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Boomerang Kids

Boomerang Kids

After my son graduated, someone said, “Now I feel sorry for you. Your empty nest will soon be filled to the brim.” I honestly did not know what he was talking about. At the time, it seemed like a rude comment to make to a proud mom of a college graduate. I’ve since learned that he was referring to the many young adults who graduate and boomerang back to live with their parents.

According to CNN, 85 % of college graduates move home. That’s up from 67 % in 2006. Yikes, how do empty nesters deal with this trend?

“Having your children return to the safety net of your home can be wonderful time of family closeness. Setting the tone, laying out the ground rules, and making smart-money financial decisions can help create a positive, supportive environment that is in the best interests of you and your returning family members. Your role is to guide them.” ~ New York Life

3 Ways To Transition Boomerang Kids

1. Have an initial discussion – This is to ensure that both the parents and child have similar expectations about the living arrangement. Make sure to talk about obligations regarding expenses and household chores. By setting expectations, parents help their adult children learn the skills they need to live independently.

2. Set a time limit – If the ultimate goal is independence, setting a time limit will clarify the expectation. This can change according to circumstances, but experts say it’s best for everyone to be on the same page in order to avoid resentments.

3. Charge Rent – When the child starts working, even if it is not in their chosen field, charge rent. Even a minimal amount helps prepare for living independently, and it can also help with home finances.

Adult children sometimes need to move back home. This can be traumatic for both child and parent, but keeping the lines of communication open seems to maintain family harmony.

Have you had adult children move home? Are you a boomerang kid? What advice would you give others who might be going through a similar situation?

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.

13 comments

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3:49PM PST on Jan 30, 2012

In my country, living close to your family or even more so with them after getting an education never seemed so strange as to warrant a term to describe the situation. Living in America and having moved out at 16, being a boomerang kid sounds fantastic!

8:48PM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

I think this is happening more and more because it's getting harder for graduates to find jobs.

10:48AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

My fiance and I live with his parents. He went to tech school and has a full time job with an electrical company, I graduated college with a degree in Social Science Education and am unemployed (big surprise in FL!). We simply can't afford to live on our own in Orlando, it's too expensive. Couple that with the lack of social studies teacher positions and the dang economy which makes it harder to find a job in general, we're stuck in a less than ideal situation. But it works, usually, and we're saving money to move out and perhaps out of state if we can agree on a place and find work.

9:15AM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

I still live with my parents and I am in college. In this day and age...paying for school, books, food, car and gas...an apartment with water and electricity bills would be too much. I am grateful to have a place to stay for free. It really helps out. I still do my own thing though. The economy man...what can you expect?

12:18AM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:54PM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

Times have changed.. though this happens during every recession.

1:10PM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

Thanks

9:58AM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

there are no jobs at all where i am at. im lucky i have my very slightly above minimum wage job for 4 years. im 23. i cannot afford to pay rent, but i do contribute. i work at a shelter with a clinic, one we have used for all my animals. (they have known my family since i was in 5th grade.) i get 1/2 off vet bills and so does my family and can do payment plans. we have 3 dogs and 5 cats and 1/2 of them are getting to the point that they have 2 or 3 years left to live. i pay for my car, some food, do 1/2 the cleaning, 1/3 of food preparation (, me and my mom eat raw vegan so it is easier to do several meals at once,) pay for 5/8 of the animals vet bills and such, pay for 1/3 of the animals food, 1/2 of the other 3 animals surgeries, and pay for my own schooling.

our one cat who passed about 3 months ago from cancer needed at home health care for a year and at times needed round the clock care for many months. my job knows i am slowly going to school to be a vet tech and knows that i know what im doing and will do anything for my animals. they where kind enough to not only tell me what to do and give me all the meds, shots, food, and fluids needed, but let me bring her to work and care for her through out the day. as anyone with animals knows, if you did not have the ability to do this yourself, you may loose your house trying to pay the hospital bill.

while i may not be able to help out as much as i like, i do what i can and always offer to help when money gets tighter.

6:03AM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

The goal of good parenting is to raise kids who are capable and competent in a life that positively impacts the world around them. At some point, the parents need the kids to be independent, too, unless the parents are too enmeshed or codependent to make psychologically healthy decisions. (I'm skipping the toxic parents, because kids with toxic parents do whatever is in their power to avoid going back into the toxic situation, rather than boomerang.) Part of growing up is the struggle to carve out your own existence, so that you, too, can someday contribute to society by producing a family and/or mentoring/helping others in the world with your resources and gifts. However, with so many students graduating loaded in debt and such dismal job prospects, it is good if parents can help the adult child get their priorities in order toward successful adulthood by mentoring them in their job search, debt reduction, and financial responsibility. If we teach our teen and young adult children that debt can be a tool if necessary, but must be viewed as a short-term solution with enormous long-term risks, and therefore must be minimized in use and paid off quickly, then I think we'll all be better off...

5:37AM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

My daughter came home after college. Work in what she wanted was hared to find. She got a job at Barnes and Noble and she and I spent over a year living together. She knew she had to get out on her own though and since she wanted to do theater she moved to NY. She doesn't like the city but likes her life.It's a big place. There should be no reason to not go back home as long as they don's stay forever. They need to learn how to be independent. Animals in the wild do not stay with their parents forever and neither should human children because after all we are animals too. Sometimes they just need a jumping off place.

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