Your child will be a legal adult when they turn 18, and technically, they could move out into their own place at that point. However, most high school graduates are not prepared financially or emotionally to live on their own, and they will most likely be living with you. Even though they are an adult, it is still your right to establish certain rules they will need to follow, which may change when they graduate high school.
Getting a Job or Going to School
Your child has options at their fingertips now that they are out of high school, but one pathway that should never be an option is for your child to live off of you without having any type of responsibility. Your child might need some time to figure out what they want to do, whether it’s technical school or college, or an entirely different career path. If they are truly uncertain, it could be better for them to work a year or two if they have no idea whether college is for them, but they should have responsibility during these years. This gives them purpose and motivation to move forward.
If they are going to school, they may need some help in covering the cost of tuition. Federal student loans are a great starting point, but in many cases, they do not cover the entire balance that is due. The rest of the tuition can be covered with private student loans, which are ideal for students who already have credit. Still, if your child has not had a chance to build up their credit yet, you can help them by cosigning on a loan with them. This way you can help your child qualify for better options and you can look at a guide with more information on what you need to know.
Being Respectful of Quiet Hours
An important tip for empty nesters and parents with adult children living at home alike is to always be respectful of each other at this stage. Respect is something your child should have been learning all their lives, but it is important to set some ground rules now that they are an adult. You should communicate what hours of the day should be observed as quiet hours. These are commonly the hours you and other household members are asleep, but they could also be times household members are studying or working from home. Make sure you communicate expectations for how your child should observe these rules. Can they have a friend over or talk on the phone during these times, or does the entire house need to be silent?
Honesty should always be considered the best policy and everyone in the household should put honesty before anything else. Your child should have grown up with this rule, but you should communicate that it remains in effect, even though they are an adult.
It’s a good idea to have a curfew for your child for their safety and your peace of mind. They should know when you expect them home each night and what the consequences are of breaking curfew. This may not have been a concern when they were younger because you may not have let them go out alone at night at all. But you can teach them that the privilege of being allowed to go out with their friends comes with responsibility as well.
Parents might begin having their adult kids pay rent and for some of their own costs to help them learn how to better manage their money. Some parents might charge a set rate for their child’s expenses while others might have them simply manage their entire phone bill or car expenses. If your child is in college full-time, they may not have time to get a job, and their income may be going toward their education. They may be unable to afford living expenses too, even if you don’t charge what they’d be spending if they lived on their own. That’s why some parents only charge their child rent if they decide to move back home after college graduation. On the other hand, if your child decides to get a job instead of going to school, charging them for some of their household expenses can encourage them to find and keep a job, as well as manage their income.