Tips for young and old
Head of advocacy and communications at Age Action Justin Moran:
Adult child should ask permission before possible return home. Be aware parents are under no obligation. Adult kids saying ‘I’m going to get this in the will anyway, so basically it’s mine’ isn’t respectful of parents.
Ground rules need to address independence needs of both parties. Older couple must be conscious their son maybe left home at 20 and is now back at 35 and is entitled to his own independence/autonomy. Adult child should know older couple are entitled to not have their lives disturbed too much.
Contributing even a small amount financially recognises the relationship — this is something your parents are doing to help you out. Family therapist Anne McCormack:
At outset, have conversation that clearly communicates each party’s expectations. Perhaps parents expect to know where their son/daughter is at night, but young person expects this isn’t the parents’ business — ‘I don’t need to account for where I am as I did when I was a teen.’ Frame conversation along lines of ‘this is up for negotiation’ rather than ‘here are ground rules you must obey’.
Parents should make clear their lives are different to when the kids lived at home as teens. Explain: ‘I now do this as part of my weekly routine. I’m away on Wednesdays and one weekend a month — I’ll still be doing that.’
It’s OK for parents to want to know, prior to periods when they’ll be away (weekends/holidays), the young person’s plans for that time. It’s fine to say ‘can you reas- sure us by letting us know what your plan is when we’re away?’ State your expectations: Food used to be replaced, house cleaned up before parents return, no smoking.
Parents need to respect young person’s privacy. Part of being an adult is having your own space. Boomerang kids should state expectations around this: They won’t always be explaining where they’re going; their bedroom is their own space where they watch TV/contact friends.
It’s reasonable for parents to say ‘this is what we expect as financial contribution’ if they know the child can afford it. If they’re deemed not to be in a position to contribute, yet they’re out socialising every weekend, this can feel unfair. The young person might say ‘it’s really hard to be living at home — the one thing I have is my weekend out’. It’s important to talk about this. Frank Conway, founder of financial education programme Moneywhizz: Consider all financial implications/potentialities and negotiate these.
Can boomerang kids bring their friends, lovers, partners home for dinner or to stay over? If so, how often? Can friends move in? If so, is rent paid? Who pays?
If kids aren’t paying rent, are they saving the cash? If so, for what? A house? How will parents know kids are actually saving that 10% deposit?
Are kids a financial dependent? If they’re unemployed, they might be. If they have loans parents co-signed for/guaranteed, then parents are liable — this will impact their personal credit report and financial security too.