When my 22 year-old son built his new garage, he put in an upstairs. “That’s where our bounce-back kids will live,” he explained. At first, I thought it quite odd. Why would a young man with two children, under the age of three, plan so far ahead? Then it struck me. Because he has watched our revolving door over the years.
Adult children find their way home for a lot of reasons.
Our military family came home from over seas, and landed with us. We were thrilled. It gave us a chance to get to know three young grandchildren. One of which, we hadn’t met until then. It was an exciting time for them, and for us.
One family found themselves in a crisis. The rented house they were living in, for the previous four years, went up for auction. Imagine the shock and fear that went through these young parents, when without warning, an auction sign appeared in their front yard. Within two weeks, their family of eight moved in with us.
Our first bounce-back kids came without grandchildren. My daughter and her husband were expecting their first baby. Financial responsibilities forced him out of college a few years earlier. Medical bills, the lure of credit cards, and mounting student debt put them both into the workplace. They came at our invitation.
Within three months of our nest emptying, one of our young families moved back in with us. This was their second time. They were a family of five, with three children under the age of seven.
Having them move in with us, gave us a different perspective of bounce-back kids.
Debt is a big issue. From college loans, credit cards to new cars, the weight of early debt can cripple a young family. With the exception of our family of eight that moved in so quickly, all of the families came at our invitation. That family, by the way, was able to save enough money to buy their own home.
We’ve always enjoyed our bounce-back kids. However, we’ve learned a few lessons along the way.
- Decide in advance what your adult children’s responsibilities will be, and discuss them together. You may or may not feel good about asking them to pitch in for household expenses. Therefore, discuss what the ultimate goal is. Is it so they can save enough money to buy a house? Get out of debt? If so, it’s reasonable that the more they can save the quicker they will be on their own.
- Have an exit date on the calendar. This is just as much for you as it is for them. It gives your bounce-back kids a target, instead of a free-lunch ticket. It prepares you for the day you have to let them go all over again.
- Eat meals as a family. The lost art of the dinner table is worth recapturing. Young families, and grandparents alike tend to fill their days with activities. There’s no better way to keep the dialogue open than around a meal. Not to mention, the bonding that occurs when generations share in the preparations.