Boomerang Kids: How to Kick Grown Adult Children Out of the House

How do you kick grown adult children out of the house when they refuse to find work, keep a job, pay their own bills/rent, constantly ask for money, won’t help around the house doing chores, won’t stick to the contract agreement rules, and are disrespectful and verbally abusive towards their parents? Parents, do you have “yuckies” living in your house? Kick ‘em out of the house with a steel toe boot. Enroll in Tough Love 101.

In the U.S., grown adult children living at home with their parents well into their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s are typically called “Millennials” or “boomerang kids” from the Boomerang Generation (also known as the Peter Pan Generation). Problem is, they’re not kids, but full grown adults fully capable of working and taking care of themselves and living on their own.

Reasons to Kick Adult Children Out of the Parents Home

“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

Learning how to be an adult does not include believing in the mythical story of Neverland, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, where kids don’t want to grow up and face the reality of becoming mature, self-supporting adults. These are often entitled grown “kidults” who refuse to grow up, unwilling to take on the adult responsibility of being independent and self-sufficient, without regular and routine financial help from their parents. Let the pixie dust twinkle in your grown children’s eyes, but it’s time to wipe it from your own and begin to see clearly what you’ve been dealing with for far too long.

Italians call these grown kids “mammon”, or “mama’s boys”. The Japanese call them “parasaito shinguru”, or “parasite singles”. In the U.K, these grown adults are called “kids in parent’s pockets eroding retirement savings”, which is short for “kippers”. The latest acronym used to describe boomerang kids returning to the family nest is “yuckie”, which stands for “Young Unwitting Costly Kid”, while the newest nickname for the parents is “baby gloomers” instead of baby boomers.

Note: This is not about grown children whose parents are helping without enabling, who allow their adult kids to live in their house temporarily, perhaps right after college graduation, while the kids do everything possible to find some kind of gainful employment to pay their own bills and make ends meet. Temporarily allowing adult kids to move back home, pay rent and help out around the house with clearly established boundaries, can be advantageous for the parents and the kids on a verrry short-term basis.

“If you want your children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” -Abigail Van Buren

The problem of adult children moving back home with parents, and staying at home longer than absolutely necessary, was the focus of a 60 Minutes segment called “The Millennials Are Coming” (referring to the “Millennium generation,” or those born between 1980-1995). Addressing the growing problems associated with adults who have a sense of entitlement in our society, many young adults believe they have the right to quit their jobs for frivolous reasons and job-hop to their hearts content. On their parents dime.

“Today more than half of college seniors move home after graduation. It’s a safety net, or safety diaper, that allows many kids to quickly opt out of a job they don’t like.”

What’s not to like? Someone else pays the bills, worries about paying the mortgage and taxes, takes care of the yard work, free cooking and maid services – some parents actually doing their grown kids laundry! It’s like these “kids” have a personal butler, housekeeper and a super-rich uncle all rolled into one – you, dear ‘ol mom and dad.

Christine says this about the 60 Minutes episode:

“Living at home gives these kids an opportunity to be choosy about their job choices. If they don’t like the way their boss treats them, they have the luxury of quitting and living with parents until they find their next job. Kids no longer have to settle on a job. It’s no longer uncommon to have several jobs on your resume.

But is that all bad? […] The Millennials are pushing for change in the workplace. Change I like. Companies are now offering fun and flexibility to attract and keep workers.”

Having been overly-praised and coddled throughout their childhood and teenage years, many young people believe they deserve and fully expect to be rewarded for four years of college education (of course paid for in full by their parents – plus spending money) with a job paying $50,000 immediately after slipping off their graduation cap and gown. Besides the unrealistic expectation of being very well paid right off the bat, the job has to be “fun” and offer a “flexible” schedule too. Or not.

Perhaps these twentysomethings, thirtysomethings and older adult kids have been spending too much time reading and perpetuating Ryan’s Easy Entitlement Excuses for Slackers and moochers advice about adult responsibility and independence, which brought on lots of negative, but well-deserved comments and reactions.

“By moving home after graduation, you have little or no rent which allows for more freedom when searching for a job. There is no need to sell out to an investment bank if your real goal is to work with underprivileged children. Depending on where your parents are located, you are probably missing out on the big city night life and social scene, but you have lots of opportunities to find the perfect job, regardless of pay. If ditching the social scene for career sake doesn’t demonstrate responsibility and independence, I don’t know what does.

Moving home with mom and dad will immediately save you about $700 a month in housing costs. At least there is some extra cash flow. In two years, you can save up enough to move out on your own without worrying about going into credit card debt for basic necessities like fixing your car or buying groceries.”

Read those two paragraphs again, slowly. The first mistake many well-intentioned parents make when grown children move back home is not requiring the kids to pay rent, and I’m not talking about a measly hundred bucks a month either. If your adult children have the idea that living with you in your house means they have lots of time and opportunity “to find the perfect job”, including their numerous excuses, excuses to the contrary, you’re in deep trouble.

