Boomerang kids. Pretty descriptive, isn’t it? When you send out your young adults to get married, to go to college or to live independently—you don’t plan that they’ll come back to live at home again. Whether your kid returns home due to tough economic times, a failed marriage or just to get his or her bearings after college, it can be very stressful unless everyone understands and shares the same expectations. You need a whole new set of house rules for when life throws you a boomerang.

1  Payment. Insist that they pay rent or make some other form of financial contribution. That means, at the very least, they are buying groceries, paying utilities or paying a third of the rent. 

2  Harmony. The boomerang has to respect the mother and her rules. Period. This isn’t about power plays or defiance.

3  Temporary. This should be a one-time event with both a start and an end date, and not subject to renewal.

4  Laundry. Resist all temptation to do the boomerang’s laundry.

5  Bills. Boomerangs will undoubtedly arrive with bills. Do not pay these. Do not even think about it. Boomerangs must take full responsibility for all bills, even if that requires a second job.

6 Transportation. Living privileges should not extend to your car. Nor should you drive said boomerang around the way you did many years ago. Boomerangs are on their own to get around.

7  Parking. Make it very clear what the parking arrangements are. Boomerangs, by all rights, should park on the street, not occupy the primo garage or driveway space, if that requires you or your spouse to park on the street.

8  Food. Come up with a plan that is acceptable to all parties. Do not leave this matter undiscussed.

9  Chores. Boomerangs need to be involved in the house. Chores should be spelled out in writing. Err on the side of being too detailed and specific. Remember, this is the same kid who was the master at finding loopholes not so many years ago.

10  Contract.
Transfer your house  rules to a simple contract that everyone signs.

 Published March 30, 2009

Check out Mary's recently released revised and expanded edition of The Financially Confident Woman (DPL Press, 2008).

Debt-Proof Living was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt. What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt. Today, "Debt-Proof Living" is read by close to 100,000 cheapskates.  Click here to subscribe. Also, you can receive Mary's free daily e-mail "Everyday Cheapskate" by signing up at EverydayCheapskate.com.