It's a growing trend among baby boomer parents. Here, what to do when your adult child wants to move back home

Q. My husband and I have been empty nesters for seven years. Our two adult children completed university in cities away from home and quickly found jobs. But after working in the financial sector for three years our son was recently ‘downsized.’ Here we are five months later and he’s still without work. His savings are running out and he’s now talking about moving back home until he finds another job. Obviously we love our son, but neither of us is eager to see this happen. He and we are at such different stages in life and I’m afraid this arrangement will strain our otherwise great relationship. We want to be understanding but we’re worried about the fall-out. Help!

Nancy, Ottawa


A. Adult children living at home is a huge trend impacting us Boomers. According to a recent issue of Maclean’s magazine, the number of children in their 20s living at home jumped from 27 per cent in 1981 to 42 per cent in 2011. So how do you make the best of the situation? You plan and you discuss, that’s how.

“It’s tempting to think that everything’s going to go really smoothly, but that rarely happens by itself,” says Christina Newberry, founder of the website adultchildrenlivingathome and the author of The Hands-on Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home. Christina says you need to create two guiding documents.

The first is a monthly budget of household expenses. In it, you should estimate the impact of your son moving home (on things like food, the family car) then determine how he’ll contribute to those expenses. If he has no money, he can do things like paint the garage, snow removal or lawn care – services you might otherwise be paying for. Keeping a tidy room and doing laundry are a given. They don’t count.

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