BOSTON (CBS) – Boomerang kids, also known as the rubber band kids!

We’ve all heard about a friend or neighbor whose kids came home to live with them after having moved out. And you are sure your kids won’t do that. Maybe you have downsized the family homestead to a small condominium. If it has a spare room, it may be fair game.

Eighteen million adult children are living with their parents according to AARP. And some have come home with kids of their own. The TV show Parenthood features an adult daughter moving home with two teenagers.

Usually the reasons are financial; they are getting a divorce, they are between jobs, they want to save money, get out of debt.

The norm for many years was that graduating seniors find their own place. Strike out on their own! Not anymore. A recent survey found that over 60% of graduating college seniors plan to live with their parents after college. Somebody needs to warn those parents!

If the kids ask if they can move in what do you say? Most of us will say yes. After all, they are our kids! But you do need to set some ground rules and you need to discuss them before they move back in.

1. Paying rent is a must. The kid cannot freeload. If they have moved back home because they have no job then of course you cannot charge rent. They should be expected to contribute to the household and help with chores around the house and do their own laundry. They become your roommate! Studies have shown that those who do not pay rent do not save any more than those who do.

2. Discuss the house rules; nothing has changed since they were 16. No wild parties, sex or drugs. You have given this lecture before so it shouldn’t be too hard. Discuss overnight guests. Awkward? But necessary!

3. Common courtesy prevails. If they are going to be late for dinner or staying out they should let you know. You can’t tell them where to go any longer but you certainly can expect them to call if they are going to be late.

4. If there are kids or pets that also moved in, who is going to take care of them? Who walks the dog at 11 pm or gets up for the 2 am feeding for the baby?

5. Set a date for moving out. That may sound harsh, especially as they are just moving in, but be realistic here. Deadlines work well for getting people focused. They need to be on their own!

Communication is key here. Talk about the issues before they move in.

One more thing:  I found two books, which could be helpful

Boomerang Nation: How to Survive Living With Your Parents . . . the Second Time Around by Elina Furman, which offers advice for the adult child on handling the awkward situation of living at home. The author suggests they do their own laundry and dishes when they move back home.

And for the parents. This parenting job wasn’t meant to go on forever and many parents can’t afford to support the adult child’s expensive habits. There is a book for them also, Mom, Can I Move back in with You


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