“Too often we give our children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” -Roger Lewin

Parents, if you need good reasons why you should kick out your grown adult children, or your kids are lazy slackers who treat your home like a free bed-and-breakfast or hotel, read Ryan’s ridiculous article and the comments for a real eye-opener. Kick ‘em out. Drop the guilt complex too. You are not a people pleasing doormat for your adult kids to wipe their dirty feet on. If you don’t let go of the guilt nonsense, your grown kids are going to try and use it against you. They know your emotional hot buttons and kids push those buttons until parents give in, or until parents use tough love and make it perfectly clear the manipulation attempts and guilt-tripping won’t work.

Just like this story about Mike and his mom’s attempts to move him out of the house, kids will pull every trick in the book including, ambivalence, dismissal, out of hand rejection of the whole idea, yelling and swearing, anger, declaring that his parents have given up on him or hate him, announcing they will never see him again, enlist the “help” of relatives, etc. Kick ‘em out anyway.

How to Kick Grown Children Out

If your grown kids have basically become a permanent fixture on your couch, or are not fulfilling their part of the contracted arrangement by putting in the time and effort to find a job and move out on their own, the freeloading and mooching stops now. If you have been spending months or years trying your darndest to get a lazy, unmotivated, abusive, disrespectful adult child to move out on their own, implement Tough Love 101.

“In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” Ann Landers

Close your wallet or checkbook and put up a handmade sign over “their” bedroom door saying the bank of mom and dad is hereby closed for business, effective immediately. Parents should not enable their grown children, keeping them from growing up and becoming independent, by giving them money when they are old enough to earn it for themselves. Doing so deprives and cripples them of the opportunity and need to grow into mentally, emotionally and spiritually mature human beings providing for their own needs and wants. Encourage and motivate, yes. Enable, no.

Decide on a move-out date and circle it in red on the calendar, then place it in a location in plain sight and mark off each day that passes towards the final move date. Have a formal, sit-down conversation with your adult child(ren) and explain the move-out date and that it is nonnegotiable. No extensions are allowed. Whether it’s 30 days, 60 days or 90 days is up to you parents, but the maximum number of days is ninety. Moving out sooner is fine (and preferred), but no compromises to the set date may be made that extends their stay.

Greatly reduce the comfort level of your grown kids home environment in order to force them to leave home, finally. That means stop cooking for them; stop cleaning up after them; stop doing their laundry; stop being their taxi service or chauffeur; stop giving them money for any reason; stop paying their bills; stop buying their favorite foods, drinks, alcohol, snacks and cigarettes on your dime. Do not give handouts of money for food, clothing or entertainment either. Parents are also under no obligation to include adult children to tag along, and pay for expenses, when mom and dad go out for an evening of fun.

Remove the TV and remote from their bedroom, along with other electronic devices and unnecessary luxury items, and implement a “no friends over” rule. Put a padded lock on your bathroom and bedroom doors and hang onto the key, where you can hide or lockup items your grown kids should not have free access to. Shut off and discontinue service to all non-essentials: internet, cable and mobile cell phone services. By this point, your kids will likely have gotten a clue that you mean business and they need to move out. No if, and’s or but’s about it.

If not, then some tough love advocates advise making things disappear around the house. Things like toilet paper in bathrooms other than your own, paper towels, napkins, use of the microwave (hide it away), closet hangars etc. Before I would go so far as to start dismantling beds and hiding away stuff these kids leave around, I would be more inclined to simply ask for the house key, open the front door and escort the kid outside and close the door and lock it. Then change the locks or have a locksmith come and do it.

Understand that many of these suggestions and ideas are intended as a last resort, when you’ve tried everything else to motivate, help without enabling and encourage your grown kids to move out on their own. Where they belong. This is not about being a control freak or controlling the lives of your grown children.

The question of how to throw grown children out of the house is, by far, one of the most frequent questions I have received by parents to date. This is about restoring the peace and tranquility to your home and marriage, and your own financial stability and wellness before you parents and/or grandparents lose your entire savings or retirement accounts to unmotivated, lazy, entitled slackers and moochers who have overstayed their welcome in your house. No more free rides in life. Kick ‘em out once and for all. It’s for their own good, and yours.

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86 Responses to “Boomerang Kids: How to Kick Grown Adult Children Out of the House”

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  1. FreeTheWombats says:

    I sympathize with a lot of parents with boomerang or failure-to-launch kids, especially since I am of the boomerang generation but not in it–I’ve been financially independent since age 23 and have never, even faced with layoffs, asked for a dime from my parents. Prior to my complete financial independence, I was living with my parents but working and going to school full time and paying for everything BUT rent from the time I turned 20.

    As someone who had never been lazy and successfully “launched” seven years ago, however, I must say that requiring rent right off the bat is not good for every kid. Remember, it is a very harsh world you are sending your kids out into. Much harsher than what you knew–trust me, I’ve been out there in it. My husband and I have endured four total layoffs due to the economy over our 4 years of marriage. Teach your kids how to manage a budget, and you don’t NEED to use “tough love” right off the bat to get them to launch without coming right back. I learned responsibility without the tough love–don’t assume all kids need a kick in the ass when some straightforward guidance can suffice.

