Are your adult kids back home? How to live in peace with your boomerang kids

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How to coexist in peace with your boomerang kids. Photo: Supplied/Kelly Fisher
How to coexist in peace with your boomerang kids. Photo: Supplied/Kelly Fisher

When I was 29-years-old I decided I needed to buy a home of my own. I didn't have any savings though, so I decided to move back home for a while, to save on rent. 

While I got along fine with my parents , it still wasn't an easy transition for any of us, and I also felt a bit self-conscious about returning home to live with my parents as a fully grown adult. 

Needless to say, this attempt to coexist with my parents lasted all of six weeks, and I was soon back in my own rental, and finding other ways to save for the deposit... 

I'm not the only one I know of who has returned home after leaving the nest. Reasons for this are numerous and include the high rate of unemployment, the diminishing advantage of a degree, the high cost of rental and bonds and of course, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Turns out, there is a name for us: Boomerang kids. 

According to Investopedia, "Boomerang children, or boomerang kids, are terms used to describe the phenomenon of an adult child returning home (as a boomerang would if you were to throw it) to live with their parents for economic reasons after a period of independent living."

Read: Is it possible to turn laundry time into me time? We asked a dad

Also, research by Loughborough University in the UK highlights that six-in-10 single 20- to 34-year-olds without children now live with their parents. 

This number has risen from 55% to 63% over the last 10 years, and it's only increasing as a result of the pandemic as many people found themselves on a reduced salary or out of a job altogether. American research reflects similar stats. 

Young adult children who would have moved away to study also no longer had to make a move as classes went fully online and virtual when the world went into lockdown.

Here are a few tips to help everyone make a smooth transition to a new dynamic...

Set boundaries at the start

The dynamics of this situation can often be tricky. As an adult, the child doesn't want to feel like the child, and, as the parent, perhaps the thought of having your kids under your roof again is not exactly what you had in mind during this phase of your life.

Coexisting peacefully will take some work, but it's not impossible. It's easy to settle into a parent-child relationship when living under the same roof. Still, it can become frustrating for both parties if one party continuously exerts authority and dominance.

As an adult, the child wants to do whatever they want, when they want, without someone questioning their every move. And the same goes for the parent.

It might be easier to navigate if you set boundaries and rules early on. These parameters could be about chores, having guests over, and where the line is for each party's comings and goings.

Must read: 5 things to savour before you have kids

Divide chores equally

Just because they are your children does not mean that they need to be babied. They are grown-ups.

Rather divide up household chores so that the kids carry as much responsibility as the parents. There will be an increase in how much washing needs doing, how many dishes there are, and generally an increase in clutter around the house.

Perhaps even consider hiring part-time outside help to assist, and share the costs, if you can't agree on who does what or if all parties are too busy to help around the house. The minor tidying up and daily chores can be left to those who live in the household. You can look at local services like SweepSouth for assistance. 

As parents, it's easy to want to do everything for our children, no matter their age. You might want to make them lunch, serve them dinner, do their laundry - and more. But this enables their dependency.

Managing expenses

Assign them meals to make for the whole family or tell them they have to cook their own meals. You can also request that they do their laundry. All of this encourages continued independence and will set them up for when they move out again.

Of course, the whole point of moving home was most likely to save money. If actual rent isn't an option, consider asking them to do a weekly grocery top-up or pay for other things around the house.

Must read: Improve family balance with this handy guide to age-appropriate chores for kids

Spending time with your children as adults can be an enriching experience. You can have fun together as adults and not have to baby these adult children.

You can enjoy the adult they have become and spend quality time together. Most parents miss their children once they have moved out, so make the most of this bonus time together while it lasts.

It's important to note this time of living together should be temporary, so what to do if they won't leave after a few months, even a year or two?

Sherri Gordon, a bullying prevention expert, advises "When parents allow their adult children to remain idle in their home, they are only hindering their growth, development, and eventual independence." 

She stresses that parents are doing the right thing when they set some rules for this new living arrangement. "Don't fall into the trap of feeling guilty. Pushing your adult child toward the door is what's best for everyone," she stresses. 

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