This article was first published on Youth Central, July 2014.
As a young person in my early twenties, I live at home with my parents. When most of my friends finished their studies and moved out of the family home, I chose not to.
I made this decision because moving out was – and still is – not the best option for me.
Choosing to Live with your Parents
More and more young people in Australia are choosing to live with their parents instead of moving out of home. In 2013, a report by the National Housing Supply Council found that almost two-thirds of Australians aged 15-24 live with their parents.
The main motivation behind this is financial. Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2009 show that 45% of young people aged 20-25 have never left home because of financial reasons. A study by the Melbourne Institute in 2011 discovered the high cost of housing in Australia is a significant reason for young people being less keen on moving out of their family home.
I had a casual job while I was studying at university, earning just enough to buy food and pay for public transport. It made sense to stay at home then, since I couldn’t afford to rent my own place, let alone buy one. After I had finished studying, I didn’t land a job right away and so I still couldn’t afford to move out.
Yes, it is possible to afford to move out of home if you rent a room in a share house or flat, but sharing a place with a bunch of strangers can be intimidating. You might be used to hanging around your family or close friends at school and might be uncomfortable living with housemates you barely know.
Some people live at home longer because of cultural reasons. It’s quite normal for young people, especially young women, from Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds to move out of their family home only after they get married.
As a shy person living on a tight budget, the idea of moving out and living with people I don’t know doesn’t appeal to me. Luckily, my parents have no problem with me continuing to live with them.
4 Tips for Living at Home
Living at home with your parents as a young adult is not the same as living at home as a kid. After all, as a young adult, you have more responsibilities, like being a student or an employee. Most likely your family will see you as an adult and treat you like one too.
The demands of adult life can sometimes make living at home with your parents rather stressful, but here are a few tips to help you feel a little bit more at home.
1. Split Up Chores
As an adult you’re much more capable of looking after yourself. Your parents might also ask you to help out more with household chores compared to when you were younger.
You might find them asking you to help around the house when you’re in the middle of studying or taking a break – this can sometimes be an annoying surprise.
Making a roster of household chores is a good idea. For example, I willingly wash the dishes on weekdays while my parents do them on the weekends. Splitting up chores can encourage everyone to be enthusiastic about keeping the home clean.
2. Be Considerate
Chances are your parents are much older than you and live a very different lifestyle compared to yours. You might be a fan of throwing house parties or staying up late listening to loud music on the stereo. On the other hand, your parents (and maybe even your siblings) may like quiet nights in front of the TV and going to bed early.
Have a chat with your parents and ask them if anything you do at home gets on their nerves. When I asked my parents I found out they don’t like it when I come home late at night and slam the front door shut. On a few occasions, they were sleeping and this woke them up. Now when I come home after dark, I shut the door quietly behind me.
3. Act Mature
If you have younger siblings who live at home with you, they might look up to you as a role model. Because of this, it’s a good idea to look out for them. If they’re feeling down, let them know you’re there to help them – and make sure you do help them when they ask.
Arguments with your brothers or sisters over who is smarter or stronger can happen. If you find yourself caught up in petty disagreements, try to see the situation from their point of view and move on.
4. Be Appreciative
If you’re living at home you probably don’t have to pay rent, and your parents most likely also put home-cooked food on the table for free. The least you can do is be polite to them.
I make sure to say a simple “thank you” to my mum every time she cooks me a meal. Sometimes when she’s tired, I also offer to help with her share of household chores and she always smiles gratefully at me when I do.
Feeling At Home
There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you choose to live at home with your parents. I’m not ashamed one bit – I’m lucky to have a roof over my head.
It helps to think of living at home as another chapter in your life. Just as finishing your studies and getting a new job are new beginnings, living at home as a young adult is another transition that comes with its own set of challenges.
At some point in the future I hope to move out and find a place of my own, but in the meantime there’s no reason why I can’t enjoy living at home.