Boomerang Brats


We recently wrote about an article that pointed out the economic benefits to America when Boomerang “Kids” leave the nest.

Then, lo and behold, we found this gem: “The Benefits Of Being A Boomerang Kid” under the heading, “Growing Up Is Hard To Do.” (Phil Villarreal, for The Consumerist)

The author lists three reasons that full-grown adults should continue to force their parents to support them and, consequently, avoid contributing to the economy and society at large.

On the top of his list, spending Mom and Pop’s money instead of his own.

“Saving Up- With no rent or utilities, you can build up your nest egg as long as you’re disciplined.

Gee that’s right Kid, no worries. Has it occurred to you that while you’re “building up your nest egg” that you’re depleting your parents’ nest egg in the process?

Boomerang Boy’s second point is “Going to School.” We can at least understand and don’t necessarily disagree with this point, sometimes it does make sense for an adult student to bunk with the parents. However, we thought that the way he worded his explanation had an air of spoiled brat to it:

“While persuing [sic] all-consuming graduate degrees, sometimes it’s not realistic to hold down a job that pays well enough to make ends meet. Living with your parents can minimize distractions.

Yes, Junior, being responsible and having a work ethic can be very distracting. But people do it everyday and do not die. It’s nourishing and builds character.

The third point is the one that really brought brat to mind for us, “Becoming an Entrepreneur.”

‘When you have less overhead, you can be more daring with your time and money. If you launch a business and it fails, you can’t lose your house because you don’t have one to lose.

We could almost hear him thinking, “Hey, I have a great idea, I could put up Mom and Pop’s house as collateral.” Careful Sonny, where are you going to live when your big idea goes bust?

But wait, maybe we were being too hard on Boomerang Brat, so we checked out other articles he has written. The top of the list? “One-Stop Shopping For Beer Pong” which includes this literary gem:

“Beer pong players, where do you stock up on the equipment for your athletic endeavors?”

Never mind about that “too hard on him” stuff.

But we can’t heap all of our scorn on this author, he was actually referencing another blog in his article, The Well Heeled Blog, where a young woman has a change of heart about moving back in with her parents.

She has been on her own for several years but now thinks it would have been “nice” if she had stayed at home. What brought about this change of heart?

One of her contemporaries had the gall to write this:

“I don’t think anyone should live at home after the age of 20. I don’t care if you’re a student or saving up for a house, or whatever other ridiculous excuse you think justifies leeching off your parents. Everyone needs the experience of being independent in order to become self-sufficient. If you do not have enough money to pay rent, you have to find a way to make more money — this is called problem solving, and it’s an essential skill for coping with that scary thing called ‘real life’ so it’s better to learn it sooner rather than later.”

How dare a full-grown, twenty-something adult state such radical thoughts! Somehow this statement lead the author of Well Heeled Blog to write this (giving Beer Pong Boy a run for his parent’s money):

“One of my friends was a manager making $80K. She lived at home because it was 15 miles from her work, and there was no point in renting an apartment when she can save that money for something else.”

Wonder how much Mom and Pop were making? On the plus side, after scanning the comments sections of both blogs, there were some “kids” who wrote in that were highly opposed to sponging off of mom and dad with sentiments like this:

“I would only do it if one of my parents needed care, or I just didn’t have any other options available. I don’t think I would do it to merely save up extra cash. For me, it is fine to live with the rents during school or a move or tough financial times. that is what family is for. But using your parents as a crutch or your personal maids? No. No matter how nice and great the parents are, you have to learn to stand on your own two feet! Except in times of crisis/illness, I think parents’ jobs are done at 18 or after schooling is complete. After that, they are for emotional support only–my parents have enough to deal with already; i’d never add my problems to the mix.”

Nice to see that some of these young adults get it. However, for every one of those there seemed to be at least two of these:

“Though I said I never would, I moved back in with my parents after college to save money for a big trip I was taking. I was able to sock away $6,000 in six months by working full time and living on a really small budget. That money allowed me to travel Europe and America for six months.”

Good for you, Little Man – wouldn’t want Mom and Dad to be able to do any of that pesky traveling themselves! But this statement truly defined Boomerang Brat for us:

“CB lived at home for 2+ years after he graduated, and during that time he was able to squirrel money away (some of which to his retirement funds!).”

Yes Budro, building up your retirement fund at twenty-two is really quite admirable… but not if you’re draining your about-to-retire parents’ funds while you’re at it.

