Age Scotland volunteer Pat Craig argues for tough love when faced with boomerang kids.
The ‘Boomerang Generation’ is expanding. Around three million, who left for university or work, have returned home as rising house prices and the stagnant employment market make living with Mum and Dad more appealing. A recent advert shows eager Mum and Dad painting their adult son’s bedroom Day-Glo yellow then dancing delightedly as he packs his bags and goes. Amusing, but not so funny if you’ve become a Baby Gloomer rather than Boomer as your Boomerang Kids bleed you dry.
So if you want them to go what should you do? First, be objective. Be prepared for mixed feelings. You may be aware that you should be helping them be independent but also know you will miss them terribly.
Next, find out whether they want to move out. Don’t just accept “I’m looking for a job.” Are they looking on job sites? Are they volunteering to gain experience and make contacts or only looking for the ‘perfect’ job? Do they know how to job seek?
Investigate the ‘I can’t afford a place’ response, again making sure that this doesn’t mean that they can’t afford as comfortable a place as home or think themselves ‘too good’ to live in a less prestigious area.
‘I’m saving for a house’ is probably the most acceptable reason to stay but make sure that they are actually saving regularly and have a specific goal. Share details of household outgoings then charge them realistic rent, setting payment dates and sticking to them.
Don’t give them any leeway – a landlord won’t. Withdraw ‘extras’ like laundry, cleaning, cooking, telephone etc. This isn’t easy but essential. If you can afford it, put the rent into a secret Savings account to give to them once they leave permanently.
Set cleanliness standards, making sure that they clean their own room. Respect their private space unless it becomes a health hazard. If they leave belongings around the house put them outside their door. If messy, leave it alone. It’s their responsibility.
Finally, be firm. Sheltering your kids from the harsh realities of life doesn’t help them. If times get rough give them extra love and sympathy and a little bit of cash now and again always remembering that triumphing over adversity is character building and feels great!
Do you agree or disagree with Pat? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.