Monday, February 13, 2017

A Message to Boomerang Kids

This is the first of a series of posts about boomerang kids hitting the blog this month. Some are re-posts but all have been updated because now I have YEARS of experience with this.

Today's post is a repost from last year around this time but I believe the message is still relevant. Plus, I accidentally deleted it when trying to re-post and was able to get it back to copy and paste so, here you go. LOL

Y'all know what a boomerang kid is, right? They are the ones who move back into your house after they've been out on their own for a long or short period of time. Regardless of how long they've been out, it was, most likely, long enough for the parents to have gotten quite used to the peace, quiet and calm that comes with an empty nest. Sure, at the beginning, it may have been difficult for the parents. This is especially true, it seems, of parents with only one child or those who were more involved in their children's' lives than their own. I was one of the latter types and it did take me a while to adjust to the empty nest situation. But, as soon as I came to cherish my empty nest, they started coming back. In full force. This is the current situation at my house and, after nearly three years of this nonsense, I have a message to those adult children who move back in with their parents.

Dear Boomerangers,

I am the mother of four lovely, all grown up daughters, two of whom have moved back home. Living in this situation, I have learned much about myself and these adult children that I'd like to share. No, this is not a lecture. But it is a message to let you know that while we do understand your position, it's only fair that you understand and respect ours.

First, let me say we get that this is not an ideal situation for either party. You should know that we do not see you as failures, even if you see yourselves like that. We get that you think it sucks to have to move back in with your parents as an adult. We think it sucks too. But we don't think you suck. We know that stuff happens out in the world and that, especially in today's world, that 'stuff', happens more and more frequently and harshly. Regardless of what brings you home, we will welcome you, without judgment or second thought, with open arms. Parents do not, cannot, stop loving their children simply because said children have become adults. It does not work that way.

We realize that you might need a minute to get back on your feet or get your life together or recover from an injury or whatever else might bring you to our doorstep. We will give you time to do that. Of course, it is nice to see you motivating towards that goal. Becoming complacent and having the expectation that it is OUR job to support you financially as well as in all other areas well, that is not going to fly.

When you (anyone-whether a child moves in with a parent or a parent moves in with a child) move in with others, regardless of who those 'others' are, it is your responsibility to make adjustments. Yes, this holds true no matter what reason causes you to move into someone's home. I do not think it's a good idea to expect your parents to make all the changes (nor should parents moving in with adult children expect this of their children.)

In all likelihood, your parents have begun to make some home improvements that they didn't have time to make, or the funds when you were growing up. In our case, I had just finished redecorating one bedroom and was working on the second when the first daughter moved back home. Once the second daughter came back, that was the end of the remodeling ideas and the redecorating. Suddenly, I was thrust back into living in close quarters with others. Not a big deal. These things can work out. But only IF both parties work towards that goal.

The empty nest parent/boomerang kid relationship is a different one. Mostly, what our boomerang kids need is temporary shelter from the storms that life has thrown their way. Mothering is something we did while our kids were growing up. That is not something we should have to do when our children reach adulthood.

