Boomerang “Kids”

I’m an advice column junkie. I can’t help it. I kick off my morning with a cup of coffee, my iPhone and a heavy dose of the “Dear crew”.

When I’m lucky, I can persuade David to play along with a game of “What would Abby do?” If he’s is in a particularly sporting mood, we can delve far beneath the layers of the written word.

What if the husband, “Chip,” is really in need of Viagra, and is not, in fact, having an affair as “Horny in Hoboken” thinks?

What if the meddling mother-in-law, “Madge,” has a point – maybe “Good Mommy in Leavenworth” is, indeed, a bad mommy?

Normally, I can convince myself that it is a game of good clean fun. The anonymity of Chip, Madge and Horny are fascinating and comforting – these semi-fictitious characters have problems too.

But a recent column was just plain disturbing. It involved a mother who is a newly retired homeowner with an outstanding mortgage. Unless she was the CEO of a major publicly traded corporation, this lady is on a whopper of a fixed income.

Now get this – she has two grown sons, aged 22 and 24, living in her home and she has asked them to pitch in and pay $30 a week.

“Stressed-Out Mom” says that they are now “ranting and raving and calling her a bad mother.” She goes on to ask if she is being unreasonable. What?

Kick those pot-smoking, Cartoon Network-watching, little punks out of your basement!

How can you even ask if you are being unreasonable?

It’s time for you to grow a pair and live the life that you have worked your butt off for. They are able-bodied men who are completely taking advantage of your enabling ways.

Are you going to raise their kids, too? Because sooner or later, one of them will actually get a date with a girl who doesn’t care that she’s seeing a guy who lives with his mommy. Then you are going to have quite the zoo on your hands.

I’m so tired of hearing about Boomerang “Kids” and how hard it is for them to make it on their own in the big, bad world. Granted, our generation tended to be more involved with our children’s education, nurtured their every talent, made sure they were safe from balloon-related latex allergies (and I’m the biggest recovering helicopter mom there is!)- but the helicoptering MUST stop at some point.

The longer we wait, the bigger and badder the world will seem to our offspring.

“Stressed-Out” should have started her sons along a different path a long time ago. Isn’t part of the job to teach your kids to care for themselves? I didn’t raise my son and daughters to be good kids, I raised them to be self-sufficient adults.

That means once they are of age – they are on their own. They began hearing about this early and often. As they headed off to college, they didn’t expect to hear, “Honey, come back any time things get hard.”–“Watch out for the screen door,” was a bit closer to the mark.

My Spawn know I love them. Enough to want them to have lives they are proud of.

That’s not going to happen in my basement.


YOUR TURN: You’ve heard my opinion, what do YOU think? What should “Stressed Out Mom” do? What would YOU do?

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33 thoughts on “Boomerang “Kids””

  1. WOW. I am so glad I found this website. I have been going thru pure hell with my husbands lazy adult (21 & 23) sons for a year. My husband pays for everything and gives his sons money weekly so they can have “pin” money. My two grown kids have been on their own (same ages) for years, I left my hubby after he agreed to let unemployed girlfriend (& toddler) move into our house with his son for free. I am going mad. I can’t deal with this anymore. What an enabler my husband is – tired of fighting. Also tired of coming in dead last on the importance scale. BTW we are both in our 50’s and work very hard for what we have.

    1. So sorry to hear about your painful experience. I sincerely hope you and your husband can work things out. Have you guys considered counseling to help you get your priorities as couple more in sync?

  2. Agree with this totally. I’m 25, and left home at 18 to go to university. I haven’t lived with my parents since, and have always paid my bills and rent by myself. I’d never consider mooching off my parents by living rent-free and letting them pay for everything.

    My little brother decided not to go to university, instead he stayed home and got a job. He pays rent each month, as well as managing a few bills, with no complaints whatsoever. If he wants a luxury, like high-speed broadband internet or satellite TV, he’s the one that pays for it.

