They are called the “boomerang” generation—young adults who are moving back with their parents in increasing numbers.
So much so that the trend to move back home was greater in 2020 than during the Great Depression, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.Read More »
Most of those moving back home are aged 18 to 24, a group who have been most likely to lose their jobs or take a cut in pay.
Can be a step backwards
For some the move home can become a step backwards. Conflict can arise with parents who fail to understand that their offspring are children no longer and therefore treat them as they did when they were children. They fail to accept that their children are now adults and are leading their own lives.
Their sons and daughters, on the other hand, might feel that in returning home they no longer have control over their lives. They have no privacy and they feel they cannot leave to get some space.
You feel you are being scrutinized, whether you are or you are not, explains Dr Seth Gillihan, a clinical psychologist and head of therapy for Bloom, which offers cognitive behavioral therapy and self care. You wonder if your parents are judging you on how much you are drinking, how much television you are watching, or how you are deciding to spend your time, he adds.
The feeling that when you return home you have no control over your life is a theme that has arisen in all of the therapy sessions he has run for nearly a year, says Gillihan.
Set of guidelines
It does not have to be a conflict situation, however.
A set of guidelines for young adults moving back home has been drawn up by researchers from North Carolina State University. They drew up the recommendations after interviewing 31 adults aged from 22 to 31 who had to return home.
The research team hope that people can use the guidelines to ease the transition. They should help to ensure that the move back home is a forward rather than a backward step, says Lynsey K. Romo, an associate professor of communication at North Carolina State University who is co-author of the study.
Those who took part in the study were aware that a stigma is attached to moving back home with one’s parents when you are an adult, Romo says. It is just as clear, however, that you can look at the move as an investment in your future. In that way, you can view the decision in a positive light and talk about it in a positive way.
Tips to follow
The research team developed four steps that young adults should take to ensure the move is a positive experience, both for themselves and their parents.
The steps—which are published in the journal Emerging Adulthood—are:
• Make clear what you expect.
It is important that you sit down with your parents and decide on what each of you expects from the situation. Although you may be moving back home to the bedroom in which you lived as a child, that does not mean that you should be treated as a child.
Establish a clear understanding of what is expected of you and what you expect from your parents.
Among the questions to ask are:
Should you pay rent to your parents?
Will you be required to be home by a certain time in the evening?
• Play a part in the household.
Discuss with your parents what chores they would like you to undertake and then make sure you do them.
When the participants in the study were interviewed, the researchers determined that the situation in the household worked out better when those who were returning home made it clear that they would undertake certain domestic duties to help out the whole household, the researchers say.
You can, for example, offer to help keep the relationship pleasant by attending to chores around the house such as doing the laundry and the dishes.
Making sure your room is clean also is likely to be one aspect of being home again that you should determine to undertake.
• Define the timeline
All parties were helped when those interviewed in the survey determined the length of time that they would be spending back in the house with their parents, the researchers say.
Clearly the prospect that you will move back home indefinitely will fail to fill your parents with joy, the researchers add.
You also should discuss your financial and career goals with your parents and how staying at home will help you reach those goals. The length of your stay at home should depend on what those goals are.
• Behave like an adult
Be careful that you do not fall back into your old habits simply because you are back in your former environment. If you want to be treated as an adult, you will need to act as an adult.
Show and give your parents respect. They will almost certainly respond in kind.
Take care of yourself
When you are living back at home you should take care of yourself and eat and drink responsibly, says Gillihan of Bloom. Doing so serves the benefit of letting you maintain a sense of self in an environment in which you might feel out of control, he adds.
Try to spend time with others outside your household in a safe way, he suggests.
Whatever the reason you moved home, whether it was to save money, to take care of a parent who needed you, or because it was a safe place to stay, always remember why you are there, Gillihan adds.
Try to accept that feeling as though you are a child again might actually be the adult way to act at this time, he adds.
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