Living with Family as an Adult

College Life

Articles for students and families transitioning into higher education.

Living with Family as an Adult

  • AsIAm
  • 10/05/2021
  • 4 minutes read

Growing up, we become accustomed to our home life dynamic. As we make the transition to adulthood, it is likely that this dynamic will begin to shift. It is important to remember that this is merely part of the natural progression of growing up; we undertake more responsibility in exchange for independence. While you may move away for college it is also very probable that you will remain at home with your family for the duration of your course. Living with parents or guardians should not impede your capacity to thrive as an adult, however it is important to ensure that these dynamic shifts do occur at home so that you may develop many necessary life skills and are sufficiently prepared to thrive outside of family life.

Taking responsibility around the house:

Perhaps as a child you were given chores to do, perhaps you were given pocket money in return for completing those chores. Unfortunately as adults, we are no longer incentivised to do these household tasks, they are now inevitable necessities. When you are living at home with family it does become easier to bypass these tasks, however in doing this, you are also forgoing the opportunity to develop many indispensable skills. If you were living alone, you would be doing all of your washing, ironing and cleaning independently; realistically, you should be aiming to do as much of this for yourself as you can whilst living at home too! Don’t worry if you are uncertain of how to work a washing machine or iron a shirt, one of the advantages of living with family is being able to ask for help.

Due to the nature of a busy household, it may not be possible for everyone to accomplish each one of their chores independently of one another, it may be more logical for some chores to be shared. Try to sit down with your family and draw up a comprehensive schedule which fairly allocates the tasks each member of the household is expected to do and by when they are expected to do them. A schedule will also help you stay organised; remember that as an adult it is important to take initiative, you should not have to be reminded of your responsibilities. It is fundamental that these ‘shared’ responsibilities do not extend to your personal space. For example, you should always be cleaning your own room and making your own bed. This is as much about taking ownership of your own space as it is about preserving the privacy which as an adult, you are entitled to.


In many regards, self-ownership is the essence of adulthood. Taking control over one’s own life is a daunting yet exciting experience. Everyone is different, so there is no definite age in which a person, regardless of whether that person is an adult, should assume complete self autonomy. However, it is important to take back some extent of the ownership that your parents or guardians have assumed for you during your childhood, even whilst living at home. Here are some ways in which you can practice self-ownership:

  • Keeping time – ensuring you are waking up and going to sleep at a reasonable time that best suits your schedule, keeping a calendar in which you record all of your appointments and deadlines, making a daily ‘to do’ list etc…

  • Keeping healthy – gathering recipes for simple, nutritious meals and learning  to prepare these yourself, remembering to eat at regular intervals throughout the day and setting reminders for this if necessary, getting enough exercise and time outside etc…

  • Keeping well – washing yourself regularly, setting an alarm which reminds you of when to take medication, taking sufficient time to relax and desensitise e.g. reading a book, going for a walk, talking to a friend…

Maintaining a positive relationship with your family:

There is an expectation that on the morning of your 18th birthday, you will wake as entirely matured and self-sufficient. While from the offset of your adulthood the law does recognise you as such, it is likely to take longer for parents and guardians to do the same. This may be frustrating, but your transition from adolescence to adulthood is a transition for your parental figure, just as it is for you. Try to be patient and maintain honest communication throughout this time. If you feel that a family member is overbearing you, talk to them about it; similarly, if you are feeling overwhelmed and unready to assume much of the responsibilities of being an adult, talk about this too. Communication is key to maintaining a good family dynamic.

Space is also crucial. It is important to establish a space where you can retreat when the chaos of family life becomes too much. This may be your bedroom but it doesn’t necessarily have to be, it will vary based on what suits you and your household. The most important thing is for this space to be quiet, sensory friendly, and that you are guaranteed privacy whilst you are there. If it is not possible for you to have your own space, talk to your family and identify times in your schedule in which you may be most in need of quiet and work together to facilitate this as best you can. It may be beneficial for each family member to have a rough awareness of each other’s routine, this will help to prevent potential conflict and crowdedness.

Living with family as an adult can be great; it may be beneficial to remain in a comfortable and supportive home environment as you go through these formative years. This gives you ample time to adjust to the responsibilities of adulthood and grow your independence at a pace that challenges, but does not overwhelm you.


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