My younger sisters (Ellissa, Rebekah, and Suzanna) and I sat in our kitchen nook late into the night. We chatted about our weeks and then landed on this topic: How to be an adult daughter who chooses to live at home.
Rebekah is nineteen, Ellissa is twenty-six, and I am thirty (I lived at home until I got married at 30 years old). All three of us willingly/joyfully chose to live at home (the other girls still live at home).
None of us are/were perfect at handling these dynamics.
We each had our bad days, selfish moments, and unkind words (given and received). Communication between adult daughters and parents is not always easy. It can be hard to balance honoring parents while still being an adult.
Yet as a thirty-year-old grown woman who chose to live at home, I learned a few lessons along the way.
- I learned what makes for a peaceful home and what makes for a contentious one.
- I learned what nourishes relationships and what destroys them.
- I learned what attitudes help and what attitudes hurt.
If you’re an adult daughter who’s chosen to live at home, you can probably relate to the joys and struggles that that life brings. Allow me to invite you into our sister circle. Pull up a chair. Let’s talk about four strategies for living at home as an adult.
1. Stay humble.
It’s hard to be humble and consider others as more important than yourself. It’s hard to say, “I was wrong!” It’s hard to accept wise advice. It’s hard to allow others into your life. It’s hard to get outside of yourself and realize that your not the most important person on the planet.
No matter where we live or who we live with, displaying genuine humility is hard for all of us. Because we are sinners, most of us struggle with pride. We value our thoughts, our opinions, our ideas, our preferences, and our wants above everyone else’s. Choosing to repent of our pride and instead display hearts of humility is not easy.
But if we want to have peace in our homes and do this living-at-home-thing well, we must ask for the Lord’s help to grow in humility.
I love what Philippians 2:3–4 says: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
This should be our goal.
2. Remember you’re on the same team.
I encourage you to view your parents as your teammates. Don’t view them as the enemy that you are trying to keep out. Open up and invite them into your world. Start the conversation and express to them what you are thinking.
No matter who you share an address with, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re on the same team.
Something else that was helpful was having regular, direct conversations about living arrangements. This looks like going out to coffee or dinner and just sharing how you’re feeling with your parents. Share the positives and the negatives of your status as an adult living at home, and let them share their pros and cons with you. Instead of waiting for issues to come up, proactively share your heart and find the issues before they appear.
These strategies are important preparation. It’s likely you will always be living with someone. Right now it may be your parents and siblings. In the future, it may be a husband and kids of your own or a roommate. No matter who you share an address with, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re on the same team.
3. Freely offer important information.
We all like to feel in charge and in control. We don’t like to freely offer information or feel like we’re not independent. This mindset will cause you serious problems if you’re still living at home. Instead of putting the big hand up that says “I’m an adult, and I don’t need anyone knowing about my life,” try having the exact opposite mindset.
When you’re going out with friends, just send a simple text to your parents that says, “Hey! Heading out with Kate and Jenny. Be back around 9:30 p.m.” Try volunteering information instead of waiting to be asked. (This requires humility!)
There is just so much trust and freedom that comes from being open rather than keeping silent. Remember, your parents love you and are on your team. Freely offering information to them will only help build bonds of love and trust between you. I know my parents only care about knowing where I am and what I’m up to because they love me. They aren’t trying to control my life.
I made the habit of offering information about my whereabouts so that my parents didn’t ever have to wonder. That was one of the best things for my relationship with them.
4. Look for ways to invest and be involved.
There are so many practical ways for adult daughters to be a blessing to others at home. One of the biggest ways I sought to be a blessing to my family, was by mentoring my two younger sisters. I’ve been (still am) officially mentoring Beks and Sue for several years. While living at home with them, I had a unique perspective into their lives. My mentorship of them was a way for me to link arms with my parents and help them out.
There are so many practical ways for adult daughters to be a blessing to others at home.
I tried to make regular efforts to be around my family. I tried to join family meals as often as I could, chatted with the family when they were home (rather than hiding in my room), and hung out with my siblings whenever possible. Instead of viewing your home as a hotel (come and go), try to view it as your home. Choose to be invested and choose to make a difference.
I would encourage you to look into your own home life. What are a few ways you can get more involved and be a blessing?
My prayer is that you can make these single years at home one of joy and encouragement. These years don’t have to be miserable. Take the first step, and began living in a way that is a blessing to those in your home.