For the ‘boomerang generation’, moving back home is often a positive experience, but what impact does this have on the rest of the family?
Previous research by Deakin University PhD student Elyse Warner revealed that moving back home with mum and dad was not seen as a negative step by ‘boomerang kids’ – young adults who, after living independently, had returned to live with their parents. She is now extending her study to investigate the impact on family members as well.
“I am looking for approximately 20 people aged 18-35 who have left home and then returned, and their families, including parents and siblings (aged 16 and over), to take part in the study,” Ms Warner said.
“My previous research found that rather than being considered a step backwards, the young adults saw such a move as one small, mostly positive, step sideways on life’s long journey.
In contrast to previous studies that gave a somewhat negative portrayal of ‘boomerang kids’, the participants in Ms Warner’s previous research felt positive about their decision given the benefits associated with doing so, not only in terms of finances and goal attainment but also their improved relationships with their parents.
“The results of the study challenged the notion that returning home is a backward step for young adults,” Ms Warner said.
“The majority of the young adults felt that returning home was not regressing; it did not necessarily mean they had lost whatever they had gained while living independently. Like their friends and other young people, they were still realising their personal goals and plans for their futures, whether through work or study. For the most part, moving home was ‘only short-term in the scheme of things…’.
“They had also put the decision to return home into perspective.
“The young adults realised that returning to live with their parents was a short-term arrangement that would have benefits in the long-term.
“For the most part, they also had positive relationships with their parents before moving out, whilst living independently and after their return.”
But do mum and dad really welcome their kids back with ‘open arms’?
“With reports suggesting that more and more young adults are joining the ‘boomerang generation’, I am now keen to find out if other family members see this arrangement in the same positive light – or not,” Ms Warner said.