Have a 20- or 30-something still living at home? Are quarters getting tight and tempers short?

You’re not alone.

In the United States, almost 55 percent of those age 18 to 24 live with their parents, according to a 2018 report from the U.S. Census Bureau. For those age 25 to 34, 16 percent still hang on at home.

“It is much more common than it used to be and it creates lots of tension,” said Korina Jochim, clinical manager at the Northwest Catholic Counseling Center in Northeast Portland. She counsels many parents who have adult children at home.

Some young people simply cannot afford housing in this market. Others have autism or are part of the failure to launch syndrome in which young people suffer from anxiety at setting out into the world.

Experts are still trying to understand failure to launch, but some say the self-esteem movement adopted by parents in decades past helped form children who think too much about themselves and who cannot cope with a world in which they get critiqued and where not everyone likes them.

“What we need to teach instead is compassion, including self-compassion,” said Jochim. “Being kind to ourselves helps, but it’s knowing we don’t always come first all the time. It is about us acting together.”

According to Jochim, if an adult child lives at home without going to school, without a job and without contributing much to the household, parents need to draw boundaries and be a little tough.

“Sometimes parents love their kids too much,” Jochim said. “They love them into dependency. What the kid needs to understand is that if the parent is spending retirement income taking care of adult kids, they will be poor.”

Adding to the emotional pain, parents feel as if they’ve failed because their child has not become self-sufficient.

About young adults’ who have annoying habits like leaving the dishes unwashed or eating all the supplies mom bought for dinner, communication is key, Jochim said. “Those things need to be really clear and stated. You need to have consequences for crossing the line. Make it like a lease. They are like a tenant.”

According to Jochim, a faith community can be helpful to families in the frustrating situation. “There can be a larger community to help out,” she said, urging parents to speak to their priests and suggesting that young adults join parish groups.

Father Bob Barricks, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Southeast Portland, knows a number of parents with older children at home.

“The toughest thing for the parents is that their adult children don’t go to church with them and the parents aren’t sure how to set the boundaries,” said Father Barricks, a longtime schoolteacher. “It’s a struggle. It seems to be a phenomenon that is growing.”

Hard feelings between parents and children can get extreme. In 2018, a New York couple took their 30-year-old unemployed son to court to have him evicted from their house. The judge agreed with the parents.

“It’s really a question of boundaries,” said Susan Newman, author of the 2010 book “Under One Roof Again: All Grown Up and (Re)learning to Live Together Happily.”

Newman, a social psychologist, said small things become irksome when adults live with their parents: the washing machine is always busy, the toilet paper is out, the internet bandwidth is getting used up.

“These things can fester and someone can lose their temper or say something hurtful,” Newman said. “That doesn’t need to happen.”

She suggests a surplus of conversations about how to work things out.

“You are not operating as mother and child any more but as adult to adult. This is not the same child who left years ago. This is a human being who has his own thoughts and ideas and also who has developed habits you don’t think you can live with. It’s so easy to slip back into the mommy child patterns.”

Newman said parents should not be cooking and doing laundry for their adult children. Nor should parents cancel social dates to cater to supposed needs at home.

But Newman cautions against giving adult children invoices for rent or food or services rendered. “Your relationship is more important than the money,” she said.

Instead, make a list of chores and have the adult child pick an appropriate batch. If the young person fails to perform the agreed upon job, have a family meeting and admit how the broken promise makes you feel — probably hurt and resentful.

“Say that but stay away from rehashing the negative. That is a hard one,” Newman said. “Call up your sense of humor whenever you can.”

No matter how frustrated, parents should be sensitive to their child’s personal problems and conflicts, Newman explained. “There may be issues you don’t know about that are making your adult child do what they do.”

Newman tells parents not to sweat what society thinks if adult children are still at home. So many people face the problem that there no longer is much stigma.

And she sees one happy note to adult children staying home: Kids must like their parents more than they once did. Modern parenting styles have allowed more communication and dialogue between parent and child, letting children know that when trouble hits, the family is where you go.