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Dealing With Boomerang Kids

If your adult child is back under your roof, here are smart tips to make it easier for everyone

Offer empathy, not pity. Most adult children resort to moving back in with parents after losing jobs, apartments or relationships. "You're likely to be dealing with someone who feels like a failure," Stotland says. Your child may feel lonely, defeated or angry, and is bound to need some TLC. At the same time, it's unhealthy for your child to make best friends with the couch. Encourage him or her to volunteer, do the grocery shopping, babysit younger siblings and socialize. "Send the message that you know your child is capable," Stotland says.

Put your financial future first. Decide ahead of time how much money you want to contribute — and can afford to give — to bail your child out, says Ende. Your child has decades ahead to create his or her own financial security, while you may be retired or close to it. Don't hesitate to tell your child you expect him or her to chip in for household expenses. Let your child know there are limits on your finances and your own retirement security comes before all else.

Keep it short-term. Given the option of living at home, many adult children may try to hold out for the "right" job with the idea of living with parents indefinitely. Nip that idea in the bud. "Make it clear that moving back in with you is not a long-term plan," says Ende. It's a good idea to set a specific time limit — say, six months — and then review the arrangement when that period is up to make sure that it's working well for all involved.

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