Skip to main content


Boomerang kids are returning in their hordes to Parent-Inn in order to wait out the Great Recession.  Their baby boomer parents, who thought that retirement was in sight, are now having to rethink their plans, hence the new “expression” in the baby boomer’s vocabulary!

Tony, a YEI reader said:  “Change the locks or sell the house – that’s my opinion!” Tony’s adult son was making rumbles about returning home, as he couldn’t afford to live on his own.

Let’s set the scene.  You’ve just got over the “Empty Nest Syndrome”, you’ve cut the apron strings.  The perks are aplenty.  You don’t have locusts that go through your fridge and cupboards with great regularity, the beer is still there when you feel like a pint, the kitchen is spotless and you don’t lie awake at night in a state of anxiety wondering where the little sprog is.



Just as you get used to your new-found independence, that call comes through “Mind if I come home for a while?”.   Your world is turned upside down again.

The stats are actually quite scary.  3.4 million youngsters have returned home in the USA, 12 million unmarried 20-34 year olds are living with their parents in Japan.  66% of young Portuguese men are roosting back home as are 45% of their Greek counterparts.  Just look around the Capetonian suburbs – there is building going up everywhere.  Guaranteed that homes are being turned into multigenerational homes.  It’s probably the same in Johannesburg, Durban, East London and PE.

In China, one-third of graduates are still relying on their parents.   Part of the problem for graduates is that despite China’s booming economy, there’s a persistent mismatch between the skills needed on the job market and the ones taught in schools.  We would venture to say that the same problem exists in South Africa.  Children need to be taught entrepreneurial skills at school level. 

So why are boomerang kids coming home?  It could be unemployment due to the economic downturn, it could be divorce, they may need to save for a deposit for a home of their own.  Some families report that multigenerational living is a breeze and smooth sailing.  Other families report huge challenges especially when the older generation expect their adult children to behave like grown-ups, but in reality, they slip back into their old patterns.



If you are about to see the stampede of chicks coming home to roost, consider the following:

  • Allow your adult children to solve problems on their own
  • Share your concerns, and brainstorm issues that could happen.
  • Make it clear that this is your turf and your rules take precedence.
  • Devise a financial plan that works for all parties – Discuss the rent issue, other expenses, and the chores
  • Have an exit strategy – estimate how long it will take for your adult child to get over his or her financial problems, or save the deposit for a house;

We predict that boomerang kids are here for a long time.  So if it happens to you –   Enjoy the ride!



Do you have boomerang kids living with you at home?

We invite you to share your experiences in the comments section below. 




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.