Boomerang Babies - Bye, Bye Birdie!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate GA BrokersLicense# 277342

Boomerang.  Adult children who have left home, either for college or to start a life on their own, only to return to the nest.  

Both of my boys landed back at home on a few occasions.  It took me a while to get the hang of what my role was in facilitating their final flight from the nest.

We seriously considered shoving them out and moving without providing a forwarding address!

Parents' Protection Program!  

I am currently working with a few young buyers who have returned to the parental nest.  

Based on my own personal experience and observation of these buyers, I note the following:

1.  Parents of working, adult children living at home are not holding their children responsible for contributing to living expenses.

2.  Adult, working children living in the parental home are not adequately saving for establishing or re-establishing themselves in their own home.

3.  Neither the parents nor the "children" have established a time line for renewed independence.

4.  Once entrenched in the co-habitation, the parent-child relationship quickly establishes itself.

Although this seems like a complicated dynamic, once a few ground rules are laid, the process can take on a valuable and productive tone.

Providing the necessary construct to enable these "children" to gain strength, both emotionally and financially, will head off possible resentments and further strain on the relationship.

We can be finished with all of the psycho-babble now and get down to brass tax.

Step 1:  Parents need to charge RENT!  


Yes, I know it sounds harsh.  But really, it is the best thing for the parent & the adult child.  After footing the bill for the first 18 to 25 years, it's time for the little birdies to stand on their own two feet and come to the realization that NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE.  

Housing will always be a major expense in adult life.  Sad but true.

I've seen many parents suffer undue financial hardship in their efforts to support adult children.

Helping, supporting, guiding, protecting...all natural parental responses.

There is a point at which, our natural instincts do more harm than good. 

TEACHING is also an important aspect of parenting.  Giving our children the life skills they need to make it in the world under their own power is our purpose.

Step 2: Living under the parental roof has drawbacks.  

Coming in at 4am and sleeping until noon and beyond are a no-go.

But, MOM! Why?  I'm a grown up!!!!!


Hint: the job of the parent is NOT to make this a sublimely comfortable experience.  

Comfort is in direct conflict with your goal of helping your birdie fly free!

Step 3: Set an end-date for the co-habitation.

This can be difficult to nail down when you are dealing with an unemployed adult.  However,  it is important.  Setting a goal and working towards it, keeps everyone motivated and on task.

Yes, I have dealt with taking in an unemployed adult child.  

Let's just say that we stopped just short of chasing him with a stick until he found a job.  

See Step 2 for more information on creating the non-comfort zone.


If having your adult child living at home doesn't put undue financial strain on your budget, you can set aside the rent that you collected in a savings account.  These funds can be returned to the little birdie upon their departure.

Perhaps those funds will be used as a down payment on a new home or a security deposit on their bachelor pad.  

Don't fret if it's used to purchase a flat screen TV or an i-Phone,

just a long as those things don't end up in YOUR HOUSE!


Image courtesy of antpkr at

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Jenna Dixon
Associate Broker
DRA Homes

Buy Cobb County Homes
(770) 374-4230

Fair Housing Act

DRA Homes - An affiliate of Maximum One Greater Atlanta Realty
5041 Dallas Highway, Suite 700, Powder Springs, GA 30127
Office Phone: 770-919-8825 ext. 318





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  1. John DL Arendsen 12/14/2014 08:53 PM
Home Buying
Georgia Cobb County Powder Springs
Advice for Buyers
Cobb County Georgia Real Estate
Bartender, Make it a Double
Old Farts Club
rehoming adult children
boomerang babies

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Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Assoc Broker - Let's Talk Cobb County Real Estate

Mike McCann - Nebraska Land Broker yes, things can change quickly.  And we are entering that age range when we must start planning for our own retirement or at least for our own FUN! 

Dec 14, 2014 11:17 PM #39
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Assoc Broker - Let's Talk Cobb County Real Estate

Margaret Goss LOL, we had a little bit of the guilty child syndrome but we made sure he understood that we didn't expect refunds or "adequate" compensation for parenting!

Dec 14, 2014 11:19 PM #40
Andrew Mooers
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Empty nest happens and it is a void, not so much fun... figuring out what is new way to spend the time part time not full time as life goes on in the kids life. As they leave the nest, spread their wings. Was a single full time Dad of four. Loved the job. Miss it!

Dec 14, 2014 11:22 PM #41
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Parenting includes giving children space to make their own decisions way before they are legally adult or expected to move out. If they have not learned responsibility, how can you just kick them out at 18 or whatever expecting them to take care of themselves? Have they never helped with the cleaning and laundry (especially the boys)? Always gotten what they asked for without any effort on their part? Never paid rent or helped with other expenses when they made money? It's fine to come back when the road gets rough, but not to fall back into childhood of non-responsibility. Great topic around Christmas when lots of parents WISHED their children would maybe invite THEM. That's when you know you have done a great job.

