Adult children moving home

What to do when grown-up offspring come home to roost

By Donna Fleming

They’re known as the boomerang kids – adult offspring who come back to live with Mum and Dad after leaving home. There are many reasons why children want to return, from struggling to find work or the break-up of a relationship, to wanting cheap accommodation while they save to buy a home of their own.

Whether you’re thrilled to have your darlings back in the nest, or cursing yourself for not downsizing sooner – it’s a good idea to have guidelines in place to ensure it’s a pleasant experience for everyone. Here’s a survival kit for the returning
boomerang kids:

House rules

Establish guidelines from the get-go and discuss your expectations from day one, so there are no misunderstandings. Cover topics such as household chores and who will do what; having people to visit; paying board and other expenses; and how long they are going to be there.

On board

Charge them for their stay. Adult kids tend to eat a lot and use huge amounts of hot water. Not only can having them back end up costing you a small fortune, but it can encourage them to outstay their welcome if a free ride is being had. As well as helping to cover costs, charging them board will also guide them in learning a budget and facing up to financial responsibilities. The only time you may want to relax this is if they’ve moved home to try and save money for something important, such as overseas travel or a home of their own. In that case, you may want to waive the board, but put a time limit on how long they get to stay for free.

Mature audience

Don’t treat them like children by making rules more suitable for teenagers. This may mean doing things like relaxing curfews, or not expecting them to accopmany you when you visit grandparents or other family members. Your child is an adult now – if you want them to behave like a grown-up, treat them like one.

Independence day

Let them live their life. Just because they’re staying under your roof doesn’t mean you need to know about every aspect of their being. If they have friends over to visit, don’t expect to be invited to join in – and don’t ask where they’re off to every time they go out.

Fair play

You love your kids and want to help them as much as you can, but there can be a fine line between being supportive and treated like a doormat. If you find yourself constantly forking out money and picking up after them, it might be time to reassess the living situation.

In good company

Enjoy their presence. This experience can help strengthen your relationship. This is bonus time you’re getting to spend with them – so make the most of it

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