For a mother and daughter from
Farmington Hills who wished to remain
anonymous, this advice from Nemzoff
is particularly applicable. The daughter,
a recent graduate of MSU who moved
home in the past month, said, "It seems
like my parents have really low expecta-
tions for how I'm going to act while I'm
home; it is a little upsetting they don't
trust me mor'
Her mother said, "We do have our
misgivings because of past experiences
with her lack of follow-through and with
keeping to basic house rules.
"But we're glad to be able to give
her the opportunity to have a place
to look for a job and save money,"
With the experience of moving
home fresh in her mind, the daugh-
ter said, "I would definitely suggest
looking at each other as adults that
are living together and get rid of your
parent-child relationship. Obviously,
I'm still the child, but the dynam-
ics are different because I had an
independent life for four years, and
I need to be an adult in the relation-
It is not just the kids in boomer-
ang situations who enjoyed free-
dom while at school — the parents
often enjoy their empty nest. The
Farmington Hills mother said, 'After
several years as empty nesters with
our kids in college, we've enjoyed the
freedom of it just being the two of us.
It's been good for our relationship,
and having our daughter move back
home will change the dynamic.
"I'm hoping for a mutual under-
standing of how we can live together
easily, respectfully and without a lot
of friction," she added.
Unforeseen friction can come from
both the parent's and the child's time
commitments. For the kid moving
back home, they may have recent
memories of visiting home dur-
ing the holidays when their parents
made sure to spend time with them,
and vice versa for the parents.
Nemzoff said, "One of the biggest
complaints I hear from people in
this situation is that their child never
talks to them. And this might sound
odd, but if you expect some sort of
conversation, you have to make that
"It's very important for kids to
know that parents are people. So, just
as they would ask a friend how their
day was, parents want to be treated
like that, too. Often, parents whose
adult children move home feel like
they're a convenient rest stop."
She explained that kids often do
not realize their parents' lives have
changed since they moved out. "Kids
need to understand that they're not
the center of their parents' lives any-
more. Often, the child feels pushed
aside because their parents have
other responsibilities now and it's
hard for the kid to realize that."
"Do not panic every time there's a
wrinkle," Nemzoff said. "There will
always be wrinkles:'
Who knew this
Tips For Living With
Your Boomerang Kids
uick tips from Dr. Ruth Nemzoff of Brookline, Mass., an expert in
parenting adult children and author of Don't Bite Your Tongue:
How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with Your Adult Children
and Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family.
• Remember both parents and kids have changed – try not to auto-
matically slip back into your old roles.
• You need to talk about expectations ahead of time. Are they paying
rent? How long can they live at the house? Are their friends allowed
over? Can they leave dirty dishes in the sink? Expectations, right down
to the minutiae, need to be made clear to avoid miscommunications.
• To avoid nagging and over-monitoring, set a plan for when you'll
meet to talk about the situation. That way you can say, 'I thought I
wouldn't mind you coming in at 4 a.m., but it's disturbing my sleep.'
Think of it as a regular tune-up so you don't have a crisis.
• For the parents, if you ask your child to do something around the
house, try to assume they will actually do it. Don't jump straight to the
negative and assume you'll be the one doing it.
• When it comes to relationships – either a child's or a parent's –
politeness always works.
• You can never make anything too clear. Have frank discussions.
• Assume good motives. For kids, their parent might not be prying,
but rather just showing interest. When you find yourself framing things
negatively, try to think of it in a positive light. ❑
Craig and WSU Law Professor Jocelyn Benson
Weekdays at 10 a.m. & 7 p.m.
October 4 = 2012 9