I was back in my hometown, visiting with old friends for a 55th high school reunion and with cousins from my extended family. Just as is implied in the Simon and Garfunkel song, “Old Friends,” being with them brought the kind of feelings that cannot easily be repeated with others – immediate acceptance and the warmth of shared memories. We tend to forget the painful times and instead think about the joyful experiences of the past. It allows us to savor the innocence and optimism of our youth at the same time as we catch up on present activities. Even in this most politically divisive of times, we are more willing to acknowledge our differences of opinion with them without the hostility that accompanies other political arguments.
What about Millennials who have been returning home to live in record numbers – and now comprise over 20 million? What feelings surface for them and for the families who greet them? In many cases, their views focus on the positive outcomes:
Here is a quote from one Boomerang Kid, commenting on an article by Tina Peng in Newsweek.com:
“I’m 32 and am currently living with my parents until I can find an apartment. If not for my parents, I would have been homeless after my divorce. I thank them every day, with words and contributions to the household budget and chores. Living with my parents is more fun than living with any roommate and is certainly more fun than living alone. I pay my way and do my share. They never have to give me money and they don’t change any of their plans on my behalf. In fact, they like to include me in their plans and I often say no so they can have some time together. I shouldn’t be made to feel like I’m not a ‘real adult’ or a ‘responsible adult’ because I share a home with my mom and dad rather than sharing one with a random stranger who answered an ad in the newspaper. I have been given the chance to get to know them as people rather than just parents. I truly believe that if there is mutual respect, adult children moving back home can be a pleasant and even wonderful experience.”
And from a parent who sees the benefits of having an adult child back home:
“I share an apartment with a grown son. Note the share. We split the bills. I cook dinner (by choice, it’s as much hobby with me as necessity), he does all the heavy cleaning, our bedrooms are off-limits to each other. Generally we do keep each other posted on our where-abouts. Both of us have good jobs – it came about because we both found ourselves single, and somewhat at loose ends, and not real happy living alone. It works, primarily because we both recognize that the other is an adult. I think that’s the key, and it’s much harder to do than one would expect.”
But some other Millennials have a different outlook:
“What has happened that so many young people value creature comforts over freedom and independence? I’d sooner live under an overpass as to move back in with my parents.”
“Parents should take care of their kids when they are children…someone in their 20″s is not a child. The sense of entitlement in our generation is crazy sometimes.”
And some parents would welcome their young adult back home only after setting guidelines and following that up with open and honest communication:
“Hey, our kids will always be our kids. I’m 52 and I have a 21 and 18 year old. If they want to move back home, cool. As long as I can introduce them to the mower and vacuum cleaner, I’m happy.”
To make the experience of living together again work better for everyone, check out our four tips to put in place. When you do, you’ll find that your young adult can come home again – and it can be a win-win for the whole family.