How to deal with moving back in with family

If you are moving back in with family, it is important to give yourself time to get used to the new situation.

Written by spunout


When you first moved away from your family home, you may not have imagined returning some time later. However, it is important to know that you’re not alone. There are many practical and personal reasons why someone might move back home, or to live with family, such as to care for a sick family member, to save money, or to get some space following a relationship breakdown. You might also move home between college semesters, during a transitional period in your life, if you need care from being ill, or because you can no longer afford to live on your own. 

Advice for when you move back in with your family 

Regardless of your reason for doing so, moving back in with family after living alone or with housemates can take some time to get used to. There are some steps you can take to help to make the transition easier.

Discuss rules and expectations with your family

Sharing a home with a parent or other family members as an adult is very different to doing so as a child. During your time apart, it is likely that you have all grown as people and developed different living needs and expectations.

Talking openly with your family about everyone’s expectations when you first move back home can help to prevent any conflict later on. Take the time to determine some house rules with them. If you think it could be beneficial, you can even consider writing these down and making a copy for everyone. Topics to discuss may include:

  • Rent: Will you be paying rent and if so, how much will you be expected to pay?
  • Food and utility bills: Will you be paying towards the food and utility bills and if so, how much will you be expected to pay?
  • Household duties: Who is responsible for what household chores? How often do they need to be done?
  • Visitors: Can you invite company to the house? If so, is there a space at home where you can spend time with them?
  • Quiet hours: How do they feel about loud music or you arriving home late at night? When do you and your family members need quiet time for sleeping, studying and working?
  • Privacy: What do you and your family expect of each other in terms of privacy?
  • Timeline: How long do you expect to stay with your family for?

Remember, while it may be challenging for you to move back in with your family, it can be difficult for them too. This can be true regardless of how close you are with them. Take the time to listen to their expectations of you and the shared living arrangement.

Of course, circumstances are likely to change over time and when they do, everyone’s needs and expectations will also. The rules that you make in the beginning may no longer be relevant. Agree to revisit these rules with your family in future and make sure everyone is open to the idea of changing them if necessary.

Communicate with your family

Moving back home might be enjoyable at first, but over time, it is possible that you will run into some conflict. This is completely normal. If this happens, it is important to discuss the issue with them as soon as possible and work towards resolving it. Choose your time wisely. Ask them when they are free for a chat rather than confronting them after a long working day or when you are tired or upset. Share your feelings and listen to what they have to say. Once everyone has said what they need to say, try to find and agree on a solution that suits everyone involved.

Help out around the house

If you previously lived alone or with housemates, it is likely that you held some household responsibilities. Try to agree on a similar arrangement when you move in with family. Doing the laundry, cooking a few meals a week and hoovering are just some of the simple tasks that you can do around the house.

It can be easy to revert back to your former roles if you move back in with family. However, agreeing to take on some household chores is beneficial for everyone involved. Not only will it lighten the workload for your family, it will also help you to feel more independent and encourage them to see and treat you as an adult.

Know your own plan

It may be that your return home is a temporary arrangement that serves a certain purpose. For example, you might stay with your family until you have saved up enough money for a deposit for an apartment or a house, or until you make a move abroad. Budgeting apps, setting up a monthly transfer to your savings account and preparing your own meals and coffees at home are small things that can help you to work towards your savings goal.

The high cost of housing and changes at work are just some of the things that may delay your plans to move out. If your situation changes and you need to stay with your family for longer than first intended, make sure to discuss it with them. Explain what has happened and try to agree on a new timeline when possible. Supportive family members will understand.

It’s also possible that you moved home permanently. You might make this choice so that you can care for a family member, receive personal care, spend more time with family, or for another reason. Independence looks different for everyone. Whatever your version of independent living is, make sure that it is one that is realistic and acceptable for both you and your family.

Maintain a social and personal life

When you move home, you may feel as if you have lost some of your freedom and social life, especially if you had previously been living with friends. However, while you may not be seeing your friends every day anymore, you can still stay connected with them. Organise calls, meet them for outings or coffee and, if possible, invite them over from time to time.

Creating a routine and maintaining your hobbies are other things that you can do to make your living situation easier. Doing so will also help you to hold on to a sense of independence.

Take care of yourself

Moving back home can be very challenging, particularly if you moved because you had to, rather than because you wanted to. You might find it difficult to adjust to your new situation, struggle to get along with your family or compare yourself to friends who are living in their own place. Regardless of why you moved home and the challenges you face, it is really important to look after yourself during this time. Try not to place too much pressure on yourself to fall into a perfect routine right away. Settling into a new place takes time and this is true whether it is a new apartment or your childhood home. 

If you are feeling down about your situation, talking about it with somebody you trust can be very helpful. You could speak with a friend, a relative or a counsellor

Try to remember that you moved home for a reason. Keeping your goals in mind, whether they’re financial goals or otherwise, can help you to stay positive, even if your living situation is not ideal.

Make the most of what you do have

The relationship that you have with your family now is very different to the one you shared with them as a child. Getting to know them as an adult is a unique experience and there is no better way to get to know someone than to live with them. Try to embrace the opportunity by spending some quality time with them, if you are comfortable doing so. This could be as simple as having dinner with them a few times a week, going for regular walks with them or even just having a chat over a cup of tea from time to time.

If you don’t have a strong relationship with your family members, try not to force anything. Be patient with yourself and wait until you feel ready, or if you feel ready, to spend more time with them. 

Read more about how to get along with your parents.

What to do if your home is not a safe space for you

You might move in with family to escape a difficult situation, only to find that the environment in that home is just as challenging, or maybe even more so. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable or abusive home, it is important to seek support. Everyone has a right to feel safe and comfortable in their home. 

It can be difficult to speak out about what is happening if one of your family members is being abusive towards you. You might be worried that they will kick you out or harm you for doing so. However, regardless of what they do or say, there is always help out there. 

If you feel unsafe at home, tell someone you know and trust about the situation. This could be another family member, a friend, a counsellor, a support organisation or another person you feel comfortable sharing this with.

You might decide to go to the Gardaí and if you do, you can ask someone to go with you. 

Read more about recognising and getting help for domestic abuse

Supports for people living in an abusive home 

If you are living with an abusive person, this may be emotional, physical, or any type of abuse, there are organisations that can offer you the support that you need: 

Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid offer a listening service to those experiencing domestic violence through their free 24 hour helpline 1800 341 900. For those who do not speak English as their first language, you can call the interpretation service on 1800 341 900, from 8am – 8pm, seven days a week. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, you can use their instant message support service.

Safe Ireland

Safe Ireland provides information on 38 domestic abuse services all across Ireland. Their network can help you to find a service or shelter close to you and the contact details for each of these services.

Men’s Aid Ireland

Men’s Aid provide information and advice to men experiencing domestic abuse in Ireland. Their services include a national confidential helpline, legal information and advice, and counselling, among others. 

You can contact their national helpline at (01) 554 3811 or email [email protected].

Boots Pharmacies

Boots Pharmacies now offer a “Safe Space” for people experiencing domestic violence. In this confidential space, people can contact one of the 39 frontline specialist domestic abuse services across the country and access free, confidential support and advice.

If you are a customer of the 48 or An Post network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 086 1800 280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’.

Feeling overwhelmed and want to talk to someone?

If you are a customer of the 48 or An Post network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 086 1800 280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’.

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