Boomerang Kids on the Rise: Lifelong Lessons Learned When Moving Back with Parents or Family

The number of adult children returning home to live with parents in the US is increasing with 52% of young adults living with one or both parents. There are many reasons for moving back with parents or family such as financial difficulties, job loss, personal breakups or crises, and transitional periods between a new job and the completion of a college degree. Even though living with parents is seen by many Generation Zers as regressive in their life, there are also benefits to moving back with authoritative figures.

Creating Financial Independence

One of the major reasons young adults go back home is the high cost of living especially in major cities says family therapist Joanne Hipplewith of the Institute for Family Therapy in London.  It implies financial support from families as older kids prepare to start a career or study further for advanced degrees. Certainly, the pandemic added new contributing factors as those who planned to leave home for college could not because university campuses around the world closed or those who wanted to move for a job were not able to because in-person office presence was not available.

Although the boomerang phase is temporary for young adults, it can last many months or even years. On the bright side, staying at home with parents enables boomerangers to achieve financial independence. In exchange for living at home rent free, they can contribute by doing household chores, bringing their elderly to medical appointments, trimming the yard, and so on. At the same time, they can save enough money for a down payment for a home or start a career without the burden of high rents, tuition costs, or student debts.  Says an associate professor of communication at the College of Charleston, US, “the boomerang phase is temporal which can be a one, two, or five-year plan, essentially a transition chapter.” In addition, it offers an opportunity for adults to find a meaningful job rather than one which simply pays the bills.

Strengthening Personal Relationships

For young adults, staying at home means delaying life milestones and living with someone else’s rules. But it can also benefit them in other ways such as the ability to forge closer and meaningful relationships with parents. At a time when they typically begin establishing ties with new friends, living with parents offers an unexpected opportunity to strengthen relationships and become closer with the family. In the long run, according to associate professor Abetz, boomerang kids will likely develop a robust family support network.

Hippleton further hopes that as boomerang phases become more common in Western cultures, young adults will feel less pressure to conform to the expectations of society, that is, go to college, move out, and find a job.  Boomerang passages are a new reality for the young ones and hopefully, help them reframe their mindset to become responsible adults even if they are bunking with parents again.

Moving back at home is a trend among young adults that can benefit them and their parents. It can assist in financial independence, reiterate the importance of responsible adulthood, and establish closer relationships for a stronger family support network.

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