Daily Cheapskate: Practice Boomerang Prevention | Family
MARY HUNT for The Herald & Review
In the old days, children who reached adulthood were eager to leave home and be alone. It worked well because their parents yearned for an empty nest and a quieter life. But these days young people are messing up those plans.
Estimates indicate that currently around 50% of U.S. college graduates plan to return home with their parents after graduation. It is possible that we can assume that the remaining 50% never moved.
Many American homes have become very crowded nests. While parents wonder what went wrong, boomerang children seem to be adjusting quite well. All why not? For a lot of boomerangs, they get a rent-free boarding house, a laundromat with no coin slots, and a mini-warehouse – otherwise known as your garage.
No one doubts that current economic conditions make it almost impossible for children to get out of the nest permanently the first time. It is very good. Remember you want to make this a short-term stopover. Ultimately, you want to leave to be easier than to stay. And I’m talking about them, not you.
Above all, take care of yourself. This means first in the shower. This means securing your own retirement before taking on student debt. This means paying off your mortgage before helping with theirs.
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Insist that adult children pay rent or make some other form of financial contribution. At the very least, they shop for groceries, pay for utilities, or pay a third of the rent. It is, after all, the real world.
Boomerangs must respect parents and their rules. Period. Yes, they are adults, but in your country at the moment, they are refugees. They need to know their position as subordinates.
It must be a single event with both a start date and an end date, and not subject to renewal.
Resist any temptation to do boomerang laundry. No matter. What.
Boomerangs will undoubtedly arrive with bills. Don’t pay them. Do not even think about it. Boomerangs must take full responsibility for all bills and debts, even if it requires a second minimum wage job.
The privileges of life shouldn’t extend to your car. You also shouldn’t be riding this boomerang like you did many years ago. Boomerangs are the only ones to move around.
Explain very clearly what the parking arrangements are. Boomerangs, by all rights, should park on the street – don’t occupy the main garage or driveway space if that requires parents to park on the street.
Do not leave this question without discussion. While the “crowded nest diet” (in which no matter how much you spend on food, it wears off faster than a tax refund) is known to lead to weight loss for foster parents, it does. nothing to encourage boomerangs to switch to better grazing.
Boomerangs must be involved in the house. When deciding who does what and when, err on the side of detail and specificity.
Transfer the rules of your house into a simple contract that everyone signs. Remember: this is the same child who was the master at finding loopholes, and not so long ago.
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