Setting rules is essential in every home, especially when you have 18-year-olds and above living with you.
In the United States, nearly half of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are still living in their family homes according to Pew Research Center.
It has become more common for young adults to continue to live with their parents. This could be due to changes in the world, whereby young people are facing more difficult choices than ever regarding their careers and future goals.
As a parent, it can be both fulfilling and challenging to have your adult child live under your roof. Fulfilling in the sense that you can give your child the support, guidance, and secure environment they need.
On the other hand, it can be challenging in the sense that there are bound to be moments of stress and tension as you navigate the transition from a parent-child to an adult-adult relationship.
However, parenting an adult child won’t be easy, but there are rules you can set that will make the transition much easier.
- Should I set rules for my 18-year-olds living at home?
- Complete rules for 18-year-olds living at home
- 1. Set curfew rules; Don’t stay out late
- 2. Keep the house clean and tidy
- 3. Get a job
- 4. Notify you of their whereabouts and plans
- 5. Contribute to household expenses
- 6. No bad habits indoors
- 7. Respect each other’s privacy and personal space
- 8. Rules pertaining visitors
- 9. Be mindful of noise levels
- 10. Limit technology use
- 11. Practice a healthy lifestyle
- 12. Respect all members of the household
- 13. Rules pertaining transportation
- 14. No sexual intercourse under your roof
- 15. Follow the rules of the house
- Final thought
Should I set rules for my 18-year-olds living at home?
As children grow into adulthood, the effectiveness of traditional parenting methods, such as strict rules and boundaries may diminish. However, it is still important to establish guidelines for behavior in the household and involve your grown child when creating them.
By working together to establish rules, your child will feel like their needs and desires are being considered rather than being dictated to. This collaborative approach can promote a sense of mutual respect and understanding between family members. And also help create a calm and structured living environment.
Rules can also serve as the foundation for building independent and self-sufficient individuals. When young adults learn the value of financial management, maintaining a clean living environment, and other household responsibilities. It instills a sense of ownership and confidence that enables them to stand on their own two feet.
Note: Even though your child has grown up, they may still experience periods of rebellion or mood swings due to hormonal changes. Setting boundaries and rules can help prevent these outbursts and ensure that everyone in the household feels safe and respected.
Related: How to Motivate a Teenager Who Doesn’t Care about Anything
Complete rules for 18-year-olds living at home
1. Set curfew rules; Don’t stay out late
As a parent, it’s understandable to be worried about your 18-year-olds being out late at night, especially if they’re still living at home; that’s why it is important to set a few curfew rules.
Communicate this rule in a way that promotes mutual respect and open communication. Rather than simply imposing a curfew without discussing it with them, have an honest conversation with your child about your concerns and expectations.
Ask them about their feelings and needs, and work together to come up with a curfew that feels fair and reasonable for both of you.
Remember that while your child is no longer in high school, they may still have responsibilities and commitments. This responsibility may require them to be up early in the morning or stay out late in the evening.
However, encourage them to prioritize their sleep and rest. And set a curfew that allows them to get enough rest while still enjoying some independence and social time.
Above all, approach the curfew as an agreement rather than a one-sided imposition. Emphasize the importance of trust and respect, and work together to ensure your child feels heard and valued.
2. Keep the house clean and tidy
As your child grows up and becomes an adult, it’s important to encourage a sense of responsibility and independence. This includes taking on their fair share of household chores.
While it may be tempting to let your 18-year-olds off the hook and with no rules now that they’re no longer in school, remember that they are living in your home and benefiting from the comforts and resources you provide.
They should be responsible for keeping their personal space and common areas tidy. It includes doing their laundry, washing dishes after using them, and keeping their living area and other shared spaces clean and organized.
You should be clear about your expectations and communicate openly about what needs to be done and when. You can have a routine or schedule for chores and make sure everyone in the household understands their responsibilities.
Rather than seeing it as a punishment, encourage your child to view chores as a way of contributing to the household and taking care of their own living space.
3. Get a job
When living under your roof, your child needs to understand the value of hard work and the rewards that come with it. An 18-year-old should not be lazing around but planning and building his future.
While it’s understandable that you may want to support your child. However, your child’s getting a job will earn them self-respect and respect from you and others.
When they eventually start working, they can start contributing to household expenses, no matter how small. These expenses could include rent, groceries, and utilities. Check rule number 5.
They can also start paying for their necessities instead of asking for money now and then. This can help them become more financially independent and prepare for living on their own.
4. Notify you of their whereabouts and plans
When children are younger, they often ask for permission before going out to play or hang out with friends. As they get older, they may stop asking for permission.
