We seem to be in the grip of a Boomarang-Generation - the adult children who return home to live with Mum and Dad.
I've seen it with various friends when their children have returned home for short periods of time usually following a divorce or loss of employment resulting in no longer being able to pay the rent or the mortgage. But I never dreamt that in retirement at the age of 70 I would be faced with taking my homeless and penniless middle aged son in.
To be honest it's not that long ago that my daughter left home. She had been living with me for more years than I care to count whilst she saved the deposit for her own home finally achieving her goal in January 2016.
I was just beginning to get used to the freedom of having my own space and being able to organise my social life with friends without having to consult anyone else. When low and behold I get a cry for help from my son who has been living in Brazil for the past 10 years.
Before living in Brazil he worked and lived in London almost from the time he left College owning his own house and managing his own Company.
Unfortunately things went wrong with his business and
he and his partner decided to leave the UK to live in Brazil where his partner originated from.
At the time I wasn't convinced that the decision had been made for the right reasons. His lifestyle was always one that I had great difficulty in understanding and accepting. However it's his life and was his choice.
He managed to sell his home in London before it was re-possessed and he then proceeded to ship the contents of his 3 bedroomed house out to Brazil at considerable expense.
To say that it has been a disaster is an understatement. The relationship broke down sometime ago and it seems that not being fluent in the language has prevented him finding permanent work. Consequently he decided his only option was to join the boomarang-generation and return to the UK penniless and homeless expecting Mum to bail him out yet again.
Whilst I offered to fund his journey home rather than see him stranded on foreign shores. I now find I'm expected to keep him until such time as he either secures permanent paid employment or is elligible to claim social security benefits, having to wait at least three months from the date of his arrival before he could claim.
The fact that he has not worked in a 'proper job' for 10 years and is now in his early 50's is proving somewhat of a challenge for him to find meaningful employment.
Because his circumstances are mainly a result of ill informed choices rather than bad luck my feelings at the moment are probably not what the average Mum should feel at the return of a long lost Son.
The boomarang-generation stirs up thoughts of the bible story "The Prodigal Son" however instead of welcoming him with open arms and looking forward to his homecoming I'm experiencing feelings of a mixture of despair and anger.
I understand that relationships break down but he doesn't seem to have done anything to help himself in earning money whilst out there and has simply walked away from everything he owns with no plan of how he intends to re-build his life other than to land on my doorstep.
Should I really be expected to do this?
When are the boomarang-generation going to start taking responsibility for themselves and will they ever think that perhaps they should be supporting and caring for us in our old age rather than the other way round?
What is more worrying if he doesn't sort himself out quickly what kind of old age is he going to have? Not working for 10 years in the UK means he may not even qualify for a full state pension when he reaches retirement age.
Isn't a parent's job to nuture our children throughout childhood and
help to guide them into an independent life where they are responsible
for themselves by the time they enter adulthood. We don't expect them
to come bouncing back like a boomarang.
According to the Office for National Statistics, it seems I'm not alone in having to provide bed, breakfast and dinner for a returning adult offspring. I have also found numerous articles on the internet referring to the boomarang-generation.
The statistics for the boomarang-generation show that 3.3 million 20-34 year olds live with their parents in 2016 in the UK.
Looking at 20 to 34 year olds, the number living with their parents has increased from 2.7 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2013 and has since remained at 3.3 million. The percentage living with their parents has risen from 21% in 1996 to 25% in 2016.
1 in 3 men aged 20-34 lived with their parents compared with 1 in 5 women.
Although it's fair to say I can't find any satistics for adult children over 40 living with their parents let alone 50. Am I the only one to have a 50 something boomarang-generation son?
As for my more optimistic expectation of having a man about the house for a while could be beneficial in getting some DIY chores and may be some decorating done all of which are now becoming beyond me I'm afraid it's becoming evident that it's not going to happen for one reason or another.
We're five months in now from the date of his arrival and I can honestly say life has not been easy. I've never had as many rows with anyone since my divorce some 30 something years ago.
little bit surreal like having an overgrown teenager in the house.
Friends have stopped calling by and any thoughts of meals out and trips to the theatre have had to stop because my money is being re-directed to his needs rather than mine. Don't get me wrong I don't mind making the odd sacrifice for my children but the problem with this is there is no saying how long it could go on for.
Every time I sit down at the computer I find myself surfing the net for possible jobs and cheap places to live for him. I'm beginning to think it may be easier to find a job for myself rather than him.
It seems his ambition now is for an easy stress free life. Possibly working in the retail sector preferably in a Supermarket or paid work in a Charity Shop (he's currently volunteering in one at the moment). So if anyone reading this has anything they could offer feel free to contact me immediately.
How would you cope with your adult son or daughter arriving back home with no money and no job?
Would you welcome them back with open arms or would you feel a little used?
Oh yes the boomarang-generation have a lot to answer for!