The Booming Generation: How to Deal With Your Boomerang Kids

3 Minute Read

Most grown children shudder at the thought of moving back in with their parents. All parents should shudder at the thought of their kids staying too long.

A recent analysis by the Pew Research Center finds that about 22% of 25- to 34-year-olds live in multi-generational households, and a Pew survey found three in 10 parents of adult children said at least one of their kids is living back home because of the economy.

It’s unpleasant to think about, but the fact is that there are some times when a person needs to move back home to get back on their feet because of job loss or money troubles. There certainly isn’t anything wrong or bad with that. Wrong and bad enter the equation when the adult child starts to settle in a little too much, doesn’t actively pursue a job, and just loafs around all day.

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At that point, not only are they not maximizing themselves, but the parents are footing the bill. Some moms and dads have even chosen to delay retirement because they are supporting grown children. Talk about unfair!

Establish Helpful Boundaries

When kids are living at home, you should make it as lovingly uncomfortable as possible for them. That means don’t let them sleep in every day, eat your food, and go clubbing at night without any responsibilities. They’ll get into a comfortable rut since all their needs are being met, and they will lose motivation to leave and be independent again.

Decide with your spouse what parameters need to be set when a child moves back in. You may want your son or daughter to go on at least five interviews a week, or send out a certain number of resumes, or pursue networking opportunities. Just give them motivation to do something.

You might even have them get a part-time job delivering pizza or newspapers so they can have their own money and make their own budget.

It won't hurt to give them some chores. Take the trash out. Feed the dog or cat. Mow the yard. Do some grocery shopping. Pick out what you need help with around the house and have them help you. Most likely you aren't charging them rent (though you can do that), so an extra pair of hands helping is an appropriate thing.

YOU Set the Limits

Doing all that isn't cruel; it's your house, and you decide who stays there and who doesn't. If the son or daughter sees that they won’t be living on Mom-and-Dad-will-take-care-of-me-for-as-long-as-I-want Boulevard, they will be itching to get a job so they can get back to living on their own terms. Giving them requirements keeps them sharp.

A good phrase to remember is “good fences make good neighbors.” We all need some fences around us to keep from wandering too far, giving us boundaries. We need to know our limits. It’s also good for our kids. And the same holds true for your money.

Creating and living on a budget tells every dollar where you want it to go. With adult children in the home, this is more important than ever. Don’t let circumstances in your home dictate your budget. You’re in control of your money, and your children need to know and learn that.

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