For instance, parents may think their child is only going out for a short while, but the child may end up being gone for days. Or parents may think their child is in their room sleeping, not knowing they are out partying.
Establish a rule about them telling you their whereabouts before going out. Telling you where they are going, or whom they are going to visit is a safety measure that can help you keep track of your child’s whereabouts and ensure their well-being.
By notifying you of their plans and whereabouts, your child is demonstrating responsibility and respect for the rules of the household. This also allows you to plan accordingly and make sure that you are aware of your child’s schedule and whereabouts. Especially if you need to reach them in case of an emergency.
You may want to establish specific guidelines around notification, such as requiring your child to provide you with a specific time by which they will be back. Or ask them to provide you with contact information for where they will be staying if they will be away from home overnight. You can also discuss any concerns or expectations you may have about your child’s plans and whereabouts.
5. Contribute to household expenses
It’s common for 18-year-olds to still be living at home, especially if they’re pursuing their education or just starting their careers. However, they need to contribute financially to the household, even if they don’t have a lot of income.
You can start by having an open conversation about what responsibilities they can take on and how much they can contribute each month. These expenses can include things like pitching in for groceries, covering part of the cable bill, or even paying for their gas and food.
If they have a job or some form of income, it’s important to encourage them to contribute financially to the household. This rule not only helps ease the financial burden on you as the parent. But also helps your to develop a sense of responsibility and independence.
Note: Keep the conversation open and non-judgmental. Encourage them to talk to you about what expenses they can help with and how they can best contribute to the household. By working together, you can create a plan that helps your young adult feel more comfortable and responsible in the household.
6. No bad habits indoors
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nearly 9 out of 10 adults who smoke cigarettes daily first try smoking by age 18, and each day in the U.S, about 1,600 youth smoke their first cigarette and nearly 200 youth start smoking every day.
These statistics indicate that smoking is not uncommon among teenagers and young adults, especially those around 18 years of age.
As an 18-year-old, depending on your country, your child is legally allowed to consume alcohol. But, it is important to set clear expectations and consequences if they choose to do so. You can also choose to prohibit alcohol use altogether, depending on your personal beliefs and values.
Similarly, drug use can have serious consequences for your child’s health and well-being. And it is important to establish clear boundaries and consequences for drug use in the household.
You should have a conversation with your child about the risks associated with drug use. If your child is struggling with drug addiction, provide them with the right resources and support to beat the addiction. Do not compromise!
7. Respect each other’s privacy and personal space
Respecting each other’s privacy and personal space is crucial, especially when living under the same roof. While it can be challenging, understand that everyone has boundaries, and those boundaries should be respected.
You can set a rule protecting everyone’s boundaries. And also a rule that your child should respect others’ boundaries.
They should ask before entering someone’s room, especially when they are sleeping or changing clothes.
As an 18-year-old, your child is not just a family member but also an individual who requires personal time, and space.
Avoid constantly monitoring your child’s activities and give them space to live their lives without feeling suffocated. Treat them like the adults they are, respect their belongings, and refrain from snooping around.
Creating a comfortable and happy environment for everyone in the household requires respecting each other’s boundaries and giving each other some breathing room.
8. Rules pertaining visitors
Set clear rules for when visitors are allowed to visit and who is and isn’t allowed to visit.
When setting this rule, do not forget to first discuss it with your child and come to an agreement that works for everyone in the household. Don’t just impose the rules on them.
For instance, you can set specific hours when visitors can visit. Such as during the day, on certain days of the week, or only on weekends. You can also set rules prohibiting overnight visitors. Such as limiting the number of guests, prohibiting sleepovers, or requiring prior approval before visits.
If you decide to prohibit overnight visitation, make sure you communicate your decision to your child clearly and gently. However, if you’re okay with it, create specific guidelines stating what is and isn’t allowed. It is, after all, your house!
However, when creating these guidelines, keep your ethics and comfort levels in mind. Setting visiting rules can help ensure that everyone in the household feels comfortable and respected. It can also help in avoiding any conflicts or disagreements caused by unexpected guests or visitors who have overstayed their welcome.
9. Be mindful of noise levels
Respect is a fundamental principle in any household, and one way to show respect is by being considerate of others’ needs for peace. To ensure that everyone’s needs are met, it’s essential to establish specific quiet hours.
When setting up quiet hours, be clear about when they apply. This may include the hours when you and your family members are sleeping, working from home, or when younger siblings are studying. You can even adjust the degree of quiet required depending on the time of day.
