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Published on September 21st, 2013 | by Ana W

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College Grads Back Home: Coping With The Boomerang Effect

The boomerang effect is becoming increasingly common these days. It has been growing since the start of the credit crunch in 2007, and over recent years it has affected households across the UK. But what is the boomerang effect, and how can people deal with it better to prevent it from causing difficulties within households?

 What is the Boomerang Effect?

Many young people are now unemployed after years of economic difficulties in the UK, and they often find it harder to get positions due to a lack of opportunities. People with more experience in their thirties and forties are often considered above them for job openings because they have more experience, and many young people are often burdened with debts from university. As a result, they are unable to earn a living and live on their own, so they return home to live with their parents after a few years away.

Potential Problems for Families

The boomerang effect has created many problems for families who have been affected. One of the main problems is that parents are just beginning to get used to the fact that their children have flown the nest, when they suddenly return with all of their belongings. This can lead to a feeling of overcrowding, which can cause tensions.

It can also lead to financial problems for the parents who are suddenly paying for their children’s food once again when they did not expect to be. If your children return, they may expect you to pay for their dentist visits or pay the insurance for their car, when you may think that these are things that your children should be paying for themselves. This could see parents spending their money on their children rather than on holidays and enjoying their retirement.

Tensions can begin to get worse when the parents do not feel like their children are making the effort to find a job. Indeed, many young people may start to feel comfortable at home and may have less drive to go out and find work if they are living at home rent free and eating mum and dad’s food.

But it can also be frustrating for the children who have returned. They may want to get on in their lives and enjoy more independence. After years studying at university, it can feel like a step backwards.

How Parents Can Cope Better

If you are a parent who has a boomerang child living at home, it could help to establish some ground rules early on. Don’t treat them like children, but let them know that you’d like to be aware of their plans and whether they will be eating with you or not.

Remember that they are not kids any more and that they should be helping out. Delegate jobs such as making dinner, and if they have a job then ask them to help out financially as well. It may make them realize that this is not just a free holiday.

 Most of all, help them to help themselves. If they are really looking for work, that’s great. But if they are settling back into old habits and not looking for work, encourage them and help them to look for job opportunities.

Keeping the Finances in Check

 Apart from the psychological side of coping with returning children, there is the financial side. If your finances are not in order and the financial ground rules have not quite been set yet, you will soon know about it. Having a diary of weekly or monthly expenditures is a great place to start. Get savvy shopping for essential items, look at coupling or ordering online. You may well be pleasantly surprised at how much money you could be saving ordering everyday items such and contact lenses through stores such as the Lenstore instead of the nearest optometrist. Many supermarkets offer free delivery on purchases over a certain amount which can also save you time.

 These are all things that you can do to make it more comfortable for everyone when boomerang children return. Try to have sympathy because life can be quite tough for young people right now, but also try to help them move on with their lives by doing everything you can without being too pushy.

Rosalind Miller is a grandmother of five and retired teacher. She enjoys spending time with the grand kids and blogging online.

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