to (gently) toss your boomerang kid |
"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."
"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.
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
New nest rules
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."
most common mistake: Parents fail to set ground rules upfront.
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
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?
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