Boomerang Kids

February 9, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

I have two twenty something children who live home, don’t work regularly, and are disrespectful and argumentative.  They treat my wife and I as though we’re unwelcome boarders in their house instead of the other way around.

They claim they can’t afford to move out, but they’re not doing anything towards getting good jobs and saving their money to reach that goal. Our younger daughter is a college drop-out who works part-time in retail and our older daughter has a college degree in art and will only consider positions in her field. She doesn’t even look for jobs, though. Both girls blame the bad economy.

Our daughters lie around the house all week hogging the t.v., making a mess, and complaining that they don’t like what’s in the fridge. On the weekends, they go out with friends. They’re acting like they’re still teen-agers and we are fed up with it. Several of our friends are in similar situations with their twenty-something kids. Do you have any advice for us?


Dear Stan,

I suggest that you and your wife have a good, long heart-to-heart. If you are both on the same page about requiring your daughters to emerge from their adolescent haze, I encourage you to work with a family counselor to set boundaries in your home as well as insist upon a reasonable timeframe in which they will have to move out, jobs or no jobs.

If your wife is unwilling to follow through on a tough love approach, I encourage you to work with a couples therapist prior to inviting your daughters into the process. A united front will be essential when you confront your children.

It is a tough economy and many families are experiencing what you and your wife are – children who have launched and returned to the nest. Dealing with boomerang kids can be very tricky. On the one hand, you love them and want to set them up for success. On the other hand, boomerang kids and the intrinsic problems the situation presents is not what you want to live with in your middle years.

I wish you the best of luck as you navigate these emotionally treacherous waters. Please update me on your situation.

All my best,