Just when you thought you could finally enjoy life for yourself and have some ME time, with the kids finally having left the nest, they’re back! Oy vey. According to Investopedia, “Boomerang children, or boomerang kids, is a term used to describe the phenomenon of an adult child returning home (as a boomerang would if you were to throw it) to live with their parents for economic reasons after a period of independent living.” For both the parent and the child, this can’t be an easy transition to make and it certainly wasn’t in any child’s plan to return home to live with their parents as a fully grown adult.
This is a trend that has been happening for a number of years already. Research by Loughborough University in the UK highlights that six-in-10 single 20- to 34-year-olds without children now live with their parents. This number has risen from 55% to 63% over the last 10 years, and it’s only increasing as a result of the pandemic as many people found themselves on a reduced salary or out of a job altogether. Young adult children who would have moved away for college or university also no longer had to make the move as classes went fully online and virtual when the world went into lockdown.
The dynamics of this boomerang kids situation can often be tricky. As an adult the child doesn’t want to feel like the child and, as the parent, perhaps the thought of having your kids under your roof again is not exactly what you had in mind during this phase of your life. Coexisting peacefully will take some work, but it’s not impossible.
Here are some tips on how parents and their boomerang kids can live together easily.
Set boundaries at the start
It’s easy to settle into a parent-child relationship when you are living under the same roof, but it can become frustrating for both parties if one party is continuously exerting authority and dominance over the other. As an adult, the child wants to do whatever they want, when they want, and without someone questioning their every move. And the same goes for the parent. If you set boundaries and rules early on in the process, it might be easier to navigate. These parameters could be about chores, having guests over, and where the line is when it comes to each party’s comings and goings.
Divide chores equally
Just because they are your children does not mean that they need to be babied. They are grown-ups. Divide up household chores so that the kids carry as much responsibility as the parents. There will be an increase in how much washing needs doing, how many dishes there are and just generally an increase in clutter around the house. Perhaps even consider hiring outside help to assist if you can’t agree on who does what or if all parties find themselves too busy to help around the house. Alen Ribic of SweepSouth advises that you look at getting someone in at least once a week or every two weeks to do the big cleans. The smaller tidying up and daily chores can be left to those who live in the household.
Beware of enabling behaviour
As parents, it’s easy to want to do everything for our children, no matter their age. You might find yourself wanting to make them lunch, serve them dinner, do their laundry – and more. But this is enabling their dependency. Assign them meals to make for the whole family or tell them they have to cook their own meals. You can also request that they do their own laundry. All of this teaches independence and will set them up for when they move out again down the line .
Consider charging them
Of course the whole point of moving home was most likely to save money. You don’t have to charge them a massive amount of rent, but consider asking them to do a weekly grocery top-up or pay for other things around the house. Ribic notes that if you use a service such as SweepSouth this might be something that you could ask your child to pay for.
And lastly, but possibly most important . . . .
Enjoy the time together!
Spending time with your children as adults can be an exceptionally rewarding experience. You can have fun together as adults and not have to baby these adult children. You can enjoy the adult that they have become and spend quality time together. Most parents miss their children once they have moved out, so make the most of this bonus time together while it lasts.