Adult children living at home - called the "boomerang generation" - can affect the family’s functioning in many ways, emotionally and financially. How can parents and children deal with the potential challenges of a “full” nest?
Advice for parents:
- Reflect on the facts. It may be helpful to consider some of the reasons why your adult child is living at home. For example, young adults are generally getting married later, and there is an increasing number who avoid marriage altogether. This reality may affect their financial ability to leave home.
- Communicate with your child. Talk to him/her about goals and plans. Your child may be struggling with something that is not completely obvious to you. Your own advice, validation and encouragement has the potential to be significantly meaningful. If he is having difficulties finding resources, your assistance can be very helpful.
- Create boundaries. Clearly inform your child of your expectations. In what ways would you like her to help out - groceries, rent, cleaning? Is she willing to make fair compromises? Try to identify and convey the things that you expect from her as well as the consequences of not following through. In other words, establish a “living agreement.”
- Self-care. As a parent, it is easy to feel responsible for your adult child’s circumstances. Remind yourself that there are multiple factors that play a role in your child’s situation. Rather than overwhelming yourself by trying to change your child, focus on how you can let him know where you stand and what your limits are. Give him the choice of whether or not he will respect the “living agreement.” Otherwise, he is free to leave.
Advice for adult children:
- Show gratitude. Whether or not you feel entirely supported for living at home, expressing your appreciation to your parents can lessen any potential tension that is present. Beyond verbally giving gratitude, show it through your actions. Even if you are unable to financially provide, make time to contribute – prepare dinner, tidy up the house, feed the pets. Respect and effort play a large role in demonstrating thankfulness.
- Communicate. Be sure that you are on the same page with your parents. Do they know your plans and goals? If you are under the impression that things are A-OK, yet your parents are extremely stressed out, you might find that this has become a recipe for uncomfortable passive-aggression and hostility. In other words, let your parents know if you are struggling with something and encourage them to share their thoughts with you, too!
- Know the living agreement. What are your parents’ rules? Are certain things off-limits? Do your best to ensure that you understand your parents’ expectations. If you are given a time frame for how long you are permitted to live at home, don’t wait until the last minute to make arrangements.
- Self-care. As an adult child, you may feel disappointed or burdensome for living at home. Take time to reflect on the factors that have influenced your living situation and evaluate whether or not you are giving your best effort. If you are feeling at a loss for resources, try to speak up about your concerns.