate you can look for other work on your days off. You do not work because it’s fun. You work because people pay you to do so.

**The car is ours, not yours. You will use it only when job-hunting or when given permission. If we feel you are misusing this privilege, you will all lose access to the car and will job hunt on foot. Once you get a job and are paying for your own gas, then use the car when you like. While we are paying for it, it is for job hunting.

**Most importantly, YOU WILL TREAT US WITH RESPECT. You will not scream, shout, complain or argue with us. You will not slam doors or punch things. You will not lie, steal, or otherwise disrespect us. If you have a problem with us, you will discuss it with us – calmly – like an adult.

**You are an adult. You do not have a curfew. Come and go as you please. I would appreciate a text if you are going to be gone overnight, just so I don’t worry. But this is OUR house. WE say who can be here and what goes on here. No guests without permission.

If I got all those accomplished ... what a wonderful life I would have. My 19 yo has been actually pretty good ... but the job thing is starting to wear us out.


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I don't think adult children should live at home.
I think they should grow up, become independent and live in their own homes
(even if it's a treehouse :) like my son).


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Just wanted to clarify.... I would NOT be doing their laundry around 16. Definitely would NOT be doing it around 17.
And yep, I too would not all overnight friends of the "sexual type." (nicely put Echolette! )
Our son had to keep his door open when he had girls over. We suggested he move into the dorm at age 19, even though it was in the same city. Some thought we were wasting money. Hmmmm. Time for our little boy to grow up and guess what? He did!


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My dad's rule was: if you're not in college full time, you work and pay rent. So that was my #1 rule. Neither of my kids chose to go to college, so I charged them rent when they lived at home. It was a nominal amount, but it was more of a principle thing.

My other rules (or at least the ones that come to mind, it's been a while) would be:

Pick up after yourself in the common areas. Don't care much about your room, but be reasonable - don't leave dirty dishes etc. in there. Food mess is my biggest pet peeve.

I didn't believe in curfews for adults in general, but it's about respect. If you come in at 2 am on a weeknight, it disrupts my sleep and I have to get up early - so I'd ask that they be home by midnight on weeknights. Don't care much about the weekends, except to say that if you're going to be out all night, let me know so I don't worry.

Pay your own bills - all of them. Gas, clothes, toiletries, entertainment etc. I'll keep food stocked for the most part, but if you want something special, buy it yourself.

Zero tolerance policy on illegal activity (including drug use), physical violence or threats, or damage to property. You're out with no notice if that happens (and that's how my Oldest left at 19 .. escorted by the cops).

The no smoking in the house was never an issue - both of my girls smoked but did it outside. They didn't want the house smelling like smoke any more than I did.
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Hm on the laundry: my kids did their own starting at age 13. I never did any laundry for them after that, unless I was hunting for stuff to make a full load.


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My kids, including autistic Sonic, did their own laundry at age twelve with no difficulty. I really like my kids to be independent and with Sonic I needed to let him know I felt he was capable (it is so easy to baby a truly disabled child). He did fine and can now take care of his own apartment. It is not a mess. He cleans it and drags out garbage bags each night.

All my kids had to learn to cook, at least in a passable way, in high school. I wasn't always home and that is another skill even Sonic actually is very good at.

The allownace quit at age sixteen. Part-time work kicked in and all of my grown kids have good work ethics.

An adult child most certainly should mow the lawn, take out trash, pick up after himself and do the dishes from time to time. I'm with you about the room, Echo. It's your mess. I won't clean it. Don't expect me to. If you can live in slobbery, then do it, but keep the door shut.


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To LucyJ: Adult kids in college, at least in the US, can't afford to live outside the home without our money and if my grown kids follow our rules and stay home while looking for a job or getting settled that's fine with me. But there is a time, say age 24, when I will be starting to ask when they are going to move out.

If they don't follow our house rules, it will be much sooner.


one day at a time
Hmmmm...when I think adult child, I'm thinking of someone who is post-college age. That someone doesn't need to live at home.

But---If we're talking "in college" age, which is until about 22 (give or take), these are my rules:

1. Pick up after yourself. If you open it, close it. If you take it out, put it back. If you mess it up, clean it up. And keep your room decent---otherwise we will have bugs.

