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How to (gently) toss your boomerang kid
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"Parents can't bear the downward mobility of seeing their kids living in a really bad neighborhood," says David Anderegg, professor of psychology at Bennington College and author of "Worried All the Time: Overparenting in the Age of Anxiety."

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"You have a whole lot invested in them, and psychologically it feels like you spent all this money to have them live in a ghetto. Parents don't want that."

Mintz agrees that the constricting job market, skyrocketing housing prices and the historic affluence of the boomer generation have combined to extend adolescence from post-college to pre-30, where it is no longer a stigma to live with your parents.

"A lot of it is related to the way kids have been brought up, which is, if you live with your parents, you can have a lifestyle well beyond what you could possibly afford on your own," he says. "That's not what worries parents; they can understand that. It's that sense that their kid is not growing up that worries them."

New nest rules
Few parents would turn their back on a child in need. But in the case of boomerang kids, the options can seem pretty limited.

"As a parent, I have two choices: I can have the child live at home, or I can try to come up with enough money to have them live someplace else," says Mintz. "But there's no option of not supporting them."

Hayden, a money counselor, and Anderegg, a therapist, report that most parents of boomerang kids are enthusiastic at first; some even welcome the opportunity to fill their nest again. But as time drags on, frustration sets in.

"For the first couple of years, it seems like a great idea, but when the kids are in their late twenties and thirties and they're still there, the parents are actually quite desperate," says Anderegg. "The parents come to me and say, 'OK, now what? Am I going to just throw them out? To live where?' The problem really hasn't changed except the kid is now 10 years older."

Hayden agrees: "The parents I get in here are mad. They're begrudging about it."

The most common mistake: Parents fail to set ground rules upfront.

While you may be happy to provide love and support on an emotional level, the goal of every parent is to help his or her child become independent. Now that you're all adults, it's a good opportunity to use your close circumstances to further this goal.

Start by assessing the situation. Where's your boomerang kid at now, and where does he or she need to be in order to become independent? Is he working full time? Looking for work? Attending classes?

Before offering that unconditional welcome, discuss the chain of events that will ultimately bring about his or her exit.

Next comes the hard part: rent. Many parents wouldn't dream of charging their own child to reoccupy his or her room. Experts say: Just do it. Having a grown kid living at home isn't good for either party.

 
 
Next: Hayden charged her boomerang daughter rent.
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