'My adult son has moved back in and he's driving me mad'

A man on a couch eating potato chips
A man on a couch eating potato chips (stock photo). Source: Getty

Letting your kids return to the nest in their adult years can be tricky, but with more Millennials returning home than ever before it’s a situation many Baby Boomer parents are dealing with. 

One such mother took to online forum Mumsnet to vent her frustrations at her indulgent adult son, who is living with the family again while working at a local business on minimum wage.

“I’m probably being daft but oh my goodness he is driving me up the wall,” she began. “He is generally being helpful and I love having him here except for stuff like: when he’s not working he uses PlayStation in living room all day or watches Netflix all day. So living room feels like a no go area.”

As well as claiming entire rooms in the house as his own, the mother bemoaned the fact that he was costing her a fortune in grocery bills and not contributing a cent.

“Today he used 200g piece of cheddar grated into whole can of baked beans for brunch,” she wrote. “Yesterday on a work day he ate 6 rashers of bacon plus toast for breakfast (he starts at 5 am) and then beef burgers for a snack after work (he’d taken a pack from freezer while I was out and has eaten them last few days, I’d been expecting them to be a dinner for whole family). Then after dinner he had about 4 rounds of toast in the evening. He often eats a while avocado as a snack. I asked him and he said at university he couldn’t afford this stuff and didn’t eat it.”

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While she’s keen to broach the subject with her son, the mother is afraid of “starting a war” and upsetting her son, who’s had his own issues with anxiety and depression in the past.

It’s a pickle of a situation to find yourself in, but one many Boomer parents can relate to. According to Domain, the proportion of 20 to 24-year-olds living with parents grew from 41 per cent to 43 per cent between 2011 and 2016. For 25 to 29-year-olds, the jump was from 15 per cent to 17 per cent.

It’s a similar story in American where, as of 2016, 15 per cent of 25- to 35-year-old Millennials were living in their parents’ home. That’s 5 percentage points higher than the 10 per cent of Generation Xers who lived in their parents’ home in 2000 when they were the same age, and nearly double the 8 per cent of the Silent Generation who lived at home in 1964.

While having your kids move back home can seem like a lovely idea at first, things can get out of hand if boundaries are not made clear at the outset. 

Reactions to the mother’s post on Mumsnet came swift and fast with most fellow parents advising her to give her son a swift kick up the bum.

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“I would point out to him how much he would be paying if he lived elsewhere and ask him to be considerate. I’m sorry to say this but you need to lay down some rules and grow a backbone!!!” one woman wrote.

“He is an adult! Are you his servant?” asked another. “Either charge him board or make him buy his own food. You do him no favours letting him live for free,” added one mum.

Have you adult kids ever moved back in with you? What advice would you give this woman?