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Dividing Chores With Adult Children Living at Home

Noemi in Charleston, SC
March 14, 2017

Last month, my recently divorced brother decided to move in with our parents. Unfortunately, the arrangement is very challenging, mostly because my brother wants to work, watch TV and sleep all the time. I had to encourage my parents to take a few steps as they divide chores with adult children living at home.

1. Clarify expectations.

Be clear from the beginning about your expectations so you eliminate surprises and ensure everyone's on the same page about the division of chores. Try asking these questions: What chores do you expect your adult children to do? Will they be responsible for common areas in addition to their bedroom? How often should they clean? Will they be able to do extra work or complete big projects around the house in exchange for paying rent or buying groceries?

2. Expect challenges.

As with any relationship, you're going to face challenges. Maybe your child forgets to take out the garbage one week or doesn't vacuum the floors like you do. Expect to face some bumps along the way and be prepared to be flexible as you resolve conflicts.

3. Exercise respect.

Always show respect to your adult children. In turn, expect them to respect you, too. This means you respect their space and don't micromanage their chores, and they respect you by doing chores regularly.  

4. Communicate often and honestly.

It's important to keep the communication channels open in case you need to change the chore expectations or discuss chores that aren't getting done. Everyone should feel safe talking honestly about chores and anything else, so set up regular meetings as you listen, talk and communicate clearly.

When adult children move back home, the adjustment can be challenging. Be sure to talk clearly about your expectations regarding chore division as you avoid as much conflict as possible. Are there other suggestions you'd recommend?

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