"Boomerang kids" driving parents to distraction

LONDON Thu Feb 7, 2008 10:25am EST

A woman looks out the door of her house in a file photo. REUTERS/Ian Hodgson

A woman looks out the door of her house in a file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Ian Hodgson

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - "Boomerang kids" who treat the family home like a free hotel are driving their parents to distraction, a leading British charity has warned.

Lifestyle clashes abound -- from piles of laundry and mounds of debt to drug and alcohol abuse -- with one parent complaining "our home became a war ground of constant arguments."

Parents seem to seesaw between frustration about their children still living at home and feeling that at least they are happy and safe.

Parentline Plus, has been bombarded with desperate calls from beleaguered parents to their helpline, and is developing a self-help guide for parents with the plaintive title ""Will They Ever Leave The Nest?"

Callers to the helpline are concerned about aggressive behavior -- both verbal and physical -- from their children and worried about their drug and drink consumption.

For "Boomerang kids" are a growing band.

Government figures show that 58 percent of men and 39 percent of women aged 20-24 live with their parents in England.

Weighed down with student debt, battling to get onto the housing ladder, marrying much later than their parents' generation, they find the family home is an easy and attractive option.

The charity said it was no longer safe to assume that once they reach adulthood, young people become independent and trouble-free overnight.

The charity's chief executive Dorit Braun said: ""Living with young adults is as perplexing and concerning as any other stage in a parent's journey, yet parenting strategies seem to end with adulthood as though once children become adults, the parents are off the hook."

She urged the government to provide parents with more information on housing benefits, grants and training for children reluctant to leave home.

After researching the growing problem, the independent charity suggested a set of rules to avoid domestic warfare breaking out on all fronts:

- Get them to pay rent

- Agree on household chores

- Don't wait on them hand and foot

- Speak to them if behavior upsets you

- Be ready to say "I love you but not your behavior."

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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