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House Rules for Adult Children

Updated on September 7, 2010

Why House Rules?

Having had my last child become an adult opened up a whole new side to me.  Since I no longer have to get up early for school, or make sure I am home when school is over, I feel a new sense of freedom.  In this, I have decided there needs to be a few new 'house rules' implemented.  I also feel that though I'll always be Mom, the other titles that have come with that territory no longer apply.

Feel free to use this if you should happen to have Adult children living in your home and seem to be taking advantage of your good nature!

House Rules

As of today things will change. You are adults living with your parents. You have chosen to live the life of an adult and wish to be treated like one, therefore your wish has been granted. In addition to being treated like one, you will be expected to act like one. This is our home, yet you continue to tell me it is my home, so be it. Things you have taken for granted are mine as well and I will continue to let you use them, provided you treat them like they are borrowed.

1.) I am your Mother, not your maid. You will pick up after yourselves. If I find your items of clothing left on the floor AFTER you leave for work or elsewhere, it will be thrown in the garbage.

2.) Papers, mail, clothes and other items are not to be left on my table. Your 1 purse/bag may be allowed to set there. It is for eating at. If you do not choose to eat at it, so be it. If I find something left on it, that does not belong, it will be thrown in the garbage.

3.)  Ashtrays - Empty them.  Do not shove them under the couch or worse, leave them setting on the couch.  Your cups that you bring home from work, are either to be thrown in the garbage, or not brought in at all.  I am tired of picking up your mess.

4.)  TV - It is not a ‘catch all’, fingernail polish, and grooming items are to be removed and taken care of.  It is a place of decoration NOT part of the bathroom.  If you have children, you will clean up after them.  Diapers, bottles, clothes and such are to be taken care of as soon as they are used.

5.)  Towels.  These are mine.  You will be allowed to use them, but they will be taken care of.  No more throwing them around for me to pick up.  If this cannot be followed, I will remove all towels from your use.  You will then have to supply your own towels, and if I find them laying around, refer to rule #1.

6.)  Dishes.  These too are mine, if you dirty them, wash them.  The kitchen is mine as well, if you were to rent a room elsewhere, you might hear the term “Kitchen privileges”, this means if you choose to cook, you MUST clean up your mess.

7.)  The bathroom.  This too is mine as it is part of my house.  I do not use it, because I have allowed you to have your privacy.  Because it is in the hallway, it is considered a ’guest’ bathroom, which means others use it.  Keep it CLEAN, if you take a shower, clean up after yourself.  Take care of your garbage.  Remove your clothing from the floors.  If I have to do the cleaning, refer to rule #1.

8.)  Washing machine and dryer.  This too is mine.  I allow you to use it.  Laundry Room privileges are allowed, in turn you must take care of the items you wash and dry.  Do NOT put the items on top of the dryer until ‘someone else’ (me) takes care of them.  As it is my washing machine, if I leave something in the washer, put it in the dryer.  Keep in mind, this is mine and I can do that.  If there are clothes in the dryer, FOLD them.  This is a small price for the privilege of using them.

9.)  If I choose to make dinner, I will do so and you are automatically invited to eat.  If I choose not to cook, do not berate me.  Keep in mind - You are an adult now.  If you were living on your own, you would have to cook for yourself.  If you are the last one to eat, put the leftovers in the fridge.  We have become entirely too wasteful in this home.

10.)  My bathroom - It is mine and Dad’s.  We share it.  Anything in it is mine.  If you borrow something from it, PUT IT BACK!!  If you use it because yours is being used, TAKE CARE of YOUR stuff.  If you cannot remember to do so, refer to rules #1 or #2.

11.)  My Computer - Yes, it is mine.  I am attempting to do something for myself on this computer.  I don’t expect you to understand what I am doing, just that I am doing something.  If you don’t like it - tough.  Buy your own computer, with that you must also buy a wireless connector, or some such other way of connecting to the internet.

If I ask you to do something, I am not picking on you.  It is something that just needs to be done.  Do not argue with me, do not ask me why I have asked you to do it.  We all live here and the filth has just gotten out of control.  Dusting and vacuuming along with general wiping down of items is not a punishment, it is a necessity.  