    At one point, both my husband and I were laid off at once, and we lost our apartment and had to move into a room in my inlaws’ house in order to afford to keep paying all our other bills with my unemployment checks. (My husband’s job didn’t give him UE.) I was laid off for a year, in which I interviewed with about 60 different companies before getting two job offers at once. I am highly qualified to do almost any kind of work, my resumes were good, and I’d learned all the tricks to tailoring applications to fit the jobs. However, the economy was simply that bad. Jobs I was too overqualified for wouldn’t take me or my husband, and a lot of the ones I was qualified for were grabbing desperate people with more experience than I had for low pay. It is an employers’ market out there, and parents need to understand that so long as their kid is putting out like 5+ job applications a day, there is no reason to punish the kid for having rotten luck.

  2. Mia says:

    I have boomerang kids and live in grandkids. One of the grandkids has 2 children, so we also have greatgrandkids that we constantly worry about. These kids and grandkids keep the house messy, and my husband and I come home from work and come face to fact with a big mess to clean. We alway kept our home spotless, and this is making both of us physically sick. We get no help with expenses and have practically exhausted our retirement and savings. The bills are too high. there is disrespect, and a total disregard for everything we have worked to build. My husband has put a lot of work into our home. We had planned to retire last year, but now we don’t know when or if we will retire any time soon. One son is alcoholic and cannot keep a job or stay in school. He is over 30 years old and has outside children. We did have 13 people liviing with us, now we are down to 5. This situation is too stressful, and my doctor said I need to find a solution before my health declines. My husband is a diabetic heart patient. There seems to be no end to the madness. Suggestions please!

  3. Chuck says:

    I wanted to update my situation. My daughter is still living with her mom 3 years later, but finished medical training certification and is now looking for a job. I expect she will be independent soon. In retrospect what needs to be done in the situation of a boomerang kid is that you can help them to a degree, but you have to make them understand that the help is temporary and conditional in that you will only help them if they make an effort to better themselves and the amount of help they recieve is directly proportional to the amount of respect they give you. I got to the point where I told my daughter I would completely cut her out of my life, cut her out of my will and cease all contact unless she made an effort and got some training so she could work. Whenever she has misbehaved I have cut back contact, when she behaves correctly I start to have more interaction. It has worked pretty well. There is a point as a parent when you have DONE YOUR JOB and its now up to them to do theirs. You have to create limits that if they cross will have dire consequences. Thats the only thing they will respect.

    • Just Me says:

      Went through a lot of the same scenarios above.

      A few helpful tips. Adult “children” with children should apply for welfare. They have programs for them. Parents, take them to the local office and sign them up. If they say, well not eligible living with parents, find the local shelter, they WILL then and it’ll happen fast. They will also help them w/jobs, training, etc. So don’t feel guilty.

      For parents with younger ones, have them sign up for Job Corps.

      For parents, like me, with older ones without kids, no welfare, no job corps. if you have the means, put them to work for YOU. Offer them minimum wage doing labor. That bathroom needs to be fixed? They can learn how to tile a floor, paint a wall, mow a yard, weed whack, tin side a building and it will help their self-esteem. LOOK you are already paying their bills, so instead of just paying their bills, offer them WORK around the house/yard in return for “x” time while they look for a job and/or they can always pimp themselves out on Craigslist and/or Elance/ O’Desk, depends on their level of education. Even someone with just a high school diploma can perform labor, get creative.

      They can also go door-to-door in the neighborhood soliciting for odd jobs, clean out garages, mow lawns, clean gutters/windows, shovel snow, clean houses, walk pets, etc., etc. Lots of options for a hungry tiger.

      There is also community service (there is a food share program in many states that gives food credits for community service). Just try to get them to earn their keep even if it’s still coming out of your pocket, at least then they can maintain some self-esteem, earn their way a bit, and you won’t feel as resentful.

      For the ones w/drugs-alcohol, unfortunately, if they reject your help/advice/guidance, all you can do is let them learn the hard way, i.e. don’t bail them out of jail, don’t pay attorney fees, don’t buy them a car to FIND a job; worst thing you can do with someone that is addicted is give them a car!

      For all you parents doing the laundry/cooking? Really? Oh HELL no. Go on strike, just do yours and your husband’s or spouses, and let them know, I didn’t cook this for you, and no you can’t have it. If they get physically violent, you have to restrain them, you can’t let them know they are intimidating you. CALL the cops, press charges, don’t back down, you are just teaching them to be abusive and a user.

      If they are really *hitheads, you have to get them out and let them fail on their own. Because you enabling them is allowing them to fail in just another way. For those of you with apt./house leases, move when the lease is up; just don’t take them with. I agree with some posters above, it’s a hard economy out there, if you have kids that are truly trying, and are helping out at home, etc., it can be a good arrangement, esp. if they are helping with some of the heavy lifting so to speak, but if they have that entitlement headset on, then it’s time to knock them down to size.

      So my DH and I always ask ourselves in each situation, hand up or hand out? If it’s a handout, NO, if it’s a hand up and they are going in the right direction, YES, and we have always put our marriage first. We love the kids, but aren’t going to throw away our relationship and/or resources just to indulge their fantasies/illusions regarding the entitlement factor and/or what they think we owe them.