David & Veronica,

YOUR TURN: Are we too harsh? Are the “benefits” these Boomerang “Kids” speaking of actually benefits? What to you think?

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18 thoughts on “Boomerang Brats”

  1. My daughter has boomeranged but not until we had some very thoughtful conversations – she pays rent, pays all her own expenses and buys her own food. She is just there for a roof over her head. She has a travel job and is away 3-4 weeks at a time, sometimes longer, so until she can find a full time position (she is an x-ray technician with just over a year’s experience) she will stay rather than having to rent someplace and move if she gets a great permanent job. It works for us – different schedules, someone always home for the house and pet, and on the occasion we are home together I enjoy her company a lot. It works for us right now.

  2. Every situation is different, so I wouldn’t assume to advise parenting advice myself for others, but I applaud my daughter for being a ”self-made woman” who obtained all of her jobs, degrees, careers, relationships, and LIFE IN THE REAL WORLD , all on her own. Of course her father and I supported her w/ love and certain things earlier, but she , and only she can take the credit for the wonderful woman she is today. She’s a wife, mother, RN and teacher, and works M-F, w/ a disability. Her faith has always been utilized in her life and her work ethic pristine. Are we proud of her??? You betcha!!!

  3. Interesting. When I was 17, I couldn’t wait to move to the city and be “on my own”. It never entered my mind that I would move back with my folks. It’s interesting how moving back in is part of the expectation for many kids.

  4. I want to like this a million times and share it everywhere. Hubby informed me a few months ago that his 21 year old son wants to move back in after a year on his own in California in auto school. “to save money”. I said no. I almost caved but you reinforced to me that saying no is going to help son in the long run. he has to learn to stand on his own 2 feet.

  5. Thank you for acknowledging that in some circumstances, it is good for young adults to stay with parents; I do, in fact, longer than I thought I would. But I help around the house, badly want a job, spend my saved money whenever called to, and my only real vice is book-collecting (which I’ve become adept at thanks to majorly inexpensive used-book sites). We were not raised to be dependent; one of my sisters is away at college, the other has moved back in due to having an unexpected baby and works all day, spending time with her kid when she’s not. It turns out my being home and jobless was a blessing then, because before we could get daycare, my mom had to watch my sweet niece all day and could not have done so without me there. The bottom line for me staying, though, is that I love my family; the days of family trips, even to visit relatives, went by way too fast, and before I know it these days will be gone too.

    The only thing I thought too harsh in this article was this young woman’s words: “I don’t think anyone should live at home after the age of 20. I don’t care if you’re a student or saving up for a house, or whatever other ridiculous excuse you think justifies leeching off your parents”. Excuse me girl, but staying at home does not equal “leeching” automatically, and you have a hell of a lot of nerve making such judgements and calling the valid reasons for living at home that you listed “ridiculous excuse”; ugh. It didn’t used to be so uncommon for families to stay together. As a matter of fact, I recently came across some parents who especially prefer for their young adult daughters to live at home with them for a while, purely for safety; it can be risky out there for a young woman to live alone. While some of these parents seemed overprotective in other ways, I saw their points; my own maternal instincts, in fact, began on a whole new level at 19, and ever since I began talking to a wonderfully sweet and young teen girl online, I began hoping that she, too, wouldn’t be in a hurry to leave home (she’s very talented and in no way would be a leech; her family’s also super-close). My main reason for this, other than major fondness for her, and the fact of her tiny female frame reminding me of her vulnerability, is simply the fact that she lives in L.A. Call me overprotective, but the premature mother in me occasionally gets heart palpitations at this; not so much about her circumstances now, since she’s living with awesome parents, but I just don’t want her to hurry out too quickly in the future. She happens to be a celebrity as well, and got weird male comments on her online accounts even at the age of 12. Hell, maybe we could room together at some point :P, long as I can afford a flaming sword to keep the weird guys away.

