Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/10/2012 (1563 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Robert Alison's Oct. 5 column, Parents court trouble letting kids boomerang home presents a highly distorted picture of families with adult kids living at home.
The truth is, while some adult children living at home are "mollycoddled," living at home with no expectation of contributing to the cost of their stay there and maybe even have their laundry done for them, this is certainly not the picture of a healthy version of the boomerang-kids scenario -- which does, in fact, exist.
If an adult child moves home for a defined period of time to allow him or her to achieve a specific goal (find a job, pay off debt, complete school), contributes financially to the household and behaves according to the parents' expectations in the home, it provides that young adult a huge advantage in what has become a very financially challenging world without creating ongoing dependency or mollycoddling.
The key is to set a timeline for the stay and expectations for behaviour and contributions (financial or otherwise), and to expect the adult child to take care of his or her own household responsibilities (keeping things clean, making meals, and so on).
When the stay is managed intelligently, it can actually be a positive for adult children (who get obvious financial and emotional benefits) and parents, who get to know their children as adults in a way we often don't make time for in our culture.