Parents should charge their adult children rent

Franziska B. could be proud of how she lives. The three-story house is in a posh district of the city, has a garden and an eat-in kitchen. And yet: She sees it more as a test of her coolness, whether she tells someone about it. Because on the stairs that she is currently climbing, she dared to take her first steps as a three-year-old. Franziska B. lives with her parents. She is 29 years old, has a PhD and is a management consultant. And part of a phenomenon that has many names, none is flattering. They are called nestlings, giant babies, boomerang children: children who live at home even though they are no longer exactly that, children.

While this constellation used to be a phenomenon known and ridiculed in Italy, it is also increasing here. In Europe, the number of young adults living with their parents rose from 44 percent in 2007 to 48 percent in 2012. Christoph Hutter calls parents with adult children in the house a "large flight path for educational counseling". This has become an important topic in recent years, says the pedagogue. He advises families for the Diocese of Osnabrück and deals scientifically with the phenomenon.

Often the familiar home is the first port of call when things get restless in life, and this is becoming more frequent: a change of location, job and partner is part of the normal biography. Franziska B. also found it logical to move in with her parents when she started working for a management consultancy after completing her doctorate and was never in the same city for long. Since then, she has enjoyed the fact that her mother has cooked when she comes from the train station on Friday evening. She is not the only one in her company. Even a manager sleeps with his parents on weekends. "In a job where you work long hours and sleep in a hotel, everything familiar and familiar is particularly important in the short free time," she says. Pedagogue Christoph Hutter sees further reasons: The adult world, previously a promising place, whose entrance ticket was a driver's license and own apartment key, seems increasingly "threatening", says Hutter. At the same time, young people today often have a partnership relationship with their parents. Without quarreling with the father, there is no reason not to put your feet under his table anymore.

Another reason for this step is becoming more and more important: the money. Rents are rising in metropolitan areas, people under 40 years of age often live in precarious conditions and - especially in recent years - are particularly affected by unemployment. The familiar parental home is also the last resort in monetary terms. That was also an important reason for Franziska B. She likes her hometown and has friends there. But the rents are among the highest in Germany. "I don't know how to justify the monthly expenses for my own apartment in front of me. My parents have so much space," she says. "Why should I give half my monthly net wage to come to an empty apartment on the weekend?" What was intended as a temporary solution quickly becomes a habit.

Especially in the first few weeks, parents look forward to evenings together and the children to clean laundry. But after the euphoria, old role models break open. For example, Franziska's parents don't like to see their daughter walking alone through the city at night. "Otherwise they wouldn't even notice," says Franziska. Because you think you know each other, the fact that everyone involved has changed is ignored: the parents have long been used to not being responsible for other people's dirty dishes, and the children have developed their own understanding of punctuality. "Anyone who moves back home over the age of 20 moves into a shared apartment," says Christoph Hutter. But many do not consider that - and then there is a dispute.

It's not infrequently about money. At Christina Newberry's website, finances are already on the start page. The Canadian is a boomerang child herself. She only moved in with her parents when she was 21 and then again after a divorce when she was 29. She now sells guidebooks for the trouble with grown children in the house. She has a particularly large number of entries on her blog on the subject of money, with titles such as "How much rent should you charge your adult child" are often clicked on.

However, there are various reasons why money is turning from being a reason for moving in to a subject of controversy. Especially when saving is the only motivation, it is easy to get into trouble. Because if you move in to spend less money, you won't happily lay down bills for shopping. Some children are not aware of the additional costs they cause - and this at a time when parents are working for their retirement provision. If the father and mother disagree on how to deal with the child, it quickly turns into a constant dispute.

In addition, money is often a taboo subject. Few of them talked to their parents about money as children, so it is all the more difficult to discuss it as an adult. "The open word about what the family has, how much they need and how they want to deal with money is rare," says educational advisor Hutter. In addition, the finances illustrate the new imbalance: In the past, a dirty room could be punished with withdrawal of pocket money, but it works badly for an adult with his own income.

There are emotional pitfalls when it comes to practical questions like how much rent you charge for a room: the children find it uncomfortable to lie on their parents' pockets. On the other hand, parents feel guilty about asking for money - it goes against their understanding to be there for the children. "I have offered several times to pay rent or at least contribute to the ancillary costs," says Franziska B. Her mother then decided against accepting it. "That would be shoddy," were her words.

Those who provide money and housing also want to set the rules for everyday life

At the same time, financial participation is an expression of autonomy. Franziska B. often buys groceries that she knows her parents would not be able to afford. And worries about little things. "Then my parents often make a terrible riot and seriously try to replace me for the two euros I paid for bread," she says. If parents do not allow this independence, a principle takes effect that Christoph Hutter calls "control through care". Because money is power. And quite a few parents think that they can interfere in everyday life if they help finance it. With Franziska B. this has never led to an argument, and she feels respected by her parents. "But when I took a few months 'break from traveling between two jobs, I could tell that they disliked doing nothing for a long time and were worried about the way their child got here," says Franziska B. "Such thoughts have' For example, I read their faces when I lay around reading the newspaper for half the day in the living room. "

There are now a lot of advice and literature for nestlings and their parents. Christina Newberry even created a "household budget calculator". "It enables you to overcome the difficult financial challenges that come with having adult children in your household," she advertises on her website. However, according to Christoph Hutter, pure arithmetic is not enough to prevent conflicts. Because costs are often only a projection screen in disputes. "Things are played out with money that don't belong there," says the pedagogue. Only recently did he have a father in front of him who worked up pages of what his children cost him. "But actually it was about control and that he wanted to be accepted as a father."

Only clear rules create an everyday life that makes all generations happy

Expert Newberry advises clear rules. "It's the only way everyone can live happily together in the house," she says. There is even a contract on their website that can be downloaded for a fee, of course. Christoph Hutter does not think it is necessary to put it in writing, but rather to be aware of the situation: Adults move in with adults, so you should negotiate flat-share-like conditions together. "Some are horrified and think that you couldn't compare something intimate like family with something mundane like a flat share," he says. "But only in this way, and not with Hotel Mama, can it work." As in a shared apartment, money has to be fair: "If one person has the folding bike outside and the other has the 5 Series BMW, that has to be reflected in the rent," he says. If the children cannot pay any money, they should take on tasks. Above all, however, according to Hutter, you have to talk a lot. And when the mood is good, on Sunday afternoon, with a cappuccino on the terrace. "That makes more sense than shouting in an argument: And besides, I now want 500 euros rent." According to his opinion, coexistence can only function if it is "well framed and limited in time". In the long term, the educator is convinced, one should live separately anyway. Independence from one another is the best basis for a good relationship.

For Franziska B. it has become a matter of course to live in a special flat share. Still, she didn't tell them in her new company. And if it did come up that she lives in the Mama Hotel, she would not leave it standing without an explanation: "I would add explanatory and justifying sentences such as: At the moment, I'm in the hotel during the week anyway."