I speaking on BBC Radio Berkshire to Anne Diamond about ‘Boomerang Kids’
Here are my thoughts ….
Student debt, the high cost of housing, and a general lengthening of adolescence (itself, a result of growing life expectancy) are all contributing to the new phenomenon of boomerang kids – the 20 or 30 somethings who move back in with their parents after once fleeing the nest.
“Young adults are returning home to their parents as they can’t afford to buy or rent their own place,” says parenting expert and author, Sue Atkins. “This is when problems occur, not necessarily because the adult children treat the family home like a hotel, but often because they do not accept that their lifestyles clash, grate and jar horribly with those of their parents.”
The problems of boomerang kids are very real with parents often bemused and at a loss to know how to handle this new situation. Knowing how to cope and live together as a family again “is about looking to the future and setting some simple, clear and specific goals that can be achieved over time,” says Sue Atkins. “It is important not to get stuck in the present or feel that you have taken a step backwards in your lives.”
Sue Atkins has ten simple and practical tips that will make the transition to living together once again a harmonious one:
1. Do remember that it is your house and your rules
2. Do insist that your children make a financial contribution to the home – this will teach them to respect you as well as themselves
3. Do draw up an agreement on household chores and basic house rules – then stick to them
4. Do accept that you have to go through a transition in behaviour with adult children
5. Do insist they tell you if they are not coming home at night and explain why you need to know, e.g. peace of mind, security so you can lock the door.
6. Do set boundaries – be firm, fair, consistent and respectful.
7. Don’t wait on them hand and foot
8. Don’t treat them like teenagers and don’t try to control them
9. Don’t forget that as parents you are role models. Make sure that both parents are on the same side, e.g. if the dad expects the mum to do all the household chores the adult child will too
10. Don’t let bad behaviour go unnoticed – if it upsets you then speak to them about it. Work out compromises, solutions and ways forward. Don’t let resentment, anger and arguments build up.
“Boomerang kids don’t stay at home forever. Whilst they are at home it is important to keep the lines of communication open and to talk about what everyone wants to gain from the situation,” says Sue Atkins. “Compromise and thrive – a bit like all of family life really”.