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Now that Parenting is Over

October 13, 2015
Boomerang Adult

They’ve graduated from high school and you’ve sent them off to college. They are educated beyond their years and have now entered into the real adult world.

They find that like many others in their shoes, they are certifiably credentialed with a degree of some sort and they are now an expert in some field they have chosen for a career….and there are very few places that are hiring. So, there you have it. Educated, young adults, on their own for at least four years, and now they need to come back home.

What do you do?

Like most parents, you want to help out. You desire success both emotionally and financially for your adult child. He wants to come back home. The arrangement looks good on the outside but there are risks to consider before you decide if that is best for you and for your adult child.

The “boomerang” adult child (as they are called) may impact your plans and impact your financial future. Parents may even begin to enable their adult child by paying off loans, taking over car payments or insurance payments and the like. What about common courtesy issues such as curfews and use of household things?

To facilitate success for the boomerang adult child and the parents here are some things that will help.

  • Have a family meeting – Prior to the adult child moving back home be sure to sit down and discuss living arrangements. Why is your adult child coming back home? Be sure there is a clear goal for both of you.
  • Discuss and write down expectations – What chores will be expected and what common courtesies (such as curfews and friends in the house, if he will be home for dinner, etc.)?
  • No one lives for free – Be sure to charge rent –however minimal- so that your adult child will learn how to be a responsible adult and how to live on his own. You may choose to have your adult child pay or share in payments for other things as well. Be prepared…you may get some push back about this.
  • Set clear time lines – How long will your adult child be allowed to live with you? How long can he live with you without a job of some kind (though not in his career field)?
  • Be faithful to your agreement – Keeping promises helps ensure respect on both sides. It keeps resentment at bay and offers emotional security for everyone. Don’t promise more than you can deliver….either one of you. Be realistic and be ready to compromise.
  • Keep clear and open lines of communication – Make time to talk about how things are going and what changes need to be made so that both you and your adult child adapt as you live together and prepare for him to live independently.

If you see fit, help your adult child as he embarks on the world, but don’t enable him. Always send the message to your adult child that he is capable of living life apart from your safety net and can do it on his own.

About the Author
Dr. Connie Ingram is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, and Corporate Consultant. She is certified in clinical supervision for undergraduate and graduate students as well as those seeking supervision to obtain professional license. Connie is an adjunct professor in counseling and leadership studies, a supreme court certified mediator, and a parenting coordinator. Connie is most known for her public speaking and training in the areas of relationships, stress/anxiety, and leadership.