The term boomerang kid emerged during the tough economic cycle that forced grown children back in with their parents. The boomerang, an instrument used by aboriginal people in Australia is thrown in the air only to return back to the sender.

While grown children returning home can be a positive experience for the young adult, as well as the aging parent. It can also put a strain on the family, particularly if there is a financial burden that affects retirement needs.

My son was to complete his time in the Army at the same time he came back from Iraq. He had sold his home when he deployed, so he didn’t have a place to return to other than our home. We had always intended to have him live with us after he was discharged. The shift from the Army to civilian life is a big transition. In his case, return to the states at the same time enhanced the change.

With the current economic uncertainty many families are merging together as they face lay-offs and home foreclosures. In many cases, there is a sense of failure connected to returning. Should there be?

Think back to the time of our grandparents. Most people lived on farms or in small communities where multiple generations lived in either the same home or community. It was likely you would be live and die within five miles of where you were born.

World War II changed that. After the war, many servicemen returned to the States to take advantage of the G.I. Bill, which took them away from their original home. In fact there was a quote about how could you return to the farm after seeing grand Paree. My own father, who was raised in Chicago moved to Colorado to attend the School of Mines in Golden after the war. He met my mother in Denver who had left the farmlands of Iowa in search of a better life.

When they married, they set up housekeeping on one of the growing suburbs west of Denver. A change in thinking occurred to those years. It was no longer customary to get married and stay close to your family. Instead, baby boomers were encouraged to go out on their own, hopefully, as far away as possible.

A baby boomers age, I sense of change in thinking. While we want our children to be independent and self-sufficient there is also a desire to stay close. As starting out becomes more challenging, returning home has become more acceptable. Grandparents are moving to be closer to their families. College graduates, with huge student loans, return home to get a sound footing. Baby boomers are also confronting their own aging parents and how to be take care of them as they age, often becoming dependent on others.

Families living together provide an opportunity to share each other’s lives, but it can also put a strain on relationships and finances. In the last fifteen years, we have had our adult daughter return home when she lost her job and wasn’t able to find another. Our son came home with his wife and two children while they awaited military housing. Finally, our son returned home once again, this time by himself after leaving the Army.

Based on my experience and of others, these are tips for boomerang kids and their aging parent about living together.

1. Before the move occurs, the family should sit down together to establish boundaries and expectations. Grown children are adults and should be treated as such.

2. Everyone should contribute to the maintenance of the house, sharing chores and expenses, even if nominally.

3. Create regular meetings where you discuss the challenges of living together.

4. Everyone should have private space that is separate from the shared living space. Others shouldn’t violate this space.

5. Likewise, if there are two families living together, it is important not to interfere within each other’s relationships. Hold your opinions to yourself if your married children are arguing.

6. Have a goal for the length of stay. If it’s temporary, determine the timeframe and what needs to happen for the move to occur. For example, if a security deposit needs to be saved to secure an apartment, what steps should be taken to acquire the money.

Boomerang kids can put a strain on relationships. It also provides an opportunity to support each other. If done right, stronger relationships can result.

Author's Bio: 

Cathy Severson, MS helps you make the most of your retirement. Baby boomers understand this isn't your parents’ retirement. Visit for more information and resources to make the rest of your life the best of your life. Receive your complimentary copy of 7 Ingredients for a Satisfying Retirement at