No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.
There is so much buzz these days about “Boomerang Kids”; adult children that move back home for various reasons. Most often they move back because they are having trouble establishing themselves financially or in their career.
Grown children moving back home benefit in a number of ways: Ease of financial burden, time to reflect and save and for the parents, a helpful and reliable adult in the home that helps ease the burden of household responsibilities and chores, perhaps.
This post however isn’t to comment on the Boomerang phenomenon. Actually, I’m going to go out on a limb and write about the opposite because I have never been fortunate enough to benefit from the experience of moving back home. I would have loved to though, especially when things got rough in my life.
Instead I have even better advice. Here are some tactics I have gleaned from observing my own parents on how to prevent your child from being able to move back home.
These are tried and true techniques used to not only prevent your grown children from moving back home but also inhibit the growth of a healthy, respectful adult relationships with your kids in the future so they will never, ever think to ask you for anything. In fact, this will help them flee you for fear of being exploited.
Leave your kids before they leave you...Do this before they turn 20. While they are distracted and haven’t had enough life experience to figure out what the future has in store for them - leave together and leave them quickly! This step is key. My parents left to live in different country before my second year college. They asked if I wanted go with them or finish school. I was doing well in my first year so it didn’t really make sense to me leave in the middle of my education and start a new program. Plus, I would have had to pay more in tuition as an international student in another country and start a new program. So I stayed.
The trick to this step if you are the parent, is to make sure your child is fully entrenched in something that is of interest to them so that they don’t think to try to come with you. And don’t tell them the future repercussions of the decision to not go with you so they don’t realize it was a one-shot deal and they can NEVER come to live with you ever again.
Don’t just move out - Leave for a country where your child can’t follow you...Not only did my parents move to a different country. They went to a country that had an age limit on applying for permanent residency with your parents. So by the time I graduated from college I was too old to qualify to go on their permanent resident application. Genius! Door #1 - SHUT!
Tell them you will help them out with educational expenses but then ask them to pay you back for their education years later when their living expenses are at their highest...My parents ask me to pay them back for my college education at the optimal time when both my kids needed daycare. I had just returned to work trying to make ends meet, coming back from being off on maternity leave. Could I afford to do this right then. No…but hey…they had gone this long without waiting…why wait any longer.
I don’t begrudge them for this though. I realize many student’s don’t get to go to school without having some kind of debt at the end. I treated it like a student loan that I had to pay off like all other thirty-somethings.
To put another thorn in your child's side, show favorites and only ask one child to pay you back for their education and not other siblings…just to drill it into your children’s head that one isn't respected as much as the other child.Your child will be repulsed by your unfairness, they will never want to live in the same dwelling as you.
Yes, my parents only asked me to pay them back for my education, not my sibling. Sure, my sibling had gone to a school that was twice as expensive as mine and lived on residence with a meal plan, but no…I had to be the one to pay them back because I didn’t go to college right out of high school. I waited until my late 20’s to know what I wanted to do. Silly me for waiting for clarity. (Love my sister though, she turned out great! And she has no student debt!)
Once your child starts sending you money, this means your child must have lots!Why not hit them up for more?! Use stories of hardship that you’re struggling with expenses from your gated golf community fees, rental properties, RVing expenses and deprivation from not getting to travel overseas this year. Nothing like letting grown kids know the finer things in life that we will probably never see because we’ll still be buried in cross-border probate fees in the future.
On the rare times you visit your adult child, expect to be treated like you are staying at a hotel when you visit your child’s cozy starter home.Expect luxe accommodations. Most of all, expect this even if they have infants in the house since, as new parents, your grown children will probably be bored having just had a baby and they will be looking for ways to entertain you since their special-needs, colic-y child doesn’t sleep. Oh, and don’t forget to make tonnes of noise moving things around or arguing with each other during baby's nap time. I’m sure the thumping and yelling noises are soothing to sensory sensitive children.
Don’t forget to mention how small their house is...Discuss how cramped you feel when you visit and most of all, don’t forget to gossip about this to relatives so that your adult children hear your opinions through their adult cousins. There’s nothing like parental opinion coming from a third-hand source. Your children will surely not want you around as a reminder that they had no help from you establishing themselves in their quaint little house.
Don’t bother being around for the births of any of your grandchildren...If you do visit for a birth of a grandchild, completely skip out on the labor and delivery and first 6 weeks after your child gives birth since this is when your adult child will need you the most. Maybe I’m being too harsh. I was fortunate enough to have one of my parents visit once after the birth of my second child…but only because it was a layover on the way back from a trip to Asia. My parents weren’t around for a single one of mine or my sister’s children being born. However, my sister and I were there for each other. That’s one true gift. Absence of parents in adult life really builds sibling relationships.
Establish clear communication…Saying phrases like, “I didn’t retire to take care of your kids!” and “What do you want? I fulfilled my obligations to you when you turned 18.” These words really do touch something in my insides.
Saying these with conviction will clearly articulate your indifference towards your adult children and their family. Just in case they didn’t get the message from the other items above.
There is one final relief to parents who may attempt these tips: You will never have be burdened by the success and blissful events of your adult children or grandchildren since you will hardly be part of forming them.
Dear Boomerang Kids: I hope you know how blessed you are if your parents don’t do a single one of these things to you. They must really like having you around.
Dear Parents of Adult Children: If you have never done any of the above things to your children…bless you. If you have…well, thank God that there’s still time.