Jewish Journal


August 24, 2011

Boomerang Kids


In most cultures in the world, grown children are expected to feed, clothe, and house their elders and in many cases it’s the mother-in-law who runs the family.  What an excellent idea! In our society, however, parenting seems to have become a lifetime job.

After you’ve raised the kid and survived the childhood injuries, the teenage psychoses, and the near-bankruptcy of tuition costs, you get all teary at a college graduation ceremony and congratulate yourself on a job well done.  The offspring is launched, your life is your own again, and you think about turning the kid’s room into a ceramics studio.  Think again. 

Young adults face a brutal reality shock when they leave the warm cocoon of home and school.  Finding a job and a place to live are tough challenges, especially in our difficult economy. Nowadays, a lot of college grads are boomeranging right back to mama’s house.

If – God forbid – I had a twenty or thirty-something living with me, I would at least expect some help with the chores.  My friend Nancy is a college professor whose son and daughter-in-law live with her.  The daughter-in-law loves to cook, bake, and garden: that sounds like a pretty fair exchange to me.  On the other hand, I know a woman who prepares her slacker son’s lunch before she leaves for work, and does his laundry on weekends.  This mother is a psychologist.  I think she could use some therapy.


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