Sample Contracts for ‘Twixters,’ ‘Kippers’ and ‘Boomerang Kids’

by Paul Tautges | September 6, 2013 11:20 am

“Social scientists have noticed that more young adults (those between eighteen and thirty years old) are putting off the responsibilities of adulthood. Adultolescence is the term that best describes this postponement of adulthood into the thirties. This phase is characterized by identity exploration, instability, focus on self, feeling in limbo, and a sense of limitless possibilities. These characteristics are accompanied by transience, confusion, anxiety, obsession with self, melodrama, conflict, and disappointment.

Others have called this the ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ because these kids just don’t want to grow up. The percentage of American children, or ‘kidults,’ in their mid-twenties living with their parents has nearly doubled since 1970. Some never leave. Other adult children who had previously left are coming back after completing college or because of economic or personal problems. One survey reports that only 16% of mothers and 19% of fathers say their children (ages eighteen to twenty-five) have reached adulthood. Even more alarming is that their kids don’t dispute it: only 16% consider themselves to be adults. Articles dealing with the complicated relationships between adults and their grown dependent children have appeared in many publications including Money, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

This trend is not unique to America. Time points out that other nations are facing similar challenges. The British call them ‘kippers’—Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings. The Australians call them “boomerang kids”—you throw them out but they keep coming back. Nor has the church escaped this phenomenon.”

The above lengthy quote is from You Never Stop Being a Parent: Thriving in Relationship with Your Adult Children[1], a very helpful book from biblical counselors Jim Newheiser and Elyse Fitzpatrick. In this changing culture, biblical counselors are counseling more and more Christian parents who are struggling to help their adult children who still live at home become responsible adults. How can we help them? One strong recommendation made by these authors is to make a list of expectations if their young adult plans to continue to live with them and draw up a written agreement. They then provide the following samples as an appendix.

Typical expectations

For a child who has persistently been in trouble

Consequences for failure to comply (Galatians 6:7)

What your child should be able to expect from you

These “sample contracts” are just a sample of the wealth of wise counsel you will find in You Never Stop Being a Parent: Thriving in Relationship with Your Adult Children[2]. I highly recommend that every Christian parent get a copy of this book, whether or not you are currently experiencing any of the above-mentioned challenges. I can see already that I will be using this book a lot in counseling Christian parents.


  1. You Never Stop Being a Parent: Thriving in Relationship with Your Adult Children:
  2. You Never Stop Being a Parent: Thriving in Relationship with Your Adult Children:
  3. HELP! I Can’t Get Motivated:
  4. HELP! My Teen Is Rebellious:

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