A Guide to Living with Your Parents

Okay, so my last how to that had to do with parents (and moving back home) was more on the humorous take. While this may have bits and pieces that you find humorous, it’s intended to be a more serious piece. I’m writing this one mostly because my older sister is about to embark on a journey that involves living with parents in the house, so I thought I’d make a sort of guide on how to cover your bases. Here we go: how to live with your parents.

1. Make sure you each have “get away space”. Whether this means that you retreat to a bedroom, outside, or just a space where you don’t see, hear, smell or even have objects that are one another’s (this could mean going shopping), you have got to have this. Personal space is a biggie, especially when everyone is in the same house and stressers are involved.

2. Evaluate your income. If all adults in the house are contributing income that’s fine. If the child is living with the parent and there is no rent negotiated, offer to pay some. What my parents did when I was living with them was a percentage of whatever I was making. This way I could save for things I needed to save for (a new car; moving out) and still had some spending money as well.

3. Contributing to the household. Not just monetarily, but with cleaning and upkeep. If you’re uncertain how to contribute, then ask. If you need something done for you, ask. Communication is key. Make sure that everything is covered and everyone has some chores (even including kids on this is a great idea!).

4. Interact in positive manners. Family game night? Watching a movie together? Do it! These are great positive interactions, so even if you’re on rocky ground normally, this can help. Granted, if you’re argumentative then a game or movie isn’t going to stop you from picking a fight, but generally this gives you enough time to chat amiably and relax in one another’s presence.

5. More communication. This has to do with where people are and when. Find a way to communicate, think about how the other person will feel if they wake up and expect you to be there, but aren’t. Different ways to communicate: handwritten notes, emails, texts, magnetic word poems. Phone calls are great during the daytime, but if it’s the middle of the night, don’t call unless it’s urgent.

6. Pay attention to one another. Don’t shut each other out, do ask about each other’s day. Ask questions, be sincere about your interactions. Don’t take the person for granted. Know if they are stressed and how to make it better. Know their favourite colors, foods. Ask them what they would like for dinner or breakfast or lunch. Surprise them with take out, flowers, something they’ve been wanting for a while now.

7. Make sure everyone in the house is okay with any changes you want to make or are forced to make. Sometimes it’s picking up groceries on a different day. Sometimes it’s a change in job. No matter what the change is, it’s important that everyone is both notified and gets to have input.

8. Always tell each other what you appreciate. If someone else has done something for you or for the household and you appreciate it: tell them. They deserve to know that what they just did or did a week ago is something you don’t take for granted and you noticed that they did it particularly well or when you were too busy to have done it easily yourself.

9. Never forget to tell them that you love them. Especially before someone leaves the house. Even if you’re pissed at them for something said or done (or not done). In fact, if you’re angry with them, it’s even better to say it. I don’t care if you slip them a note, paper airplane it to them, leave a sticky note on their steering wheel or shout it at them. Tell them.

10. Hug it out. When you’ve made up, when someone’s going out, when they’ve done something outstanding or just because. Hug them. It’s important to have eight positive physical touches during your day. Make sure the other people in your house receive those.


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