All that being said, here are a few tips for the boomerangers:
  • Keep in mind that this is the time of life for your parent (or parents) to start gearing down. A time to rediscover themselves in their roles as post-parent. When you reenter the home, yours is not the only apple cart that is overturned.
  • While the situation is not ideal for all, it can work out just fine if ALL involved work together. 
  • It is vital that you contribute, in a positive way, to the family dynamic. One way to do this is to carry your weight. Making the assumption that your parents are responsible for you, in the same manner they were while you were growing up, can cause tension. Clean up after yourself; do your laundry; if you can't pay for groceries, offer to shop; run errands; take out the trash; share in the cooking. Sitting around expecting to be waited on is not contributing to anything other than discord. Your parents have taken you in, show your appreciation.
  • Be considerate. When you want to have someone over, give your parent advance notice. Most of us do not appreciate being caught by surprise in our nightgown. 
  • Respect the ground rules. Here, my daughters are supposed to keep their rooms and bathroom clean, do their laundry, lock the door when they leave and clean up after themselves in general. They come and go as they please because they're adults.
  • Be mindful. If you come in late and blare the television when you mother is sleeping because she has to get up early to teach, your mother is not going to be happy. Nor will she feel respected. Seriously, one day you will reach a certain age and have trouble falling back asleep once awakened. *It's not that you come in late, it's the noise.
  • Keep in mind that your parents have put all their plans on hold so that you could move back.
  • Do not demand anything from your parents.
And, of course, a few tips for the parents:
  • Remember that your children are now adults and respect that. No condescending tone of voice, please.
  • Be supportive but offer solicited advice only. No one appreciates unsolicited advice. 
  • Do not hesitate to set down some ground rules.
  • You are not the maid. 
  • You are not the cook. (Unless you want to be.)
  • Work with your spouse as a team instead of trying to hoodwink her behind her back (yes, I speak from experience, sadly.) 
  • You should not feel like a visitor (or prisoner) in your own home.
  • Try to see the good and positive about having adult children living with you. No matter how hard it may be. 
  • Do not go out of your way to make the living situation too comfortable. You do want them to move back out. Quickly. 
If I condensed this into a single statement, I would say: Join forces and work together to make the best of your time together because, when you do, you just might find out that this is one of the greatest gifts you've ever received.

Having boomerang kids has not been easy. All everyone here wants to say is that it isn't ideal for anyone but no one wants to step up and make life as easy as it can be for everyone. This has taken a stressful situation and made it all that much worse. My hope is that y'all can benefit from my experience that will help keep your experience more positive should your adult kids come back home some day.

Resentment is a difficult feeling to overcome.

What have y'all experienced in this situation? Any advice?

UPDATE: Since the first posting, Lovely4 has moved back out and is not only enjoying her independence but she is also enjoying teaching first grade at the very same elementary school she and her sisters (and their dad) attended! Her first-grade teachers (they team taught back then) are both still there and they are having a ball!


  1. This sounds like excellent advise to me.

    1. Thank you! And thanks, too, for clicking to favorite my Etsy shop and some of the items! You're so sweet!

  2. I recall this post. Good advice. I especially like that you point out it can also be parent(s) moving into a child's home. There are a vast variety of reasons for situations like this. My only advice/lesson learned to add to your list is ongoing honest communication between all participants.

    1. I thought it would be good to put it up again as I have some friends who are recently struggling with this. Honest communication is great but I can't get that over here. I'm about to sell the house and move into a one room shack. LOL

  3. Are you an Empty Nester again? I have not yet experienced the empty nest. I hope to at some time. The boys are saving money to buy a house. They aren't here very much but I can tell you, I am happily anticipating the event. I think this is still excellent advice. Its well written and if it happened to me which I pray it doesn't, I would tattoo it to my forehead. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. Ha! Don't I wish! Molly has moved back out but Maggie remains here and shows no signs of moving out ever again. I am going NUTS. Tattoo it to your forehead--LOL You are so funny! I am constantly praying for her to move out. Constantly. Not an exaggeration. LOL

  4. I have three daughters all have at some point moved back home for usually only a few months the longest was when Natasha moved home for 11 months, we like not having them here but would never turn them away

    1. I'm the same way. I like it better when they are not living here but would never turn them out. Of course, there are those days when I wish I was one to turn them out. Seriously, if she's not making effort in the next couple of months, we may very well try some tough love. I don't know.

  5. Great advice. I wish I had read it last year when my daughter moved home after college because she didn't get into grad school. I'm blessed, however, because she was at home when her dad went through chemo/radiation from lung cancer and eventually died. We both value the time we all had together. She also realized she didn't want to go to grad school anymore (speech pathology) but wants to get a nursing degree. We are waiting for acceptance notices from colleges. We are both ready for her to move on with her life but we are also ok with how everything has worked out so far. Thanks for pointing out all the realities of this situation for all involved. :-)

    1. I had two move back in. One after college and before she landed a job teaching first grade. She's back out now doing well. The other one moved back in after a divorce. We're into year 3 now and let's just say she's overstayed her welcome. We have a bit of princess attitude here and it's not working for me. LOL I think it is great that your daughter was there with y'all during such a difficult time. Good luck to her with nursing school. It takes a special kind of heart to be able to go into that field.


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