You may have dreamed of the time when your children were grown and flown, and you could turn their room into a craft room, guest room, or home office. These days, for many parents and grandparents, those dreams have come crashing down. Approximately 33% of 25 to 29-year-olds have returned home to live with their parents or grandparents, thus becoming “boomerang kids.”
For your child, moving in with you can be a brilliant financial move that helps set them up for a secure future. For you, not so much. While you may want to help your boomerang child to succeed, you probably had other plans to take a long-deserved break from parenting at this stage in your life. Here are some steps to take to help you and your college grad adjust to living together again.
Set Clear Boundaries
You set boundaries when they were teenagers; this time around is no different. Well, it’s a little different. They’ve lived on their own, and that perspective can create conflict when they return to the nest. Creating some boundaries and ground rules – put in writing – will establish mutual respect and clear expectations.
The conversation should go both ways. Ask your boomerang child about their needs and expectations. And tell them what you expect so that they don’t freeload or overstay their welcome. Go over household chores such as doing laundry, cleaning up after themselves, staying out late, and entertaining visitors. But, remember not to meddle in their relationships, no matter how tempting.
Set a Move Out Date
I know, they are just moving back in. But the situation is probably not the best for you or them, so arranging a date will let them know this is a temporary situation. It can be an actual date or a milestone, such as when they get a full-time job, their student loans are paid off, or when they have saved enough for a down payment for a house. Put it in writing.
Consider Charging Rent
This is touchy for many people since the goal is to help your child save or get on their feet. It doesn’t have to be monetary rent. They can help around the house, run errands, or what have you. Or it can be monetary. It’s up to you. Again, just be clear on what you expect and put it in writing.
Celebrate Milestones along the Way
Gaining financial independence is a marathon, not a sprint. And it’s a lot less fun to put money towards student loans, paying off a credit card, or saving for a down payment than it is to go shopping or taking a vacation. These are the lessons you’ve already learned. By celebrating milestones along the way, you can help your boomerang see the importance of these events by acknowledging their achievements.
Stay Positive about the Situation
Don’t let stress get you down. Some people view grown children moving home as a failure. You may miss your privacy and freedom. They may chafe at being under your roof again. But with the right attitude, you can use the situation as an opportunity to get to know your child as an adult and develop a closer relationship.
If you and your boomerang child keep your promises to each other and treat each other with respect, you can keep the peace in your home. If either of you does not keep your end of the bargain, you can always make a behavior change request, as the kids say these days, and re-establish boundaries.