12 Tips for When Adult Children Come Back Home



They are called boomerang kids. Just when we are beginning to enjoy the empty nest instead of dreading the silence, there is a knock at the door. Many factors contribute to the reasons why adult kids come back to their parental homestead after being away for a while. There are just as many reasons why parents say, “Of course you can stay with us while you get back on your feet!” The trouble is your kids can’t go back home and assume it is going to be the same as when they were 14 or even 18. They need something different from you and it isn’t free room and board.
The situation can be uncomfortable for all parties, the kids and the parents. Sue Atkins, parenting expert and author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” helps give parents guidance. She wrote this terrific article for Fab After Fifty, a website I discovered on Twitter and well worth a look. Anyway, Sue Atkins writes:
There’s a new word out on the street called the “boomerang kids” – children who return to their parents’ home in adulthood and remain there into their 20s or even 30s !!!

According to a leading charity Parentline Plus they are putting enormous strain on family relations.
Student debt, the housing shortage and a general lengthening of adolescence (itself a result of growing life expectancy), are all contributing to the well-documented phenomenon of boomerang kids.

Young adults still living with their parents are frequently said to be suffering from the “failure to launch” syndrome but now with the credit crunch really taking hold of family life throughout the world, young adults are returning home as they can’t afford to buy or rent their own home.
Here are Sue’s tips for parents:
  1. Remember It’s your house – and your rules
  2. Insist that your kids make a financial contribution – as this teaches them to respect you, as well as themselves and puts the relationship on a much better footing so resentment doesn’t build up.
  3. Draw up an agreement on chores around the house and the basic house rules, then stick to them
  4. Don’t wait upon them hand and foot! Just ask yourself what are they learning if you do?
  5. Don’t treat them like teenagers and don’t try to control them
  6. Accept that you have to go through a transition in what to except in behavior with adult children.
  7. Ensure that both of you as parents are on the same side. If your partner expects a woman to do all the chores, the adult child will too, as you are still being a role model to your kids no matter how old they are.
  8. If their behavior upsets you, speak to them – work out compromises, solutions and ways forward. Don’t let resentment, anger and arguments build up
  9. Insist that they tell you if they are not coming home at night and explain why you need to know. (Peace of mind, security so you can lock the door etc). Asking for accountability is reasonable.
  10. Be prepared to say: “I love you, but not your behavior” just as you did when they were younger kids
  11. Remind them that this is your house. If they don’t like your rules, they must leave
  12. Set boundaries – be firm, fair, consistent and respectful and of course, helpful and look at ways to move this situation forward long term.

AND another article on the same topic with similar ideas but from another angle which you may find helpful:

Rules For When the Chicks Returns to the Nest

Let us know what you think, what your situation is and how you are making it work, or if you still could use some help. 

2 comments


  • danny

    my wifes daughter and two kids have add to move in with us they are getting the big D he is in the army makes 3,800 a mo giving her 600.00 paying her car pmt insurance and cell phone . she started the kids in school ages are 6 and 9 ,the girls drives me nuts, we live in a 16x 80 mobile home not big. they buy there food , have been with us 9 weeks with no end in sight each time my wife and i talk about it trouble , the daughter has not helped out with nothing ,$$$$ my wife cleans up ,after her and the kids each day i have moved my chair in our bed room just so i can watch tv ,anytime i say anything it a fight with my wife ,my dad just past-away 4 days ago and i”m on the edge, my wife x and his wife make well over 150,000 a year and can help and could stay with them but will not she don”t like the step mom , and my wife thinks i”m the bad guy???please ,please HELP HELP thanks Danny

    2012/08/16
  • me and my husband are new ministers, we need help on teaching parents on how to deal with kids coming back home please help us, please send info very soon we need lots of help.
    thank you Dot

    2013/01/01

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