The idea of “boomerang children” is something very familiar to our neighbors across the pond, but not so much in the UK. We get a lot of letters about the issue, where people aren’t very familiar with the term. But it’s a problem that we are aware of, just perhaps not by those words. Boomerang children are adult children that move back in with their parents. It can also be where the grandchildren move back in with the grandparents. Either way, it blends a family together in a way that can create confusion, exhaustion, and a ton of stress. Is there a way to have your children move back in without everything falling apart? We think that there is. Here are a few tips to make the transition easier on everyone.
1. Don’t avoid setting rules, boundaries, and expectations.
You might be tempted to let them do whatever they want when they move back in, but this isnít a good idea at all. All youíre teaching them is that they never have to be responsible. Instead, don’t be afraid to set down some basic rules. When do they have to be home? How much money needs to be paid back into the house? Who buys toilet paper? These might sound like common sense questions but they’re all incredibly important, so don’t skip over them.
2. Give them space to make mistakes (and learn from them)!
When they first move in, theyíre going to be frazzled. This isn’t the time to try to hover over them. Give them space to work things out. If they already have a job, then they’re going to want to put a lot of their earnings into savings. If theyíre not doing that, a gentle reminder would probably be a good thing. Otherwise, you need to make sure that you’re doing your best to stay out of their hair. If theyíre following the basic rules of the house and paying their share, then that’s all you really need to worry about.
This goes double if they have children of their own. While it’s tempting to step in and try to “take charge”, this is only going to make them feel even more powerless than before.
3. Make sure they have a plan to get their lives back on track.
One of the hardest things about having your adult children move back in is that they feel they can stay forever. Even if they know that they have a deadline to move out, they’re going to take their time. Why? It’s easy: they know that worst comes to worst; family will not just kick them out on the street. This tends to lead to a lot of resentment, but it doesnít have to be this way. Make sure that they have a plan to get their lives back on track. Comfort them, because they may be absolutely terrified to be out on their own again. It’s safer to be back home with Mum and Dad. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of growth to be had there, either.
Let them find the space they need to get on their feet, then send them back out of the nest. As much as you might have enjoyed playing with your grandchildren, your kids really need to be on their own again.
This is a very stressful time, but it doesn’t stay that way forever. Good luck with putting all of these tips into practice; it can be easier said than done!