Beyond Bravo

Should Parents Charge Their Adult Kids Rent If They Live At Home?

When they won't leave the nest should they empty their wallet?

Thicker Than Water stars Ben and Jewel Tankard, whose blended family mostly live under one roof, tell Personal Space all about the rules you need to have when your adult kids still reside in your house. 



One, gospel artist Ben says, is making sure that you have worked out a financial agreement, so everyone is clear that this isn’t a forever situation. 

“I don’t make my children pay rent,” he explains, “but I do suggest that whatever they would have been paying on mortgage, or condo, or apartment, that they put that aside and have proof they put that aside in an account.”

Ben says that’s what he did with kids Benji and his wife Shanira, Marcus, and Tish [Marcus’ wife], who moved back into Ben and Jewel's home in Murfreesboro, Tenn. last year.

“We highly encourage saving,” he adds. “It’s for their benefit, the advantage of staying with your parents is that you can save money. And there’s a difference between saving money and living off of us. The house was going to be here either way, and we have the room.”

Jewel’s approach is less financial and more to do with rules to keep the living quarters in order.

“We [Ben and Jewel] have a live in housekeeper who cleans up after us, not after them,” she laughs. “She cleans and cooks, but the kids have to cook their own meals and they have to clean up after themselves. I don’t have any problem saying take the trash out. The whole point is to foster independence.”

Jewel says that the kids living at home “helps perpetuate generational worth,” and that when they leave the house they should be able to buy their own.

“They don’t have to rent, they should be able to buy,” she says.

The one thing Jewel did do was get three refrigerators, to feed the blended family—which includes five children (Marcus, Brooklyn, Britney, Benji, and Cyrene), two daughters-in-law (Latisha and Shanira) and three grandchildren (Diamond and Micah, Billie ).

“They say ‘mom, dad can you leave more food in the refrigerator?’” she says. “There’s never enough, they have their own refrigerators. I said you need to go shopping for yourself.”

But she also wouldn’t trade the busy household for anything, saying, “I like to see them come and go.”

Thicker Than Water is on Sundays 9/8c 

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