    I can’t stand people who are my age and just leech of their parents – I just want to shake them out of it!

  3. Our son upon graduating from college found a job and thats when he began paying 300 bucks a month rent. He wasn’t happy about it, but we told him where else can you get all these ammenities for 300 bucks. Less than a year later he fell in love with a woman and set a wedding date for August 2013. They have recently purchased a house and have moved into it. He was so thankful when we surprised him with a bank account that had a year and a half’s worth of his rent money in it.
    Life is good.

  4. I have no problem with having the monsters make it on their own. It’s my enabling husband who’s the enabler. If things ever get that bad around here, I’m moving in with a friend. Let HIM deal with them. Birds are supposed to leave the nest.

  5. Each of our sons boomerangued for 3 months after graduating from college. They didn’t want to be there, were good “guests” and were making every effort to find work and get on with their lives. I don’t for one minute regret helping them out while they worked to get their adult lives on track even though no one knew for sure how long they would be with us when they moved back home. Moral of the story: I think each child is different. Parents need to know when they’re “enabling” a dependent lifestyle versus giving their kid a chance to get started in a bad economy.

    1. Totally agree. We completely understand that everyone is different but try to put out our opinion on best goals to shoot for. The key is as you said, not to enable. Thanks for your comment.
      -The GypsyNesters

  6. Kudos to Amanda! AND I consider it a success to know that IF my kids HAD to move back in, they would never consider it without contributing (way more than $30 a week). My sis-in-law used to say, “Our goal is to raise competent, independent, adults!” If they’re not that way, it’s not too late to help them learn! As ususal, the GN perspective is the loving and compassionate (and logical) view.

  7. I so agree with what you wrote, Veronica! My hubby and I have 4 kids (youngest 20) who is off to the USA next month to au pair in California. We still have a son of 23 staying at home and have tried everything but kicking him out ~ he is 5 months away from qualifying in his trade. The problem is he doesn’t have a car (we bought him 2 previously; one stolen; the other in pieces in our garage) and he doesn’t pay a cent toward anything. Unfortunately life in sunny South Africa isn’t as easy ~ there is no public transport to speak of for him to get to work, so he needs a car and if he buys a car, he won’t be able to move out as he can’t afford both. He assures me once he qualifies he will move out. I have the sneaky suspicion that it won’t easily happen, considering he never offers to pay a cent for anything! I know it’s our fault, but short of causing World War III in our home, we’re stuck with this man-boy until August. [Sigh] There’s a saying in Afrikaans: Jy plik ‘n lat vir jou eie gat. That’s just what we’ve done. My hubby assures me that we are gonna get tough on him once my daughter leaves and he will have no choice but to buy a car and move out at the same time. I’m printing off your article to show him and my son. Just maybe there’ll be a shift in my son’s thinking.

  8. I am printing this out for my husband…. You all have said what ive been saying forever! His soon to be 26 year old daughter lives with us, goes to school pt, babysits for friends here and there, finds money to go out, never for here, might clean her room, thats about it! Hubs says “I cant throw her out onto the streets” Huh? What!? Her tears and excuses, big talk of “Im going to do….” Drives me up the wall! After my son went into milirary, daughter moved out, I moved into that room! My stuff locked up, I have a small fridge, coffee maker etc yeah its that bad! other son (who has 1 more year of HS) knows (and sometimes has to be told) to do chores, his own laundry, helps cooks or he does for himself etc. .. He also knows come college or FT job within 6 months of one or other he is on his own!
    And I WILL move, to a smaller place.. Hubs can come too as long as he comes alone. Beyond DONE! Boomerang THIS! Grrrrr

  9. Judging from the number of comments, you hit a nerve. To the one “Positive Commentor” I was with you until your last few lines when you mentioned there is a husband in your life. This isn’t about how your adult child is making your life easier, it’s about equipping your kids to make it in the “big bad world” – that is our job as parents. However – it does sound like he’s pulling some weight around there. Just seems odd to me that you feel you have to leave the comfort of your home or retreat to your bedroom . . . it is your home afterall, and I assume you and your husband worked for the privilege of staying put and lounging in your underwear if that’s what you so desire.