2. If you're in college, go to class. And work a part time job to help pay for things that we agree on. Be busy. Stay busy. Do what you are supposed to do on both.

3. If you aren't in college, work full time or more than full time. At some job. Doing something. I don't care what it is. Pay some rent. (I don't care if it's $100 a month---it's the IDEA of paying rent).

4. Be respectful. Be nice. Be polite. Be easy-to-be-around. Act like a grownup.

5. You are doing your own laundry, letting me know if you're going to join us for a meal, making your own food if not, being in at an agreed-upon time weeknights and weekends, and if something happens where you can't/aren't going to do that, you let me know ahead of time---not at midnight because I'm asleep.

6. No smoking, no drugs, no sitting in your room and drinking anything (alcohol). If we have a glass of wine and you're not an alcoholic, you can have one too if you're 21.

7. Tell the truth. Tell the truth. Tell the truth.

As I've stated before, I think grown adult people do not need to be living with other grown adult people who are their parents. It is not a good mix.

But if the person is in college or in some sort of training, or is trying to save money by working full time for a bit until he/she moves out, that is okay. But only if they act like an adult (see above).

P.S. Can you tell I've been burned? lol....


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COM, none of my kids were home past twenty-one so I was thinking more of 18-21. I consider that young adulthood, not an extension of childhood, or a time to party with mom's car on mom's dime or a time to sleep all day and not go to school and work. I was kind of lucky that way. My kids all did strive for independence and were encouraged all their lives to want to be independent. Now 36 was tossed out or he may still be here..lol...but he did get a good job, buy the house, pay his own bills, etc. Any kid who is over 21 and living in my house better be paying rent of at least $300 month, which is cheaper than any apartment, going to work five days a week, helping with all chores, and being easy to live with. And he better be planning when he is going to eventually fly the coop. I can't imagine having a child that old at home. I think Julie would have left on her own if she hadn't been shown the door. The only ones who seem to never leave are the ones who are the hardest to live with and think they are Peter Pan!!!


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I have been enjoying having daughter home with Connor but at almost a year now, I totally get that it is difficult living with adult children. At first the thought of her moving out with Connor depressed me, but she cannot live with her parents forever. When she does move out, I fully intend on taking Connor every other weekend. :)


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PG, your situation is way different because of all your daughter has been through and done for her life and her child's life. I wouldn't mind having Julie here with my granddaughter...lol. What would bother me was if she was home, no child, laying around, wanting my car with my money for gas, partying at night, making excuses not to work, and not maturing. Your daughter is maturing by leaps and bounds. She is a real Superstar to me :)


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Well obviously I never figured out how to make one leave...lol. I actually wanted to force my oldest out but Tony felt some weird sense of I really dont know what but he thought Billy would never make it on his own. I have no idea if he was right or not.

It did take Billy forever to get to normal milestones such as driving, getting a job. He did go to a 2 year college and got a degree...two in fact. He just couldnt seem to get a job. His driving problem was he had such awful anxiety and that gave me awful anxiety about letting him learn to drive in one of my cars. He had a tendency to freeze up if he got nervous. Not a good thing on the road. Obviously the driving and job thing have gotten better but he hasnt been able to find another job even though he has been with Radio Shack for almost 8 years now. He hates that job.

The only reason Cory is at the house is because of the baby. Tony didnt want the kids living in a bad area. Right now they are paying the bills and rent so its going okay but I dont know how much longer that will be going on. Billy is desperately trying to get a job out of this town which will leave Cory at the house alone and he cant afford to stay by himself. We shall see.

But as far as rules for adult anyone living in my home (which I have had quite a bit of experience with)...well I dont have a whole lot of rules.

1. Let me know if you plan on being out all night so I wont worry about noise at the front door.
2. Let me know if you will be home for dinner.
3. Contribute to household in some manner - money, chores, etc.
4. No drugs and no parties.
5. No moving anyone in without permission.

I never minded if someone brought a girlfriend/boyfriend over once they were grown. I have had several live with us.