With a poor economy for the last several years, many people in the 25-40+ age group have moved back in with their Boomer generation parents for different reasons. Some have not been able to find jobs that adequately support them, others want to save some money to buy their own home or pay off college loans, or other debts. Older adult children may have moved back in to be a live-in caretaker for an ill or disabled parent needing assistance.
For whatever reason kids choose to move back home and parents allow it, at the end of 2012, 3 out of 10 adult children had moved back to their parents’ home – that accounts for millions of boomerang kids. The “empty nest” syndrome is frequently being replaced by the “crowded nest” syndrome when parent and child decide to live together again. The trend is so widespread that the former stigma of older children moving back with parents is gone. There have even been several books written on the subject including, Kathleen Shaputis’s 2004 book The Crowded Nest Syndrome: Surviving the Return of Adult Children and Ruth Nemzoff, author of Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships With Your Adult Children and psychotherapist Linda Gordon’s, co-authored book, Mom, Can I Move Back in With You?: A Survival Guide for Parents of Twentysomethings.
If you have an adult Boomerang kid, here are some suggestions of basic ground rules from the above authors to help both parent and child survive in the re-crowded nest:
1. Good economic strategy vs. failure. Both parent and child need to view the child moving back home as a good economic strategy rather than failure of the adult child.
2. Adults living together now. Parents need to view the cohabitation as 2 adults living under the same roof and try not to resume the parent/child dynamic.
3. Set agreed upon ground rules. Having too few rules can be as bad as having too many, psychologists claim. Establish your expectations for people living in your home the same as you would if friends or other distant relatives were to move in. Some even suggest drawing up a living agreement contract that has all the expectations of the living arrangement spelled out on it. Helping keep the home clean, doing outside chores, or their own laundry, keeping decent hours especially if parents are still working and have to get up early, how much money parents will help the adult child with.
4. Don’t Bite Your Tongue or the Hand That Feeds You. Even though you want to live in harmony with your adult child, you don’t have to put up with bad attitudes or behaviors. They are moving back into your space and shouldn’t make demands on how to re-arrange your life, home, according to how they lived on their own, to accommodate them. While you may try to go out of your way to accommodate a short-stay guest, kids should realize that parents are extending a temporary helping hand to get more financially stable not enabling them to take-over.