The term “boomerang kids” refers to adult children who move back home after graduating from college. Living with their adult child might seem like a good idea for parents who suffer from the empty nest syndrome, but this arrangement puts additional emotional and financial pressure on families. Here are six tips for living with your adult child.
Set time limits. Most boomerang kids don't return home forever, they typically move back with their parents until they pay off their student loans or find a stable job that allows to rent their own apartment. However, if there are no time restrictions, they may live with parents for years. If you don't want that, let your child know that you expect them to move out at some point.
Set ground rules. If your child wants to move back with you, he or she must be ready to help out with chores and respect your rules – for example, no parties when you're out of town. Just because your kid has an undergraduate degree and is allowed to drink alcohol doesn't mean they will always act like an adult. Make sure your child knows how you feel about having overnight guests, drinking and smoking, and respects your rules.
Set financial boundaries. Bad economy is the main factor that makes boomerang kids come back home. However, the fact that your child cannot afford his or her own place doesn't mean they can live with you completely for free. Some parents expect their boomerang kids to pay the rent. Others allow them to live at home rent-free provided that they use their income towards paying off student loans or saving for their own place. Choose whatever suits you best.
Besides, your kid should pay their share of grocery and utility bills. If your child doesn't have a job yet, they should find other ways to contribute, such as cleaning the house, cooking meals, looking after their younger siblings, etc.
Don't be an enabler. Although you should respect your kid's life choices, you shouldn't just let them bum around doing nothing. Make sure they are actively looking for a job or at least an internship to put on their resume. You can help your child financially, but don't just give them money. Lending them money and setting up a payment plan would be a smart thing to do.
Embrace your new roles. Although your son or daughter is living with you, he/she is not a child anymore, so you shouldn't treat him/her like one. Of course they need to respect the house rules, but they need to be more independent. For example, you can forbid them to have overnight guests because it affects everyone who lives in the house, but setting a curfew is a bad idea. Let them live their own life and respect their choices.
Don't blame your child or yourself. If your adult child has to move back home, don't blame them or yourself. Neither of you is a failure. Don't make them feel guilty and get rid of your own feeling of guilt. You need to be supportive but not overprotective. This balance is not easy to achieve, but once you've managed to do it, you will be able to help your child start their adult life.
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