Boomerang Kids: Why You Need to Clarify your Views (as well as my humble opinion on it all)
Boomerang Kids moving back home after university is a phenomenon that is not going away anytime soon. In fact the number of adult children coming back to live at home has grown and is now reaching an ever time high of over 30%. And it’s not just kids moving in temporarily after University. Some move back in after losing a job or after a divorce. http://www.everythingzoomer.com/boomers-adult-children-living-at-home/
Many reasons account for that to happen: the economy, the rising cost of housing, high rise in student debt being the main ones.
Many parents have not prepared for the kids returning to live at home. Most assume that the University grad will find employment – ideally in town – find a nice little apartment alone or with a friend, not too close but not too far from the family home – and come by for a visit. And for some, that’s reality.
For others life happens very differently. The kid finishes college, moves back home and never leaves, or never plans to, leaving parents feeling uncertain about their own future. Often, by the time parents speak up, it’s out of frustration and relationships suffer.
I have heard of parents selling the family home and moving to a small condo to avoid boomerang kids, while others have mortgaged their financial health and their retirement to help a grown kid with unemployment, debts, graduate school or other expenses. I have even met a mom not too long ago who still finances her 26 year old son’s life in another city, jeopardizing her ever being able to retire.
The Issues That May Arise When The Boomerang Kid Moves Back In
If you have a kid away at University or College, now is the time to think about and prepare for a potential Boomerang return. There are many factors to consider whether you are a single-not-so rich single parent or a wealthy household
As a parent, take time to reflect on the possibility of Junior coming back to live at home and what that means for you. Look at all angles: money (financial contribution), house rules (about chores, family time, rules, sex partners in the home (they are adults and may be sexually active), duration of home-stay, as well as other values important for you. This article details what to include in the rules.
It’s also very important to remind yourself that they are no longer 15 – I know for me – my kids now have kids of their own – I often still think of them as my kids, instead of other adults, even though they have some gray hair!!!)
How To Help Your Boomerang Kid
The first and most important point is to make sure your grown kid is not regressing. Leaving University and facing the world has sent many to the basement, playing video games or wasting years working at Mc. As a parent that’s not something you want to encourage. That’s why you need a plan.
Before the kid finishes University, it’s important to have an exploratory conversation with your grown up kid about their life plans. If they don’t have any, the parent’s job is then to make it clear that it’s an important part of their success in life.
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Many kids will have no idea where to start so be ready to offer help, advice and resources. This book is a great guide for the job seeking graduate.
When And How To Have The Talk With Your Boomerang Kid
Then is a good time to talk about their return home (unless they already have a job in another town). Time to ask how long they were planning to stay at home, etc. and to bring up some of your thoughts on the subject, including a “I’ll write up what’s important for me as a parent when you move back home”.
Things to think about:
Money – Financial contribution
I personally believe that adult kids need to contribute financially. This is even more important if you are the not-so-rich.
They definitely need to be responsible for their own expenses: cell phone, gas (if they use the family car), beauty products, lunch money, etc.
I also believe they should contribute to the family expenses. Whether it’s $30. a week or $100 a week. If you actually don’t need the money, open a saving account and deposit their financial contribution in it. You can give it to them when they move out.
If you need them to contribute financially, say so. While it’s fairly easy to borrow money to go to University, no such loans exist for retirement. Do not skimp on funding your retirement. Your grown child can work, should work full time at any job, until they land the job they truly want.
On the subject of money and kids, I will always remember some students when I went to University (as a full time, single parent, over 35, funding my education). What struck me was that students whose parents were footing the note did a lot of partying and definitely not as much studying as the ones who worked to pay for their education.
Definitely your now adult child needs a job, any job to contribute. Whether it’s mowing lawns, working at Mc or waitressing, until they get their dream job. Being home all day doing nothing is not OK. Nip it in the butt as soon as it happens.
Chores – other contributions
Having one more person in the house does make a difference in how much work needs to be done. I believe the adult child needs to do part of the household chores. Whether it’s washing floors, being in charge of the bathroom cleaning, fridge duty or taking out the garbage, all members of the house need to have responsibilities, on top of keeping their room and doing their own laundry.
Sex – their sex life
After possibly years of total freedom, your sex life may take a hit when grown kids move back home, but today we are talking about their sex life. Yep! They may have one. It’s your house. It’s your rules. While you can’t control what they do outside the home, you can decide whether or not you feel comfortable that their romantic partner spend the night. This is totally your decision, remembering that they are adults (a difficult concept for most of us parents to accept).
On that note I want to say how I felt then (when my daughter came back from University – although that point was not an issue) and how I feel now.
My daughter did not ask to have a boyfriend over when she came back to live at home. However I think that if she had asked, I would have said NO.
I guess I have grown up, or loosened up or so I like to think. Now that I have grand children, I can honestly say that if my grand daughter wanted to come sleep over with her boyfriend after she was well over 20, (she is only 6 now – so it won’t happen for a good while), I would have no problem with it, as long as I felt the boy in question was really nice and kind and loving to her, that they had a healthy relationship and it was not just someone she met the week before. I would also make sure I spoke with her about sex and love beforehand.
Other times on the list: Religion, church attendance, family meals, curfew, etc.
There are many other things that will surface when the kid comes back home. I did not enforce a curfew but I remember not being able to sleep soundly until both my daughters were in the house. I also woke up when they came in so they had to be super quiet when they came in. If you need to get up early for work, don’t be shy to speak up if their lifestyle interferes with your sleep.
Other parents want the adult children be at home for family meals, like in the olden days. This is probably a lot to ask. Try to negotiate one family meal a week.
Church attendance has also been a sore point with some families. If your faith is strong, it’s going to be especially difficult to let go on that item. Again, remember you can’t make them do like when they were kids. I personally believe that it’s more important to have good values and to be a good, kind person than to sit in church once a week.
While it’s no fun to set rules with adult children, it’s even less fun to let frustrations mount to the point of spoiling the relationship you have with your kid. That’s why, I encourage you to start thinking and preparing before the R “return” Day. More resources to guide you here.
Through all those changes and possibly, difficult talks, read my previous post to remember to take care of your Self.
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