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Boomerang Kids and How to Cope

coping with a boomerang kid

According to, a “boomerang kid” is “a young adult who returns to live with parents after a period of living away from home.”  Financial issues are the main reason a boomerang kid might return to the nest – but there are many other reasons as well.  Divorce, unemployment, medical issues, substance abuse, and even plain old “irresponsibility” or “failure to thrive” can lead to an adult child moving home and becoming a “boomerang kid.”


With this being said, how does a parent go about coping with a situation in which their adult child has moved home?  There certainly isn’t an instruction manual that offers answers to such a question.  Parents are on their own to deal with the ramifications of such an arrangement.


Having an adult child living at home is not always a bad thing.  Boomerang kids can easily be a positive asset to the household.  Whether or not this occurs, however, is up the parent and how he or she (or they) go about handling the situation.


Dealing with a challenging “boomerang kid” is not something that even needs to happen.  After all, it is because of your kindness that your adult child is even able to live at home.  That can easily be changed if the rules aren’t being followed or if your boomerang kid isn’t respecting you or living up to his or her expectations.


So, what is the best way to cope with a boomerang kid?


  1. Don’t allow you boomerang kid to “take charge.”  It is your home and therefore YOUR rules.  If the rules that you have put in place are not being followed then it’s time for the nest to become empty once again.  Plain and simple.

  2. Utilize your support system.  Talk to friends, vent to co-workers, or seek advice from professionals. 

  3. Take a mini vacation.  Even if means driving an hour or two away to clear you head.  Do what you need to do. 

  4. Find things to do outside of the house.  Go to the gym.  Visit a friend.  Go see a movie.  Do happy hour with a friend.  Take a walk or go for a hike.

  5. Develop a plan with your boomerang kid that defines your expectations and that details your thoughts about his or her “move out” date.

  6. Expect compensation.  Your boomerang kid should not be “enabled.”  Expect that he or she will contribute to the household in one way or another – whether through chores, financial compensation, or both.  It shouldn’t be a “free ride.”

  7. Do NOT allow your boomerang kid to manipulate you.  Love-bombing, buttering-up, and “playing the sympathy card” are not valid reasons for keeping him or her in your home. 


Being the parent of a boomerang kid can be challenging.  There’s nothing wrong with helping your child out as he or she navigates life as an adult – but be cautious.  Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of.  Follow the advice listed above and hopefully you’ll survive the experience unscathed…and so will your boomerang kid.

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