    To those who wonder if they have what it takes to put their kids “out on the street,” if you raise them knowing that when the time comes they will be on their own resources, it isn’t as traumatic as you think. And meals are always free at mom and dad’s house (though they may have to wash a dish or two, mow the lawn or shovel the walk).

    I am 52 years old, going back to school. In my Comm. class yesterday, I met a young high school junior who is taking college credits because his school pays for up to 9 course credits a year. Let me see, that’s the opportunity to earn more than half the credits toward an associate degree, or almost a third of a bachelor’s degree before you even graduate from high school . . . with no debt hanging over your head.

    His brother was sitting in the desk beside him. They both have part-time jobs as well.

    It may be a tough world for the slackers who are playing video games, while their mommy’s bring them pizza and soda and bus the dishes afterward. For these two young men – and others like them – I don’t think it’s going to be such a big bad world.

  10. If the mother writes a contract which includes household chores e.g. yard work (approx $30 per week), clean the floors (vacuum carpets and mop kitchen and bathrooms), clean bathrooms, dust, etc etc) and pay for groceries (approx $100 per week), pay 1/2 of utilities (approx $150 per month) then living with the mother would be a reasonable situation. Also, the mother would have security knowing there are men around if anything should go awry. But, I would also include in the WRITTEN CONTRACT that there should be NO ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES ON HER PROPERTY OR AUTHORITIES WILL BE CALLED.

  11. I did have my daughter move back in due to a break up and it was very hard on our relationship. She was (and is, of course) an adult but to me she was still my child.
    I would let them move back in if it was the last resort but I’m a fan of allowing them to work things out through their own resources…my mother did that with me and I’ve never been back, even through the rough times.

  12. We have done ourselves a massive disservice with this coddle-the-kids generation.

    The goal of parenting is to teach children how to live responsibly on their OWN.

    How can they do that if their parents are constantly helping them out?

    I dropped my oldest at the door of his college and waved goodbye. And so it should be.

    My job was DONE.

  13. Yes I believe the mark of success in parenting is your child’s ability to fend for themselves.
    That is what your job as a parent is.

  14. I totally agree! I left home for college at 17 (almost 18) and never went back. Although my parents helped pay for college, I was totally on my own otherwise. My kids are only 10 and 12 but we are preparing them to do the same.

  15. Boomerang Kids are a product of parental coddling….and the public education system that rewards second-rate work and instill non-competivity, and teaches the inner workings of a government free ride.

    As long as these kids are out there….and their ranks are growing by leaps and bounds….My work ethic will always look good to an employer and I will always have a job.

    just look at whats becoming of the country…no different than the microcosm of home and school.

  16. I know what she means, but I am thinking of whether when that time comes I could kick my kids out into the street. I say I certainly hope not, but I would not buy or prepare their meals unless they chipped in and helped cook. I would uninstall my telephone for 1 cellphone (for me) instead, lock away my bathroom supplies, laundry soap, etc, and start forcing them to pay their own bills. That is, of course, if they were out of college and just refusing to grow-up.

  17. Well said Gypsynester,

    My kids are 22 and 24. I believe I have taught them to be “real adults” and hope they picked up some training as “good kids”

    I love to stand back and watch them discover the joys and trials of being on their own. They love it.

    Yeah that whole helicopter thing is so crippling for them and exhausting for the parent.

