How To Deal with Grown Children Returning Home

Boomerang Kids is the term used for grown children who return to the nest. Depending on the situation at home, parents can see boomerang kids as either a blessing or a pain in the side.  If one or both parents have health problems, they may welcome their kids with open arms.  At least someone will be there to help.  But for parents who were looking forward to spending time alone after years of child rearing, boomerang kids may be more trouble than anything else.  
Adult kids return home for a number of reasons.  Financial instability is probably the most common.  If you have a grown child returning home, here’s some advice for you.

  • Establish boundaries.  Setting limits is critical to maintaining peace and order in the household.  Parents should be supportive of their returning children but at the same time work towards encouraging them to become independent again as soon as possible.  
  • Set a time frame and help him create a plan of action.  Unless you really need the presence of your adult child in your home, it would be best for him to leave as soon as he is able.  Agree on how long he can stay.  Assist him in creating an action plan that will help him get back on his feet.  The plan should have achievable goals and specific target dates.
  • Talk about financial matters.  Charging your child rent is not a selfish act.  In fact, it is one way to establish your child’s independence while staying with you.  You should also discuss how much he should contribute for food, laundry expenses and utilities. If he will use your vehicle, he should share in the fuel, maintenance and insurance costs.
  • Discuss what behaviors are acceptable in your home.  Your child is moving back into your home therefore he has to follow your rules.  Discuss issues related to the following:
    • Guests – who are allowed to visit and how long they can
    • Parties – is he allowed to host events in your home
    • Alcohol and cigarettes – can he drink alcohol or smoke inside the house
    • Pets – are pets allowed
    • Audio and video – what kind of music or shows are acceptable to you and what volume level is acceptable
    • Demeanor – define what behaviors you will not tolerate including language that is unacceptable
    • Grandchildren – if your child is bringing his children with him, talk about who will be in-charge of child care
  • Assign chores.   Coming back home is not a free ride.  Make sure it is clear to your returning child that he has to pull his weight around the house.  Assign specific chores for him to do.  It would be best to make a list of these chores and when they should be done.  Place this list on the refrigerator or message board so he can be reminded of it.

Parents often feel conflicted when their children leave home the first time. They don’t want to let go but at the same time they want their kids to become independent adults.  When an adult child wants to return home, the parents feel conflicted once more.  If you have no choice but to take in your adult child, make sure to establish boundaries, set up rules, assign chores, discuss financial obligations and come up with a time frame when he should be able to leave the nest again.  Expectations should be clear so that you can have a positive, loving relationship with your boomerang kid.


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