Dec 15, 2014 12:35 AM #42
John Mosier
Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert - Prescott, AZ
Prescott's Patriot Agent 928 533-8142

I agree with you, Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®. I think this problem is so prevalent because not enough parents teach their kids to make their own way. The schools are also to blame for not encouraging kids to get an education that will earn them a living.

Our colleges and universities are too busy with their own agenda to teach a curriculum that makes for successful employment.


Dec 15, 2014 03:46 AM #43
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

I agree with charging rent if they have been there a while.  Not too much that it would counteract their savings to get out, but enough to instill the idea that they are wasting money, which should motivate them to leave sooner. 

Dec 15, 2014 04:07 AM #44
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Assoc Broker - Let's Talk Cobb County Real Estate

Andrew Mooers there is definitely an adjustment period when the nest is empty.  I do miss them, of course, but I feel like I did my job in growing up contributing memebers of society.

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® I agree, the training for life starts well before their 18th birthday.  My boys were always responsible for cooking, cleaning, lawn, etc. and both started working jobs as soon as they were of legal age.  No one bought them a car, they did it on their own.  BUT they did both find life handed out larger consequences for bad decisions!  They have now land on their own two feet, outside my home!

Dec 15, 2014 04:12 AM #45
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Assoc Broker - Let's Talk Cobb County Real Estate

John Mosier yes, our educational systems are failing our children.  It's the parents' job to step up and fill in the gap!

Kevin Mackessy when we did charge rent, it also helped them see that they might as well pay rent somewhere that didn't come with so many hassles from ME!  LOL We returned all that we collected to help them start off in their own place.  It was a nice surprise for them!

Dec 15, 2014 04:16 AM #46
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192 | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

My son was a boomerang a few times, matter of fact.  But, he didn't have a family in tow.  Nice topic of a subject that doesn't get much attention.

Dec 15, 2014 09:37 AM #47
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Assoc Broker - Let's Talk Cobb County Real Estate

Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner one of ours boomeranged a few times as well.  Single, thank goodness! Thank you!

Dec 15, 2014 09:39 AM #48
Praful Thakkar
eXp Realty - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Jenna Dixon love what you have to say in your post - however, culturally, it's challenging for me.

Dec 15, 2014 01:29 PM #49
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


Not every parent will agree...but you found one here who does. It's a hard life lesson that has to be learned...nothing is free.


Dec 15, 2014 05:50 PM #50
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Area Realtor

Jenna... I've always been of the school of thought that a parent's job is to educate their children, teach them manners, help put them on their feet for their adult lives. Then they need to step back.

Dec 15, 2014 08:50 PM #51
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Assoc Broker - Let's Talk Cobb County Real Estate

Praful Thakkar I do know that some cultures see this very differently, heck individual parents see this differently!  I wrote from my perspective and as much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE my boys, I wanted them out on their own.  Don't think that I kicked them out when they were 18, NO! 

Richard Iarossi sad but true.  Life is work, might as well start early!

Dec 15, 2014 09:21 PM #52
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Assoc Broker - Let's Talk Cobb County Real Estate

Nina Hollander it's true.  We can't allow them to rely on us to the extent that they cannot care for themselves when we are gone.  Self sufficiency is one of the biggest confidence builders that I know!

Dec 15, 2014 09:23 PM #53
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I have never been nor experienced the Boomerang effect, but have seen it.  Some f that goes back to the parenting, however and at an early age, making them responsible for themselves, and even forcing them to find small jobs so thy can have the spending money they are always asking for, outside of the home. The instant gratification attitude of the young adults today is rampant.

Dec 15, 2014 09:34 PM #54
Richard Robibero, ABR, SRS
Panorama R.E. Limited - Toronto, ON
Selling Your Home as if it were My Own!

Jenna Dixon ... I know several people like this in both roles. I'm glad my parents taught me some very good habits and held be accountable for early real estate investments that I paid back immediately.

Dec 15, 2014 09:47 PM #55
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Jenna Dixon this is a wonderful post, and we do this situation happen all too often.    Parents let them stay to save money for their home, but they are not saving.    

Dec 15, 2014 10:57 PM #56
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

To talk Atlanta, Georgia, Real Estate sales, start with a call to (770) 374-4230 for Associate Broker Jenna Dixon.

Dec 16, 2014 12:39 AM #57
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Assoc Broker - Let's Talk Cobb County Real Estate

Ed Silva instant gratification is a BIG problem.  They feel like if they can't have it all right now, why bother!

Richard Robibero, ABR, SRS early lessons pay big dividends.

Joan Cox so true, not even coming close to saving.  How can you have worked and lived at home for over a year and have saved nothing?  Beyond my comprehension.

Dec 16, 2014 07:30 AM #58
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