Boomerang kids. They seem to be more prevalent these days. Or is it I’m just more aware of them because we have one.
Boomerang kids are adult children who have left the nest and then returned home for various reasons–college drop-out, college grad without a job, loss of job, in-between ministries, becoming a single parent, divorce, etc.
Our boomerang kid is our son. He went to college for two years and then dropped out. That is when he came back home. We were disappointed but also glad to have him back under our roof so we could help him straighten his life out. But, we also knew there had to be parameters for him living in our home again. He was involved in activities and making choices we didn’t approve of.
So, we came up with a “contract.” My husband and I sat down and decided what things needed to be in the contract. Things like that he had to have a full-time job, no drinking or doing drugs in our home, letting us know where he was and when he’d be home, picking up after himself, attending church with us each week, etc.
Then we set-up “fines” for not following the rules set forth in the contract. This was hard to do, because he was no longer a child, but an adult. So, financial fines were levied in increasing amounts according to number of infractions and severity of infractions. Once we had the contract finished and fines figured out, my husband typed it up and printed out a copy for each of us. We had our son sign all three copies and we signed all three copies also. We discussed why we were implementing this contract and our concerns about the state of his life. He agreed to abide by our rules.
However, things did not go so well. Several times, he broke the rules. And, even though some things got better, he still got his girlfriend pregnant and we needed to deal with that situation.
Time went on and the girlfriend needed a place to live. We invited her to live with us because she had nowhere else to go and we wanted to make sure our future grandchild was being well taken care of. The old contract went out the window and a new verbal contract was put in place: they had to be in separate bedrooms, they were to pay rent (a small amount to off-set utility expenses), they had to buy their own food, they were responsible for washing pots and pans they used and for putting dishes in the dishwasher and unloading the dishwasher. We discussed the importance of having a Christ-like attitude while in our home.
Things actually have gone very well. They respect us and have abided by the rules we set forth. The girlfriend has been without a job for some time and to “pay” her rent she has done some deep cleaning for me around the house (which is wonderful!). Our grandson was born last week and it is a privilege to be able to spend so much time with him. They are young parents and to be able to mentor them is a great blessing.
We’ve watched our son mature during this time. He is a wonderful father. The past year and half have been filled with lots of prayer. God has shown me what grace really is and how to have patience on Him.
How have you dealt with your boomerang kids? Did you use something like a contract with your kids? If so, what did you include in it? What was the up-side for you in having your adult child come back home?
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