It’s also important to discuss what “quiet time” means for your household. Does it mean no loud music, no phone calls, or no loud conversations? Establishing clear guidelines will help ensure that everyone knows what’s expected of them.
By being respectful of each other’s needs for quiet, you can create a peaceful and harmonious living environment for everyone in the household.
10. Limit technology use
Technology is a crucial element of modern life, and it’s critical to create ground rules for its use. Especially for an 18-year-old child who may have more freedom and access to technology than younger children.
Setting boundaries for your child’s digital use can help guarantee that he or she uses technology in a safe, responsible, and balanced manner.
You can establish limits on how much time your child spends on their phone, computer, or other electronic devices. This limit will help in balancing the time spent between technology and other important activities, such as schoolwork, exercise, and socializing in person.
However, depending on your child’s level of maturity and responsibility, you may want to monitor their technology use to make sure they are following the rules and staying safe online. It could include checking their browser history and reviewing their social media activity. Or using parental control software to limit access to certain websites or apps.
11. Practice a healthy lifestyle
Your child is an adult, be it 18 years old, or still living at home. One thing about an adult is that they are responsible for taking care of themselves and developing good habits that can lead to a healthy lifestyle.
There is a high probability that your child will not prioritize healthy living. As young adults have this phase of “you only live once” going on. They might prioritize unhealthy lifestyles as a means of having the best time of their lives.
As a parent, you can set rules that encourage healthy living. Set rules that only well-balanced diets are allowed, and no junk food in your house.
You can also set rules that allow regular exercise. Be it 30 minutes of walking a day, or getting enough sleep. This can help them maintain a healthy weight, reduce their risk of chronic diseases, and improve their mental health.
Parents can help their children understand the importance of making responsible choices regarding their health and well-being.
Note: While parents can encourage their children to adopt healthy habits, ultimately, it is up to the individual to make their own choices. Children may practice healthy living at home and do otherwise outside.
12. Respect all members of the household
Your child should show respect to all family members while living with you. This family member includes you, your partner, your children, and any occupants. Respect is reciprocal, as the saying goes.
Set rules that your child must respect every family member if they too want to be respected. Your child should treat you and others with kindness, consideration, and empathy, as well as display respect through their words and deeds.
Moreover, any healthy and effective household must have respect for each other. This rule helps foster good relationships, open communication, and a sense of community. Respect is essential, especially if you want to create a harmonious relationship in your house.
Related: Raise Independent Children With these Easy Strategies
13. Rules pertaining transportation
If you have a car that your child can use, it’s important to establish clear guidelines for when and how they can use it.
For example, you may want to set specific times when the car is available, such as outside your working hours or late in the evening.
You may also want to establish rules around who is allowed to use the car. Such as only the named driver on the insurance policy can drive the car.
If your child is using public transportation, you may want to discuss guidelines around safety and scheduling. For example, you may want to discuss the safest routes to take.
You can also establish rules around when they should be home if they are taking public transportation at night.
14. No sexual intercourse under your roof
18-year-olds has the right to engage in consensual sexual activity with other adults, even if they are still living at home.
However, as the homeowner, you have the right to establish rules and boundaries for behavior within your home. Especially when you have other minors living with you.
You can establish a rule that there will be no sexual activity in your house, but it’s important to communicate this rule clearly and respectfully to your child. You may also want to discuss the reasons for this rule and listen to your child’s perspective.
15. Follow the rules of the house
A general rule that governs every other rule is “follow the rules of the house.” It means that your child must abide by the guidelines and rules established while living with you.
For this rule to be effective, it should be communicated. It is also a good idea to sit down with your child and go over the rules, their importance, and what happens if they are broken.
In this rule, emphasize the consequences of not following the other rules you have established. Tell your child the consequences of disobeying your rules, such as leaving your house, having no dinner for a day or two, or paying for every rule broken.
These consequences will enable them to know how serious you are about your rules, and if they can’t keep them, there will be consequences.
However, if your 18-year-olds who are still living at home decides to follows the rules of the house, it can help promote a sense of stability, independence, and accountability. It will also reduce any form of conflict or misunderstanding in the family.
If your 18-year-old child wants to live at home, it’s perfectly normal and understandable.
However, 18-year-olds are legally adults regardless that they are still living at home and the rules you set for them may differ from the rules you set when they were much younger.
The first step is to establish clear rules and expectations. These rules can include things like chore responsibilities, curfews, personal space, and financial contributions.
By setting clear rules, you are encouraging independence, and respecting each other’s space, while creating a positive and fulfilling living arrangement for both you and your child.