Conflict Reduction Strategies when Grown Kids Live with Parents

As society changes, more young adults are living with their parents. Inevitably, conflict arises with the new dynamics although a new study suggests conflict can be reduced with proper planning.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne, examined both ‘boomerang kids’ (those who return home) and ‘failure to launch’ kids (those who never left).

Associate Professor Cassandra Szoeke and Katherine Burn, concluded that the changing nature of family living situations often led to avoidable conflict.

The project reviewed 20 studies involving 20 million people worldwide was published in Maturitas.

“A lot of the conflict that arises in these situations is avoidable if the roles and expectations of both parties are redefined from the outset,” Assoc Prof Szoeke said.

The research shows:

  • The shifting economic climate and changes in social norms were driving the phenomenon of kids staying at home for longer;
  • The main reasons for young adults choosing to remain at home were for stability and additional support while they transition to university or employment;
  • Divorce, unemployment, and health problems often led to children returning. This return under negative circumstances can heavily impact on the wellbeing of everyone in the household;
  • Parents who are well-educated, married, and well-off tend to have children who stay home longer, whereas children who grow up in households with a single parent, or step-parent, or didn’t finish high school, tend to leave early.

“For young adults grappling with financial and domestic independence, the family home represents a safe haven,” co-investigator Katherine Burn said.

“But parents can become beleaguered by the financial and emotional demands of their dependent adult children and struggle to maintain their own independence.”

Indeed, the unexpected burden of dependent adult children adds stress and may significantly change the future plans of parents.

Associate Professor Cassandra Szoeke discovered that adult children living at home often didn’t contribute to housework and were a financial drain on the parents, disrupting plans for retirement.

“Delayed independence and multigenerational households result in changes in family structure and relationships and has a strong impact on the lives of both the parents and adult children.”

In conclusion, researchers explain that societal changes appear to be driving this growing social phenomenon and that additional studies are sorely needed to provide support and guidance both for parents and their adult children.

Source: University of Melbourne/EurekAlert
Adult child living with parents photo by shutterstock.