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Boomerang Kids

Economical and social changes have led to increasing number of aged children to delay in leaving their parents’ home. Traditionally, it is expected that once a child reach a mature age, he or she should leave the parents’ home and start their own family. But this is not the case as more mature children continue staying with their parents and not contemplating moving out any time soon. Several factors have been identified to account for these interesting changes in family structure. Sociologists have pointed to the tightening economical times as one of the leading factors that are contributing to this change. They argue that since it has become difficult to secure jobs, matured children find it easier to stay with their parents and continue enjoying the almost free accommodation and other needs that would be payable if they were leaving in their own homes. This paper is a literature review of eight research-based articles that have previously touched on the issue of boomerang kids across the country.

Several researchers have done research on the reasons that are making adult children to stay in their parents’ homes. This is in the wake of statistics indicating that more adult children aged 24-34 are now opting to stay with their parents than to start their own homes. The main outstanding reason for this change in the family structure is the finance caused by the global financial crisis that saw many people loses their jobs. Parents on their part are of diverging views about their adult children staying with them at home, some arguing that this is beneficial especially in finding an extra helper with their daily chores while others believe that this is not the cultural practice to embrace. This paper refers to the initial research-based the issue of boomerang kids and how this phenomenon is affecting the family in terms of finance and cohesion.

Statistics of Cases of Boomerang Kids in Various Countries

With the high life expectancy in United States and Canada, more and more elderly people are finding themselves living with their adult children. According to a research done by Nguyen (2012), the percentage of adult children staying with their parents in Canada has tremendously increased since 1980.  The report indicate that in view of the rate at which adult children are opting to stay with their parents, it is expected that the percentage will overtake that which was witnessed in 1940 where almost 30% of adult children aged between 24-34 were living with their parents.  The research report argues that this is an interesting phenomenon given the fact that the percentage dropped since 1940 to almost 10% in 1979 when it started rising. According to this report, the Great Recession is the main reason why more children that are adult are opting to move back to their parents’ home rather than start their own homes. However, this fails to explain the steady increasing since 1980s since the great recession is a recent phenomenon way back after adult children started staying with their parents.

While Nguyen (2012), in his research on the reasons leading to prevalence of boomerang kids cases found a direct correlation between boomerang kids and financial benefits, he also noted that the idea has become increasingly acceptable in the family in particular and the society in general. According to his findings, the main reason adult children in Canada are opting to stay in their parents’ homes is the increasing acceptability of the situation in the Canadian society. In his research, Rennie (2012) revealed that, among adult children aged between 25 and 34, 61% agreed that they had friends or family members who had moved back in with their parents over the past few years because of economic conditions. Similarly, almost 30% of parents admitted to be living with the adult child because of their financial conditions.

Most of the elderly parents, especially those beyond 80 years, find it beneficial to stay with their adult children more so when they are ailing or one of the spouse dies. Adult children on the other part find it necessary to pay rent and contribute to household expenses in their parents’ house with the view that they are assisting their parents in the process. While many parents may not question the rationale of staying with their adult children in a multi-generational house, Rennie (2012) noted that parents need to approach this phenomenon as it can appear to be much good when in fact it is harmful to their children. Nguyen (2012) noted that a major issue of boomerang kids has been the issue of paying rents and contributing to daily household expenses. Nevertheless, he argues that boomerang kids are well beyond rents and paying for daily expenses. It is therefore important to note that adult children are grown up people who need to be responsible for their own families besides making lifelong decisions like who to associate with in terms of marriage, when to come back home from work, and even minor things like what to cook for dinner. Because of the existing general gap between parents and their adult children, it might be difficult for parents to coordinate the activities of their children whom they still have an attachment as their kids. The fact is that these children are grown ups and their thinking level is different from that of their parents.

According to the research by Pew Research Center (2012), the trend is the same in the United States with the proportion of boomerang kids rising from 9% in 1960 to almost 18% in 2000 with a steady increase since 1981. A different report found that there was an increase of boomerang kids in the US from 14% in the year 2005 to 19% in the year 2011. Interestingly, these studies have found a big variation between the adult male and adult females who are going back to leave with their parents.  More male adults leave with their parents than females. An explanation for this variation has always been debatable with some arguing that female adults get married faster than their male counterparts get. Nevertheless, this argument has attracted sociological implications in that if females are getting married faster, then it should also mean that males who are marrying those females are also getting married.

While Pew Research Center (2012) indicated that there are some boundaries that boomeranging kids need to observe in order to avoid collision with their parents, he argues that parents still hold an important position in a multi-generational household. The need to differentiate between a boomerang kid who has gotten into a new job and still needs some foundation to take off and the one who is completely failed to launch them is important(Gulino, 2011). On the other hand, other boomerang kids spent the whole time playing video games or drinking beers in the basement and have no plans of moving out any time soon. Parents need therefore to set limits for their adult children as a way of encouraging them to be responsible for their own homes when they finally get one. Some parents who are staying with their adult children have allowed them to stay without paying rent but he noted that parents needed to set time limits when they expect their children to have their own homes. This is important because it will help the children to start saving either to buy a home of start paying rent when they finally move out.

Another issue in multi-generational household concerns the boundaries that each member in the house is supposed to adhere to. Palmer (2007)argued that boomeranging parents needed to outline the boundaries for their adult children. For instance, adult children might want to entertain their guests during odd hours when typically the parents are asleep. The issue may even be who is going to cook, wash, or do the simple chores in the house. Palmer (2007) further noted that parents are therefore required to having meetings with their adult children and discuss such simple things. However, Reed (2009)noted that many parents expected that boomeranging kids need also to be responsible since they are grown ups and can no longer be pushed around by their parents as they used to do when they were young.

While noting that the idea of boomeranging may sound strange to many parents, Anderson (2012) argued that looking at a financial point of view makes more sense that it appears. Because of this realization, more families are now embracing the concept of boomeranging. He further argues that a family that is staying together with everyone contributing for the expenses will definitely have a more than half cut in the financial expenses that such a family would have incurred if some of the members were living far from each other. Hirsch (2010)also supported these findings and argued that this is a result of sharing duties like baby sitters, gardening, housekeeping, errand running, and even looking after the puppy if the family has one. Similarly, it means that people are able to share mortgage expenses since the house belongs to them all. This reduces the amount that each person has to contribute towards buying a house. In this case, the parents together with their adult children benefit from the economies of scale that comes about because of living together (Reed, 2009).


While doing the above literature review, it was evident that different researches pointed out positive, negative, and mixed effects of boomeranging in the modern society. The outstanding issue in the eight research articles is the agreement that more children that are adult are opting to stay back with their parents even after college. The reasons for this increasing number are the difficult economic times that have put constraints on the financial capabilities of many adult children. However, this phenomenon has not been with challenges especially to parents who beside being stripped of their freedom and quiet times in their old age, have also to meet the expenses of their grown up children, some of them not able to rise any money for their basic needs. As such, parents are forced to go back to being caregivers and providers at a time when it would be logical for their children to provide for them.

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