Adult Children Paying Rent Encourages Responsibility

payment from wallet smThe concept of adult kids living at home and paying rent is a bit of a controversial one. Some people are adamantly opposed to it, while others consider it essential. What most people will agree on is that it is somewhat situational.

Some parents hold that adult children who have just gone through a devastating life event need a safe haven where they can get back on their feet; however, they will charge their kids rent if they feel they are in a financial position to do so.

Here are some of the situations where most parents agree their kids should pay rent:

They Have the Means

If your child is living at home and earning money, he or she is in a position to pay rent. This can be an introductory exercise to help your adult child get a handle on how money works.

They Are a Bit Too Comfy

Many parents will charge an adult child rent if he or she seems a bit too comfortable living at home. Maybe he is playing video games all day, or perhaps he is staying out late with friends and sleeping until noon. Many parents will charge rent if they feel their child needs a dose of reality, or a nudge toward getting out on their own.

A Matter of Practicality

Sometimes, it’s just a practical matter – Mom and Dad need the financial contribution, and it’s just common sense to help pay for what you’re receiving, whether it’s room and board or groceries. Sometimes, it’s just necessary for the family to function.

Reality Check

Let’s face it – some adult kids living at home need a dose of reality. Maybe they’ve been too sheltered, or are used to having things handed to them. Charging them rent is a good way to introduce them to the reality of the modern world – nothing’s free.

Learning to Contribute

Whether it’s your local community or workplace, learning to contribute to a functioning group from which you draw benefits is an essential life skill. Your adult child needs to understand that he or she ought to give back to the family and community from which he or she receives. In the workplace, this attitude toward contributing can make or break a job opportunity.

Building Confidence

It’s worth noting that a child who lacks confidence may feel unable to get out on his or her own. If your child feels ill-equipped or unprepared, he’s likely to be reluctant to strike out on his own. This may be just a feeling and not actually true. It might be a good idea to spend a little time building your child’s confidence and sense of responsibility. Charging rent and increasing your expectations is a way to do that. Your child will see that he can, in fact, pay rent and be responsible, thus building up his sense of competence.



  1. Sharon Lee says:

    I agree that whether or not to charge your grown child rent is situational. Our son will soon be graduating college and will be looking for a full time job. As of right now, he has two part-time jobs and is responsible with his money. He helps around the house, abides by our rules, and respects us. As long as he continues to respect us and our home, we will not charge him rent. We feel that this will allow him to save money and be better prepared to move out on his own.

    • Kit Singleton says:

      Hey Sharon,

      Sounds like you did a great job with your son, especially in the money management area. 😉

      I know some parents who, for whatever reason, have a more difficult time getting some of the points across to their kids (or maybe it’s the kids just don’t want to save.) The parents ended up “charging” rent (and giving it back when needed) as a way of getting the young adult into the habit of saving. For that particular family and instance, it worked out great in the end.

      Thanks for sharing your experience! It really helps other parents decide what is best to do in their unique situations. Congrats on raising such a respectful and conscientious son.