When boomerang kids come home to live: Tips for parents and adult kids
This tough economy has created a growing number of "Boomerang kids" — adult children who return home to live to save money, pay off college debts, or get back on their feet. Learn some helpful transition tips for both parents and kids to survive!
“Boomerang generation” is the new term assigned to grown children who return home to live with their parents after failing to make it on their own. It’s a cold, cruel world out there these days and new figures were recently released showing that an increasing number of young adults are returning to live with their parents, a trend born from the period now formally referred to as the Great Recession.
"The recession hit young adults the hardest because they were often 'last hired, first fired,'" said Zhenchao Qian, a professor and chairman of sociology at Ohio State University, who has been working on a cultural study in this new millennium.
According to a CollegeGrad.com survey, about 85 percent of the 2011 college graduates returned home after the ceremonies ended! Combine rising unemployment numbers with massive amounts of student debt and you get little birdies flying back to the nest.
Whether you’re thrilled to be able to spend more time with your darling child or you think your empty nest has now become crowded again, you might consider creating a contract with your adult child to lay out the rules for the new living situation. You can purchase a helpful contract at www.boomerangkidshelp.com or simply sit down together to create one of your own.
Returning children often revert back into their irresponsible teenage habits as they try to figure out who they are and what they can do. So, what is a parent to do? Here are a few tips to help your adult child launch into the world with success:
1. Encourage your child to get any kind of work he can
Many college grads refuse to accept a job that is beneath their newly acquired degree. Let your kids know that people who are willing to show they can work hard are often the ones who are rising within companies nowadays.
2. Consider charging rent
Your grocery and utility bills are higher with another mouth to feed, so explain that anyone over age 18 in the house needs to contribute to the household expenses.
3. Explain expectations
Divide up chores and explain the new house rules. Be a life raft — not a cruise ship.
4. Don’t dip into your savings to fund your kids into dependency
Some parents are tempted to cash into their retirement to pay for their child’s apartment or even pay off school loans for him. It may seem like you’re helping, but you’re putting your own future into jeopardy because you may not have time to rebuild your savings. Offer help — not handouts.
Your child had to come home with his tail between his legs and feels bad enough. Try not to lecture and avoid topics that turn into emotional bombs.
6. Respect your child’s opinions and need for privacy
Treat him like an adult. Remember, he has lived on his own for the past several years in school.
7. Don’t drive your adult child nuts with technology requests
It kind of drives the younger generation crazy when we constantly ask them to solve our IT problems.
8. Let your child teach you
You’ve always wanted to be hip and cool, right? Let her give you fashion advice so you don’t look like an aging frump. Let her share with you what she's learned at school during the past few years.
9. Let your child grow up
It’s hard to let go. Your goal is to do such a good job teaching your kid to be independent that they don’t need you anymore.
What if YOU are the boomerang? Here are a few tips to help you get back on track while living at home again:
1. Create a daily schedule
Include a balanced life: exercise, job hunting, socializing and service. You’ll feel more productive and be able to think more clearly.
2. Don’t be a mooch
Living at home with your parents creates a new financial strain on them, so offer to help around the house by cooking, cleaning or doing home repair jobs. Try to be a blessing for them rather than a burden.
3. Don’t be resentful if your parents ask you to help with chores
You’d be caring for everything by yourself if you were on your own.
4. Set goals and a timeline for when you can leave and be self-sufficient
Share your exit strategy with your parents so they won’t worry you’ll be with them for years on end.
5. Communicate with your parents
Let them know how many jobs you are applying for each week so that they’ll see you are trying. They’ve learned a thing or two during their lives and want to share what they know so you don’t have to repeat their mistakes. They may even have connections with people who could hire you.
6. Don’t ask your parents for more money
Remember that your parents had financial goals for their retirement that you’re now putting at risk.
7. Grow up
No one owes you a job or promised you a trouble-free future. Begin by designing your life now and take action today.
8. Don’t be annoyed when your parents want to know about your life and your day
Remember, they love you and want you to be successful. They’ll always be your parents and want to be a part of your life. Use this time back at home to strengthen your relationships and create new, fun memories.