At this time I have chosen to not charge you rent.  I my attempting to help you, in this I see that I have failed.  It has become clear to me that in my kindness I have done you a disservice.   Because you have not learned to take care of yourself, your property or the property of others.

 I may from time to time ask you for money to help pay the bills, I am not picking on you, it is out of necessity.  You have taken advantage of me in the assumption that I am here to be your maid, your cook and in general your doormat.  This does not mean that I do not Love you, nor do I feel that you do not Love me.  I am just tired of being taken advantage of.

If these simple rules cannot be followed, then I will be forced to charge you ‘housekeeping’ services.  Most house keeping service companies charge approximately $150.00 per person per week.  If you feel that you can get a better deal somewhere else, then by all means do so.  I will ALWAYS be your mother, and in that you will ALWAYS be loved. 


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    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 

      6 years ago from Dominica

      My advice is not to wait when they are adults to do all this. Start when they are little and hopefully you will be saved some of the trouble when they grow up.

    • lawdoctorlee profile image

      Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD 

      6 years ago from New York, NY

      Sweetsusieg, I totally understand your position. Parents wind up at the end of their rope sometimes. I think it was a good idea to share your feelings in a letter to your adult child. Contracts are a great way to set the tone for the household. Perhaps you and GinaBina0701 might like to read my Hub "How to Create House Rules for Adult Children." I have some top 10 ideas for creating rules that all can live with. Keep Hubbing!

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Michigan

      I'm not sure what rules you would like to add, I did try to cover most of them.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      hi there! i am an adult child living at home currently due to overwhelming bills and health issues.... does anyone have any good specific rules that i can add to the list? i am at a loss since i cant pin point things... any help would be greatly appreciated... thanks in advance!!!

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      My son has just moved in again as well, that means I now have 3 adult children here.. Wee-haaa! He is actually pretty good with his stuff though. It's the girls I have problems with. He is 29 so I don't foresee him staying too long, I'm sure we will all drive him nuts before long!

      Get the list to your Mom early!! So your sister doesn't all into a routine of taking advantage too quickly.. It happens so darned fast!

      So glad you liked it!! Thanks for stopping by!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      What a great list of rules! I'll have to share with my mom who is currently allowing my adult sister to live in her house once again. :)

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      LOL, well Thanks! I hope he don't come here and cuss me out! LOL Just kidding.. There still are days when I have to remind them to take care of things, but they now pay rent! YAY for me!!

    • DIYweddingplanner profile image


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Amen and hats off to you, Susie! Sending this to my adult son TODAY!

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks! When I first started writing here on HubPages I made this up for my girls, it wasn't until later I decided to publish it... They were a bit embarrassed... LOL

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Sweetsusieg, this is too cute, albeit necessary. I wished I'd had these rules when I had a houseful of adult children, my frustrations would have been a lot less. Very good hub. Rated up!

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for stopping by! When I wrote this, it was an actual letter to my daughters, one day I decided to publish it.

      I still have my difficulties with them. They seem to always be a a hurry to get somewhere leaving behind them a tornado in their wake.

      Now I have resorted to charging them. I have to, they cannot afford to live on their own. Maybe one day I will charge enough they won't feel it's worth it! And they will move.

      I had 5 kids, and yes to throw things out would be costly! That's why I never did that with them, though I certainly wanted to!

    • marisuewrites profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      I agree that adults kids can sometimes think and act like they no longer can be "told" what to do by their parents. I like to state things as positively as possible, and frankly, it's not my personality to threaten to throw things away if they're in the floor.

      I had a lot of children, and they would have lost a lot of possessions! LOL

      I understand your point, but my approach would probably be to charge them for my time or the time of whoever would be doing the work if not me.

      Catching them being respectful and clean and mentioning it, even profusely praising it helps to reinforce what you expect. Hopefully, by the time they're adults, many of these issues would not exist to an annoying degree.

      I agree that parenting the adult child is very different. A request from us should do the trick, if not, I suggest a family meeting where we can all come to an understanding of how to live in the same space.

      Friendly, respectful discussion has to dominate the day! Many more adult kids are returning to their parents' home, and the combination of differences can disturb everyone's peace.

      Thanks for pointing out the need for clear rules so that arguments are avoided and love abounds!

