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Are you prepared for (gulp) ‘Boomerang Kids’?

There was some disturbing news in the paper the other day. Oh, I know the paper is full of disturbing news lately, but this was particularly distressing.


Inflation is high and although unemployment is low, the economy is still on shaky ground. And this is causing kids to move back in with their parents. Now, I knew that inflation is high and that in itself is distressing enough. But did you know your kids could move back in with you?


They’re called “Boomerang Kids.” They may have jobs, but can’t make ends meet, probably have bills and maybe even a family, and they need to regroup. So they move in with their parents until they can get their feet back on the ground.


Did you know this was legal?


These grown kids evidently have no choice but to return home, they’ve nowhere else to go. And just like we did when we went home, they assume that their parents love having them.  


The truth is that most parents do love having them at home. Temporarily.


I remember when I returned from the Army and lived at home for awhile. Well, actually it was longer than “awhile.” When I finally found a place of my own, I dreaded telling my parents, knowing that they would be heartbroken. When I did get up enough nerve to break the news to them, Dad could hardly contain his emotions. 


“Can I help you pack?” he asked. 


Usually, it’s hard when kids leave the nest. You miss having them around for several days but eventually you get used to it. Sometimes husbands and wives even start liking each other. When kids come back home to stay, it often puts a strain on a family. A house is meant to hold only so many adults.


So if you’re a parent with children, you need to have a contingency plan for such emergencies. When they do show up at your doorstep, it will be too late to prepare for such a drastic change in your life. You could just change the locks to the door, but eventually, they’re going to get in. So you have to be realistic and plan for the worst. Sure the economy is uneven, but you don’t want your child to become too comfortable. You want him or her to be motivated enough to find a better job quickly. 


Here are some ideas that might help you deal with this uncomfortable situation. 

— Stock the refrigerator with Brussels sprouts and tell your kids that you’re on a special cruciferous diet. Serve the Brussels sprouts boiled, steamed, roasted, fried, stewed and, on Saturday, make a nice Brussels sprouts soup or casserole. Overcook them so they’ll have that nice, sulfuric aroma. If your Boomerang Kids get tired of Brussels sprouts, switch to kale or, for a change of pace, collards.  

— Cancel your cable subscription and put up one of those old outside antennas you have to turn when you change channels. Take the batteries out of the remote. Watch PBS a lot. 

— Change your internet service to dial-up. 

— Walk around the house in your underwear and remind them that they have your DNA. Point out your bald spots, spare tire, flabby upper arms and varicose veins. Tell them that in a few years, they too will look like this. 

— Buy an obnoxious pet, like a Chihuahua. 

— Talk about the good old days a lot. Remind them that you didn’t have air conditioning, designer clothes or HBO. Tell them how you left home at the age of 7 to make your way in the world, how you worked in coal mines and oil fields, milked cows, primed tobacco and made your dresses from feed sacks. Threaten to plant a field of tobacco in the back yard and to put a milk cow in the garage. 

— Tell them how much colder the winters used to be, how it snowed three Wednesdays in a row one year and how you used to have to cut Redwood trees for firewood. Regale them with stories of the days of dial phones and record players. Make them listen to your old eight-tracks or your Carter Family CDs. Tell them about the Fuller Brush and Stanley man.    

— Make them watch Lawrence Welk and Hee-Haw re-runs.

— Offer to take them out on Saturday night and go to Walmart. Get a cart and walk down every aisle. Bring a stack of coupons and compare prices. Complain about prices to the store manager. Tell your kids how much cheaper things were when you were growing up. Then tell them how you didn’t have money to buy anything but had to make everything, including your shoes. 

— When you leave Walmart, go to McDonald’s drive-thru and buy a sundae for everyone. Then sit in the parking lot and eat it while watching the cars go by. Go downtown and look in the store windows. 

— Invite all your friends over and talk about medicine and ailments. Tell your children about your latest colonoscopy. Discuss the benefits of fiber. Describe your latest bowel movements, acid reflux and cataracts.

— Bring out the photograph albums of when they were little and let their friends see them. 


In these uncertain economic times, it pays to be prepared. Offense is always the best defense. Be proactive, sit down now with your spouse and come up with a plan before it’s too late.


The children who come home may be your own.