How to Cope with Boomerang Kids

Boomerang KidsSteve Wisbauer/Getty Images

With 85 percent of the college class of 2011 moving back home, you might think of this group as Generation B, for Boomerang. We asked Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist and the author of Boomerang Kids, for three wise words on how to see kids off, take them back, and move them out.

1. TEACH
Before your kids take off for college, teach them the three B’s: That’s banking, budgeting, and bill paying. “Parents get preoccupied by school performance, and they don’t think about their preparation responsibility,” said Pickhardt.

2. CLARIFY
If they do return home, consider what their presence will now mean for the household. How will they contribute? Will you support them financially? You may need to make a written agreement that both of you will sign. (See below for a link to our Boomerang Contract.)

3. REMEMBER
When kids leave high school or even college, they are not adults. Between 18 and 23, they’re entering the last and most difficult stage of adolescence: trial independence. Sometimes they need to come home and regroup.

In other words, taking the word failure out of the equation when they land on your doorstep will probably go far in getting them on their feet.

Download the printable Boomerang Contract (PDF).

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