Canada's Condominium Magazine
By Sassa Brown
I was a Boomerang kid. I didn’t want to be. I had to be. This is my story. But first, let me explain that your kids know you are anxious to settle down and relax. They want you to enjoy yourselves in peace and quiet, with the knowledge that they raised good, well-adjusted children.
Sometimes, however, they can barely get out a sigh of relief before their children come rushing back in search of a place in their old room. Of course, parents love their children and want them to visit, but they are not so keen on them moving back home. After all, independence is important, and a lack thereof is often viewed as a parent’s inability to properly guide their child and teach them necessary skills. However, it is not always as simple as that.
For the majority of the “boomerang” gang, it is not so much a choice as a necessity. Economic factors weigh heavily on the decision to move back home, and sometimes it is simply not feasible for a person with such little experience to make it on their own. By the time we are 18, most of us are already packed and ready to walk out the door in search of adventure. Moving back home is the furthest thing from our minds, so it is more than likely a last resort. The stress from college, lack of experience in their chosen fields, loss of jobs, and a poor economy all contribute to the total breakdown that results in an adult’s decision to move back in with their parents.
Many have been motivated enough to find their own solutions to these problems and make the most of their situation. Rooming with friends is the most desirable option but not always possible, so they look elsewhere. Sometimes they will search for listings on sites like Craigslist or in college dorms. They will ask around to see if their friends know anyone looking for a roommate, and if they cannot find anyone they know then they will move in with strangers. Some even move in with groups so that rent is more affordable.
In addition to economic factors, other situations may force children to move back home with their parents. Arguments between roommates, loss of a job and inability to find another one, or any number of other problems can contribute to the decision. Most are able to overcome their obstacles, but not everyone is. Sometimes they need guidance, and sometimes they just need a backup until they can get the situation under control.
I remembered being so excited to move out that I moved in with my mom’s coworker without a second thought. I lived with her, her brother, her sister, and her sister’s husband and child. It was nice because there were so many people there that rent was cheap. I was close enough to work that I could ride my bike. It was great… for about a month. Then one day, I let the brother borrow my bike. Later, I got ready for work and went outside. The bike was not there. I asked him where it was, and he said that he had gone into a store, and when he came back out it was gone. I was upset but just ended up walking to work.
After work, I bought another bicycle and rode it home. This time, I put a lock on it. The new bike also disappeared. Then so did my grandmother’s ring she had given me for my fifteenth birthday. Then so did the brother. He had stolen all my stuff and pawned it. I had no idea where it was and was so distraught that I moved out of there.
I moved in with my friend and lived with him for a while. Things were again going well until I came home one night to an eviction notice on the door. My “friend” had spent the money I gave him and never paid the rent. Out of options and unable to afford a place on my own, I moved back in with my parents until I could find a place. Eventually, another friend told me about his friend who needed another roommate. He, his girlfriend, and his friend all shared a house but needed a fourth roommate to cut down on costs. I was so glad to find them and regain my independence. If I had not been in those situations, I never would have moved back in with my parents. Sometimes, it is just unavoidable.
The main thing I learned from all this is that it is so important to have a backup plan in place so that unfortunate situations like these do not render you helpless. The most important thing you can do to keep your kids from having to forfeit their independence and move back home is to help them plan for setbacks. Often, young people are determined to go for their dreams, no matter what it takes. This is great, so long as they gain experience elsewhere, get an education, and develop other skills on which they can rely in case their plans fall through.
They should also set aside money weekly so that they can save up in case of emergencies or other difficulties. Make a list of all the things that they should plan for and put everything that you can think of on there, no matter how rare or farfetched it might be. It is better to plan for something that never happens than to have something happen that you did not anticipate. If your child finds themselves in a difficult situation, discuss it and their options with them. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment we do not see things clearly. Having someone in our corner who can think rationally and give us sound advice is exactly what we need, even if we do not see it ourselves. In any case, the best thing you can do for them is to just be there for them and guide them toward finding the solutions themselves. That will go a long way in helping them build the confidence they need to ensure they never need to face defeat and move back home.