  18. Well, I guess I’m the first to submit a POSITIVE comment on empty nesters having a college grad move back in; he has been so helpful in preparing meals, assisting with grocery shopping, doing laundry,contributing to finances as much as will allow and yes, his room is chaotic (if he can find his stuff, that’s ok), and yes he does leave occasional messes after a snack or meal, but sometimes so do I. I haven’t been myself for some time now, with health issues, but have been so glad to have him around just to know someone’s here (he does have an internet job on the computer and can work whatever hours he chooses). His sense of humor and fun is just what I need; at times, if it’s not, I just get in my car and drive somewhere for awhile, or if tired or want to just be alone, go to my room for quiet and rest. Hope there may be others out there who might feel the same; none of us are perfect or ever going to be; I guess I’m just learning to feel more greatful for all my blessings; I will always have those blue days, aches and pains, people who will disappoint me or get on my nerves (even my son and wonderful husband), but thank God we CAN rise above all that and try to see the good and accept what we cannot change.

  19. If you don’t want Boomerang kids, you’d better start training them early. Besides, they’ll feel better about themselves.

  20. Is that for real? My oldest son lived with me for a short time while in college then with his father for a short time. However he held a job and took care of his stuff and gave me money. I can see help for a little while but not long term, I believe that is called enabling, and they will never be responsible for themselves. Are they going to help her when she gets older or sick or loses her home?

  21. Right on Gypsynester! I agree whole heartedly! Too many young parents try to be their kids’ best friend. That’s always a mistake. Many of this generation’s offspring are spoiled brats who think the world owes them everything and are too lazy to work for what they want!

  22. I agree. It’s not only the “enabling” problem–these kids are being robbed of their adulthood. It’s hard out there, but it is for everyone. I am glad of the stuggles of my early adulthood–sure, it seemed awful at the time–but it shaped who I am now. I take pride in every accomplishment–should we take that away from our kids?

  23. So true!

    My husband is 26 and I am 23, we have a 16 month old son. Times are tough, my husband is unemployed, we live on a very small income for a family of three. But I would never ever imagine asking for a handout or expecting to be able to move in with my Dad or with DH’s parents. Yes, we have made mistakes and sometimes asked for a small loan to get a used vehicle or something like that. However, we have always paid it back as soon as we could.

    We have had to rely on food banks and sometimes been close to having services disconnected. But we are living. We have never went hungry, our son has everything he needs and a whole lot more then that too, and we have a roof over our heads. It’s tough, but I feel so much better about myself knowing that we are doing this on our own then I would if I was living with my in-laws and had more money.

  24. Amen! You are right on the mark!! I often stare in amazement at some of the people I know–even people who are related to me–who have this situation with their 40-somethings!!!! WHAAAATTT????!!!! People MY age who have NEVER had to pay ALL of their own bills in life?!! It astounds the mind!! Whether the reason is divorce, layoffs, childcare issues, substance abuse issues, etc.–I still do NOT get it!! To the adult-moochers: Where is the pride and dignity? How dare you?!! SHAME ON YOU!!! To the aging parents who are OBVIOUSLY co-dependent enablers: GET HELP NOW!! What person in their right mind would allow their grown-ass offspring to continue to live off of them all of their lives?!! It is absolutely mind-boggling!! I would NEVER allow myself to mooch off of MY parents like that, and I would NEVER allow my GROWN children to do it to me!! Yes, families love each other and are there for each other, but it isn’t suppose to be like THAT!! Oh, boo-hoo: life IS expensive! Ever think of how dear old mom and dad are handling the tough economy? Maybe THEY would be doing a LOT better if they could concentrate on THEIR golden years instead of throwing it all away on their lazy offspring!! I am completely on board with the “Sell the Nest” idea!! When the baby birds fly away, the mom and dad should, too! They should downsize and live where THEY want to live and how THEY want to live–just as the younger generation should be doing. I completely agree: if the lazy-good-for-nothing CAN’T come home to his or her old room because it is GONE–if mom and dad now live in a small condo on the beach–there is MUCH less chance of even THINKING of moving “back home”. That is EXACTLY what we plan to do–there will be no “coming home to grandma’s house” for the holidays either–I would much prefer if we all meet somewhere to celebrate the holidays together. Better yet–we could all gather at THEIR place because my tiny condo won’t hold everyone!! Great idea!!

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