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 eighteen, Ellissa is twenty-five, and I’m twenty-nine years old. We all live at home, and it’s an arrangement we want to make work. None of us are perfect at handling these dynamics. We’ve 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 our parents and still be an adult. We’re all still continuing to learn and grow.
Yet as a twenty-nine-year-old woman who’s chosen to live at home, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way.
- I’ve learned what makes for a peaceful home and what makes for a contentious one.
- I’ve learned what nourishes relationships and what destroys them.
- I’ve 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 myself. It’s hard to say, “I was wrong!” It’s hard to accept wise advice. It’s hard to allow others into my life. It’s hard to get outside of myself and realize that I’m 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 has been helpful is having regular, direct conversations about our living arrangements. This looks like going out to coffee or dinner and just sharing how I’m feeling with my parents. I share the positives and the negatives of my status as an adult living at home, and they share their pros and cons with me. Instead of waiting for issues to come up, we are proactively trying to share our hearts and find the issues before they appear. I would encourage you to do the same thing with your parents.
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’ve made a habit of offering information about my whereabouts so that my parents don’t ever have to wonder. It’s been 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 us to be a blessing to others at home. One of the biggest ways I’ve sought to be a blessing to my family is by mentoring my two younger sisters. I’ve been officially mentoring Beks and Sue for several years. Because I live at home with them, I have a unique perspective into their lives. My mentorship of them is a way for me to link arms with my parents and help them out.
There are so many practical ways for us to be a blessing to others at home.
I also try to make regular efforts to be around my family. I try and join family meals as often I can, chat with the family when they’re home (rather than hiding in my room), and hang out with my siblings whenever possible. Instead of viewing my home as a hotel (come and go), I try to view it as my home. I want to be invested and making 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.