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Michigan

      I too lived in the basement of my parents home, I did 'abuse' this privilege a little when I allowed my toddler to go upstairs to wake up Grandma and Grandpa on the weekends... Mom straightened me out right quick! After that I was a little more respectful. It was an apartment setting, so I did cook and clean for myself.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Sounds like you've been through it all. Most important thing is remembering they are not a child still, especially the maid part. It's an advantage and privilege to be at home as an adult so act like it!

      I moved back home once for 3 months. My dad drove me nuts enough to move out as quick as I moved in. Proves parenst can't make it too comfortable for the kids either.

      Great hub and totally pertinent nowadays.

    • Twins Mum profile image

      Twins Mum 

      9 years ago

      I enjoyed the hub. I think it's worth mentioning too that many adults were once adult children at home and did many of the same things you are talking about. Mutual respect is what you're after!! Maybe easy to say when the kids have got 17 years until adulthood...!

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 

      9 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      I can deeply sympathise with you and your plight, not because I too have a house full of the ungrateful, but I have a few friends who do and they are forever on the computer telling me their woes.

      Offspring who are at University, come home when they no longer have anything clean to wear and have been thrown out by their roommates for stinking the place out. ( Wow that must be bad when another student notices !) Come home for the weekend and go out with old school pals while Soppy old Mum does 2 months worth of laundry in two days, goes shopping for other necessities to take back with them, lend them more money and send them on their way. Then send me an Email complaining about them.

      Cure! When they call, or arrive unannounced on the doorstep, just say “Sorry Luv’ if only you had called sooner I’m off on holiday... BYEEE!”

      Different Mum, has spent all her free time redecorating a house, that her brain dead son had bought with seven of his mates as accommodation while at college. Yep you’ve guessed it, Mathematics or Accountancy was not what the eight geniuses were studying and one by one they gave up until Mummy Dearest had to step in to save the day.

      My instant solution, kind words, a sympathetic ear , a cup of tea and something with a lot of chocolate in it. Or she could borrow my Shot Gun if she likes....

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Yeah, it stinks on ice don't it? Such is life!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      9 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Rules, Rules, Rules, everyone's got Rules! God has Rules. Mom and dad have rules. School has Rules. Church has Rules. The Mall has Rules. Can't seem to avoid Rules. Shucks! When do I get to be me, to be free, of Rules?

      Brother Dave.

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Jill- feel free to use what you wish! My living room has become a catch all for everything. I had to come up with something. I don't mind sharing the house to help out... but geez!!! Guess my daughter ^ who commented forgot... as I look around right now, I see her robe on the couch! Hmmm, what to do??? Rule #1?

    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 

      9 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Sweetsusieg, I think I might copy some of these rules for my fiancé and a couple of the rules could apply to my younger children. I just can not stand to see dirty laundry placed in the living room, bathroom, or better yet 7 inches from the hamper!!! I am always saying just put it where it goes, and that applies to everything, clothing, toys, papers, garbage, etc.. I even went so far as to take down the large Entertainment Center in our living and replaced it with a tv stand just to avoid the clutter that piled up on it for me to put away everyday!!!! I feel your pain!!!

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Michigan

      LOL Lorlie6 - Yeah, I think I long for those days!! Well, I'm not sure, since I haven't had a house to myself in Ohhhh... 28 years.. Maybe I can find something to do... I bet if I try hard enough I can. LOL

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      9 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      When all else fails, you can always throw your adult child in the garbage! Just kidding, of course, Sweetsusieg, but I've been exactly where you are for the past year. My son and his girlfriend managed to overwhelm me with their presences simply because I did not set house rules.

      They moved out last month, and are now free to live their lives as they see fit, and I have my house back.

      Thanks for such a great article.

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Yes, Sara I know. I realize this was a private message that I am sharing with the world, for that I hope I am forgiven. I felt that it might be useful to those who are in need.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i try mom.

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Oooo, now that sounds like a good idea! I'll keep that in mind when problems arise!! Thanks!

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      9 years ago from Central Oregon

      That is a great deal sweetsusieg! can I move in? Just kidding...a friend I had gathered up peoples stuff left lying around, and didn't throw it in the garbage, but charged .25 per item to have it returned, in the 1990's she upped it to 1.00 per. Her family learned quickly!


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