Living with the Boomerang Generation
Having adult children (24-34 years old) living at home can be exciting and challenging. Whether they have returned from college for a long summer or have boomeranged due to financial difficulties; relationship stress; or need a launch pad, it is important to set parameters early and revisit them often. It is vital to clarify standards and expectations for all involved.
Here are a few tips for making the transition smooth...
Be Respectful- What does that mean? Do you want your children to come home before mid-night or call if they will be away overnight? Is this about using vulgar language in your presence or playing music too loudly? Be specific.
Be Productive- It is important for everyone to understand their purpose. Why are you here in this space, at this time? Writing down how the time spent in your home will be used is important to not feeling your children are taking advantage of your hospitality without concern for an end goal.
Take Initiative around the house- Simple enough, not true. It is crucial to be specific. Take out the trash- as soon as it is full. Put the dishes away when the dishwasher is finished. Clean your bathroom after each use or once a week. Wash your clothes before they begin to smell (once a week). If the house does not smell like vanilla, gardenias, or oranges find the stench and get it out.
If you don’t know- Ask! Having permission to ask questions is key to good communication. Even if the answer seems obvious, responding honestly and without judgement will work wonders for building an adult relationship.
Be legally employed or be in an accredited education program working toward a degree or certificate. This may not apply for summer students if they can afford to take a break or travel.
Take care of your financial obligations- Young adults might be paying cell phones, cars and a room in your home, it is important to impress upon them how to pay bills on time. Help them create a budget, discuss saving accounts and retirement accounts, go over financing options for major purchases, discuss credit ratings and access credit reports. No matter how old they are, if they are moving home you need to understand their financial position.
Be preparing to leave- Prayerfully, not because they were asked under duress, but because they have prepared financially and emotionally. If your young adult does not know how to manage their finances or build relationships with others, they may never return your home to you. Your nest will be perpetually full.
Be Peaceful- Have a pleasant disposition, demeanor and temperament. Participate in family events and activities. Do not allow problems to fester- communicate frequently. Discuss the challenges of living with adult children, even when a problem does not exist. Just check in.
Every household is different and may add to the list as need be. Relationships change during the young adult phase of life. Both parents and children desire to see growth, sometimes in different ways. Know that the decisions your children make at this age are not always a reflection of your parenting. More often than not, it is a matter of their own choices. Keep your standards high, as managing expectations can nurture healthy, mature growth in this new relationship for both of you.
Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad is a Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor/Therapist with more than 12 years of experience in relationship and life coaching. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Capella University and available for workshops and speaking engagements.