    Of course, back on the topic of some parents keeping their grown daughters at home with them, there is a flipside to things. Many of these parents are homeschoolers, but don’t roll your eyes please; their children are highly educated, creative, and it’s no damn wonder they keep them at home considering what our world and schools today are like (I’m a Christian, like they are, and would personally prefer public-schooling my kids, but not every town has the awesome Christian schools I did). However, there are some religious homeschoolers who go batty with their kids. And here’s the shocker, dear folks: their suffocation doesn’t have to do with living out their childrens’ “dreams” by letting them either vegg or drain the parent-funds. No, their kids are highly intelligent, musically talented, some even having written books or composed music. Which brings me to the saddest part: their grown kids are living out their PARENTS’ dreams. And belief systems, and purposes, and ministry. Only upon marriage did two of their sons move out recently, one with a very receding hairline already, but until then the kids, all extremely religious, lived to serve their parents’ purposes in life, particularly Daddy’s dream. (These folks are very patriarchal, and believe women should never be independent but instead go from Daddy’s protection to Hubby’s protection, and authority of course. No college either, and they should stay out of the workforce. So considering this, their two daughters’ brilliant minds are kind of beside the point). Basically their kids are SPIRITUALLY and emotionally dependent on their parents; they even said at some point that just because they’re grown up doesn’t mean they’ll stop living/supporting/working for or whatever their father’s vision. Then, for the females, it’s off to hubby’s vision; these kids’ father even drew up a “generational plan” of how many descendents he believes he’ll have, when they marry, when they die, etc (and this is all for his male spawn, since the females will have moved on to be part of another man’s generations-long plan). It’s incredible, really: the intellect and education of these grown offspring is amazing, but utterly chained to their parents. Hey, I envy that they travel together; I envy that the girls (jobless) occupy themselves at home with the computers and camera equipment to make movies and musical tributes further supporting their chosen way of religion (much as I hate that chosen way). The fact is, my family simply can’t afford to move around like they do, much as I’d die to return to Britain or buy a house in NC with my fam (so it’s kind of funny when rich fundamentalists like this family tell other folks that they, too, should have countless kids, all of whom must be homeschooled and then jobless until married if they’re female), but their idea of spirituality alone (never mind requiring that the kids follow it to the letter) repels me. This isn’t a subject often covered here, or maybe that much anywhere since it’s so unusual, but raising clones to further your vision and your plans isn’t healthy either. Living at home, young adults? Fine, especially if you’re rich enough to afford goodies like giant harps, pianos and movie-making equipment; but at some point, and soon, you need to discover your own calling.

    Sorry this post was so long, to the Mr. and Mrs. blog-owners here! But the article made me think of all kinds of issues with growing up and raising kids. I’ll love to have my kids at home for a while, especially if I’m ever crazy enough to let hubby convince me to move to, say, San Francisco, and I will raise them in my faith, but they will also be individuals, whom I’ll rejoice with when they decide to sing, paint, dance, write, or whatever. In the meantime, you folks have inspired me to have more guts when it comes time to consider another job opportunity again; no more fear about foreign territory, even if I have to put a foot in my own butt and push myself along. No guts no glory, girl.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, our idea is always to inspire thoughtful conversations. We never advocate our path for everyone, just voice our opinions and hope to provide some information and perhaps a laugh or two along the way.
      -The GypsyNesters

  6. For every boomerang kid there is a parent who allows it! I hate that show Supernanny…it’s not the kids who have a problem it’s the parent’s who have a problem! My children will NOT be boomerang kids b/c I will not allow it, they are learning independance as children! As strongly as I feel about this I do agree with the point that there are times when moving in with relatives is necessary, stuff happens, but it’s not open ended and you should be working everyday towards getting out and back on your own.

  7. You’re not at all too harsh. That’s been part of the problem with ‘kids’ for the last couple of decades . . their parents are too soft and, as your post points out, it’s the parents (and society) who end up paying for it.

    Thanks for your post.

    1. Thanks Cate. There really does seem to be a lack of desire for kids to work their way up nowadays. Our daughter’s had friends say things like “I can’t afford a place as nice as I’m used to so I had to move home.” Call us wacky but we call that spoiled!

  8. Please tell us that you found some articles or comments where the boomerangers who were living at home to save money were at least contributing (or offering to contribute) towards the household living expenses. On the other hand, did the parents maybe model a sense of entitlement that is now being channeled by their boomerangers? Just saying….

    1. There were some comments that had the boomerangs contributing to the household and even a couple that mentioned moving back to help mom and dad when they need it. There are certainly circumstances where adult kids living with their parents is a good thing. Those would NOT be brats.

  9. Not at all! I have seen kids take advantage of their elderly parents. Depleting their nest egg is harsh and leaves them wanting. Not harsh at all. If the adult child has real needs, it is different. But to just mooch is bad. Big hugs! Love ya guys!

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