A Boomerang responds…

I wrote a post last week about a young adult who had moved back home-a boomerang-and how the mom found a successful resolution to the situation when it became a problem. If you have not read it, I highly recommend reading it for background. You can read it here.

I was chatting with our youngest about the post and telling her about the deterioration of the relationship and the win-win that ultimately came out of it. She asked, “Did you ever have a conversation with me like that?”

I looked at her in surprise, thinking she was kidding. She was not.

Apparently she had forgotten our conversation, which had tied my stomach up in knots prior to holding it with her.

To back up: My dear hubbie and I had begun to work Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace plan quite some time ago, and found and continue to have great success with it. We weren’t gazelle intense, as Ramsey says, but we were very, very serious about becoming much more intentional and wiser with our finances. We were saying no to lots of things that we discovered weren’t really very important so that later we could say yes to the things that really mattered to us.

Our youngest would call us, pleading poverty, and asking for money. Being good and caring parents, we would send it, not wanting her to be out on the street or not eating for lack of funds. Eventually, however, as we progressed on our journey, we began to feel that what we were doing was not helping, but enabling.

We started to feel resentful, that while we were choosing to get rid of debt and to get our financial house in order, our daughter was spending, well, just the way we used to, eating out and buying things as much as she wanted.

Until the money would run out, and then she would call for a refill.

My dear hubbie and I decided that this was not a healthy path, and decided to hold that BIG conversation with our daughter about money. Our conversation was very similar to the conversation I noted in the previous post, and our daughter decided at first to go the budget route with us as accountability partners.

That lasted for about a week or two before she found it to be too confining. We got together and chatted again-very amicably-and we all came to the conclusion that our relationships would be better and stronger with all of us recognizing-especially our daughter-that she was very capable of being independent and supporting herself.

That conversation is now more than a year and a half in the past, and she has done well, in that she has never called again and cried poverty and asked for money. She knows that we are here in the case of a true emergency. She knows how to budget, and being a free spirit, she sometimes stumbles or falls down.

But that is ok. She is independent. She is far wiser than she was, as she will tell you. She is building a life for herself with awareness and intention.

And our relationship? It has never been stronger.

I have no doubt that if we had not held that conversation, that we would have done some real damage to our relationship that would have taken much more time and/or effort to undo.

Oh, and one more thing. Our daughter responded to this story with this comment: I just couldn’t believe you guys gave me money as long as you did.


And here I was laying awake nights, worrying (like my mother before me and her mother before her-thank you, genetics) about the conversation and if it would permanently damage our relationship…

Parents, draw that line in the sand with your young adults. They know what is appropriate, but they will push the boundaries just like they did when they were 2, and 7, and 12 and 16 years old. Be the adult in the room. Be the loving parent you were designed to be and provide the guidance and wisdom and boundaries your children need.

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  1. I am so glad to hear that you chose to take the hard path of love. Having been raised with a strong earn-your-keep mentality, I didn’t realize that I had my own growth necessary till late in my 20’s in that respect. And I wish I had not had the early-20s years of not-knowing, and of the hardship with that. But of course, such is life–I guess we need our rough patches of learning just as much as the “successful,” self-sufficient ones :-) Anyhow, I do applaud you both, and I think the world needs many more parents such as you . . .

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Anna. Yes, the “rough patches” of learning are where God shapes and grows us. It it is not always comfortable, but the end result is a more polished person. I guess I’m surprised I am not absolutely polished to an absolute blinding gloss at this point… :)

  3. Great post, Kim. We’re trying hard to avoid these situations with our kids by starting early. They’ve learned that we provide necessities – food, clothing, shelter, transportation and healthcare. If they want fancier clothes or gadgets like phones or ipods, they’re on their own. It’s tough when all their friends are given that stuff but our kids are learning the importance of working hard to earn the lifestyle you want to live.
    Matt recently posted…Living Beyond Rich: You Gotta Read This Book!My Profile

    • Thanks Matt. Early avoidance and training are so important! If it’s any consolation, we’ve chatted with our girls about their similar upbringing-they are now 25 and 28. They said that while they felt upset with us as young teens and envious of other kids for what they were given, they are so incredibly grateful for their upbringing. There is hope!

  4. As my daughter is moving into her junior year of high school, I am starting to acknowledge that this time in my life is NOT far off. I am having a difficult time this past year encouraging my daughter and telling her she is capable. It’s almost like when she turned fifteen, she forgot how awesome she was. Everything is negative, and she thinks she’s stupid, not as good as her friends. We have discussions about work ethic and she says just because she’s bad at “Everything”, and whatever she does will never be good enough for us, so why do anything. Is this depression, or teenage lazy/moodiness? I don’t feel we should lower our expectations, but have not been successful motivating her with positive or negative reinforcement. I don’t wan’t to enable, but I don’t want her to feel alone and like she’s drowning either.
    I really want her to feel successful and supported, so we don’t end up with Boomerang Syndrome.


  1. […] my follow-up post here on A Boomerang Responds Filed Under: 2011, Finance, Love, Parenting, Success Story Tagged With: boomerang generation, […]

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