len's masthead




londoner editor pic





My cousins John and Joanne emailed recently that their 28 year old son, Jonathan, has returned home, He came along with his wife and a new born child. The folks had recently retired from teaching and were looking at enjoying their golden age in peace and quiet.

The tiny three bedroom house with only one bathroom was sure crowded; the seniors weren’t used to a baby crying every four hours into the wee hours of the night.

The parents had worked hard to raise/educate their two sons in order that they could be independent and self supporting. What happened?

Statistics Canada reports that my cousin’s dilemma is not unique. ‘Young adults are increasingly returning to their parental nests, Generation Xers are nearly three times more likely to boomerang than their baby boomer parents’. Almost one-third returned to the nest within five years of leaving home.

Although many parents may be unprepared for this blast from the past, an adult child returning home has become a reality for many families.

‘Twenty-seven per cent return home after graduating from a post secondary education. Twenty-per cent returned for financial reasons and twelve per cent said their jobs had ended. Eleven per cent came back to the nest because of a failed relationship’.

The pursuit of higher education with the average Ontario Student Aid heavy debt load of $25,000 has to be started to be repaid six months after leaving school. Hard to make the loan payments, pay the rent and food with an entry position.

Budgeting and making it on your own is not part of the post secondary curriculum. After the graduation hype our children have to face the cruel real world of making it on their own.

A while back you may remember that I wrote what I thought was a humorous piece on ‘Junior the Moocher’ who was still living off the avails of his parents at the tender age of 27. Many parents emailed me and told me that I wasn’t funny. For them the ‘moocher’ was their very own son/daughter.

Here is some sound advice for parents who have their adult child enquire about returning home. First you emphatically tell them ‘NO’. The umbilical chord has been cut. Of course they are always welcome to visit and even home shop from your fridge before they depart for their place.

What if your John/Jane is down on their luck and needs a helping hand? Of course your conscious won’ t let you have them live on the street hungry and homeless. Help them out once to pay first and last months reasonable rent to share with a friend or two. You don’t loan your family money; they won’t pay it back and it only causes arguments.

Reminds me of a cartoon that depicts an attractive women with a baby in her arms. She has come home yet again with a new boy friend to implore her parents for help. The old folks are surrounded by a bevy of six little children. Mom looks at her husband and cries: ‘What do you mean, give her another chance?.’

Folks please do not allow your adult children to become victims. If you always give into their wishes you will make them enablers with little chance of independence. Sound familiar? Drop me an email.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com